With us couch potatoes collectively given an excuse to stay home, snack and chill all day long, it’s all too easy to forget that our activity levels have dropped significantly all of a sudden. Hey, getting a few weeks off to binge-watch some shows you’ve been putting off is nothing to complain about. But it’s obvious we’re not as active as we were before. No more busting asses in the gym or enjoying a walk in the park, obviously. But not going outdoors also means we’re chopping off the number of calories we burn in seemingly idle things like walking to the nearest store, waiting for the bus, climbing some stairs to get to the office, etc.
These activities don’t sound super important, yes. But such NEAT(Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) activities collectively burn off most of the energy that we consume.
And if you’re not burning the same number of calories you’re eating, you will put on unhealthy visceral fat. Visceral fat’s the bad guy that covers your organs and makes it hard for them to function, rather than the good Mr. Under-the-skin fat, that your body burns to insulate you from cold. Even if you’re someone who’s gotten by without any exercise, the fact is you’re simply not burning off as much as you did when you went about your daily activities before. So needless to say, you’ll start to get some poofy tummy action going on soon.
This is a crucial time to start getting some work in. This sort of inactivity in the long term may lead to obesity, type II diabetes, heart diseases, etc. Scary stuff.
Here, we count down 5 of the top fitness apps available to help you stay in good shape this quarantine season. We’ll mostly be including free apps, though most free apps come with premium versions or monthly subscriptions that add a lot more features on top of the main app. Let’s roll!
It’s a well-proven fact that a high-intensity interval workout is one of the most effective short-burst exercise plans you can follow to sculpt your body and burn fat. If you’re out of the loop, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts are one where you perform a high-intensity exercise(say, sprinting or fast pushups) for a certain amount of time, and couple that with a lower intensity exercise (active rest, jogging, etc). This, when done in a number of repeated circuits, exerts a ton of strain on your cardiovascular system. The result? You burn a lot more calories than in classic endurance type exercises. For example, 15 minutes of HIIT running-walking will burn significantly more calories than just running at a fixed pace for double the amount of time.
The approach that 7 Minute Workout Apps, like the one by Simple Design Ltd above, follow is pairing HIIT with bodyweight exercises. Yes, you guessed that right, we’re going to be offing two birds with one stone. You can effectively build some muscle and lose fat effectively at the same time.
Well, can you build a stunning body with diamond cut abs and a V-taper, or a perfect juicy hourglass figure with 7 minutes of working out? Yes, it’s possible… in the same way that the person writing this article is a giant tentacle monster with a fluffy pet unicorn is possible.
If sarcasm flies above your head, what I’m trying to say is that you’ll need to repeat the 7-minute exercise circuit a few times(2-4 x) to get good results. Yes, this workout plan is very intense, in fact, you’ll be begging for the 7 minutes to be over once you start. But just intensity won’t cut it, you need volume as well. In fact, the workout designers explicitly suggest you repeat the workouts a few more times themselves too.
In short, this workout plan is great for beginners. If you want to maximize your results with as minimum time investment as possible, this app is seriously a match made in heaven for you.
This underrated app is something to consider if you’re looking to get fit but also build some lean muscle in the process.
Created by the awesome r/bodyweightfitness community over at Reddit, this one is one of my personal favorites. What I especially love about the Recommended Routine exercises included in this app is its sheer effectiveness. It is specifically tailored to hit muscle groups from every angle while maintaining appropriate rest times for muscles to recover. Most fitness programs just aren’t effective because they prioritize and overwork one particular movement over another (eg. Horizontal pushes in Pushups rather than vertical pushes in Pull-ups or pike pushups). This leads to a lot of soreness in specific muscles while other important muscles remain pure and untouched.
I’ve personally tried the Recommended Routine before and it works pretty well. If building muscle while simultaneously chopping off some fat in the process sounds like your ideal goal, it might be worth giving Fitloop a try.
There are also other routines included in the app, like the Handstand progression routine, pull up progression routine, etc. Go wild. Explore the world of bodyweight exercises.
This particular app focuses on generating balanced exercise routines based on your level of activity. Forcing 4 sets of 12 pushups on someone who can hardly milk out five is both a stupid thing to do and demotivating to the user. As followed by the Workout Trainer app, creating a balanced plan to cover your fitness goals along with progressive overload is the correct way to go.
The free version of the app also includes many other handy features like stat tracking, streak counts and daily reminders to help you along in your journey. The workout plans are reasonable, effective and not too overwhelming but just challenging enough for beginners and intermediate folks alike. And you can always evolve your workout plans if they start to feel too easy for you.
This freemium app has an interesting take on things. In exchange for them shoving down their Nike advertising in every possible way in every possible chance, you get free access to Nike’s growing archive of almost 200 exercises and workout plans. And the branding’s not really something we can complain about… cause hey, as they say… if something’s free then you’re the product.
The flexibility to choose between such a vast number of choices is something that is really enjoyable. Workouts range from small 15min ones all the way to intense 45-minute sessions, along with stretching and mobility exercises to help keep injuries at bay. Yoga sessions are included too, and the workout plans can be sorted by muscle group or workout type. Overall, this is something you’ll really come to enjoy if you enjoy flexibility in choices and have solid set-out fitness goals.
Nike isn’t the only fitness brand helping you out, three-striped Adidas has got you covered as well. This home workout app and running tracker is jam-packed with a superb range of free content. The ready-made workouts come with audio directions and you can filter them by muscle group or workout type. If you’re more of a DIY-routine guy, you can custom create your own routines and have the app walk you through individual exercises as well. The app also helps customize a workable plan for you based on your activity levels and fitness goals.
As with any other app on this list, a lot of thought has been poured to make working out with proper form as easily approachable as possible. The video guides do a reasonable job of guiding you through correct ways of performing the individual exercises in your plan if you’re feeling a bit lost.
And an added bonus for all you winners that stuck till the end here’s a bonus entry for ya’ll!
“Ehh, has the isolation finally got to your head?”, I hear you complain. Yes indeed, Rewire Companion is not a fitness app in itself. In fact, it’s not even remotely close to one. But hear me out here.
Fitness isn’t just working out more or lifting heavier. It’s not always just doing more and more. In fact, often you need to go take a step back. A lot of any fitness enthusiast’s journey is figuring out that they need to stop doing some things, rather than doing more of other stuff. You might have a smoking problem. Maybe you eating healthy for once is rarer than some of the top endangered species. Too much drinking, tobacco habits, eating disorders… the list is long.
As rightly said, “When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give a chance for the right things to catch up to you”.
This quarantine can be a great opportunity for you to reflect on yourself and get in control of some of the habits that control you. Rewire Companion is a habit tracker. Say, you want to finally quit smoking and breathe a bit better. You can track your progress and journal your improvement using Rewire. Trust me, tools like these help a lot more than you might ever imagine. You can challenge yourself to eat healthier, do some deep breathing in the morning, stop stressing out or cut the screen time that’s silently sucking your soul. Honestly, the sky’s the limit.
Stay fit, stay healthy. Future you will look back and thank you someday. And for the love of God and everything that’s holy… STAY IN YOUR HOMES, PEOPLE! Together we will tough out anything that’s thrown at us 🙂
Don’t forget to comment on your thoughts below and share this article with anyone you feel can use a bit of activity in their lives!