Come New Year’s Eve, many of us will be making resolutions to get fit, lose weight and stay healthy. Those things are easier than ever thanks to some clever new and updated iPhone (and Android) apps. Not only are there dozens (Hundreds? Thousands?) of calorie counting and weight watching apps, but interactive fitness and training apps are becoming more and more popular. From workouts with celebrity trainers to observing heart rates, the fitness apps of 2012 took workouts to a new level. Here we list seven of the most notable new and significantly upgraded fitness apps of the past year.
Released in January 2012, Remix Workouts focuses on engaging and dynamic exercise. Designed to provide users with a unique experience each session, this app provides real-time video and audio instructions as well and can adapt to each user’s specific fitness needs. Work through the over 10,000 circuit combinations to increase strength, flexibility and unlock new moves that keep workouts fun and motivating.
Think you could never run a 5K? Think again. Couch-to-5K, released in 2011 and significantly updated in 2012, is designed specifically for first time runners. The app guides users through 20-30 minute workouts three times a week for nine weeks. After the nine weeks, users are capable of completing the 3.1-mile race. New features include manual upload capabilities, total distance and average pace tracking and graphing capabilities to compare distance and pace throughout workouts.
The effectiveness of personal trainers can’t be denied, but neither can their cost. Now you can access a digital personal trainer for free. Since 2009 GAIN Fitness has provided unique and guided workouts. Users simply choose a time, location and duration for workouts, and GAIN creates an exercise routine complete with real-time personalization. In its new iteration, GAIN allows users to compare workout results with friends and challenge them to improve. Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition?
In August 2012, Cardiio was released to critical acclaim. This innovative app allows users to monitor their heart rates simply by looking at their phones. Featured in Popular Science and The New York Times Magazine, Cardiio was originally developed at MIT and published in peer-reviewed journals. By utilizing the phone’s front camera to analyze light reflected off the user’s face, this app is able to accurately measure and track heart rate over time.
Released in 2010 and revamped in 2012, Pocket Yoga attracted attention this year from CNN, Apple and Maclife.com. By offering three different practices, three durations and three difficulty levels, Pocket Yoga varies sessions, each designed by an experienced instructor. Detailed video and audio instructions guide users through their practice and a pose dictionary offers descriptions and benefits of poses to further educate aspiring yogis.
Every gym-goer sees big, inflatable balls rolling around their space, but what, exactly, can you do with them? Gym Ball Workouts! answers that question. By providing some 93 different workouts that include yoga, pilates, strength and stability training and much more, Gym Ball Workouts! is an easy and fun way to exercise. Download the app to get ten free workouts and purchase new workouts to explore the surprising versatility of the Swiss ball.
Like many workout apps, Nike Training Club works to mimic the motivation provided by personal trainers. The difference is that by working hard, users can unlock workouts created by celebrity trainers and professional athletes. Created in 2011, this app offers workouts from celebrities like Rihanna’s trainer, Ary Nuñez, and professional soccer player Hope Solo. In 2012, Nike added even more celebrity workouts from noted trainers, a guide to Nike products to enhance workouts and sessions from professional runner Paula Radcliffe, U.S. national soccer player Alex Morgan and long-distance runner Kara Goucher.