This post has been updated to reflect our selections for 2016. For our 2015 suggestions, see here. For our 2014 suggestions, see here. And, for a variation on this theme, also see here.

It’s no mystery that losing weight and getting in shape is the number one resolution slurred annually as the ball drops on December 31st. Even those of us diligent enough to work up a sweat on the regular typically double down in winter to be ready for warmer months. But gyms are overpopulated in January and weeding through the glut of guts to wait for equipment is a motivation killer.

This year, skip the gym entirely by working out from home and exploring the great outdoors. You don’t need rows of dumbbells, over-burdened personal trainers or un-wiped benches to shed gravy weight — just some personal focus, a program and a reminder to stay on the right track. Armed with only your smartphone and some gear essentials, the new you is only weeks away. These are the best fitness apps to get you started and locked on that path.

Runtastic Results

Smart, simple and customizable, Runtastic Results uses body-weight exercises in an amped-up-intensity format to deliver a program that challenges former couch potatoes and gym rats alike. Based on a 12-week plan, things ramp up at a manageable pace and can be modified on the fly to accommodate user needs.

Activity Specific Gear:
BeachBody Exercise Mat $70
Isaora 8.5-Inch Running Short $95
Tritan Square Water Bottle $15

Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout

Designed with input from Human Performance Institute director Chris Jordan, the Johnson & Johnson 7-Minute Workout is a high-intensity interval trainer that uses body-weight as resistance. Each exercise has been adopted from the American College of Sports Medicine and features multiple programs that go beyond the quickie seven-minute routine. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Activity Specific Gear:
Rhone General Shirt $48
Lems Primal 2 Shoe $95
Stance Fusion Socks $16


Working in conjunction with the Fitbit line of activity trackers, FitStar is the personal trainer app aimed at improving fitness and flexibility. Exercise routines are tailored on the fly — provided you deliver honest interactions — and motivation comes in the form of Pro Bowl tight-end Tony Gonzalez. There are even prizes that can be won for crushing results, and the monthly fee costs less than the Frappuccino that got you here in the first place.

Activity Specific Gear:
Fitbit ChargeHR $150
Aria Smart Scale $130
IceBreaker Anatomica Boxers $24

Strava Running and Cycling

For runners and cyclists looking to push through plateaus, the Strava Running and Cycling app is an excellent tool to light the fires of competition. Working with GPS services, Strava tracks routes, pace, calories and elevation changes and plots your data to compare against other users in the area. Then, once the results are in, Strava awards pixelated trophies to the best performer. Being out in the fresh air beats a hamster wheel any day, so why not aim to take home some gold at the same time?

Activity Specific Gear:
Garmin Vivoactive $250
New Balance 1500v2 $80+
Cannondale Slate $2,980+


If body-weight exercises don’t quite cut it and you have some dedicated home-gym space, Fitocracy is the perfect tool to keep you shredded until your gym empties out. Equipped with Challenges, Quests and Duals, as well as a social quotient, the Fitocracy community has a number of ways to keep members motivated. For users new to fitness training, Fitocracy also offers a range of tailored “coaches” to develop appropriate plans.

Activity Specific Gear:
Mir Adjustable Kettlebell $290
Reebok Crossfit Lifter 2.0 $65+
Monkii Bars $134


Another body-weight-based fitness app, Sworkit differentiates itself from the pack by allowing users to their focus workouts on specific muscle groups and body areas. There are also a number of custom workout regimens that were developed for sport-specific training. Whether your game is being the talk of the 19th hole or claiming AVP fame, Sworkit has something to help get you there.

Activity Specific Gear:
Lifetime Exercise Ball $38
Braven BRV X Speaker $150
Outdoor Voices Runningman Sweats $100