While the seventh day of Christmas is supposed to bring seven swans a-swimming, we’re guessing that for a few of you it’ll bring a new fitness plan. January 1st marks the start of new fitness-oriented resolutions all round the globe. But getting started isn’t always easy, especially if you plan to make it past January 2nd. Thankfully, there’s a slate of apps and techy gadgets to lend a hand.
Cheaper than any gym membership, fitness apps make for one of the easiest ways to get sweaty. Using the tool already in your pocket, you’ve access to thousands upon thousands of workouts, tutorials, and logs to track them all in. Couple them with the top fitness gadgets around, and you’re on to a winner. Who said exercise had to be hard?
Fill up that water bottle, lace those shoes, and start the new year off as intended – with tech helping you reach your goals. Here’s our guide to the best apps and gadgets for achieving your New Year’s fitness goals.
Best for sticking to your resolution
Around 80% of resolutions are kicked to the curb by the time February rolls around. It’s tricky to stick to your new goals as life gets in the way. Which is why you should try Streaks if you want to win at fitness.
The goal is simple: do a bodyweight workout every day, with whatever free time you have. Simply pick how long you’ve got, and Streaks will generate a workout to suit your schedule, drawing from a bank of exercises to create a session that lasts for six, 12, 18 or 30 minutes. What do you win for continuing the streak? Fitness, that’s what.
Serial quitter? Streaks leaves you no excuses. Because they don’t require equipment, you can do the routines anywhere. Not a fan of certain exercises? Disable them and the app won’t include them in future workouts. Targeting certain muscles? Streaks makes it a cinch to build a custom circuit fit for a champion. Day one is today.
Download: Streaks for iOS here (£3.99)
What’s a better way to stick to your resolution than to have measurable targets to meet each day? This is what the Apple Watch was born to do – encouraging you to close your fitness rings each day (one of the best marketing tools of this century). Throughout the day, your Apple Watch will
bug encourage you to close your ring target, meeting the daily goals you set for yourself.
How do you close these rings? By getting your sweat on. There’s a ring for standing, calories burnt, and minutes exercised – all of which you set yourself. The smartwatch will count up your movements each day, and count this towards your goal. Plus, you can track just about any workout a fitness guru can conjure up.
On top of all this, your Apple Watch links to your phone to bring you notifications, the weather, make calls, help out in emergencies, and (of course) tell the time. There are a bunch of different models to pick from, each offering slightly different features. They start from £299, and you can spec them out to much more than that.
Best for a personal approach
Personal trainers a little intimidating? Download Fiit, and you’ll have your own PT in your pocket: completely judgment free for all the roasties put away over Christmas. Fiit puts an arsenal of on-demand fitness classes right on your smartphone – each led by a real trainer.
You can choose between high-intensity workouts for burning fat, bodyweight exercises for gaining strength, or stretching for enhanced flexibility. Fancy a bit more of a challenge? Fiit lets you compete to beat your PB or rank in the live global leaderboards.
Each class lasts for 25 or 40 minutes and, paired with a compatible fitness tracker or the official Fiit device (£45), you’ll see heart rate, calorie burn and rep data on-screen throughout. The option to connect to your TV means you can get the full home gym experience, too.
Monthly membership unlocks hundreds of workouts and 15 training plans tailored to suit your aims and abilities – which, at £20 a month, costs much less than a membership to your local sweat box.
What’s more off-putting about exercise than the awful aches the days after? Sport massages hurt enough to make even the calmest of people turn red. Plus, you’ve got to have some stranger’s hands groping around your sorest bits. Fancy more of a personal touch? Therabody’s massage guns are some of the best out there, offering percussive treatment in a range of form. They’re for exercise recovery, and nothing else, mind – get your mind out of the gutter!
At the cheaper end, the brand offers its Theragun Prime, which focuses on the essentials for reliable relief. Small enough to stash in a satchel, it’s designed for easy one-handed use wherever you happen to be cramping. This massager will gently pummel even the achiest of aches into non-existence, helping your muscles recover from any abuse you’ve put them through. It goes for £275, which is a lot less than a sports massage twice a week.
Best for pedallers
Between icy roads and frozen toes, winter weather is a bigger threat to cyclists than any viral infection. Keen to keep your steed inside until spring? While Strava is a winner for the open road, Zwift changes the game for static cycling.
Forget target times and repetitive cadences: Zwift gets you to chase your goals through gamification. Tackle more than 80 routes across six virtual realms, competing against fellow domestic pedallers as you follow expert training plans. Cross deserts, climb volcanoes and spin through central London, exploring animated worlds without travel restrictions as your thighs take the strain.
Zwift plays nice with a whole host of turbo trainers, as well as countless indoor bikes and standalone cadence sensors. Simply sign up, pair up and get pedalling: all of your data will be channelled into the app, ready for competition and analysis. Whether you still wear lycra is up to you.
The hassle of dredging the bike out, donning on a helmet, and battling the inevitable rain is enough to make anyone abandon their fitness resolution. But what if you don’t even need to leave the house? We’re not talking about those classic pedalling machines – the Peloton bike cranks things up a notch or two.
Fit with a touchscreen the size of an iPad, the Peloton brings the fitness studio to you. Without the annoying Spandex-clad members, though. You can pick from a variety of classes and have a trainer guide you through, or opt for a terrain view where you’ll be able to cycle through (virtual) landscapes. Or, you can forget all that and watch Netflix on the screen. Whatever gets those feet spinning!
Plus, during a ride, the screen displays all sorts of stats: ride time, current speed, distance covered, cadence, resistance, calories burned. And if you pair it with a Bluetooth heart-rate strap, this bike’ll check if you’re still alive. Starting at £1345 it’s an expensive bit of kit, but if you’re looking to splash out on a new bike this techy option might be a better bet.
Best for those who need telling off
“How’s a ring going to tell you off?” you might ask. Well, the Oura ring can answer that question, either to your happiness or dismay. This smart ring packs all the smartest health sensors into a package that slips over your finger. These sensors will track your heart rate, temperature, breathing, and sleep over the course of the day. It’ll automatically track workouts, too.
Where does the telling off come in? Each time you open the Oura companion app, you’ll be greeted with a screen of personalised insights after the ring syncs. These insights can range from the “You’re doing great!” kind to the “Shift it” kind. Oura won’t hold back on telling you just what you’re doing wrong, but cares enough to tell you how to fix it.
This smart ring connects via Bluetooth, and charges via a mini dock. With no buttons, Oura’s health tracking offering is a more minimal approach, letting you just crack on with the sweating. The ring starts from $299 (about £250), and it’s membership subscription is $5.99/month.
Buy: Oura Ring from $299
Best for the put-it-offers
30 Day Fitness Challenge
Struggling to find the time to get sweaty every day? Rather than give up on your goal, the 30 Day Fitness Challenge app will find you the time. Whether you’re a city slicker working from home or hopping on the train every day, this app will nudge you to squeeze in a brief but meaningful workout every single day. Unless it’s a rest day.
Select one of the three difficulty levels, choose what you’d like to target – arms, legs, bum, abs or whole body – and the app will give you a 30-day plan to get you on the workout wagon. Intensity increases along the way, but you’re so busy you probably won’t notice.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to squeeze in some cardio for your fitness goals. But lacing up a pair of trainers and hitting the pavements (especially in the cold and dark of January) is often vomit-inducing. But it doesn’t have to be. WalkingPad’s miniature treadmills are exactly what they say on the tin – pads for walking.
Smaller than a regular treadmill and lacking the handle bars, the WalkingPad is a smaller version designed for indoor strolls. You’ll be able to crank the speed up to a light jogging pace, and bang out your steps from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re a standing desk fanatic (and you should be), or just want to hook this bad boy up for your evening telly watching, the WalkingPad is an easy way to up your step count each day.
While dogs will like frown on this indoor version of a walk, it’s an easy way to get one in when you’re busy or want to put the pacing off. The WalkingPad P1 starts from £329 and comes with a remote control and companion app support.
Best for newbies
Never been near a gym? Don’t know your way around a kettlebell? Only have 15 minutes for fitness? Good news: if you find the usual crop of workout apps intimidating, confusing or overwhelming, Sworkit is a stellar place to start.
Designed to work around your lifestyle, Sworkit’s algorithm creates exercise plans to suit your fitness level and desired results, as well as the time and equipment you have to hand – whether you want a quick lunchtime stretch in your home office or a hardcore dumbbell session in the shed.
Every exercise is demonstrated by a video animation – ideal for first-time sweaters – while the option to create custom routines, skip your least favourite exercises and track your progress means you can build a home fitness regime that really works for you. And if you feel like you need some extra assistance, you can upgrade to premium for full guidance and one-on-one support from certified trainers.
Theragun Wave Roller
That’s right, Theragun is on the list again – but won’t be inflicting any pain on you this time. Rather, we want to look at its Wave Roller – a foam roller with smarts. Ideal for newbies at risk of over-doing it (or anyone else for that matter), the Wave Roller is an excellent recovery tool.
It combines vibrations with a textured foam wave to give you a full-body roll. Rather than pummelling the knots out of you, Theragun’s Wave Roller takes a gentler approach, and calmly stretches things out with an easy massage. It packs Bluetooth as well, so you can set up a personalised routine. The Wave Roller starts from £125, and will quickly roll its way into your heart.
Best for the all-inners
A healthy lifestyle is about more than just smashing out 50 burpees three times a week starting this new year. Though that certainly helps. Asana Rebel embraces a more homogenous approach to health and fitness, building a bespoke daily plan based on your characteristics, preferences and goals. That means sleeping well, working smart and drinking more water, as well as getting plenty of exercise.
Besides video workouts, the app will also support you every day with mini meditations, health suggestions and even reminders to smile. The whole thing is so wholesome that, if it weren’t for the limits of technology, the app would probably give you a hug. We’d actually pay more for that per month – just an idea!
While metabolism trackers are still relatively newfangled stuff, they might be just right for you if you’re taking an all-in approach on your new year fitness. Veri’s tracker gently pricks into your arm (a 1 out of 10 on the pain scale), where it’ll sit for the next two weeks. While inside you, some clever tech monitors your blood glucose levels, which your phone can read with a light NFC tap.
It’s the same sort of gadgetry that health professionals use for diabetes. Only this time you won’t be dolling out insulin, but rather getting an inside look at your metabolism. From here, Veri’s app will be able to tell you whether you’re burning fats or carbs, and will recommend you foods to eat to optimise your metabolism.
Done right, it can give a big boost to performance throughout the day, especially for lifting or cardio. What more could you ask for, going all-in? Veri’s sensors last two weeks, so you’ll get two on your doorstep each month. It’s a subscription-based system, starting at £145 per month. Or you can use your own hardware readings and plug them into Veri’s app from £28 per month.
Best for serial snackers
Nailing 50 sit-ups every morning might work your core, but comfort eating your way through the new year will quickly cover any sign of washboard abs. 8fit fights your snacking habit by serving up nutrition advice, meal plans and flab-free shopping lists alongside its exercise suggestions.
Set your wellness goal, fitness level and dietary requirements (whether veggie, vegan or paleo) and 8fit will create a total lifestyle strategy to get you living your best life, including personalised workouts and bespoke meal plans – with recipes, too. Throw in fat-fighting exercises with video demonstrations, and you’ve got a properly healthy solution to food and fitness. Put down the leftover mince pies.
Ninja Nutri Slim Blender
If you’re anything like us and can’t ditch the snacking habit, why not switch out your snack for something that’ll do you good? There’s no better way to do so than with a smoothie packed with fruits or veg. And Ninja’s Nutri Slim blender is the perfect tool for the job, whirring up that tasty goodness without taking up too much counter-space.
This compact blender packs a 700W motor and different pulsing actions to blitz through even the toughest of fruits. You’ll find the container doubles as a couple, letting you get your lips round the nutritious contents quicker than ever (and without extra washing up). It starts at £59, and Ninja boasts some more powerful options in its line-up.
Best for weight watchers
Already doing your best to banish the extra Christmas pounds? Give your new year’s resolution a boost with MyFitnessPal, a calorie-counting companion that combines food-logging with exercise data from your fitness tracker (including Fitbit and Garmin devices) to provide an all-in-one answer to waistline control.
With a database of more than one million meals – as well as the option to scan barcodes and add your own – it’s a cinch to stick in those cheat days.
Withings Body+ Scale
Now that you’ve got those calories under control, what better way to watch the kilos drop off than with a smart scale? Withing’s Body+ scale is one of the best options available, taking readings of all your ins-and-outs. You’ll get your (obviously), alongside body fat, muscle weight, and water weight readings. Plus, you can toggle the scale’s screen to show you the weather. That’s how to start a morning off!
The best part about the scales is that there’s no writing things down – Withings syncs the data within its companion app. Here, you’ll be able to view trends as well as auto-sync the data to your favourite health apps. Starting from £90, this scale full of smarts will keep you shedding the pounds until 2024.