If you are like most people who work from home, you could stand to get a little more active. While most of us led a pretty sedentary lifestyle behind a desk before transitioning to the telecommuting life, it’s only gotten worse from there. At least that is certainly the case for me!
Over the years, we have seen a lot of great workout motivation apps come available for both Android and iOS devices that can help us exercise more, take more steps, even drink more water. Today, I’m sharing some of my personal favorites. It may be December, but there's no reason to not get started now! The more weight you put on and out of shape you get before the new year, the harder it's going to be to bounce back.
Note: Achievement is another little app I'm trying out. This one links up to your Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Garmin, Apple Health, Runkeeper apps and more. It then rewards you for healthy behavior in the form of points that can be redeemed for cash. It is pretty slow to add up, but it's pretty “set it and forget it.” You can choose to just link up your apps and let it pull in the behavior automatically. That's what I've been doing. There are some health surveys you can do, but I don't care to share any further personal information with the app at this time. You can learn more about Achievement here.
I am not really good at sticking with exercise. Like many things in my life, I’m all or nothing. I go through binge-purge cycles with most things. I eat good for a while, then I eat everything. I exercise faithfully for a few weeks, then I’m done for months.
One thing that always motivates me though is money. (I’m not the only one. There are studies that prove cash incentives motivate weight loss.)
HealthyWage is commonly known as a site that lets you bet in favor of your weight loss. If you don’t meet your goal, you lose your money. If you win, you get your money back in addition to a split of the pot.
They also offer Step Challenges. This was a better fit for me since HealthyWage weight challenges start at a minimum weight loss of 10% (a few 6% challenges are usually open too). I don’t want to admit that I need to lose that much weight. For now, I just want to focus on getting in shape.
In the step challenges your goal is to increase your steps 25% over the course of two months. Regardless of the buy-in or how many people fail, this is only going to be fun money. Your winnings won’t be a lot. You need to be more afraid to lose!
Price: Each challenge is usually $30 per month for the duration of the challenge (step challenges are usually two months). But, if you don’t lose it doesn’t cost you anything! You get your bet back plus your split of the rest of the pot. (If you don’t meet your challenge, you forfeit your bet.) If you aren’t participating in a challenge, there are no ongoing fees.
StepBet is similar to HealthyWage Step Challenges. And you can do them both at the same time!
This app is from the same people that have brought you DietBet (and RunBet and soon to be SweatBet). The games here vary in length. Some only last four weeks (plus a one-week training period). Some last several months.
With both StepBet and HealthyWage apps, you have to use a fitness tracker like Fitbit or Apple Watch. You can’t enter your steps manually. Unlike the weight loss challenges, you don’t have to weigh-in or take pictures or videos. Good.
One thing that slowed up my participation was that I hadn’t pulled my FitBit out of the drawer for many, many months before deciding on a whim I wanted to join one of these challenges. I then had to wait about a week so the apps could establish my daily average and calculate my goals for the games. This was true for both StepBet and HealthyWage, so keep that in mind if you do things spur of the moment like I do.
Price: Most StepBets cost around $20 to $40 to enter. Again, if you don't lose your bet it doesn't cost you anything. You will likely get back a little extra. (Wondering how much extra? I'll be sharing in an upcoming post.)
Want to join me in a StepBet? I'll be hosting one starting January 1, 2019! It’s a fun 5-week game where we’ll motivate each other to stay active and win some cash in the process. To join, download the StepBet app and type in game code WORKATHOME.
Grokker offers a little of everything from fitness to yoga to even recipes. You can stream their videos on television devices like Roku in addition to watching on the web or via their smartphone apps.
This is another app that satisfies my need for variety with everything from HIIT to yoga. Some days, I simply don’t have the time or desire to do a full 30, 45 or 60 minutes of exercise. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to exercise at all. Short 7-minute workouts are included.
This is a newer app, so there isn’t much feedback available at this time though there are a few people in my community that have taken a liking to it already.
Price: $14.99 per month
I’ve always known I was lazy. I just never knew how lazy I actually was until I got a Fitbit. It’s embarrassing.
That being said, I feel that I need to get moving to prevent the shame. The Fitbit app also has little challenges you can participate in to increase your steps. Mine buzzes me if I haven't taken at least 250 steps in an hour. This really brought to my attention that I rarely get up from my desk from the time I sit down in the morning until it’s quitting time.
The new app also allows you to track exercise, sleep and food and water intake. And if you have one of the fancy new Fitbit smartwatches like the Versa or Ionic, you can also listen to music, monitor your heart rate, on-screen workouts, guided breathing sessions (yay!).
Price: Free though you will need a Fitbit to track your steps
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5. Beachbody on Demand
This is the company behind popular fitness programs like P90X and INSANITY. If you need group or coach accountability, Beachbody on Demand could be a great option for you. This app offers both exercise and eating plans custom designed based on your goals.
Workouts can be streamed on your TV through devices like Chromecast, Roku or Amazon Fire. You can also watch them on your computer or laptop or the iPod, iPhone and Android apps.
Price: $39 every three months after a 14-day free trial
6. Peloton Digital
A year or two ago I fell in love with spinning classes at the local YMCA. But, as someone accustomed to being in control of their time, I hated having to be there at a certain time and on certain days if I wanted to take a class. And there was just a lot of wasted time. I had to drive across town. I had to show up early if I wanted a bike. A 30-minute class was turning into an hour ordeal. I hate wasting time!
I have been reading Peloton reviews and saving my money for years. This March, I finally invested in the bike that goes nowhere. I LOVE IT! It’s the one exercise routine I have been able to stick with. Six months later, I’m still riding five days per week most weeks. And it has expanded so much in just the past 6 months. You can now do floor classes, running/walking, stretching, yoga, outdoor classes. They even have Tread classes now that they have their own treadmill. (I just use my own treadmill though I still follow the Tread classes.)
Even if you don’t invest in the bike, Peloton does have a digital subscription. You won’t be able to track your stats like you can on the bike or Tread, but you can access over 10,000 classes with new ones added every day.
Price: free trial then $19.49 per month for Digital-only members
When it comes to exercising, I get bored easily. It’s one of the reasons I love my Peloton so much. I need variety in class length, music genre, types of exercise. If you feel the same, check out Sworkit. They have everything from yoga for back pain to full body boot camps.
Workouts range from 5 to 60 minutes and are available on demand. You can also get recommendations based on your goals and current fitness level. And this is another one than you can either watch on the app or stream to your TV with Apple TV.
Price: $79.99 per year