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Fitness at Your Fingertips (or Thumbs)

Measuring your heart rate? Or need a reminder to stay hydrated? There’s a smartphone app for that. Track your run, find healthy recipes or analyze your client’s walking gait? There are apps for that, too!

With innovation and technology in the fitness and wellness industries growing extremely fast, there seems to be a mobile app for everything these days. A recent report found that nearly one-third of U.S. smartphone owners—about 46 million unique users—accessed apps in the fitness and health category in January 2014 (Nielsen 2014).

But with so many options available, how do you know where to find them, which are the best for your fitness business, and whether to stick with free versions or shell out some of your hard-earned money? Even an app that costs $4.99 may seem expensive if you don’t like what you’ve downloaded.

Read on to discover useful, efficient free and paid mobile apps that can elevate your fitness business and professional services.

For Personal Trainers

Use these apps to analyze and improve clients’ sports skills, exercise technique and walking/running gait.

Dartfish Express

A video-analysis and coacking tool for fitness training and sports, this app allows you to record video right in the app or import it from your camera roll. Use audio recording, text, drawing, slow motion and frame-by-frame or zoom video analysis to help your clients improve skills, technique and performance. Videos can be shared via email and social media or published on a Dartfish TV channel, which users can create directly from the app (Apple; $4.99).

Similar apps include Coach’s Eye (Apple, Android, Windows; $4.99 plus other premium in-app purchases) and Ubersense Coach (Apple; free).

For Group Exercise Instructors

Bring one or more of these apps to your next group exercise class to manage music and playlists.

Schwinn® Indoor Cycling Class Tamer

This premium music player
for coaching group cycling lets you easily create and save ride playlists by accessing music directly from iTunes. The app includes sound effects, an ability to modify music tempo during the ride and an enlarged song timer showing time elapsed, time remaining and more (Apple iOS 7 and up; free).


With its adjustable beats per minute, this app gives you access to hundred of Power Music albums and custom mixes all in one place (Apple, Android; free, but you need the PowerMusic1 paid subscription at PowerMusic.com).

Another recommendation: Adjust bpm on any song or playlist and then “lock” changes for future classes with Tempo Magic Pro from Yes! Fitness Music® (Apple; $4.99).

For Interval Training

Ditch the stopwatch or clock in favor of convenient, accurate interval-tracking apps.

Gymboss® 2 Interval Timer

This user-friendly app offers preset and customizable intervals with the ability to name intervals you create. It includes a stopwatch feature (Apple, Android; free).

Tabata Pro

The design is simple and attractive. You can customize up to three difffferent interval sets, integrating the app with your existing playlists if you wish. There are options to turn auditory cues and the blinking timer on or off (Apple, Android; $2.99).

Another choice: Seconds Interval Timer (Apple, Android; free or $4.99 with add-ons).

For Social Media

Marketing your business and building platform as a fitness expert on social media makes smart business sense. These apps can help.

YouTube Capture

Use this app for quick, simple video recording and sharing to YouTube and other social sites. You can also do editing (including color correction and music integration) of video you’ve recorded in the app or in your camera roll (Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows; free).


This versatile social-media management app makes it
easy to share content, preschedule posts and shorten links. You can also use it to access multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and multiple accounts (for instance, if you have more than one Twitter account) all in one app (Apple, Android, Windows; free). For the best experience, consider setting up the Hootsuite dashboard—with free and paid versions—on your desktop/laptop.

Other apps to try: With social media being so visual, you can elevate your marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with mobile apps that enhance and customize video and/or photography. For example: Camera+, PicFrame, Snapseed, PicPlayPost™ and Over™.

For Your Fitness Business

Use these apps to help you stay organized, current and productive with your fitness business.


This lets you create electronic notes, text, photos and other
images, videos and voice memos, which
the app saves to a cloud service. One key feature is the ability to synchronize devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops) so you can read, write, create, modify or delete notes on multiple locations. The app has strong search capabilities and allows sharing, Web clipping, annotation, tagging and scanning (Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows; free).


With its simple design, this app allows you to save articles you find online to share on social media or read later (you don’t need an Internet connection to read content you’ve saved to Pocket). This is a convenient way to ensure you don’t lose track of content you may want to share with clients or read for professional development (Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows; free).

Coming in Part 2

Watch for Part 2 of this column in an upcoming issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. Next time we will suggest health and fitness apps you can recommend to and
use with personal training clients and class participants.

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