In the years B.I. (before iPhone), my workout diary was analog--scribbled in a Day Runner with each mile pace estimated according to whatever time I'd recently logged on a track. Put another way, my workout diary entries were vague, likely inaccurate and beyond minimal. Then MayMyRun happened, and suddenly, I could plan routes and cover tracks with ease. Then MapMyRun happened on my phone, allowing me to skip the cartography and go straight to the pavement, tracking training in real time. But why stop there?
As yoga began to overtake running as my preferred exercise, and as my runs became slower, spottier, more like leisurely fartlek intervals, I continued to chase the next best fitness app. My dream: a GPS-rigged run recorder that can differentiate between, for example, a trot and a gallop and offers trainer-designed and -narrated workouts with a sleek interface, as well as pause/start capabilities while the iPhone is locked. I want yoga classes live streamed à la indoor cycling via Peloton. An activewear super store in-app. Danceable remixes of cool tunes downloaded automatically every week. 24/7 access to Paula Radcliffe's personal chef. Jeff Galloway on speed-dial. Girls' night with Yoga for Bad People twice a month for paid subscribers. Alas, until I learn to code, the 5 apps below will do just fine.
- Skyfit: Real trainers push you through timed workouts for running outside or on treadmills, cycling, yoga, and strength training, all with curated playlists and tons of tracking options. You can even get a bespoke training plan for every race distance from 5-K to marathon. Still want more? Each trainer's bio provides his or her email, so you can contact them directly.
- TRX: You can't get in to the best-selling fitness system's app without having first purchased a TRX product. However. If have the straps or the bar, you will most definitely want this mobile trainer that offers hundreds more exercise options than the little booklet that comes with the goods.
- Yoga Studio: There are way too many yoga apps out there, but this one is my favorite because it lets you create your own sequences by simply clicking and dragging the poses of your choice. If that's too much work, just choose from one of the many canned sequences, all of which are categorized by length of time, level of skill and goal (strength, flexibility or relation).
- 8Fit: This classic fitness app offers meal-planning alongside circuit workouts so you can discover new ways to grill your super-lean chicken breast when you're not dipping, squatting and suffering burpees. You can also track your progress with visual tools to aid motivation, should you have a goal in mind, like weight or body fat loss.
- Mindfulness: A sleek interface and the ability to study meditation with the pros makes this my favorite app for pratyahara and dharana*. You'll have to jump over the pay wall to hear the really good guided sessions, but it's worth it. This program also offers multi-sessions "courses" for achieving various meditation goals, which I, anal-retentive as I am, highly enjoy
*Sanskrit titles for the fifth and sixth limbs of Yoga, a.k.a. blissing out.