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Some of The Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2016

We spend too much time staring at our phones—just ask the pedestrians we almost walk into on a daily basis. If scrolling through your News feed or swiping right were Olympic sports, we’d definitely take home a medal. But in reality, the only things getting a workout in either case are our thumbs. That’s not to say your phone can’t help you lead a healthier, happier life. You just need to know the right apps to download.

 

Before you fall down the rabbit hole that is the app store, check out our list of the best health and fitness apps. We tested out hundreds before whittling it down to the 39 that are really worth checking out. (Some are repeats from last year’s list, but there are plenty of newbies as well.)

Note: This list is presented in no particular order. To check out the methodology we used to determine which apps made the cut, scroll to the bottom.

Fitness

1. Couch to 5K

If you’ve wanted to try running but never known where to start, Couch to 5K should be the next app you download. The free eight-week program gives users three workouts per week that get you ready for your local Turkey Trot or Fourth of July road race. (Free;iOS and Android)

2. Blogilates

We first fell in love with Cassey Ho while watching her Blogilates videos on YouTube. This app takes things to the next level—you get access to all of her videos, plus an online forum and monthly workout calendar. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS andAndroid)

3. Zombies, Run!

Running becomes way more fun when each step gets you closer to carrying out your mission, collecting materials for your base camp, and keeping humans safe from the zombie apocalypse. There’s a reason this game became the highest-grossing health and fitness app on iTunes in just two weeks—even though it’s free to download, you’ll start shelling out money like you do for Candy Crush. Except this game helps you get your sweat on. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

4. Fitnet

Fitnet is the workout app for people who can’t carve out time to go to the gym. The app features an abundance of five- and seven-minute targeted workouts, so you don’t have to sacrifice time with your friends and family to achieve your fitness goals. Plus, the app uses your phone’s camera for a whole new kind of selfie—this one measures how closely you follow the moves shown on the screen. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

5. Sworkit

Tell Sworkit the type of workout you’re looking for (strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching) and the amount of time you’ve got (anywhere from five minutes to an hour), and the app delivers the moves to follow during your sweat session. If you opt for premium ($4.99 per month), the app lets you get even more personalized, by setting the number of reps and the areas of the body you want to focus on. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

6. Motion Traxx

Listening to music can be the perfect way to add extra oomph to your workout, but crafting the perfect playlist is tricky. That’s where Motion Traxx comes in. The app combines coaching from world-class trainers with music designed to set the perfect intensity for every phase of your workout. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS andAndroid)

7. StrongLifts 5x5

No need to carry around a paper and pencil while lifting at the gym anymore. This app keeps track of the exercise, number of reps, and rest time, so all you have to worry about is getting to the gym and getting huge stronger. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS andAndroid)

8. Strava Running and Cycling

If you’re a serious runner or cyclist, you need one place to keep track of your most recent runs and rides, and no app comes close to the capabilities offered by Strava. The app can track distance, speed, elevation, calories burned, heart rate, power, and cadence. Then it synthesizes all of this data into easy-to-understand graphics. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

9. Spotify Running

Part of the Spotify app (and let’s be honest, you probably already have that on your phone), Spotify Running measures your pace and picks a song with the beats per minute to match it. It’s about time your music matches your cadence instead of the other way around. (Free; iOS and Android)

10. Yonder

Think of this like Yelp for the outdoor enthusiast. Enter your location and find dozens of suggestions for hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing with reviews and tips from fellow outdoorsmen and women. (Free; iOS and Android)

11. Daily Yoga

Never be bored by yoga again: More than 50 classes shot in HD video are just a few taps away. Each sequence has a specific focus, from increasing flexibility to strengthening your core. Plus, there’s a library with detailed videos of more than 500 poses. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

12. Yoga Wake Up

Yoga Wake UpWhat better way to ease into the day than with a quick morning yoga flow? This app delivers a 10-minute sequence at your designated wake-up time. Each sequence is a little different. Some focus more on meditation, while others hone in on holding poses and setting intentions. Yoga every damn day just got a whole lot easier. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS)

13. Nike+ Training Club

Nike+ Training Club comes with all the things you’d expect from a top-notch fitness app: workouts designed by professional trainers and athletes, customizable fitness programs, sharing capabilities to compare your progress with others, and a totally sleek interface. And in Nike fashion, it just does it better than the competition. (Free; iOS andAndroid)

14. Endomondo

Cardio exercise can quickly get boring and repetitive. That’s why Endomondo is so great. Set a goal for your run, walk, or bike ride, and the app’s virtual trainer lets you know if you’re on track to meet it or if you need to speed up. It’s great to compete against yourself (and your goals), but it’s even better when you can use Endomondo to challenge or cheer on friends. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

15. Freeletics

Looking for bodyweight workouts? Freeletics has more than 900 that last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Whether you choose to work out in the kitchen, on the subway, or in your office, you can rely on Freeletics to deliver a great workout for your fitness level. (Free; iOS and Android)


Food and Nutrition

16. Fooducate

Foodcuate makes grocery shopping surprisingly fun. Open the app, scan barcodes, and get a quick read on how healthy each item is. It also tracks sleep, mood, and hunger levels. Then Fooducate analyzes all of the information and provides feedback to help you meet your health and fitness goals. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOSand Android)

17. ShopWell

The field of calorie-counting apps is heavily saturated, but ShopWell still manages to stand out. The app is all about personalization. Enter in your height, weight, age, and allergies, and then it scores every food you can think of on how healthy it is for you—the closer to 100, the better. And it even makes individual recommendations for similar, healthier products to eat instead. (Free; iOS and Android)

18. SideChef

So you’re totally game to try out new recipes, but fiddling with your phone to follow the directions while your hands are sticky is a huge pain. That’s where SideChef comes in. The app provides step-by-step voice command instructions. If it’s going too fast, you can ask SideChef to repeat directions without ever having to get your phone dirty—or worse, waterlogged. (Free; iOS and Android)

19. mySugr

Most of us can’t remember what we had for lunch yesterday, but diabetics don’t have the luxury of not paying attention to their food and how it affects their blood glucose levels. It’s very tricky to keep mental notes, and a pen and paper just doesn’t measure up to the tracking capabilities of this app. Wonder why certain days you feel crummier than others? mySugr can be your diabetes detective to determine the foods you need to cut back on. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

20. Ingredient1

If you have dietary restrictions, you know how much of a pain it can be to check the ingredients on every label at the grocery store. That’s where Ingredient1’s FoodID comes in handy. Answer a series of questions about your typical diet (from foods that are absolute no-nos to things you’d rather avoid), and Ingredient1 introduces you to hundreds of products that fit your criteria. Plus it finds stores nearby where you can buy them. (Free; iOS)

21. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is the most popular health and fitness app in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The app’s database of more than 6 million foods makes it easy to track your diet, no matter what you eat. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or put on muscle, the app helps determine the best things to eat to meet your goals. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

22. Lifesum

Have a sweet tooth or a love of junk food? It can feel like you need a whole lifestyle makeover to start eating healthy. But Lifesum proves it’s all about small, sustainable changes. Pick a goal (lose weight, bulk up, or eat better) and the app sends you reminders (drink more water), feedback to improve your diet, and simple graphics ways to visualize your progress. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

23. DietBet

Just like its name implies, this app forces you to put your money where your mouth is and show you’re not full of hot air when it comes to your weight-loss goals. Users enter into a challenge where they can bet they’ll lose either 4 percent of their weight in four weeks or 10 percent of their weight in six months. Progress is monitored by DietBet’s referees, and the pot is then split between everyone in your group who makes their goal weight. (Free to download, $25-$25 per bet; iOS and Android)

24. Noom Coach

Dieting can be so complex. Don’t have time to check your macros (or don’t know what those are)? Time to download Noom Coach. Unlike other calorie-counting apps, Noom uses the stoplight approach (green is good, red is not so great) to label healthy food. And you can join in on challenges with other Noomers to get even more motivated to meet your health goals. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)


Mind and Brain

25. Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson

Find yourself tossing and turning, unable to catch any zzzs? Perhaps the soothing, melodic voice of Andrew Johnson’s guided meditation will help lull you into a restful stupor. ($2.99; iOS and Android)

26. Meditation Studio

There are so many different types of guided meditation. Rather than try a general practice that focuses on relaxation, this app offers meditations catered to your needs, whether it’s anxiety, stress, happiness, or gratitude. And best of all, it’s a one-time fee for access to more than 160 meditations. ($2.99; iOS)

27. Happify

This app is like a gym membership for your emotional health. The first time you open Happify, you’re prompted to select a track that best meets your needs, whether it's finding more “me” time or getting better at handling stress. Each track is designed by an expert using the latest scientific research and full of quick, daily activities, including games, mindful meditations, and assessments. (Free with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android)

Overall Health

 

28. Sleep Cycle

Say sayonara to feeling groggy in the morning. This app measures your sleep cycle, as its name suggests. Then it wakes you sometime during a 30-minute window before your alarm when you’re in the lightest sleep state. Sure, you might get up before your alarm goes off, but you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. (Free with in-app purchases on iOS, $0.99 on Android)