5 free apps to help you stay in shape over the holidays

It’s that time of the year again, friends. The days are getting shorter, the weather’s getting colder, and there’s calorie-dense food for miles.

Stay ahead of the dreaded holiday heavies with these five great apps, which have one main thing in common: great free versions. Try them out for the next couple of months, and if they help you stay trim through New Year’s, maybe splurge on their paid, premium features.

Adidas Running

There’s no shortage of running apps out there, but the free and excellent Adidas Running (iOS, Android) packs in a whole lot of features at no extra cost.

There’s built-in GPS tracking, heart-rate monitoring, smartwatch compatibility, the ability to set personal goals for yourself, and let you join periodic challenges with other users to help keep you motivated.

Oh, and don’t forget the Shoe Tracking feature: This is a sneaker company, after all. Tell the app which style of Adidas shoes you’re wearing, and it’ll keep track of how long they’ve been in use, how many miles they’ve traveled, your average pace in them, and more.

As mentioned, the app is free and pretty fully featured; there’s also a premium version that starts at $10 a month and lets you set up a personalized training plan, track interval runs, and store your personal bests. It also grants you access to premium features for Adidas’s workout app as well.

Lose It!

Exercise is important, but eating like a responsible adult can work wonders for keeping that waistline in check as well.

Lose It! is a great, free food-tracking app that not only helps you monitor your calorie intake during the day, but can also track macronutrient ratios between carbs, protein, and fat.

Adding a food item is as easy as searching for it or, if it’s packaged food, scanning its barcode with your phone’s camera. There are also handy meal planning and recipe features, reports so you can monitor your progress, and exercise logging.

The free version has plenty to get you started, while the $5-per-month premium version lets you set a personalized weight loss plan, automatically sync data from health apps and smart scales, and even upload your DNA profile from Ancestry or 23andMe for nutrigenomic analysis.

Nike Training Club

The free Nike Training Club app has a little something for everyone, from high-intensity training (HIT) to yoga and wellness guidance, and plenty more.

It’s chock-full of on-demand exercise classes, live streams, and expert tips for nutrition and post-exercise recovery. New classes are added weekly, too.

The app used to be separated into free and premium versions, but Nike pleasantly surprised everyone mid-pandemic by announcing all premium features would be included at no charge indefinitely. So you’re getting a lot of bang for the non-existent buck here.

Home Workout – No Equipment

Perhaps the most pointedly named app on our list here, Home Workout – No Equipment (iOS, Android) helps you work out . . . at home . . . with no equipment.

This is a great app to use if you don’t want to commit to long runs or instructor-led classes. You’re simply presented with a playlist-like progression of animated exercises to do either for a set amount of time or reps.

Routines are divided into beginner, intermediate, and expert skill levels and focus on specific muscle groups or full-body if you’re not sure where to start. The free but ad-supported version of the app has more than enough to get you hooked—including a couple month-long challenge programs—while the $40-per-year premium offering is rid of ads, lets you build your own routines, and grants access to more than 300 workouts.

Zero Fasting

Maybe you don’t want to exercise that much at all, instead opting to control your diet with intermittent fasting. For that, the excellent Zero Fasting app is a good place to start. Before you get started, check with your doctor. I’m not a medical professional, although I have been trying out various fasting programs over the past year without any major side effects.

The premise of Zero Fasting is pretty simple. You choose how long you want to fast—most people start with a 16-hour fasting window and an 8-hour eating window—and the app tracks your progress throughout the day, reminding you to drink water and telling you what’s happening inside your body based on how long you’ve been fasting.

You can chart your progress using the app’s built-in reporting, and there’s even a journaling feature that lets you register your mood, hunger, and energy levels.

The free version has plenty to get you started. Plus, you’ll find out pretty quickly whether you like fasting or not, so don’t plunk down for the premium version right away. If you find you like fasting, the $10-per-month upgrade gets you custom fasting plans, more robust stats, the ability to ask questions of fasting experts, and more.


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