The 63 Best Health and Fitness Apps of 2012
Need a nutritionist to answer questions at the supermarket? Perhaps a personal trainer for running a first-time 5K? Or surely a shrink to talk out that fear of flying? We’ve rounded up the 63 best apps* that offer these services and much, much more. Check out the list — organized by category — and download a step to living healthily, appily ever after. (Listed in no particular order.)
Vitogo. What good is a personal trainer that doesn’t fit in a gym bag? Customized workout programs guide users through exercises with tips and videos. Whether the goal is losing weight, building muscle, or increasing endurance, Vitogo’s got it covered. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
CardioTrainer. Follow the yellow brick road — or just use the GPS on this app, which lets users track just about every detail of their workout. The product comes with a pedometer and workout playlists and provides instant feedback through voice notifications. But don’t forget about fun: Compete against other exercisers in a game called “Move Your Bot.” Available for free on Android.
JEFIT. Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is just getting to the gym, and JEFIT understands that. Beginners are welcome to try this app that lets users create a workout schedule, track their progress, and search for new exercises. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
Fitness Builder. This app’s users build muscle as they build personal workouts. Browse a huge selection of instructional workout videos, and get all the tools necessary to achieve fitness goals: a live personal trainer, fitness calculators, progress reports, and more. The app also helps therapy professionals create customized plans for clients. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android. (The first month’s subscription is free.)
Nike BOOM. Pump up a workout using this app that creates the perfect exercise routine with upbeat music and audio motivation from coaches. Users can also opt to raise money for cancer research through Livestrong, publicizing their progress to social media connections. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
StrongLifts 5x5. Released December 2011, StrongLifts guides users through a strength training workout, with instructions on exercises to try and how much weight to lift. The app compares users’ exercise performance to earlier workouts and sends motivational messages when they meet their goals. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Nike Training Club. Shake it like Sharapova with Nike’s personal training app for women. Users enter their current fitness levels and find exercises that help them reach their goals. And fitness gets fancy when users try workouts from celebrities, professional athletes, and trainers. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Sportaneous. A softball team of one doesn’t quite cut it. Sportaneous users can log on to find local pickup games happening right now. The service is currently available in New York City, San Diego, and Philadelphia, with plans to expand soon. Available for free on the iPhone.
iFightBack. Get knocked down and get back up again with this self-defense training app. Users browse videos that teach them how to defend themselves in common situations like getting stuck in an elevator with an attacker. All segments feature the founder of the Self Defense Training System, used worldwide. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Fitocracy. It’s (almost) all fun and games with the Fitocracy app. Users track their workouts, earn points for exercising, and compete against other members of the Fitocracy community. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
MyFitnessPal. This hugely popular product (a Wired Magazine Editors’favorite Lifestyle App) lets users track their daily activity and food intake. Nutritional info’s available for almost any food, from filet mignon to PB&J. The app even comes with a bar code scanner, so users can find out that cereal’s not so nutritious before they buy it. Get support from friends with similar health goals and track each other’s progress. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry, Android, and Windows.
GymPact. A thin belly is one thing — a thin wallet’s another. Gympact users earn money when they check in at the gym from their smartphones. If they skip a session on the elliptical, they lose the money they paid to sign up. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Workout Trainer. Don’t take it from the guy next to you on the treadmill — this app from Skimble gives users exercise advice from personal trainers. Get photo, video, and audio instruction while working out, whether the focus is yoga or weightlifting. And let pals know what those muscles are up to by sharing workouts on social media. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
GymBuddy. Everybody needs a gym buddy. Log workouts and track progress toward fitness goals by recording exercise schedules, workout results, body weight, and BMI. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Fleetly Fitness. Rocky or the average Joe, almost anyone can benefit from the tools included in Fleetly Fitness. Users get detailed instructions for exercises that match their specific fitness level and goals, and then track their progress with training logs and charts. Join challenges with friends to see who can get fit fastest! Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Alpine Replay. Take the slopes by storm with this app that records all the details of a skiing workout. Users track their speed, distance, vertical, and calorie burn, and see how they’ve improved over the course of the season. Compare stats with friends to see whose skiing skills reign supreme. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
Runtastic. If she wanted to run this town, Rihanna should have used this app. The technology measures running time and distance, plus how many calories runners burn. Users track their progress toward fitness goals; they can even send friends live updates and photos of the wind in their hair. Other versions are designed for walking, road biking, mountain biking, and winter sports. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows, and Bada.
MapMyRun. Here’s an app Ferdinand Magellan would have approved. MapMyRun tracks runners’ exact paths as they cross the globe on foot. Plus the app records other features of a workout like speed, distance, pace, and calories burned. Users can share their achievements with comrades on social media. There are also versions for walking, hiking, biking, and triathlons. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and Blackberry.
Nike+ GPS. This app offers users a GPS and coach on the go. Track running routes and record the pace and distance of every workout. Post live updates on social media and hear cheers every time friends check out the status! Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Couch-to-5k. The couch will whip your butt into shape — the shape of the seat cushion, that is. Running newbies have all the tools they need with this app: an eight-week workout schedule with detailed instructions every step of the way, plus tools to keep track of progress. Post updates on social media and let friends know how close you are to the 5K mark! Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
RunKeeper. Those who were born to run will love this app that tracks users’ progress through any outdoor workout. The GPS lets users know where they’re running, how fast they’re going, and whether they’ve burned off that breakfast doughnut yet. It’s even possible to design interval workouts based on time or distance. Record progress and share updates with friends on social media. Other versions track activities like walking and cycling. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Windows, and Android.
Runmeter GPS. Make like Aerosmith and walk this way. Thousands of walkers, runners, skiers, and others log their workouts with this app from DailyMile. A GPS is only part of the package — users also track their time, location, distance, and speed, and hear audio announcements announcing their progress! Other similar apps (including some free ones) track running, walking and cycling. Available on the iPhone, iPad, and Android.
miCoach. miCoach is your coach using this training app from Adidas. Never feel alone with real-time audio coaching throughout a workout. Create a customized workout plan every day; then measure time, distance, pace, and calories burned. The app even keeps track of fancy footwork, letting users know when to replace their shoes! Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and Blackberry.
Zombies, Run! Monsters aren’t just for Halloween or for kids. Released February 2012, this app turns running into an action-packed adventure. Users put on their headphones and hear zombies chasing after them, along with instructions on how to avoid them. (Hint: RUN!) There are more than 30 different missions and stories, so users can scare themselves a different way every time they work out. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Pocket Yoga. Salute the sun on the train, on the sidewalk, or in the comfort of home — this app lets users take the benefits of yoga virtually anywhere. Choose a difficulty level and then downward dog into 27 different video sessions. Refer to the handy dictionary of yoga poses anytime. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
All-in Yoga. Everybody’s different, and this app lets users create a personalized yoga program based on fitness level, goals, and lifestyle. Then perfect each pose with photo, video, and audio instructions. The app even adds some relaxing tunes in the background. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Nutrition & Weight Loss
Fooducate. Chosen as a 2011 best iPhone Health & Fitness app, Fooducate turns smartphones into scanners. Superman’s got nothing on this technology: Pick a food product and scan the bar code to get all the details on the nutrients inside. Users can even compare different items to find the healthiest, tastiest, most affordable choice. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
ShopWell. The White House may have its own chef, but this app’s almost as fancy. ShopWell rates thousands of food products based on users’ specific nutritional needs. Whip out the smartphone on the next supermarket visit to get a personal shopping list with the best options around. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Whole Foods Market Recipes. This app is the whole (foods) enchilada. Search for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes that use only natural and organic foods. There are even options for specific diets, like gluten-free and vegan. And amateur chefs are welcome — enter the ingredients currently in the fridge and the app figures out how to combine them in a healthy concoction. For more adventurous chefs, the Whole Foods Market Missions app offers ways to prepare less conventional healthy meals. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Yumee. Never get stuck eating a lettuce leaf for dinner because there’s no vegetarian restaurant close by. Released November 2011, Yumee scopes out local digs to find places (and even specific menu items) that meet users’ nutritional requirements. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
Caffeine Zone. There might be a Starbucks on every corner, but that doesn’t mean you need a cup of coffee from all of them. Designed by a psychology professor, this brand-new technology monitors users’ caffeine levels to let them know when it’s time to get brewing and when another cup will have them bouncing out of their cubicle. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad; the “lite” version (it includes advertisements) is free.
Weight Watchers Mobile. Pack a support group in your pocket with this app from Weight Watchers. The technology makes dining out a little easier for dieters: Enter a menu item and the app calculates the PointsPlus value. Stay motivated 24/7 with weight-loss tips, recipe ideas, and a network of Weight Watchers members. Also check out the Kitchen Companion and Calculator Apps, which make Weight Watchers membership a little easier. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
MealSnap. No pictures, please. Unless they’re food-focused: Users take a photo of their meal and this DailyBurn app gives a rough idea of the nutritional info and the calories. It’s also possible to share meals on social networks so friends can drool when they see the nutritious Nicoise salad you ate for lunch. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
MyPlate Calorie Tracker. This Livestrong.com app has got almost all the benefits of a nutritionist and personal trainer. It works with MyPlate online, where users can determine a target calorie range. Enter the calorie goal and search more than a million food items for nutritional information. A fitness database also includes different activities and how many calories each one burns. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry, and Windows.
The Eatery. It’s like a photo album for food — that helps us achieve better health. Released November 2011, the app lets users record what, when, and where they’re eating and snap photos of the feasts. The app tracks your progress, helping you figure out the habits you need to change. (i.e. To avoid nausea, stop eating cheeseburgers at 3 am.) Share the deets on social networks, so friends can offer helpful health hints. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Noom Weight Loss Coach. So long, Siri. Noom Weight Loss Coach offers personal tips based on users’ weight loss progress. (One example from the site reads: “You have your scheduled shopping trip at noon. Time to burn some calories at the mall!”) Sneaky sensors on the phone record physical activity and users manually enter their daily food intake. Earn points for sticking to the program and share successes on Noom forums. Available for free on Android.
Lose It!. For those who like to lose it, lose it, this app’s got it all. Set a daily calorie goal; then achieve it by tracking physical activity and intake of specific nutrients. Search for new recipes and exercises and sign up for regular progress reports. Then broadcast big accomplishments to buds on social media. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
CalorieCounter. How many calories in that burrito? Probably somewhere between 0 and 1,000. End the confusion with this app that lets users look up the caloric value of pretty much any food product. Enter the name of the food manually, say it out loud, or get super-hi-tech and scan the bar code. The app shows detailed nutritional information plus a grade for every food based on how healthful it really is. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
Diet & Food Tracker. Spark a passion for healthy living with this food and calorie tracker from SparkPeople, the most popular diet and fitness site in the USA. Users create daily meal plans based on personal health goals. Then log workouts and meals with a database of more than a million foods and track progress over time. The Healthy Recipes app is also useful for planning good eats. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Blackberry, and Android.
HealthTap Express. Need to know whether that skin rash is poison ivy? Just enter the question on HealthTap Express and a doctor will respond ASAP. The service is available 24/7, so even when a fever strikes at 3 am, someone will be ready with information. Users can even find local doctors and check out their tips before an appointment. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
MyQuitCoach. A pack (or ten) a day is one way not to keep the doctor away. This Livestrong.com app helps smokers quit, with options to stop the habit gradually or right away. Users get inspirational photos and tips and see their progress on personal charts. And a community of supporters is always available on Livestrong.com and social media. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
ZocDoc. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment shouldn’t be a bigger hassle than making dinner reservations. Luckily, ZocDoc is here to help. Users can browse reviews of local doctors and book convenient appointments. Right now the service is only available in select cities throughout the USA. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and Blackberry.
Skeletal System Pro. Chosen as one of the best medical apps of 2011, Skeletal System Pro lets doctors (and the rest of us!) see the inner workings of the human body. The app features 3D, rotatable images of the human skeleton, plus animations of different body movements. It’s a great tool for medical students, too, complete with quizzes and hints. There are also versions for the muscle system, heart, brain, knee, hip, and shoulder. Available on the iPad.
Epocrates Doctors can avoid prescribing Prozac for a paper cut with this extensive mobile drug reference. There’s information on clinical, generic, and over-the-counter drugs, plus tools for identifying pills and determining proper dosages. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm, and Windows mobile.
SkinScan. Your epidermis is showing — and it just might save your life. SkinScan users upload photos of moles to find out if they’re dangerous. The app provides a preliminary risk assessment to see if a medical visit is necessary. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
GlucoseBuddy. Oh, sugar, sugar, this app may be just what diabetics have been waiting for. Users monitor blood glucose levels, record when they take medication, and track their food intake and activity. Available for free on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Jet Lag RX. Leavin’ on a jet plane? Fear not: This app will make sure everyone stays awake for that visit to the Grand Canyon. Just log all the details about the trip and the program indicates when it’s time to sleep, eat, and seek light to avoid jet lag. All the advice is based on the most current research on circadian rhythms. Available for free on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Green Kitchen, Make friends turn green with envy when they see this fancy new cooking app. From the bloggers at GreenKitchenStories comes this extensive collection of organic, vegetarian recipes, complete with mouthwatering photos. To make life easier, upload ingredients right to a shopping list and get easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Cookwell. BAM! There’s no need to be Emeril Lagassi to use this app. In fact, it’s designed for beginners who want to learn how to cook nutritious food. Create weekly meal plans and grocery lists, plus find practical recipes for meals and snacks. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Cook It Allergy Free. Lactose intolerance is no reason to stick to plain white bread every day. For anyone who suffers from food sensitivities or who just wants to find more nutritious recipes, this app is perfect. It’s got recipes without gluten, dairy, nuts, and eggs; plus it offers easy substitutions for any of these ingredients. Design personal shopping lists and recipe folders that make trips to the grocery store a breeze. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Substitutions. Don’t miss out on delectable dishes just because they’ve got your Kryptonite. This app lets users figure out how to recreate recipes so the food meets their dietary restrictions. There are recipes for meals, snacks, baked goods, and even alcoholic drinks, with substitutions for meat, gluten, and more. Other Gormaya apps feature recipe timers and cooking conversions. Available on the iPad.
CookingLight Quick & Healthy Menu Maker. Let there be (cooking) light. This app helps solve the problem of how to prepare healthy, tasty food on a tight schedule. Find recipes and photos of satisfying meals, complete with nutritional info. Share favorites on social media! Available on the iPhone and iPad.
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List. Mint mojito with a twist or tofu stir fry, Epicurious’ huge collection of recipes satisfies pretty much any craving. Users check out nutritional information for different meals and select recipes; the app creates shopping lists with the ingredients. When it’s time to get cooking, there’s a full-screen cookbook view with easy-to-read directions. Share the most delicious recipes on social media! Available for free on the iPhone, iPad, Android, B&N Nook Color, Windows, and Kindle Fire.
Stress Check. Stop stress in its tracks with this app from Azumio. The technology uses physiological signals to measure stress levels. And by tracking this data over time, the app helps users figure out what situations (overflowing Gmail inbox?) are causing them the most grief. Azumio also offers stress-reduction apps for biofeedback training and monitoring heart rate. Available on the iPhone.
Relax and Rest Guided Meditations. Relax, don’t do it, when you want to go to… sleep. Choose from a range of meditations that focus on breathing or full-body relaxation; then add music or nature sounds for a moment of peace. Or try other Meditation Oasis apps for meditation music and techniques to reduce anxiety. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Awareness. Jiminy Cricket’s hiding somewhere in this smartphone. The app sends inspirational messages throughout the day to keep users calm and focused. Users can also journal their feelings and track this data to improve their attitudes and behavior. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
SleepCycle. Good morning, sunshine! This bio-alarm clock tracks users’ sleep patterns and rouses them when they’re in the lightest sleep phase, for the least torturous wake-up possible. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Pzizz. Put tossing and turning to an end. This app helps treat sleep disorders like insomnia, with different relaxing soundtracks that lull users into a restful sleep. Available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Brain Trainer. Quick! What’s available on a smartphone, starts with a “b,” and guarantees to boost your powers of cognition? The Brain Trainer app from Lumosity, of course! Find tons of exercises that improve memory, enhance concentration, and increase creativity. Available for free on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Palm Pre, and Android.
Memory Trainer Pro. This app is great for — um, well, I forgot. Memory Trainer Pro can help those who find cocktail parties more challenging than neuroscience and people who just want to try a little mental exercise. Users make their way through 15 levels of memory games, from the standard “Memory” card game to “ABC123,” with sequences of letters and numbers. Remember to try it soon. Available on the iPhone and iPad.
There are a ton of health and fitness apps out there, so Greatist's Editorial Team had to be pretty picky about which ones to include on this list. We chose these apps based on their release date (apps that were developed or updated roughly within the last year), popularity (how many followers they engage via social media), versatility (whether the program's available on multiple platforms), and how easy the programs are to use. Health & fitness is hard, but it can be made easier, and these apps are innovative solutions to do just that.
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