Essential fitness apps for 2019

Nine easy ways to keep active in Abu Dhabi this year

Essential fitness apps for 2019

There’s an app for everything these days – we can order food, clothes and cleaners at the tap of that smart screen – but the ones here are designed to get you out of the house. Whether the intention is to lose weight, tone up or run your first 5k, we’ve rounded up nine of the best apps to get you moving.

After the popular app recently came to an end in Dubai, the GuavaPass members of the capital are more appreciative than ever of this convienent fitness class booking service. The genius concept allows users to visit different studios across the city, meaning you never get bored of the same old routine. It’s also a great way of discovering new gyms and trying out exciting and adventurous forms of exercise. Classes include yoga, boxing, spinning, barre, pilates, HIIT and much more. The venues are spread right across the city, and Sweat, The Room, Vogue Fitness and Bounce are just some of the places that feature on the packed schedule. You get three to four classes at each studio, and you can choose from packages of four, eight or 20 classes. There are also monthly unlimited options. Cancelling a class within three hours of the start time will cost you Dhs40 if you’re on an unlimited package, or if you’re on a class package, you’ll simply lose a credit.
From Dhs251 (four classes),


The team behind this free-to-download app are based in Bangalore, India, and pride themselves on having the largest database of Indian cuisine to keep track of calories – with a total of more than 55,000 foods. It’s been downloaded by more than five million people and scooped three successive “Best App of Year” nods from Google Play. You can input your daily intake, receive real-time insights on your food choices and instructions on 1,500 different exercises from coaches. While scoffing on curry and naans isn’t going to help you lose weight anytime soon, HealthifyMe will go a long way to making sure you’re at least cutting back on the bad stuff. Goodbye creamy kormas, hello pumpkin bhaji.
Free (premium option available). Available on App Store and Google Play,

This canny app will help you track your daily nutrition – and probably lead to the realisation that you’re a much better secret eater than you thought... The aim is to track everything you eat and set targets for calorie intake, weight loss, or nutrition goals – so no more head-in-the-fridge sessions shovelling wedges of brie into your mouth. There’s a handy scanner device to pick up information from barcodes if you can’t face painstakingly entering every last crouton from your Caesar salad, or you can add ingredients more precisely if you’re making a home-cooked meal. Even if you’re not intending on losing weight or bulking up, it’s good to see what you’re putting in your body – 540 calories in a Big Mac? Who’d have thought it?  
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play, Exercise

Apple Health
You know what they say, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” Well, one Silicon Valley juggernaut has dragged that old idiom into the 21st century thanks to its Health app. Apple automatically installs the digital doctor onto every device, which then syncs to all your devices. It’s a combination of stealthy, healthy tracking and manual input – it will automatically measure your step count, stair count, distance covered and even hours slept on your iPhone or Apple Watch, before you’re able to input additional information. This includes meals eaten, exercises completed and even medical test results. You can also create a Medical ID, which will provide all sorts of information about yourself, from allergies to emergency services. It can even be accessed without unlocking your phone.
Free (automatically installed on all devices). Available on App Store,

Couch to 5k
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. C25K has been designed to get even the most reluctant runner off their sofa and up on their feet, running five kilometres (or 30 minutes solidly) in just nine weeks. There’s a load of good advice for people who have never trained like this before, and some tips to get back into it if you’re a bit rusty. There’s also a “pooch to 5k” option that’ll help get both you and your hound as fit as a butcher’s dog. All we need now is a canine – preferably a husky that can drag us along (or an ankle biter to have us running like the clappers).
Free, Available on App Store, Google Play and the NHS App Library,

Google Fit
More into Android than Apple? Then this is for you. Google worked with the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association to create the app. It focuses on two light activity goals called Move Minutes and Heart Points. Move Minutes rack up when your device registers your activity – initially set at 100 minutes per day (this can be altered). One Heart Point is earned for each minute of moderate exercise such as brisk walking, or double points for more intense activities such as running. You can set goals, get expert tips and sync it with sports tech from Nike+ and others to track your all of your steady, impressive progress.
Free. Available on Google Play,

Nike Training Club
The Nike Training Club app is way more than just a running tracker, and if you can stick to this, you need never spend another dirham on the gym. There are more than 100 workouts to try, with professional Nike trainers and athletes showing you how it’s done through a series of video clips. Best of all, there are 15-minute options, meaning you can still feel like you’ve achieved something on the days when you can’t really be bothered to slog it out. The app is also pretty clever, and will create a personal training plan based on your needs, then continually adapt it as you go. So, if you hit a peak, the workouts will change to push you further or get you back on track.
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play

Sleep Cycle
You’re going to need some energy to power all of these workouts, and that starts with a good night’s sleep. The Sleep Cycle app analyses your sleep and wakes you up at the perfect time so you feel rested and energised for the day ahead. It works by tracking your sleeping patterns and waking you up during light sleep by monitoring signals from your body to rouse you gently at your desired time when you are in the lightest possible sleep stage – without that horror of the daily alarm.
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play,

Claiming to contain ‘features for athletes, designed by athletes’, Strava is one of the most popular apps for runners or cyclists who are looking to track their distance, speed and heart rate. You can sync it to your phone, GPS watch or heart-rate monitor, but really this is much more than a hi-tech tracking device. Fitness fanatics love to use Strava as another form of social media, where you can share (or show off) the views or results from your latest run, congratulate your friends and steal ideas for your route. You can also find Abu Dhabi-based running and cycling clubs to join.
Free. Available on App Store and Google Play,

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