These are the best apps for working out while you travel
How many of us use travel — whether it’s vacation time or a business trip — as an excuse to slack on workouts? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I know, I know. Traveling is hard: you’re out of your comfort zone, you have access to a crappy hotel gym (at best) and you feel like you deserve a vacation from fitness.
But you don’t need a dedicated gym or fancy equipment to do stay in shape while you travel — all you need is your smartphone and a handful of apps.
[See also: Hit every fitness goal with these apps]
The no-equipment workout
Types of workouts: Strength, cardio, HIIT, yoga
Why they’re great: These apps offer plenty of equipment-free workouts that will fit into any schedule.
No gym — no excuses. You can work up a sweat no matter where you are or what equipment you have (or rather, don’t have) with an app like Nike+ Training Club (Android, iOS) or Sworkit (Android, iOS).
Nike+ Training Club stocks more than 100 workouts designed by Nike trainers and athletes like tennis champ Serena Williams and Olympian Allyson Felix. The app has a variety of workouts — everything from 5-minute benchmarks to 45-minute high-intensity cardio — to suit anyone without access to a gym, including a whole list of equipment-free workouts, such as burpees, core workouts and stretching.
Each workout has a built-in timer with verbal cues, as well as videos that help demonstrate form.
While Nike+ Training Club focuses on bringing you into the Nike club and showing off its premium athlete-created workouts, Sworkit takes a different approach.
Sworkit aims to make working out easy to fit into your schedule with custom-length (between 5 and 60 minutes, in 5-minute increments) equipment-free workouts. Free Sworkit users can access 19 workouts at a time, that’s 16 basic workouts and 3 rotating premium workouts. Premium workouts include ab circuits and beach body cardio.
Premium Sworkit users ($5, £4, AU$8 per month or $40, £30, AU$63 per year) can access unlimited premium workouts, including a special category of low-impact workouts. Though Sworkit’s free offering is less impressive than Nike+ Training Club’s, its form videos are better — Nike’s are a bit too cinematic.
Types of workouts: Cardio
Why they’re great: These apps give you the information you need local route information for walking, running or hiking.
You may not have access to a gym, but you almost certainly have access to the great outdoors. MapMyRun (iOS, Android) isn’t just for tracking workouts and logging miles — this app also has a member-sourced route archive that you can use to find nearby running trails. (There’s also the MapMyHike (iOS, Android) app for people who prefer hiking to marathon-training.)
If you need inspiration (beyond a sweet crowd-sourced hiking trail) to take your workout outside, you can always power up Pokemon Go or take a walk for charity.
Group fitness on the go
Price: $10 to $15
Types of workouts: Cardio, yoga, HIIT
Why they’re great: These apps focus on an important part of group fitness: engaging, motivating trainers.
Group fitness classes motivate you to work out (even if you’re on vacation) because they require an investment and accountability. For a small monthly fee, you can take your fitness classes with you with apps like SkyFit (iOS), Grokker (iOS) or Daily Burn (Android, iOS). These apps offer streaming audio and video classes where you’ll be able to see and hear (but not interact with) a real instructor. You’ll get more of the instructor-led experience than you will with workout apps like Nike+ Training Club, but you obviously won’t reap the social benefits of taking an in-person class.
For $10, £8, AU$15 per month (or a one-week free trial), SkyFit offers audio-streaming fitness classes (complete with motivational trainers) that work with equipment you’ll find in most hotel gyms: Treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes.
Grokker (two-week free trial; $15, £11, AU$23 per month) offers fitness classes but their main focus is a variety of yoga workouts, including prenatal yoga and yoga for athletes.
Daily Burn (one-month free trial; $15, £11, AU$23 per month) will give you the most class-like experience, and includes intense fitness routines from celebrity trainer Bob Harper.
Find in-person classes in any city
Types of workouts: Cardio, yoga, dance
Why they’re great: These apps help you find local fitness classes in major cities making them perfect for world travelers.
If you happen to be traveling through a big city, your group fitness classes don’t need to be virtual, the MindBody app (Android, iOS) makes it easy to find and book nearby fitness classes (the app also helps you locate spas and beauty treatments).
MindBody requires no subscription fee, but you will have to purchase individual classes at full price. If you’re a fitness class junkie who travels between the 37 cities, including Los Angeles, NYC, London, Sydney and Toronto, that currently support ClassPass (Android, iOS), you might consider signing up for an account (price varies based on location). ClassPass users can take classes in any city, regardless of where they signed up for their account.