Just a few more days to go and we'll be welcoming 2022! Can you believe how the year just zipped by? By now, many of you are probably thinking about your New Year resolutions. More often than not, our resolutions usually revolve around the following: health, well-being, fitness, and finance.
If one of your intentions for 2022 is to have a consistent workout routine, then good for you! Exercise is one of the top ways to improve your overall well-being—from your physical health to self-discipline, your focus and moods, and even your social connections.
You know you need to exercise regularly. But do you find it challenging to begin? Maybe you’ve tried different ways to work out regularly but have always found it difficult to be consistent. Or maybe, you’re just lost as to where to start. You would love to go to the gym but given the current virus scare, you’d rather work out at home where you feel safer.
I’m sure you noticed that in response to the pandemic lockdowns, fitness apps have started to proliferate. There are so many that it’s dizzying which one to pick. I feel you. I was in the same boat before and that ‘before’ was the time when there weren’t even a gazillion apps yet.
By 2014, my work was becoming more hectic, and I found that I had less time available to go to either the gym or the yoga studio. I used to follow workout DVDs and even VHS tapes when I was a teen. Remember those? Man, I feel so ancient! But DVDs weren’t as popular anymore in Beijing where I lived at the time. So, the pickings were slim when I decided to just work out at home. I was ecstatic to find that the App store had several workout apps. They were pretty basic at the time until I found CodyApp which had different kinds of full-length workouts and programs. CodyApp offered yoga, Pilates, barre, calisthenics, dance, weight training, functional training, and even had plant-based nutrition and cooking classes.
I started doing my yoga practice using CodyApp on the weekdays and then go to a face-to-face class at my go-to yoga studio on the weekends. I especially loved the fitness community on the app. I made some good friends from around the world through CodyApp. We learned from each other and cheered each other on. I also enjoyed the virtual live classes though I couldn’t really join many of them because most didn’t fit well into my time zone. (CodyApp later became AloMoves.)
Since then, I’ve used fitness apps for my workouts. In this blog post, I’ve done a rundown of the fitness apps I use the most. They fit my needs but all of them offer workouts for all fitness and skill levels. Most of them are free, and they’re really easy, fun, and motivating to use. I especially like the challenges and the community aspect most of them offer.
1. FitOn App
This is my go-to app these days. It has all types of workouts I enjoy, and they are all absolutely FREE! Yes! Even full-length workouts, ranging from cardio, strength training and HIIT to stretches, Pilates, Barre, dance, and yoga, conducted mostly by celebrity trainers. They also have meditations and breathwork. Besides all the workouts, you can also watch trainer tips videos and read articles on fitness, nutrition, and wellness. You automatically become part of the FitOn community where you can post photos and cheer each other.
The app has a section where you can track your workouts—your time spent on them, the dates, and calories burned. You even get to earn badges. FitOn makes sure you are motivated!
Your FitOn workouts are personalized for you. When you sign up for an account on FitOn, the app asks you the following questions:
your fitness goal
types of workouts you like
any exercise equipment you’d like to use such as dumbbells or kettlebells
desired frequency and duration for your workouts
Then, it will create a program tailored to your goals and preferences.
You also get a limited meal plan according to your goal and the number of meals per day you’d like.
FitOn makes working out so simple. You won’t need to think each day which workout you would like to do. When you open the app, it will display your workout for that day. Just tap on it and go! For me, that’s a great time and mental energy saver. Oh, and did I mention that they also have challenges you can join? In fact, you can even create your own challenge and invite others to join.
Don’t like having to squint to watch the video on your phone screen? You can access the app on your PC or you can search FitOn on your Apple TV or Roku. You can also cast it to your smart TV.
The only downside of the free version is the ads that entice you to upgrade to FitOn Pro. The ads don’t happen during the workouts. They are shown when you transition between features. Thankfully, the ads are very nicely done so I actually enjoy watching them. They don’t feel like an intrusion at all.
The free version works really well if all you need are personalized workouts, tracking, health advice, and a supportive community—which is more than enough for me. But if you want more, then go for the Pro version.
Here are features you'll get on Pro:
Download unlimited workouts
Integrate your fitness watch or wearable to track your real-time heart rate
More than 500 recipes
Comprehensive meals plans
Premium music from great artists to work out to
Fitness courses from celebrity trainers.
Invite friends to work out with you in real time through a video call
Overall, FitOn has a simple yet beautiful user interface. It’s very intuitive to use. With a ton of useful features and a great variety of workouts, it has all you need to be motivated and successful in your fitness journey.
Basic Plan: Free
Pro: $29.99 for one year or $19.99 for six months (currently on sale from $99.99 and $69.99)
Rebel is the number 1 health and fitness app in the Philippines. Rebel has a holistic approach to fitness and health as embodied by their 3 pillars: Sweat, Eat, and Care.
SWEAT. With over 500 different workouts of varying intensities and levels, you are sure to find something for you. There’s yoga, Pilates, dance, HIIT, calisthenics, bodyweight, martial arts, cardio, and more. Most of the workouts don’t require any equipment and can be done either at home or at the gym. They also offer programs that run from 7 to 30 days. The videos are high quality, and the trainers give very clear instructions. You can track your workouts in your account as well as create a Favorites list. Your Home tab will feature workouts according to your interests.
The free plan gives you access to some videos while the premium plan, REBEL+, gives you access to all the workout videos and programs plus a private community, access to your own personal coach, live workouts, and exclusive videos.
EAT. Rebel has hundreds of healthy recipes that use easy-to-find ingredients in the Philippines. The dishes are designed to suit Filipino taste buds. It’s easy to find the recipes for your health needs and situation as they are grouped according to low carb, high protein, vegetarian, healthy snacks, and more. What I particularly like are the Nutrition 101 videos so you can take more responsibility for your own health through proper food choices.
CARE. With the current pandemic, mental health issues have been on the rise. Rebel helps address these issues with their mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork classes, self-care and motivational videos, and stretching and recovery sessions.
The holistic approach of Rebel helps you achieve your goals with a balanced outlook.
Rebel+ (Premium): First month free then $29.99/year; Or, $4.99/month, free month NOT included.
Boho Beautiful is, simply put, beautiful! They have stunningly beautiful and artistic yoga, Pilates, and meditation videos. Whenever I use Boho Beautiful, it always takes me away to exotic places. My favorite is their Yoga Around the World 14-day journey. Each day, we would be practicing in different dream locations around the world—from the tropical beaches of Costa Rica and Borneo, the islands of Hawaii and the Maldives, to the jungles of Thailand, the temples of Cambodia, and the mountains of Tibet. This greatly helped me cope with the travel restrictions during the pandemic.
Despite the artsy and bohemian vibe of this app, the videos are clear and easy to follow. The voices of the instructors and creators, husband and wife team Julianna and Mark Spicoluk, are soothing and their instructions are spot on and easy to understand. The music that accompanies each video is beautiful as well, each one perfectly suiting the objective of each workout. Not a surprise considering Mark is a musician.
Boho Beautiful app has thousands of hours of content featuring different styles of yoga, Pilates, plant-based recipes and cooking videos, guided meditations, challenges and programs, live classes, hang outs, lifestyle videos and exclusive member vlogs. They even have prenatal yoga and some cardio and HIIT classes. It’s pretty impressive considering Julianna creates and teaches more than 95% of the classes (the rest are done by Mark). And they continue to regularly add to their massive library.
You can download the videos, create your own playlists, and customize your schedule and plan. The app is easy to navigate. The ability to integrate your smart watch, health apps or your wearable with the app is not available, though.
Besides installing the app on your phone or tablet, you can also find Boho Beautiful on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV or cast from the app to any smart TV using Airplay or Chromecast. The app has a 7-day free trial after which you have to sign up for either an annual or a monthly membership.
If you’re a heart-centered yogi and are looking for inspiring yoga practices without the bells and whistles of tracking and integrating wearables, then definitely give Boho Beautiful a go! You will feel so centered and refreshed after each practice and inspired after each lifestyle video and vlog.
Check out some of their videos on the Boho Beautiful Yoga YouTube channel for a taste of Boho Beautiful goodness.
Cost: Free 7-day trial, then $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year
BODY by Blogilates is by top celebrity trainer Cassey Ho. I’ve been following Cassey since 2010 when she hadn’t blown up yet. She is amazing and a great role model and inspiration especially for millennials and the younger generations. She is a strong proponent for body positivity and staying true to yourself instead of being a people pleaser. And her workouts are crazy hard but so much fun! Cassey offers Pilates workouts but she likes to mix them up with yoga-like stretches, cardio and HIIT.
Don’t be fooled by Cassey’s workouts. They look deceptively easy but when you do them…oh boy, it almost feels like torture! They are super effective. Plus, Cassey’s teaching style makes the workouts fun and engaging that you hardly notice time passing by as you sweat and grunt through each rep.
BODY has tons of workout videos—all for free! The featured challenge of the month is also accessible for free while there are more challenges you can access with the paid plan. Videos can be cast to your smart TV if watching on a small screen is one of your pet peeves.
You can track your workouts, stats, and challenges. There’s even a challenge progress bar so you know how far along you are in a challenge. Besides completing challenges, you can also earn achievement badges. Cassey is a great motivator and has designed her app so that you stay motivated.
The premium plan simplifies working out through the monthly calendar. Each month, Cassey comes out with a workout calendar that takes the guesswork out of deciding and planning your workouts. The daily calendar workouts are already programmed in the app so you just tap the workouts for the day and you’re set to go. Such a great time saver! The check mark that appears in the calendar after you complete a workout is so satisfying as well.
So, if you like working out hard with a dose of fun and inspiration, go for BODY by Blogilates.
Basic plan: Free
Premium plan: Free 7-day trial then $3.99/month or $39.99/year.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include AloMoves, the app that propelled me into the world of workouts apps (back when AloMoves was still CodyApp).
Although I don’t use AloMoves as much anymore, I hold it in high regard because I learned so much during my years on it, from July 2014 till June 2021. It’s where I advanced and flourished in my yoga practice, became centered and cultivated compassion, learning from great yogis like Kino MacGregor, Briohny Smyth, Jacquelyn Umof, Meghan Currie, Irene Pappas, Kerri Verna, Patrick Beach, and Dylan Werner, plus all the wonderful yogis I met through the app.
AloMoves has more than 3,000 workout videos. Though Alo is best known for yoga and meditation, they also offer other fitness videos on-demand like Pilates, barre, cardio, calisthenics, HIIT, and more.
This 2022, AloMoves is adding 100 new classes per month so you’ll never get bored. You can filter the workouts by duration (5 to more than 60 minutes), difficulty (beginner to advanced) and intensity (1 to 4), and by instructor.
Besides yoga, fitness and meditation, you can also find sound healing sessions, breathwork, and Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map course. The app also has programs that go from 5 to 21 days, making it simple to plan your yoga practice or fitness workout.
You can access AloMoves on your PC and Apple TV and you can also download workouts to your mobile device for working out on the go. You can log your workouts, track them, and post them in the community where you can share, comment, and motivate each other.
With so many video choices, it can be dizzying. This is actually one of the reasons why I did not renew my subscription the past year. It felt overwhelming already and having to choose from so many videos took up so much of my time even when I had filtered them with my preferences. I do have programs I bought years ago when it wasn't a subscription model yet so I still use AloMoves to access those programs. They also did away with live classes which made me feel connected with others. Also, I felt that the online community is not as vibrant as during the earlier years. I guess it just grew too big? Or maybe it’s just my experience.
Regardless, AloMoves is a great app to move forward in your yoga practice and fitness routines, especially if you're the exploratory, adventurous type.
Cost: Free for the first month then $20 every month thereafter or $199 per year.
There you have it! I hope this gives you an idea how fitness apps can help you in your fitness journey and a starting point for which one best suits you. You might find that no one app will meet all your needs so go ahead and download more than one and play around with them. Just make sure you don't end up confused and overwhelmed that it interferes with the consistency of your workouts.