Get up and go: The best free exercise apps to get you started

It’s time to app-ly yourself.

SOME PEOPLE ARE looking to begin properly exercising for the first time, others are training for a competition and some just need a push (notification) in the right direction.

Whichever one you are, your needs are only a touch of a button away thanks to the numerous health and exercise apps available for your smart phone.

But which one should you choose? With thousands out there, we’ve done you a favour and picked the most effective free apps to get you started.


Human is an app geared toward the beginner. It provides a more casual approach to exercise, simply asking you to complete 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Any movement, any activity at all, counts towards your daily goal so it really isn’t too taxing to reach your mark. But the app does let you revise your goal, so you could put it up to say 90 minutes if you wished.

Like all good fitness apps, it will give you a little push notification on the days it detects very little movement.

At the moment, Human is only available for iOS.

Rock My Run

RockMyRun is an app that provides promotional running mixes, designed by professional DJs, that will aim to increase the enjoyment and performance of your workout, run or race.

The music is arranged by tempo, so the beat falls roughly in line with your running pace.

RockMyRun is currently available for free on iOS and Android. There is an option to upgrade to a paid membership, where you gain access to longer mixes and additional features.

Lose it!

A lot of people don’t want an app that simply tracks their steps or the distance of their route. They want an app that helps them with every aspect of their fitness and nutrition. Lose it is as close as you will get for a free app.

It creates a specific weight loss plan for you. It offers you a simple, easy-to-use tool for tracking everything you eat and do. It comes with a bar-code scanner and it’s database has thousands of restaurants and foods, so you can keep on top of your nutritional value as well as tracking your calories.

It connects to other apps and devices as well to make it extra handy. Log food and activity on your smartphone, computer, or tablet device.

This app is available on iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle.


For me, one of the most interesting fitness apps out there is Pact. For those of us that need a bit more incentive to go out and exercise, this app adds a bit of a competitive edge.

It basically allows you to bet against others users that you will stick to your weekly exercise routine. If you break the pact, your money gets paid out to the other users who have held up their end of the deal.

Source: Gifrific

But there is a limit so you can’t get too carried away. It tracks your progress through movement but also has a GPS function for gym visits.

There are 3 different types of Pacts – gym pact, veggie pact, food logging pact – to help you stay in shape, eat more veggies, and log your meals. You can choose to commit to one or all of these Pacts.

This app is available for iOS and Android.

Gavin Cooney
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Noom Coach

Noom, like Lose It!, combines both fitness and nutrition. It allows you to log your meals and workouts, while also counting your steps as you go about your day.

This app is only for people that like notifications because Noom likes to send you wellness articles and nutritional recipes, which for some people will sounds very handy but for others will be very annoying.

One nice feature that Noom Coach has is its colour coded food database. It looks good and attempts to teach you which foods are good or bad.

This one is also available for iOS and Android.


Sharing fitness updates on social media would be the last thing some of us would ever do. But for people that do like this, Fitocracy might be right up your alley.

Fitocracy awards points for each workout you complete, awarding badges for significant milestones. Of course, these badges can be used to brag how fitter you’re getting on their social network.

Fitocracy does offer users something that other apps doesn’t. For the euro equivalent of a $1 a day, it provides you with your very own personal trainer. Your coach will take you through a fitness assessment, provide personalised workout and nutrition plans and attempt to keep you motivated each day. All of this on your smart phone.

Fitocracy is also available on both iOS and Android.

Is there any we have missed that have worked for you? 

– First published 07.10

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About the author:

Donal Lucey

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