21/06/2018 18:06 BST | Updated 20/08/2018 15:04 BST

No Frills Exercise Apps To Help You Stay Active

Fitness for people who don't have time for fitness.

With the dizzy high of endorphins, enhanced alertness and increased flexibility on offer, staying fit looks to be a no brainer. Theoretically, at least. Between the various hazes of modern life, slicing out the time often ends up coming down the list, somewhere after ‘grocery shopping’ and ‘clean the bathroom.’ 

Step up: fitness apps. “They save wasting precious time travelling to the gym, and mean you can facilitate a workout in the comfort of your home,” life coach and bodybuilder Ben Edwards, told HuffPost UK. 

This in itself, Edwards said, can help to keep people motivated. “A lot of the time we are put off by the inconvenience of leaving the house or exercising in front of strangers.”

“Finding a fitness plan that can be maintained is the most important thing, so don’t choose an app that is too extreme for you. Flexibility is key.”

These top picks will help boost your fitness – with minimal fuss and no strings attached.

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CouchTo5k

An app that helps just about anyone get from the couch to running 5k (or 30 minutes.) The app helps you alternate between running and walking until you build up your strength, over an eight week-long programme. It’s designed for inexperienced runners who are just beginning an exercise routine, but there are other apps for more confident types – 10k Trainer and Half Marathon Trainer.

Free to download, available on Apple and Google Play 

CARROT Fit

Using bribes, threats and encouragement, CARROT makes the most of humour to get you working out. Marketed as 'snarky 7 minute workouts' and self-describing as your ‘fitness overlord,’ the app has you pretending to punch Justin Bieber, among other funny incentives. 

£3.99, available on Apple

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Asana Rebel

Asana provides the best of both worlds: yoga and a fitness programme. It’s great for beginners who can’t (or don’t care to) differentiate between Vinyasa, Bikram or Kundalini, as Asana is more about the physical benefits of the practice, as opposed to the spiritual ones.

It’s free to download, but users are encouraged to pay a subscription to access workout programmes.

Free to download, available on Apple and Google Play 

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8fit

8fit personalises workouts and meal plans, based on fitness levels, diet, budget and schedule. There’s an in-app shopping list to make life easier, and weekly workout plans customised to individuals. All the workouts are designed to be done at home, without equipment, and range from five to 15 minutes. Available for iOS and Android, there’s a free version available, or a pro plan for those wishing to receive personal coaching and meal plans.

Free to download, available on Apple and Google Play 

Sworkit

Offering bursts of exercise from as little as five minutes, Sworkit ranges from yoga to cardio, from strength and stretching. It’s also had backing from the experts: a 2015 study named it the app that came the closest to the American College of Sports Medicine’s training guidelines. Offering quarterly and annual plans - as well as 30 day free trials - prices start at around £5 a month. 

From around £5 a month, available on Apple and Google Play 

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Strongr Fastr 

This app takes popular routines that are recommended by fitness communities across the web and puts them in app form. There’s also video instructions, to make sure that your form is bang on.

It has a focus on strength and muscle building, and is great for beginners who are new to this kind of training. But it’s also great for men and women who just want to pick up an app that offers effective routines. Routines that are completed without equipment are on offer, as well as those that make use of weights. The workout side of the app is completely free, but users pay for the meal planning component.

Free to download, available on Apple and Google Play