You know that thing in your pocket that you mainly use to play games and pine over your ex on Facebook with? Why not put it to good use, eh?
If you know where to look amongst the overwhelming array of options, you can turn your mobile into an invaluable pocket personal-trainer. So get ready to exercise your swiping flexor and revolutionise (or kick-start) your fitness regime with these best new fitness apps.
1. Squats Workout
From carving a shapely butt to just putting more power in your legs, there’s not much that dropping a few squats can’t help you achieve. This app makes it easier to add the king of all exercises to your weekly workout programme by not only counting your reps but also the calories you’re burning.
There’s a training mode that automatically creates a six-level training plan based on your age and fitness level. At each stage the app evaluates your progress to make sure your squatting is carefully attuned to your current prowess.
2. Nike+ Training Club
[related_articles]This app may be female-focused, but with more than 100 workouts inspired by Nike Master Trainers and top athletes, Nike+ Training has inspiration on tap, whatever your gender. Sessions are listed under four categories – Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong and Get Focused – so you can choose the correct workout for your goals.
The app lets you track the number of workouts you complete as well as your times, calories burned, and how much of Nike’s activity currency, NikeFuel, you've earned. You can even customise your photos with a Swoosh and your workout details, in order to smugly share them on social media. Not that we condone that kind of behaviour, you understand.
The Seven concept is simple: your aim is to work out for seven minutes a day, seven days a week, for seven months – at which point you become a "7/7 Champion". Miss three workouts in a single month, however, and lose you three 'lives', with resets your progress to zero and forces you to start aaaaall over again. Game Over.
Cramming 12 exercises into seven minutes, it's guaranteed to leave you gasping
Seven minutes a day may not sound like much, but your workout – demonstrated via visual and audio cues – is the infamous Scientific Seven-Minute Workout, first published in The New York Times magazine back in 2013. Cramming in 12 different exercises and requiring no equipment aside from a chair, it's guaranteed to leave you gasping. (If you want to really push yourself, extended workouts are available).
Perfect for anyone with a A) hectic lifestyle, B) motivation issues, and C) a chair.
4. Carrot Fit 3.1
Easily the most sarcastic fitness app ever created, Carrot Fit is a smartphone personal trainer that likes to take the piss – imagine a hyper-cynical, fitness-obsessed version of Siri. It's perfect if chirpy, enthusiastic trainers set your teeth on edge with all their whooping and motivational happy talk (you big Grinch, you).
It's perfect if chirpy, enthusiastic trainers set your teeth on edge
Carrot Fit's developers claim that their 7 Minutes in Hell Workout (as demonstrated in the video above) scientifically squeezes all the benefits of an hour-long session into just seven sweat-soaked minutes. It’s flippin' tough alright, but the hilarious names of the exercises should help take your mind off the pain – squats are known as "Marking Your Territory", for example.
The updated Carrot Fit 3.1 can also be used in conjunction with iOS 8’s new HealthKit to track your activity throughout the day, delivering amusingly mean feedback if you lag behind on your daily step goal.
If losing virtual lives or being chided by a sarcastic taskmaster isn't enough to keep you motivated, how about the chance of gaining – or risk of losing – cold, hard cash?
Pact (previously known as GymPact) allows you to "earn cash for living healthy, paid for by members who don't". You enter a fitness regime you want to maintain, hand over your bank deets, and then earn weekly bumps of cash when you successfully hit the targets you've set for yourself. Fail to hit those targets, however, and you'll be 'fined', with your hard-earned cash being redistributed to less lazy-arsed Pact users.
Earn weekly bumps of cash when you successfully hit your targets; fail, and you'll be fined
And there's no way to 'game' the app and earn loot while slyly slobbing out with Netflix. You'll have to 'check in' at any gym you attend, and have any runs or workouts tracked by GPS and accelerometer. And if you're looking to upgrade your diet, you can also sign up to post photos of all your meals, which are then 'verified' for being healthy (or otherwise) by other users.
Pact's developers claim that users wind up achieving around 95% of their goals. You'll be amazed at how willing you are to go for a run on a rain-lashed evening when there's a few quid at stake...
6. Nike+ Running
Fitness apps may come and go, but this veteran GPS tracker has remained one step ahead of the whippersnappers for years now. Allowing you to track your runs in terms of time, pace, distance, route covered and more, it’s a great app if you’re ready to take your running up a gear, and looking to analyse exactly how far and fast you’re going.
Nike has embraced Garmin, TomTom, Wahoo Fitness, Netpulse and the Apple Watch
Keen runners with GPS watches will be pleased to learn that Nike has now opened up its loving arms to embrace Garmin, TomTom, Wahoo Fitness, Netpulse and, of course, the Apple Watch. So you can now suck in stats recorded on these devices for them to be stored and displayed on Nike’s stupidly cool-looking app and website.
Brand new on the iTunes store, Sportable is the ideal app for people who prefer competitive sports to solo gym-time, but struggle to find partners to smash at their favourite game. It's basically Tinder for sports, except with squash matches instead of awkward dates, and basketball games instead of boozy one-night-stands.
It's basically Tinder for sports, except with squash matches instead of awkward dates
You set a ‘play area’ based on your location, check off the sports you're interested in, then the app matches you up with like-minded locals looking to play the same games. There’s also a feature that lets teams find ringers to replace last-minute dropouts – finally someone’s putting an end to those nine-man Sunday league nightmares.
Sportable is still in beta, so it's not quite ubiquitous yet to make it truly revolutionary – but once enough people have signed up to it has the potential to be a (literal) game-changer.