Can you afford a personal trainer? Nah, me neither. Well, perhaps I could if I stopped literally throwing my money at strippers. Drake can afford one, though. And that’s despite the strippers. With his estimated net worth of $101 million he could have a personal trainer turned into foie gras just for the protein and still have change left for a private dance après workout.
But that extra protein wouldn’t do him much good. That’s because his workouts are fucking useless. You’ll see it evidenced in some pretty dodgy YouTube videos and gym selfies. He’s been lambasted for bad form and choosing superfluous moves over tried and tested techniques, and rightly so. Just look at his crappy deadlift. Bad back to back. If he carries on he’ll be going from 0–100 days in ER, real quick.
But his arms are big now so I’m sure he doesn’t give a fuck. You, however, are going to train properly. And you needn’t save up for a PT. Thank the 6 God for the internet. Admittedly, fitness apps were once about as effective as the Canadian military. But they’ve come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Here are the best ones, then. So you can have arms like Drake without breaking your spine.
1. Nike+ Training Club
Yeah, I know, it might seem a bit obvious, choosing Nike. But their investment in this sector has lead to some well-deserved dominance. So complete is the Nike Training Club app that you really won’t need to drop money on a bootcamp class again.
Long before I started swearing about grooming products for money, I was an editor at Men’s Health. And during all those years I’ve seen nothing come close to this app. The workouts are goal-focused – as in, they explain what you’re getting. This is surprisingly lacking in other apps, which confuse you with bro science instead of focusing on what you get out of it. And there’s a fucktonne of workouts for every level. Even if your form is as bad as Drake’s.
Freeletics is entirely functional. But it’s a bit like the Nike app’s ugly-ass cousin. In terms of UI, at least. But while Nike+ nails things from an aesthetic point of view, Freeletics hits the community aspect on the head. Which is a huge bonus for insufferable gym douchebags who want to posture online. It’s also useful for motivation.
If you’re not a squat rack douche, you might find the social links inspiring. The community is huge. So you’re sort of making lots of new friends. Which beats sitting alone and crying into your box of donuts every evening, you fat fuck.
The app’s name is the Swedish word for ‘strive.’ So these guys are clearly striving to be cheesy AF. Don’t hold it against them, though. This is actually one of the best fitness apps you can download.
It’s as much about logging and tracking as anything else. It’s cardio focused, so you’ll be clocking up the kilometers on bike or foot, trying out challenges set by other users, and showing off like you’re Drake and you’ve noticed a bit of a bicep pump in the mirror after curling your 5lbs. There’s a big social focus here, too – upload awful selfies every morning to really piss your friends off.
4. UA Record
As Under Armour attempt to muscle in on the Nike and adidas dominance over sneakers, they’re bringing a decent showing in the app sector too. Theirs promises to cover all bases, from workout logs to sleep and tracking (they acquired the Map My group – Map My Run etc – for tried-and-tested usability).
The resulting app is pretty impressive. And despite having UA tracking bands, and the behemoth UA Health Box – a scales and tracking kit – on the market, the app is an open platform so works with other devices like Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Health. The personalized insights into your behavior will remind you how much of a fucking slob you are compared to all of UA’s sponsored athletes.
Not all apps are just for tracking your repeated failures. Yonder is more like a Foursquare for fitness junkies, recommending adventure sports activities close to your location. So instead of dragging your carcass around the block another 10 times, you could, like, kayak.
Does anyone actually kayak? Maybe I should give it a go. There’s also hiking and even skiing recommendations if you live close enough to some decent powder. Pro tip: never do dry slope skiing. It sucks.
6. Nike+ Run Club
Works similarly to the above, but as the name suggests is focused entirely on Nike’s ever-growing running community. Personally, I dislike running with other people. For me, it’s about going into my mind cave and hating everything and everyone but enjoying the deafening beats of my workout playlist, which, incidentally, features Drake heavily.
For those functioning humans who enjoy contact and socializing, Nike’s community focus is great. It also tailors plans – well, as much as an algorithm can – providing you with a day-by-day breakdown to help you reach your goals. Get the Nike+ Apple Watch to take this a step further. Or spend the $400 dollars on a shitty PT.
7. Spotify Running
Not an app in and of itself, but rather a nifty part of Spotify you might not have noticed. I’m sure you can figure this one out yourself, but it changes the music based on your pace and plays songs with a BPM to match. So expect some sexy slow jams to drown out your wheezing as you jog sloth-like home from work.
Science says upbeat music spurs you on. So pick up your pace, wait for the music to change and you might just run a bit faster.
8. Zombies, Run!
If you’re less of a slow jam man, more of a run like fuck from the zombies in your head kind of guy, then try this legitimately terrifying workout motivator. You’ll likely run twice as fast to avoid the embarrassment of the piss patch on your workout shorts, too.
The app is actually quite impressive. You complete tasks and speed up to outrun zombies. Which is entertaining in itself. But particularly useful in taking the drudgery out of your cardio. Because everyone knows running is tedious AF.
The name apparently combines “Simply” and “Workit.” To which I say Fkoff. If you can ignore some fit-dude entrepreneur’s attempts at smart wordplay falling miles short, this is in fact a strength training workout worth the space on your phone.
You can build sessions based on your goals. And you need neither a gym membership nor equipment at home to complete them. There are tonnes of workouts on the app created by “fit pros” (blergh) worth trying. And the app is immensely popular due to excellent usability, even for the ad-heavy free version.
This is for absolute beginners, but is no less worthy for it. Couch to 5k means putting down CoD (I mean, complete that shit first, of course) then getting off the couch and building up to running five kilometers in a few weeks.
People love this shit. It has amazing user feedback because it’s helped a fuckton of people go from absolutely nothing to half-decent runners in a couple of months. And to people who are completely sedentary, that’s no small change. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say it’s probably extended a few lifespans. So, y’know, don’t die on your couch and go for a run.
Hit me with your grooming questions below so I don’t have to come up with column ideas for myself and can just answer them next week.
– Alex Harris
Knock, knock. Who is it? Groom service.
- Lead Image: Nike