The top apps for working out at home: Tech Support

Welcome to Tech Support, a segment where I, Dan Howley, serve as your intrepid guide through the sometimes confusing, often frustrating, world of personal technology. 

Here, I answer all of your most pressing questions about the various gizmos, gadgets, and services you use in your everyday life.

Have a question of your own? Reach me on Twitter at @danielhowley, or email me at [email protected]

Now, on to your questions.

This week’s dilemma:

“What are the top home workout apps?”

Let’s face it, all of that extra time spent streaming videos, playing games, and boozing has more than a few of us looking for ways to shed those extra pounds we’ve put on since shelter-in-place orders went into place in many cities back in March.

But with gyms across the country closed, and fitness equipment incredibly hard to come by, finding the right workout during lockdown can be tough. Thankfully, a number of high-quality apps can help you drop those “L” “Bs” and build up those guns while you’re at home.

Nike Training Club – Free

Nike Training Club gives you free access to the company’s fitness programs and courses. (Image: Nike)

Nike (NIKE) has made its Training Club premium app free to all users, giving you access to guided workouts and training plans that will make you sweat. Programs range from bodyweight routines and yoga to strength training with equipment. Nike promises new workouts every month, and with 185 free programs already available, there’s little chance you’ll run through them all before your local gym reopens. I hope.

Couch25K – Free, $4.99 for the Pro version

Like its name suggests, Couch25K is designed to help get you from being a lump on the couch to being able to run a 5K. (Image: Couch25K)

Couch25K is exactly what it sounds like — an 8-week program designed to take you from being a person who’s formed a closer than normal relationship with your sofa and turn you into a bona fide runner who can finish a 5K. The app features guided training sessions with coaches who talk you through your run, and even syncs to your Apple Watch. A Pro version of the app, which costs $4.99, adds distance and calorie tracking to the mix.

Of course, you’ll need to find a place to run where you can safely socially distance from people.

Fitbit Premium – 90-day trial, $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year

Fitbit Premium adds guided workouts and advanced metrics to the standard app’s usual fitness tracking features. (Image: Fitbit)

Fitbit (FIT) Premium is the company’s headline fitness offering and features everything from the standard Fitbit app and health tracking, etc., and tosses in guides to help you establish healthy habits, thousands of exercise routines including body weight and cardio, advanced sleep tracking, and more. The exercise videos alone are helpful, but you’ll likely want to get a Fitbit tracker to track your heart rate and sleep.

Daily Burn – 30-day free trial, $19.95 a month

Daily Burn is one of the best known at home workout apps, and features tons of different options for helping you get in shape. (Image: Daily Burn)

Built for training from your home, Daily Burn features thousands of workout videos for yoga, weight loss, endurance, and total body fitness that you can follow along to without the need for tons of equipment. There’s a way to schedule workouts, set up a nutrition plan, and set up which muscles you want to target. New group exercises are also added daily at 9 a.m. and don’t require any equipment at all. Miss it because you’re working? You can go back and rewatch it later.

Strava – Free

Strava lets you not only track your runs, bike rides, and swims, but allows you to virtually compete with people from right in your own community. (Image: Strava)

Strava lets you track your runs, bike rides, swims (though you’ll need to stay socially distant and have your own pool), nearly any kind of physical movement and map them so you can see exactly where you traveled, how fast, and more. More importantly, it lets you see how other Strava users are performing, and challenge them to community-based races. It’s an impressive way to keep people motivated and coming back to the app, not to mention build up your own bragging rights. A pro version of the app called Summit adds training plans, deeper analytics, and discounts for athletic goods and services for $7.99 a month or $59.99 a year.

Special mention

Peloton – 30-day free trial, $12.99 a month

No, you don’t have to buy a $2,000 stationary bike. The Peloton app alone has plenty of great workout options for your to check out, as well. (Image: Peloton)

No, I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy a $2,000 stationary bike during a global pandemic, but the Peloton (PTON) app, which costs $12.99 a month after a 30-day free trial, offers a surprisingly deep bench of fitness routines that can help you stay in shape while stuck inside. You can choose from 10 different types of workouts like bootcamp, stretching, cardio, meditation, and more streaming on demand with Peloton’s signature trainers guiding you along the way.

Naturally, you can also track your progress through the app and attempt challenges to stay engaged over time.

More from Dan:

Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at [email protected] or [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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