Digital Workout: Apps to Help You Get in Shape

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Digital Workout: Apps to Help You Get in Shape
Photo courtesy Men’s Health

Ready to drop a few pounds? Run your first 5K? Build those quads and blast those pecs? Before you hire a personal trainer, hire your smartphone or tablet. You can stock it with apps for everything from learning to run to counting calories to mastering pushups. If your goal is to get in shape, you can bet there's an app for that.

C25K (Free)
Photo courtesy C25K

C25K (Free)

Short for "couch to 5K," C25K (iOS) aims to get you off the couch and onto the pavement, training you every step of the way. It's designed especially for beginners, with an eight-week program that eases you into running and, eventually, your first 5K race. The app leverages your iPhone's GPS to track your progress and provides audio cues as well as your favorite playlists while you run. There goes your last excuse for laziness.

C25K

FitnessClass (Free)
Photo courtesy FitnessClass

FitnessClass (Free)

FitnessClass for Android and iOS puts a personal trainer inside your tablet, streaming or downloading more than 400 video workouts. The classes cover just about every fitness goal: arm toning, core strengthening, overall weight loss, and so on. The app itself is free and comes with a smattering of free videos, but if you want unlimited access to the full library, it'll cost you $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

FitnessClass

Fitocracy (Free)
Photo courtesy Fitocracy

Fitocracy (Free)

Fitocracy (Android, iOS) turns fitness into a game, awarding you badges and "props" as you complete various activities and challenges and linking you with friends and other "Fitocrats" for encouragement along the way. The app not only tracks your workouts -- so you can chart your progress -- but also connects you with like-minded groups for added motivation.

Fitocracy

Men’s Health Pushup Challenge ($1.99)
Photo courtesy Men’s Health

Men’s Health Pushup Challenge ($1.99)

Is there a better bodybuilding exercise than the pushup? Hardly, but it can get a little boring. Men's Health Pushup Challenge for iOS teaches you more than 30 variations on the standard pushup, each with frame-by-frame animations at different angles so that you can learn the proper techniques. The app caters to four skill levels -- from beginner to extreme -- monitors your progress and provides eight different challenges to help spice up your pushup-powered workout.

Men’s Health Pushup Challenge

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker (Free)
Photo courtesy MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker (Free)

Losing weight boils down to simple math: consume fewer calories than you burn. MyFitnessPal, available for all the major mobile platforms, offers an abundance of calorie-tracking riches. Just record every food you eat, either manually or by scanning barcodes, and every exercise you perform; the app keeps a running tally of your remaining calories for the day. Keep within your goal and weight loss is all but assured. It's hard to believe this app is free; it doesn't even have ads.

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

Obstacles XRT ($1.99)
Photo courtesy Obstacles XRT

Obstacles XRT ($1.99)

Tired of the same old workout? Can't make it out for a run? Obstacles XRT (iOS) provides a virtual obstacle course you can tackle just about anywhere. Designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced users, each course employs a series of demonstration videos and audio instructions that'll have you quick-stepping through virtual tires, climbing virtual walls and diving under virtual fences. As you progress, the app maintains a tally of your calories burned.

Obstacles XRT

Runtastic (Free)
Photo courtesy Runtastic

Runtastic (Free)

Don't let the name fool you: Runtastic -- available for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone -- tracks not only your running, but also your biking, walking, and other activities. Using your phone's GPS, it keeps tabs on your speed, distance, route, calories burned and other stats. But if you're working out indoors, you can record everything manually. For anyone serious about getting in shape, Runtastic is pretty fantastic.

Runtastic

Simply Yoga ($2.99)
Photo courtesy Simply Yoga

Simply Yoga ($2.99)

Admit it: you've heard about yoga's benefits to both body and soul, but you're a little embarrassed to go take a class. No need: Simply Yoga packs 20-, 40- and 60-minute workouts into your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. It features level 1 and level 2 poses -- 60 of them altogether -- with video demonstrations on how to perform each one. Can't scrape together three bucks? There's a free, ad-supported version with just the level 1 poses.

Simply Yoga

Situps 0 to 200 ($0.99)
Photo courtesy Situps 0 to 200

Situps 0 to 200 ($0.99)

The situp ying to Men’s Health Pushup Challenge's yang, this iOS app promises to train you from zero to 200 situps over the course of 10 weeks. It's like having a personal trainer, as audio cues -- backed by your own music playlists -- tell you how many crunches to do, how long to rest and when to start again. To help keep you motivated, the app awards you badges as you progress. To help keep you limber, it includes stretching and warm-up videos.

Situps 0 to 200

Zombies, Run! ($7.99)
Photo courtesy Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! ($7.99)

Can't quite muster the energy to finish your run? Maybe the idea of zombies hot on your heels will give you the necessary adrenaline boost. This "audio adventure" for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone works like a lot of run-trackers, except that your usual music playlist gets interrupted with scary updates from your guide and the guttural moans of the walking -- make that running -- dead themselves. With 33 different missions to complete, this app adds equal parts fun and fear to your runs.

Zombies, Run!

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