The Singaporean Circuit Breaker brought with it a lot of unexpected challenges, and with gyms closed and social distancing measures ruling out group fitness, the download of fitness apps boomed. While we worked from home and cooked ourselves three meals a day (many of us for the first time), we also sought to better our physical selves through at-home exercise – or at the least, stay in some sort of shape whilst maintaining an acceptable fitness level. The trouble is, with so many fitness apps on the market, knowing what’s best for you and your goals isn’t easy. While gyms have gradually re-opened, the popularity of fitness apps hasn’t waned, offering as they do a more cost- and time-effective solution to workout. Here, we round up the best fitness apps for iOS and Android in Singapore, and explain the pros (and, sometimes, the cons) of each. It’s time to download and restart your engine.
There aren’t many of that wouldn’t deign to look like Thor, and so Chris Hemsworth needed to do little to promote his fitness app Centr when it launched in 2019. The premise being: download app, become God of Thunder. This app isn’t cheap (it’s around SGD9 per month for a 12-month subscription) but Centr offers a free seven-day trial, and it’s much more than just a training app, with dietician-approved meal plans (recipes are crafted by world class chefs, and includes gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian options, as well as auto-generated shopping lists) and guided meditations and sleep visualisations to help calm the chaos. Whether you’re bulking, toning, stretching or getting your heart rate up, workouts are released weekly and range from 20 to 40 minutes in length, and modification options means it’s suitable for all fitness levels.
7 Minute Workout
In theory, this is app is incredibly appealing. Working out for no more than seven minutes per day sounds ideal for those who don’t like exercising, and with a 4.8k star rating on the iTunes store, it seems many people are pleased with the results. And, look, the equipment-free exercises aren’t by any means bad. The app comprises 12 high intensity bodyweight exercises, and has you performing them in a HIIT format (30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest between each), and aims to work every part of the body equally. With voice prompts and video descriptions, it’s easy to follow along with, and you can create a log of your workouts to track your progression. But is working out for only seven minutes per day really enough? If you’re aiming to lose weight, most physicians or trainers would recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate activity. 7 Minute Workout seems to recognize that – you can customize your workouts by changing the duration and increasing the number of sets, as well as randomizing the order. With that in mind, this app is really effective, it just bears a slightly misleading name.
OK, so this isn’t strictly a fitness app, but MyFitnessPal, produced by sportswear brand Under Armour, is an excellent addition to your training regime by offering nutrition information, calorie estimates and suggestions on serving size wherever and whenever you need it. For those trying to lose weight or bulk up, that’s pretty helpful, and as experts agree, keeping tabs on what you eat can greatly help in achieving your goals. The best part? The app learns from you, so as you input your daily meal data, it collates what you’ve been eating a lot of and what you’ve been missing out on, helping to fill the gaps in your overall nutrition levels.
Sworkit presents some pretty incredible before-and-after imagery in its promotional pack, but it’s always worth bearing in mind that every body is different, and the time spent using the app – combined with diet and other activity – have an impact on how possible a transformation really is. That said, people swear by Sworkit (a 4.7-star rating by more than 25,000 users on the iTunes store is no mean feat), having deliver some 100 million workouts via its refined algorithm, which adapts workouts to your objectives, available time, physical interests and personal details (height, weight, age, and so on). You could be looking to get leaner, or fitter, or stronger, or have five minutes per day, or 45 – Sworkit is an incredibly adaptable tool, and what’s more is that you can sync your workouts to both MyFitnessPal and Strava for a more holistic wellbeing program.
More than 40 million people have downloaded and subscribed to Freeletics, so you can be pretty sure that it’s well tested, and with all that data, the app has continually refined its workouts. This app focuses primarily on HIIT (high intensity interval training), if that’s your jam, but you can tailor the journey to your goals: sign up for a 12-week weight loss program, for example, or instead focus on building muscle mass. It’s customisable, trackable, and offers feedback along the way. What’s more is that you can bundle your subscription with a certified nutrition coach, offering meal plans that mirror up to your daily workout routine.
That it’s called Keelo – as in kilogram – makes it pretty obvious that this is app is about shredding, and it bills itself as offering the ultimate high intensity interval training (HIIT workouts) in less than 30 minutes per day. Where other apps, like the 7 Minute Workout, tend to become a bit repetitive, Keelo adopts a sophisticated tracking and measurement system to change up your workouts based on the compound muscle groups you’ve already worked on, the workouts you’ve recently done, and their length, meaning that no two sessions are the same. With its instructional videos, guided steps, integrated timer and heart rate tracker, Keelo is also super easy to follow along with. Keen to try a sample routine? Try 3 x rounds of 20 air squats; 20 hand release push-ups; 20 lunges (alternating); and 20 sit-ups.
Even the free version of Jefit is pretty extensive (workout routine planner, 1300+ exercise library, body stat tracking, social community), so it’s little wonder it’s one of the biggest fitness apps in the world, with an active global community of nearly 9 million members on hand for feedback, tips and support. It’s method is simple: create a fitness plan, train and track your progress, and analyse your data to adjust and improve. And the data really is what sets Jefit apart, with extensive reporting systems. It’s a little like making sense of a Google Analytics report, but once you get the hang of it you’re unlikely to return to some of the more intuitive (but less insightful) apps.
You’ve likely seen screenshots of Strava on your mates’ Instagram Stories or Facebook pages and wondered how they’ve been tracking their running and cycling routes. Well Strava, makes it easy. Strava turns your iPhone or Android into a sophisticated exercise tracking computer (as well as connecting to GPS watches and head units) and, afterwards, you’ll not only see your route, but distance, pace, heart rate, and more. From there, you can accept challenges set by Strava, connect with friends and, when you reach certain milestones, be rewarded with discounts and special offers by various brands, such as Lululemon. What’s more is that Strava can be utilised by groups and communities, allowing you to create teams or clubs to help build momentum. And been somewhere no one else has been? Strava marks out well-trodden paths as segments, so you can build out your own route or follow that of others via the heatmaps. For a small place like Singapore, that makes it super interesting to discover new routes.
PEAR calls itself a personal fitness coach rather than an app, and it’s right in that it feels much more like you’re being coached by a living, breathing human rather than an algorithm. Workouts are created by Olympians and other elite athletes, the voices are human and not computer-generated, and additionally, it taps into routines from brands like TRX, Wahoo and Timex, all for the cost of an average monthly gym membership for a full year of service. We found the best part, though, to be the music: PEAR allows you to pair it with your own music apps and radio streaming, meaning you can build your own soundtrack to layer in over your coach’s motivating voice. Personalised, indeed. That's what makes it one of the best fitness apps for iOS and Android.
Music is key to this app. It offers a holistic range of cardio and strength training programs, but the difference is that they’re accompanied by DJ-curated playlists designed to fuel your workout. Where this works super well is in tunes that match the pace of your workout, and with new playlists updated daily, no two workouts are the same with FIT Radio.
Asana Rebel prides itself on offering a holistic approach to physical and mental wellbeing. By offering a little bit of everything, some apps can lose sight of the detail and complexity that many crave in their workout, but Asana does a pretty good job at ensuring you won’t get bored, so long as you enjoy mixing up your week rather than just hammering out HIIT routines each and every day. It offers that, of course, along with flow yoga, cardio, stretching, as well as music for both sleep and focus, and guided meditation. As a result, you can program an entire day’s worth of activity – from your morning sweat session right until you drift off, and it offers health habit tips along the way. The best part is that it’s super intuitive and looks nice, too, if that’s important to you.
“I’m a strong believer in working hard to achieve your dreams and goals, because one shouldn’t expect to achieve much without putting in any effort,” says Olympic gold medallist swimmer Joseph Schooling of his ethos. “Having said that, we also have to learn how to work smart so that we can get the best out of our body and mind.” It’s this approach that he’s formatted his app around, aiming to create a platform that is less about the goal so much as how you get there. “Whether it’s to run your first 2.4km since you did the NAPFA in school or to run your first 10km, the [app] helps you achieve your fitness goal.” Schooling Sport does this via a biofeedback training system, providing what it claims to be dynamic, real-time and interactive coaching based on the users’ VO2 max and heart rate. And with thousands of workouts to choose from—including running to high-intensity interval training to yoga sessions—no two users will ever have the same experience. “It’s professional advice at your fingertips ensuring that the chances of you getting stuck in a fitness rut are minimised,” says Schooling, who developed the app with software development company PEAR, which is well known for its digital training and health solutions
Nike Run Club
This one’s free, and it’s perhaps surprisingly free of much branding or product pushing given that it’s funded by a sportswear brand. Dedicated solely to running, the Nike Run Club offers GPS tracking, audio-guided runs, weekly, monthly and custom distance challenges, and customized coaching plans. You can store and track your runs, to see how you’re progressing, and the community features mean you can compete on leaderboards or share your runs with friends.
Alo Moves is one of the apps that thrived during the Circuit Breaker, offering as it does a studio workout experience in your own home, without equipment, and with step-by-step routines that are easily followed even by complete beginners. And while at the more expensive end of the apps, charging a monthly fee of USD$20, the breadth of the programs offered are impressive, and broken into three categories: yoga (includes the likes of Vinyasa and Ashtanga, offered by well-known coaches such as Patrick Beach and Naya Rappaport, as well as targeted programs such as yoga for cross training); fitness (choose from 1-4 on the intensity scale, and from beginner to advanced on the complexity level); and mindfulness (breathing, meditation and even psychic sleep, or Yoga Nidra).
Adidas Training & Adidas Running
Global sportswear behemoth Adidas has refined its app offering of the years, in the end focusing its efforts on two: Adidas Training and Adidas Running. With the former, you can work out and build strength by selecting muscle groups to focus on, as well as comparing your stats to others to push yourself that extra bit further, while in the latter you can track your runs, review your record and share with an international community.