For college students, it often seems impossible to balance school and a busy social life, let alone find the motivation to squeeze in a workout. And while everyone’s reason for exercising is different, it’s undeniable that daily activity has countless benefits for your mental and physical health. I’d venture to guess, though, that I’m probably not the only one who finds myself with little motivation to hit the gym or pay exorbitant amounts of money for workout classes—and that’s where fitness apps come into play. You already have your phone with you 24/7, so why not make it a mobile personal trainer, too? There’s an app out there for pretty much everyone, so whether you’re looking to increase your strength or simply de-stress, your next workout is only a download away.
If You’ve Never Worked Out Before
The App: Daily Workouts
What It Costs: $10
What It Is: If you’re looking for targeted workouts that work specific parts of your body within a given time frame but you have literally no idea where to start, Daily Workouts is your go-to fitness app. With six categories—abs, arms, legs, butt, cardio, and full body—you can choose exactly which parts of your body you want to strengthen. You can also set your workouts for five, eight, or 10 minutes, which is a perfect feature for college students without a lot of time to spare. A video of an instructor and descriptions of each workout lead you through the routines, so you know you’re doing each move effectively, with no guesswork involved.
Why We Love It: “This app is like having a pocket trainer I bring with me wherever I go. I’d rather focus on the quality of my movements than the number of reps I’ve done, and the ability to watch an instructor perform the movements allows me to mirror each one so I know I’m doing everything right.” — Abigail Whittington, University of Mary Washington Class of 2018
If You’re Short on Time
The App: 7 Minute Workout Challenge
What It Costs: $3
What It Is: As the name suggests, all you need is seven minutes to squeeze in a high-intensity workout with the 7 Minute Workout Challenge app. With a series of 12 exercises for 30 seconds each, it guides you through a short and simple workout (no equipment necessary). In less than 10 minutes, this app allows you to get your daily dose of sweat.
Why We Love It: “I really like this app because it allows me to exercise without the stress of having to schedule in a block of time to go to the gym. The intense intervals with short breaks really make you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, even though it’s all within 10 minutes. I like that I can do two to three circuits if I have time, but also that just doing one still gives me a decent routine!” — Allie Miceli, Boston University Class of 2018
If You’re Easily Bored
The App: Train With Tanya
What It Costs: Free
What It Is: Australian fitness instructor Tanya Poppett shares high-intensity workouts through her 12-week interactive training program on her Train With Tanya app. With over 80 workouts and 700 individual exercises, the app provides guided video training on the go that will challenge different muscles with cardio-intense circuits. Looking to add variety to your daily routine? This app is perfect for you.
Why We Love It: “I love the app because it’s easy to use and follow since it’s predominantly videos. The workouts aren’t too long and require little to no equipment, so they’re easy to squeeze in pretty much anywhere at any time of day.” — Jillian Reyes, Rutgers University Class of 2019
If You Don’t Want to Leave Your Dorm Room
The App: Nike Training Club
What It Costs: Free
What It Is: While you might only think of Nike as a brand for athletic shoes and apparel, it also has an app designed to guide you through tons of different workouts. The app provides you with a library of workouts separated into three categories: strength, endurance, and mobility. The workouts vary from five to 45 minutes in length, and many of the workouts don’t require any equipment, making them easy to do anywhere (even in your tiny dorm room).
Why We Love It: “The Nike Training Club app makes it easier to work out without having to go to the gym. There’s a variety of workouts to choose from, and it’s so easy to just open it up and follow the exercises in my dorm every day.” — Riley Mulry, UMass Amherst Class of 2019
If You Need a Ton of Motivation
The App: Charity Miles
What It Costs: Free
What It Is: If you’re looking for extra incentive to start working out, how about the option to turn fitness into philanthropy? Charity Miles is a fitness app that tracks your mileage and donates money for every mile you walk, run, or bike to a charity of your choice from its extensive list. You’ll feel not only accomplished from your workout but also good about making a difference.
Why We Love It: “My sister told me about it a few years ago, and I ended up using the app while I trained for two half-marathons. If you’re already running, this takes no additional effort to make such a difference; if you’re not already going for a run, it’s great motivation to start!” — Melissa Gallanter, Boston University Class of 2018
Do you have any go-to fitness apps you’d like to add to this list? Comment below with your favorite workout app and how it’s helped you reach your fitness goals!
Featured photo by @hannahmariecamille.