Sometimes there’s not enough time, or motivation, in the day to get to the gym. And sometimes, we simply don’t have the funds for a membership (or you’d rather spend what little money you have on food or alcohol…no judgment). But, thanks to the invention of the smartphone, you don’t have to actually step foot in a gym to get your workout in. There are a lot of good fitness apps that require a paid subscription, but I’m going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that if you don’t want to spend $10 a month to go to Planet Fitness or wherever, you probably also don’t want to spend money for an app, either. That’s why I picked out my top five favorite free fitness apps to download and get sweating to. (I don’t feel bad anymore about seeing 5 + hours at the end of the day on my screen time…I’m working out!) Grab your weights and your cutest pair of leggings, and let’s get started.
This app offers categories of workouts for every muscle in your body, including abs, butt, back, shoulders, arms, and more. The exercises are mostly for your at-home gym sesh, but they do offer a few workout routines for during the day, like “deskercise”, “chair exercises”, and “office stretch”… but please, be low-key if you’re doing them at work. What I love about this app is that they offer plenty of workouts that you can do in only seven minutes. These include 7M Butt, 7M Sweat, and 7M Beginner. I love these guides because I know I can get through seven minutes of work without the thought of “when is this overrrrr??” repeating in my head the entire workout. You can see your progress on a calendar based on your workout history and calories burned. Def recommend.
When setting up the app, it will ask you a few questions to help personalize your workouts. It asks for what you think your level is (beginner, intermediate, or pro) and how many sessions a week you want to work out (2, 3, or 4). It then asks you for your goal, whether that be to lose weight, stay fit, or gain muscle. This way, the experience will be tailored to you and your body. Fitness Challenge gives you an outline of your workout before starting, so you know what you’re getting into before you begin. It tells you how much time the workout will last, what exactly you’ll be doing, and how many times you’re doing it. It comes with five categories to choose from: full body, sexy legs and butt, abs and flat tummy, bikini body, and skinny toned arms. Count me in.
3. Daily Yoga
If you’re a yogi, this is the app for you, but in addition to yoga, Daily Yoga also incorporates other mainstream workouts. Once signed in, you choose your goal. This app’s options are: start as beginner, stay healthy, lose weight, skill improvement, muscle tone, and stress relief. I LOVE how they named these goals. But Daily Yoga doesn’t only provide workouts—it goes one step further, offering audio and music to guide you through your practices. They have guided meditations, mantras, mindfulness training, and more—all of which you can download straight to your phone. I recommend listening to the music before bed at night for a spa-like relaxation that’ll put you into a deep sleep.
You can sign up for FitOn through FACEBOOK, which is great, because then you don’t have to waste time plugging in personal info and can get moving instead. It does ask a few questions to personalize your experience, though, which I do appreciate. It first asks you about your goal. Are you using the app to lose weight? Reduce stress? For post-natal fitness? I like this app because it doesn’t just give you three basic goal choices; it has a bunch more to offer. After that, it asks for your favorite types of workouts ranging from yoga, to HIIT, and dance. Then, you’re in! If you aren’t ready to work out right away, you can set reminders to do so later on, which I use way too frequently. It gives you a ton of choices, like which trainer you want to take, the target area you want to work on, and trending activities to start. FitOn even gives you a custom-made schedule. You can see all your upcoming workouts and the intensity of each. You can even invite your friends to share your progress, if you’re competitive like that. There is also a section on advice from trainers, ranging from articles to videos that are informational and worth a watch.
If you aren’t into high-intensity workouts or sweating too much, this app is perfect for you. It’s all about walking, and only walking. Walking is the perfect way to burn off calories and reduce stress. I think walking is one of the most important workouts—especially walking outside. Obvs if it’s crazy weather, just hop on the treadmill, NBD. The app goes by days, so they have a list of workouts designed for you each day to complete. You can walk for meditation, renewal, midlife women, stress, or for burning off the cheese pizza you had for dinner last night, which I like to do. (Okay, so that last option I made up.) All totally great. It also tracks your steps and calories burned, if you’re over your iPhone health app after the latest update, which most of us are.
There are so many other free fitness apps you can check out, but these ones offer a good range of services that everyone can enjoy and are easy to use. These are the perfect start to get motivated and move throughout your week. You can use them in your living room, at your office, outside walking your pup, or even in class (def be cautious though…). Hope these apps help you and guide you to achieve your goals.
Images: Dane Wetton / Unsplash; Workout For Women; Fitness Challenge; Daily Yoga; FitOn; BetterMe: Walking
I’m down to try any type of workout, but I’ve never gotten into running. I mean, you’d probably think otherwise if you saw my collection of Nikes, but they’re strictly for show. I’ll say yes to Pilates, spin, weightlifting, yoga, you name it—but when it comes to going on a simple run around the block, it’s a no from me. So, when I heard about Mile High Run Club, where you run on a treadmill next to 20+ other chicks in matching Fitbits, I was like, this probably won’t be my thing, but let’s give it a try anyway. Here’s how it went.
Mile High offers different types of classes depending on what type of run you’re looking for, so I had to decide which one would suit me best. There’s a “High 45” where you’re running for 45 minutes straight, a “Dirty 30” where you’re doing the same thing for 30 minutes, a “Distance” class that sounds like I’d rather die, and finally, a “Dash 28,” where you spend 28 minutes running and then about 10 minutes doing some kettlebell work. 28 minutes is, like, one episode of The Office, so that seemed like the obvious option for me. I booked a treadmill at the back of the room, closed my computer, and said a quick prayer.
I went to Mile High’s Noho location on a Sunday morning, and I immediately noted how cute the studio was. It kind of looks like SoulCycle, but with more purple lighting and less candles. Oh, and lots of treadmills. I think they use the same ones at Barry’s Bootcamp, so right away I had a feeling of PTSD as soon as I stepped onto the thing. The instructor, Sam or Scott or something, seemed decently nice and explained how the class would go down. As you’d expect in any $34 boutique fitness class, everyone was wearing the same pair of Lulu’s, including me. Oops.
Once the class started, I was pretty surprised with myself. Like, not to brag, but I was totally keeping up with the speeds and I even adjusted my treadmill’s incline a few numbers higher than the instructor told us. (Honestly, that part was an accident, but whatever.) By the end of our third sprint, I was like, “Wow, that class went by so fast.” Then I looked up at the clock and it had only been 12 minutes. Fuck.
The rest of the run went downhill from there, but obviously only metaphorically because the instructor wouldn’t give it a rest with these goddamn inclines. It probably wouldn’t be hard for you if you run regularly, but I haven’t stepped on a treadmill in like, six months, and plus I really had to pee from the giant cold brew I chugged before the class. Rookie mistake.
The one thing about running on a treadmill is that you need to be somewhat distracted the whole time to forget you’re running on a treadmill. I have to say, the instructor did a good job with that part. Even though I was nauseous and exhausted the entire time, his playlist was solid and he talked us through the running, giving us cues on form and little bursts of inspiration to keep going. I mean, it wasn’t like preachy “give to this workout what you want to give to the universe” bullshit, but it was enough to keep going without falling over.
So, after what seemed like a full day, we were allowed to power off our treadmills and were told to grab a kettlebell for the strength portion of the class. I took one of the heavier kettlebells compared to what other people were taking, but I just wanted to feel good about myself after the shit show that was the running part of Mile High Run Club. I was happy I took the heavy weight, because this part of the class ended up being pretty damn easy. I mean, it was 10 minutes. That’s usually how long it takes me to put my hair in a ponytail before the workout. We did some renegade rows, squats, and a couple ab exercises, and then the class was over.
The bottom line with Mile High is if you’re into running, you’ll like it. The instructors seem super knowledgeable, and the class is structured really well. I appreciated the pretty locker room and the music choices, so points for that. With that being said, if you already hate running, it might not suddenly make you do a 180. So while I might not be signing up for a marathon anytime soon, there’s a good chance you’ll love Mile High. You might even make a friend in the locker room that you can run your next half marathon with. Enjoy each other. Call me when you’re finished running and want brunch.
Images: Justyn Warner, Unsplash; Giphy (4)
We all know summer is getting closer and the words “summer body” make you want to stay indoors in your 5-year-old XXL Kappa Gamma T-shirt, but it’s time to get your ass up and go on a run. Most betches don’t have the time or the patience to commit to a long workout, and according to this new bomb study, you don’t have to. That’s because, despite what your annoying friend who’s training for a marathon will tell you, you only need to run five minutes a day to live longer. That’s right, you literally have no excuse for the lazy denegerate lifestyle you’re currently living.
This study, which was recently published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, basically compared the health of people who ran versus people like me who
are allergic to exercise don’t run. Unfortunately for everyone who’s sick of hearing their smug friend talk about their “runner’s high” (STFU Caroline, you ran two and a half miles, it doesn’t work like that) researchers found that runners live three more years on average than non-runners. They also found that running lowers your risk of premature death by 40 percent, but I’m going off context and assuming they mean death from things like heart attack and stroke and not, say, liver failure caused by your five-nights-a-week going out habit. So like, just because you ran a mile today does not make you immortal (ahem, Caroline).
But the good news is you can start getting all the fun health benefits of running without
becoming super annoying spending hours at your local track. That’s because the researchers calculated that running just two hours a week can add about three years to your life span. For those of you who aren’t good at basic division, that amounts to just over 17 minutes a day—in other words, totally doable. But for the extremely lazy among us, you can still get some of those longevity benefits by running just five minutes a day. Yep, five fucking minutes. For less than the amount of time you spend stalking your ex on Instagram, you could be extending your life.
And in case you thought this study couldn’t reaffirm your lifestyle choices anymore, just wait. While your exercise-addicted friend might think the more she runs, the healthier she’ll be, the researchers found that the limit does actually exist. More specifically, your health benefits will plateau if you run more than four hours a week. They didn’t explicitly say this, but clearly the takeaway here is that you should never run more than 35 minutes per day because it’s basically pointless and you could get the same health benefits while expending less effort. Thanks, Science!
So the overall takeaway of this study is that you can’t use the “I’m sooo busy” excuse to avoid exercise anymore and it’s time to get off your ass—you know, that thing you’ve been sitting on for the past six months?
The new year is well under way and I bet—like, I’d literally bet $1 million on it—that you’ve already broken at least one of your New Year’s resolutions. You’ve probably been grumpy and had a bun in your hair on your way to work since you got back, and I highly doubt you’ve seen the inside of the gym more than once in the past 11 days. Plus, like, we all know you haven’t cooked a meal since before December started. But no worries betch, I feel you. I’m here to make you feel a tiny bit better about what a failure you are. Here’s how to keep a new year’s resolution like a betch.
Instead of resolving to go to the gym every day…Resolve to walk home from work three times a week (weather permitting). This way you get some exercise and it’s fucking cheaper than the $100 a month Equinox charges you. Going to the gym is great, but when you set a goal and are too lazy to actually go do it, you feel shitty about yourself and end up binge drinking wine/eating everything in sight, claiming that you’ll be better tomorrow. You won’t. Just accept that this is who you are.
Instead of resolving to stop drinking…Resolve to only drink on the weekends. You have a full-time job/are a full-time student and as stressful as doing work is, alcohol has a shit ton of calories that you literally just don’t need. However, it’s unreasonable to think that at this young age you’re going to stop drinking altogether. Unwind on the weekends like you’re supposed to and your tolerance will go down, you’ll need less to feel drunk, and the amount of calories you’re consuming won’t be as steep. You can stop drinking when you’re dead.
Instead of resolving to eat clean…Resolve to stop eating pasta more than once a week. Carbs, as amazing as they are, are fucking terrible for you. But, again, you’re young; just stop boiling pasta every night for dinner because it’s easy and buy a fucking bag of lettuce every once in awhile. You can cave when you’re PMSing but only then because honestly, there are other things to eat in your cabinet whether you’d like to admit that or not. Just like, watch out for expiration dates because we know you haven’t looked in your pantry since you moved in and your mom took you to Trader Joe’s to stock up on healthy options.
In conclusion, stop resolving to change every single thing about yourself and just accept that you hate the elliptical and you love vodka sodas and carbs. Just like, stop loving these things every single day and you’ll automatically be better than you are. May the rest of 2017 be in your favor.