Fiit, Les Mills and more tested

Lena Weib

ManuelaGetty Images

The best fitness apps have helped keep the nation active over the last few years, encouraging millions to squat, stretch and sweat their way through a series of lockdowns. But, just because your local leisure centre is back open for business, it doesn’t mean you should disregard these trusty handheld trainers.

For a monthly subscription fee, fitness apps can provide structured training plans, expert advice and even nutritional tips from your smartphone to help you stay fit and flexible — whether you prefer to exercise in the gym or at home.

What is the best fitness app?

Not all fitness apps are created equal. So, to make sure we only recommend the cream of the crop, the Good Housekeeping Institute put some of the most popular programmes to the test.

These are our 12 top performers:

How much do fitness apps cost?

For unlimited access, most fitness apps charge a monthly subscription fee which tends to be between £10 – £20. However, many offer a discount if you commit to longer or annual memberships.

Do fitness apps work?

Of course, they’re not a magic solution – it all depends on how you interact with them. If you follow their instructions closely, they can help you hit your health goals.

This will, of course, depend on each app’s primary purpose. Among those we tested, some focused on improving users’ flexibility, others looked to boost fitness with HIIT sessions and several offered a balanced approach to improving overall health.

Read on to find out what each app offers so you can choose the right one for you.

How we test fitness apps

The Good Housekeeping Institute has trialled 15 apps in total, with each one put through its paces by at least four members of our trusted testing panel. This is made up of fitness enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned gym-goers.

They were asked to set up an account and navigate around the app to see how easy it was to get to grips with. They then took on a series of workouts — varying in type, time and intensity — before scoring the apps on functionality, design, usability and performance.

We also asked our panel if the apps had any standout features that set them apart from the competition, before deciding on our top 12.

Find out which apps made the cut below.

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1

Best fitness app

The Peloton App

Score: 88/100

Whatever your health goals, Peloton has plenty to offer for everyone (including more than enough classes for those who don’t own one of the brand’s signature stationary bikes or treadmills).

A library containing thousands of live and pre-recorded classes is frequently updated with new content, which is spread across 10 workout types ranging from cardio, to strength, to meditation. But, despite this wealth of resources, the landing page is easy to navigate thanks to the app’s useful filtering options.

Our testers loved the variety and choice of classes on offer, keeping their sweat sessions from ever feeling dull or repetitive. They also enjoyed having their workout stats clearly displayed during and after each class, with many sharing their latest exercise exploits on social media.

Live classes and leaderboards brought out our competitive side and, twinned with Peloton’s team of energetic instructors, kept our motivation levels sky-high. A few people said they would have liked to see a more diverse range of body types among Peloton’s coaching line-up. But, nonetheless, all agreed it was a fantastic fitness app.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS: Both
Monthly membership: £12.99/month
Annual membership: Same monthly price, with offer of first two months free

2

Runner-up fitness app

Beachbody On Demand

Score: 87.5/100

Starting a new fitness regime is tough, and knowing where to begin can be even tougher. Luckily, Beachbody On Demand has a huge range of structured plans that show you exactly when and how to work out, while also providing handy nutrition tips to help you hit your health goals.

Our testers said the programmes were great for anyone keen to commit to regular workouts in order to get results. They also appreciated the variety of different programmes on offer, including everything from challenging HIIT sessions to ballet-inspired barre classes.

The encouraging coaches know their stuff too, and we really liked that we were given the option of recording in-depth workout stats after each session, making it easy to keep track of our progress over time.

Key specifications
Focus:
Fitness and nutrition
Android/iOS:
Both
Membership for three months:
£39
Annual membership: £99

3

Best fitness app for experienced exercisers

Le Sweat TV

Score: 87/100

If you thrive off the energy of instructor-led exercise classes, but can’t always make it to the gym, this could be the app for you. Created by top trainer Charlee Atkins, Le Sweat TV aims to play the part of a pocket-sized personal trainer with its impressive selection of follow-along workout videos.

Our testers praised how the app catered to a variety of fitness goals, with a range of workout styles to choose from, and found the exercise videos easy to play, pause and rewind (especially helpful if your at-home sessions are prone to unexpected interruptions).

Some said the warm-ups could have been longer to prepare them for the workout ahead, and a few of our panellists felt the overall design was a bit cluttered. But, the helpful form cues and movement tips from instructors made sure we got the most out of each class and stayed engaged throughout.

Our team also said the classes could be quite challenging, so we would recommend this app to someone who is no stranger to a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£12.81
Annual membership:
£105.51

4

Best fitness app for beginners

Fiit

Score: 85/100

There’s no getting bored of this app thanks to its bright, colourful design and enormous selection of exercise classes. You can easily select a one-off group workout based on type, duration and intensity to get your fitness fix. Or, if you’ve got longer term health goals in mind, one of the app’s many progressive programmes can help you boost your fitness, flexibility and strength over a series of weeks.

While there truly is something for everyone on the Fiit app, we felt these programmes were particularly handy for beginners looking to start their fitness journeys as they take the guesswork out of getting in shape.

Most of our testers also appreciated the energetic coaches and pumping music that came as part and parcel of each workout, though a couple said the volume of the songs could be distracting.

These criticisms were few and far between, however, with testers praising the ability to save exciting-looking classes for later, see how many workout minutes you had accrued overall and track your stats (including your heartbeat and calories burned if you have the chest-worn Fiit strap, although this has to be bought separately).

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£20
Annual membership:
£120

5

Best fitness app for one-off classes

Sweat Factor

Score: 84/100

Whether you’re exercising at home or at the gym, with equipment or sans-kit, Sweat Factor has a workout for you. Choose from more than 500 instructor-led classes, by style or duration, to find the right one for you. And, as classes range from 45 minutes right down to just five minutes, a quick session is always on the cards.

You can also filter classes by instructor, adding a personable touch that our team really enjoyed. Once we’d found our favourite coach, we kept coming back time and time again for a thorough workout.

However, the lack of any in-depth progress tracking was a miss, as it could be hard to know our fitness levels and performance had improved. But, for its variety of quality one-off classes, this app is hard to beat. We especially liked the instructors’ demos of each movement, and the countdowns that let you know how long you have until your next (much-needed) rest.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£14.69
Annual membership:
£88.11

6

Best fitness app for exercise classes

Les Mills+

Score: 83/100

Les Mills+ is the latest offering from one of the original pioneers of group fitness. As you’d expect, it’s crammed full of fitness content including the brand’s signature Bodypump, Bodycombat and Bodyattack classes. There are also yoga, meditation and barre sessions available, as well as exercise options for children and a choice of programmes to follow for longer-term health goals. Put it this way; you’ll never be short of workout inspiration.

Our testers loved the clued-up instructors and the enormous selection of classes on offer, though some struggled to navigate the app at first. A few members of our panel also found the workouts were a bit harder than stated in their description, so this is definitely one for those looking for a challenge.

Still, there is something for everyone, whether you’re after a one-off yoga session or a calorie-crushing, strength-boosting 12-week workout programme. There are even follow-along videos designed for those who have recently given birth.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£12.99
Annual membership:
£119.98

7

Best free fitness app for yoga

Movement For Modern Life Yoga

Score: 81/100

Though a true yoga practice is about much more than physical postures, there’s now a number of apps to guide you through the poses of slow flowing movements themselves. Movement for Modern Yoga offers more relaxed sessions in abundance, however it also showed our testers they can also achieve other fitness goals (from fat loss to building strength) through the practice too.

Panellists said it opened their eyes to new ways of exercising that they would not have tried otherwise. They also praised the range of yoga sessions on offer, with more demanding dynamic classes appearing alongside slower, lower impact flows so you can choose one to suit your mood.

The instructors were immensely likeable and brilliantly informative, with their expert commentary meaning we barely had to look at the screen as we worked our way through movement sequences. So, if you’re new to the practice and keen to get started, look no further!

Key specifications
Focus:
Yoga
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
Free
Annual membership:
Free

8

Best fitness app for trying something new

TRX Training Club

Score: 81/100

If you’ve had your fill of kit-free bodyweight exercises like squats and burpees, it’s high time you joined the TRX Training Club. It opens up a world of possibilities by pairing with the brand’s signature suspension trainer (a strap with a handle and stirrup on each end that can be looped around any stable, elevated anchor point), allowing you to try a plethora of new bodyweight exercises.

While this requires a bit more floor space than most other apps, it does offer a fresh take on at-home fitness that can breathe life into a stale exercise routine.

We found the app’s wide array of classes simple to navigate, allowing us to flick from strength, to core work, to recovery sessions with ease, and enjoyed being given the choice of either pre-recorded sessions or live classes delivered by one of TRX’s multitude of instructors.

There are classes suited to all fitness levels, while the coaches provide useful cues throughout to help you master each movement and make the most of your workout.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness and suspension training
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£19.99
Annual membership:
£49.99 or £97.99 with suspension trainer

9

Best fitness app for workout plans

Beyond by Megan Grubb

Score: 74/100

Blogger Meggan Grubb is no stranger to sharing health tips with her 1.3 million Instagram followers. So founding her own fitness app was an obvious next step. Beyond offers a selection of workout plans to follow and (if you find yourself fancying a change mid-way through one) you can flit between them as you wish.

Panellists said each workout’s duration was clearly displayed and there are a range of different class lengths available, making this app’s plans easy to fit around their everyday routine. There are also a variety of workout styles on offer, with focuses including weight loss, strength gain and improving movement.

Testers said the more advanced classes could be quite daunting for newcomers, but they liked the inclusion of a daily journaling section and in-app community (where people can share recipes and ideas), saying this helped boost their mental wellbeing.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£9.99
Annual membership:
£79.99

10

Best fitness app for the gym

Tone & Sculpt

Score: 73/100

Designed to be a one-stop shop for all things fitness, this app is great for anyone looking to add structure to their weekly workouts. It boasts more than 2,000 sessions — mostly HIIT and weights workouts — and provides users with a choice of multi-week home or gym-based fitness plans to help them reach their health goals. We also really enjoyed the ability to adapt each workout with the touch of a button to suit our fitness level, with the app offering easier and harder versions of each prescribed exercise.

Our team said they liked the structure provided by the multitude of plans on offer, saying the scheduled workouts helped keep them accountable so they didn’t miss any sessions (though you can choose when you exercise to work around your everyday commitments). The meal planner section of the app was a hit too, providing a huge range of healthy recipe suggestions. We particularly liked the in-app shopping list, where you can note down what ingredients you need to buy so you can cook your nutritious meals of choice.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness and nutrition
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£13.99
Annual membership:
£84.99

11

Best fitness app for ease of use

Freeletics

Score: 73/100

With its monochrome colour scheme, this app literally laid things out in black and white. Our panellists found it refreshingly simple to use, with clear workout descriptions and a straightforward landing page that made it easy to find sessions with the right duration and difficulty.

There were also a range of different workout types available, with the option to record your progress after completing each one, making it easy to monitor improvement over time. The chance to earn points and level-up served as extra motivation to keep coming back for more.

The lack of live workouts and encouraging instructors was missed by many, with several testers saying it felt too mechanised as a result. Beginners said they would have liked more guidance on how to complete each exercise (aside from the looped video shown).

However, if you’re a seasoned home workout veteran looking for a faff-free fountain of challenging workouts, this is the app for you.

Key specifications
Focus:
Strength gain, skill progression and weight loss
Android/iOS
: Both
Three month membership (smallest available):
£32.99
Annual membership:
£52.52

12

Best fitness app for choice

Everyone On Demand

Score: 72/100

Not your average fitness app, Everyone On Demand does exactly what it says on the tin: it provides access to a wide range of health sites (including the likes of Les Mills and mental wellness company Mindshine) from one central app, all for less than £10 a month.

Our panel liked how the app was presented, with straightforward selection buttons and easy-to-understand workout descriptions. They were also fans of the variety on offer, with a wide selection of workout difficulties, durations and types, though many felt it had more to offer for gym-goers than those who prefer to exercise at home.

Workout videos are easy to follow along with and testers said everything was thoroughly explained so they always felt they knew what they were doing. Navigating the app and finding our favourite section proved to be a bit of a labyrinth at first, but once our team had got it sussed they found a wealth of health content at their fingertips.

Key specifications
Focus:
All-round fitness
Android/iOS:
Both
Monthly membership:
£9.99
Annual membership:
£119.88

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