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Are fitness apps worth it?

Are fitness apps worth it?

June 17, 2024 4 min read

Is it worth using a fitness app for training? And how should you choose the best one so you don’t waste your time and money?

There’s an app for everything these days – including calisthenics. And whether you want to get stronger, faster, fitter, or leaner, there will be numerous fitness apps promising the content you need. But are they really worth it? After all, people have trained without apps for decades.

Do fitness apps work?

Asking whether a fitness app will work is like asking if a gym membership will work. It depends on you. It’s your job to choose the right app for your goals, and then to follow the guidance consistently (just like you would do with a human coach). Research shows that people who use fitness apps are more likely to stay consistent with training (this isn’t surprising when you think about the difference between winging it and having any kind of training programme).

A good fitness app will give you guidance, structure, accountability, and a way to track progress, which is all great for motivation. But not all fitness apps are created equal. They can vary widely in terms of quality, specificity, amount of content, and how regularly they are updated.

5 benefits of using a fitness app for training

Specific training sessions – the best fitness apps will personalise workouts and programmes based on your goals and experience.  

Flexibility – a fitness app will help you train any time and perhaps even anywhere, so you’re less reliant on a gym membership or PT sessions. 

Tracking progress – good fitness app allows you to track relevant metrics so you can assess your progress as you work through the programmes.

Education – choose a fitness app that increases your knowledge in specific areas like technique, exercise selection, form, and general lifestyle habits that will help you improve.

Accountability – fitness apps often have reminders, progress logs, in-app challenges, and social sharing features that keep you motivated.

How to choose the best fitness app?

There are so many fitness apps out there, and it’s on you to choose one that will give you quality training plans, education, and the support you need. 

What’s your goal – start by identifying your end goal, what you want to work on, and how specific you need the content to be. Does your app need to be sport-specific or work with certain equipment? Do you want to gain certain skills or measure progress in a different way?

User-friendly design – there’s nothing more annoying than an app that crashes all the time. Read the review to make sure the app is easy to use, reliable, and regularly updated.

Quality content – choose an app where the training content is designed and delivered by a coach or athlete relevant to your goals. Make sure the content is presented in the right way for you (audio, video, text?)

Can you customise it – a great feature of a fitness app is the ability to personalise workouts or programmes according to your goals. Obviously an app can never give you as personalised an experience as a one-to-one coach, but it shouldn’t be generic either.

Community vibes – if you like the support, choose an app that has community features, access to coaches, or social challenges.

Read the reviews – take time to read reviews on the app store as well as online to see what people like you are really saying about the app. 

Try the trial – all good fitness apps will offer a decent free trial period – make the most of it. Don’t just sign up and let the time run out, give the workouts a go and try out the full functionality.

How to know if a fitness app is any good

Apart from making full use of a fitness app’s free trial period, how else can you tell if a fitness app is any good? Read the reviews, obviously. But you could also look at what fitness professionals, athletes, coaches or even sports governing bodies say about the app. Keep an eye on how often the app is updated (regular updates suggest that the developers are listening to feedback). And make sure the app integrates with any devices or other health apps you use.

How to get the most out of a fitness app

Set goals – treat your fitness app like any other investment in your training. If you go in without a goal, you’re unlikely to make much progress.

Keep it consistent – even the best fitness app in the world can’t do the work for you. Commit to a regular training schedule and don’t skip forward through the programming. 

Use all the features – app developers work hard to design a complete eco system of features that work together to give you a great experience. Be sure to try them all out.

Give feedback – any good fitness app should have a team of real humans on the other end who are keen to hear your feedback as a valued user, so don’t be afraid to give it.

What’s your favourite fitness app? We’d love to hear your experiences. And don’t forget to check out the Gravity Fitness app for calisthenics and bodyweight specific training plans, programmes, workouts, and skills sessions all delivered by the world’s leading calisthenics coaches.