22 Free Apps You Need to Download Now to Reach Your Goals

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
While we know our members love using SparkPeople's free mobile apps to track food, fitness and trends on the go, there are lots of other quality apps that make it easy to embrace a healthy lifestyle. To help you narrow down the thousands of nutrition and fitness apps on the market, we asked SparkPeople's resident experts and members to hand-pick their favorites. Each app is free to download (although some offer paid upgrades to advanced features).
 

Fitness Apps
 

Whether you need to build muscle, lose weight or just look and feel your best, the right exercise app can put your goals at your fingertips.

1. JETFIT

Are you just going through the motions of your workouts? Ever wish you had a personal coach alongside you, designing challenging custom routines tailored to your goals? With JETFIT, you'll have access to a database of over 1,300 exercises, making it fun and easy to create your own personalized workouts. You can also manage your stats and track your progress as you go. Free to download on iOS and Android.
 
2. Couch to 5K
 
Ready to transition from the sofa to the sidewalk? Couch to 5K is a popular program that helps people of all fitness levels prepare to run or walk a 5K race. The training plans start out slow and provide a gradual transition to your goals, so you're never overwhelmed. When you are ready to train each day, simply gear up, launch the app and click “start.” The app will guide you through the workout, complete with a timer and voice cues. Free to download on Android and iOS.

3. MindBody Connect

Interested in trying a fitness class, but not sure where to go? This handy app provides a list of all classes near you, from yoga and Pilates to spinning and boot camp. You can even book and pay right from your home. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
4. 100 Pushups
 
There's a reason people have been doing push-ups for so long: The rewards are well worth the effort. Push-ups strengthen the core, arms, shoulders and chest. If doing 100 in a row seems like a Herculean feat, you need this free app. The premise is simple: Follow the program and in six weeks, you'll be able to hit that three-digit mark. Just set aside three days a week, open the app when you have 10 minutes to spare and follow the quick program. You can even set a schedule and get reminders. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
5. Nike+ Training Club
 
There's no shortage of "virtual personal trainer" apps on the market, but Nike+ Training Club is one of our favorites. Enter your fitness level, goals and workout preferences and the app will provide a customized four-week program. Photos and videos show how to safely and effectively perform each exercise. Choose from more than 100 workouts from Nike master trainers. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
6. RockMyRun
 
We all know the right playlist can make a workout fast and fun. The RockMyRun app is packed with playlists designed by deejays specifically for exercise, featuring songs from every genre. We love how you can select different beats per minute to make the music match your workout. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
7. Runkeeper
 
Most of our running members have tried an app that tracks their runs or walks using the phone’s GPS. We’ve tested nearly all of them, and Runkeeper is one of our favorites. It's free, simple to use and works every time. There's no complicated setup: Just open the app and start pounding the pavement. After your run, you can see and share detailed reports. Best of all, you can connect Runkeeper to your SparkPeople account to track your workouts with us. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
8. Charity Miles
 
This free app also uses your phone’s GPS to track your runs and walks. Although it doesn’t have the robust features of Runkeeper, it gets the job done. The cool thing about Charity Miles is that they make a donation to the charity of your choice based on how far you go. A number of SparkPeople members have reported that this gives them extra motivation to go for a run and make every mile matter. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 

Nutrition Apps
 

Healthy eating habits can be hard to maintain, but these easy, effective nutrition apps help you make smart choices at every meal.

9. Waterlogged

You think you're getting enough water, but can you be certain? This free app calculates your water intake to ensure that you're staying hydrated. Simply upload pictures of your drinking vessels and Waterlogged does the rest. It even has built-in reminders to prevent accidental droughts. Free to download on iOS.
 
10. HealthyOut
 
Although cooking healthy recipes is usually the best way to eat well, most of us indulge in an occasional restaurant meal. With the average American restaurant dish packing more than 1,100 calories, making the right menu choice is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Using your phone's GPS, the HealthyOut app serves up a massive database of restaurants and foods to find diet-friendly choices in your area. Our editors love all the ways you can filter restaurants: Choose your diet preferences, select favorite types of foods and decide whether to include or exclude fast food. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
11. Burpee Garden Time Planner
 
SparkPeople’s editors are big fans of backyard gardening. It's a great way to harvest healthy foods all summer, while reaping the benefits of getting outside and burning calories. If you don't have a green thumb, you'll find Burpee’s app to be a great resource. Find out when to sow, transplant and harvest herbs and veggies, based on your location and climate. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
12. Ibotta
 
How would you like to get cash back just for buying the products you love? Ibotta offers a different take on traditional grocery store coupons: Before or during your shopping trip, pull up the products in the app. For products you want to buy, watch a short video, read some facts or take a poll. After making the purchase, you can go back to the app to get your cash back by scanning and sending your receipt. Ibotta works at most major stores, including regional and national grocers and big retailers like Target and Walmart. Free to download on Android and iOS.
 
13. Plant Nanny
 
A number of our members raved about this app, and we're a big proponent of drinking more water, so we gave it a try. Plant Nanny turns drinking and trackinyour daily water into a fun, interactive game. With each cup tracked, your plant grows, and you get fun notes and updates along the way. Simple and engaging, it's also great for kids. Free to download on AndroidiOS and Windows Phone.
 
14. Fooducate
 
No time to read labels? Fooducate lets you scan any barcode to get its nutrition grade (from A+ to F) and also offers healthier alternatives in the same category. It’s like shopping with your own personal dietitian who has an in-depth knowledge of every existing food and beverage product. Free to download on Android and iOS.

15. Fitocracy Macros

You track your calories every day, but do you know if you're getting enough macronutrients? This free app tracks how much of your diet consists of the "big three": carbs, proteins and fat. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better able to reach your fitness goals. Free to download on iOS.
 

Motivation, Health & Weight Loss Apps
 

For optimal wellness, your mind and body both need to be in shape. Luckily, there are many innovative apps available in this space.
 
16. Happify
 
At SparkPeople, we love studying the psychology behind people's actions. Happify is one of the best behavioral research apps on the market. Its smart tools and detailed assessments are designed to help improve your emotional well-being. After completing a quick-but-powerful evaluation, you’ll get a customized program to work toward your specific goals. Every day, a list of tasks ranging from interactive games to motivational images and messages to in-depth exercises will be waiting for you in the app. Free to download on Android and iOS; additional paid subscription plans available.

17. iTriage

Instead of Googling your symptoms when you're not feeling well, turn to this well-organized healthcare app. Research medical conditions, get doctor-approved answers and even find care options in your area. Free to download on iOS and Android.

18. Ideal Weight

The first step of reaching your fitness goals is setting the right ones. This free app calculates your body mass index (BMI) to determine how close you are to your ideal weight. Free to download on Android


19. Headspace
 
If you have a hard time slowing down and living in the moment, meditation can be a great de-stressing tool. If you're new to the practice, Headspace provides daily guidance, starting with 10 days of 10-minute sessions. Just open the app, put on your headphones and listen to the soothing instructions. Free to download on Android and iOS; additional paid subscription plans available.
 
20. Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor
 
Runtastic has a great portfolio of apps, but one of its more unique offerings turns your phone's camera into an instant heart rate monitor. While it may not be as accurate as the doctor's office, it's a handy way to measure your heart rate throughout the day, both at rest as well as before, during and after workouts. We found that a well-lit area provided a better camera reading for more accurate heart rate measurements. Free to download on Android and iOS.

21. Lumosity

Feeling mentally burned out after a long day? Lumosity helps keep your brain in peak working order with more than 50 fun, stimulating games designed by scientists. Free to download on iOS and Android.
 
22. Sleep Cycle
 
Described as an "intelligent alarm clock," Sleep Cycle is a simple and effective tool for regulating sleep patterns. Set your alarm for morning, bring your phone to bed with you, and the app will monitor your sleep during the 30 minutes before your wake-up time. Your alarm will go off when the app detects a light state of sleep, which will help you wake up feeling more rested. For example, if you set your alarm for 7 a.m. and the app detects you moving at 6:52, it will wake you up then instead of waiting for you to go back into a deeper sleep. Choose from two monitoring modes, audio or motion. Free to download on iOS and 99 cents on Android.
 
Have you tried any of these apps? What other apps have you found helpful in living a healthy, active lifestyle?

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Comments

GRAMLOCK77 8/27/2019
I've got all the apps I need already. Report
WHITEANGEL4 6/22/2019
Thanks for all the information Report
HEAT730 5/9/2019
Thabks for the info! Report
TMWLUVSMJL 5/8/2019
Here is an app called Achievement it’s free and gives you points for connecting your fitness device and tracking hr and working out. Once u reach 10,000 points they give you $10 via PayPal!!! Report
SPINECCO 5/8/2019
Thanks for sharing this information. Report
DRAGONFLY631 5/8/2019
Great list. I will be checking some of them out. Thanks Report
BOHODREAMER 5/5/2019
Great list - thanks for sharing! I'd also include the Calm app. Amazing app for meditation and insomnia. For those worried about money I will say the free version isn't that cool but it's worth every penny if you get the premium one!!!!! I've had it for almost a year now and love it SO MUCH! Report
ONLYME33 5/2/2019
Nice list: will have a look Report
HOLLYM48 4/29/2019
Thank you for all the free apps ideas! Report
PROVERBS31JULIA 2/3/2019
Plant Nanny is fun, and I really love their sister app Walkr (yes, it is "misspelled" - WALKR no E!) . Walkr encourages you to walk or run 10,000 steps a day, helping a little boy and his dog Doggi discover planets. Very fun. It has the usual stuff you can buy in their store, if you want to "cheat", but I prefer to just walk it out! Walkr requires you to connect your Facebook or Twitter account or other social media for Asian countries (can't think of the name of it, but it's like a Facebook - you'll see when you are checking out the app on IOS or Google Store. It will sync with Apple Watches, but unfortunately not with FitBit or other devices. But for free, it's cute, and if you are on Walkr, look me up there - msdrpepper .

Ibotta was fun at first but then it seemed to be getting more and more "Big Brother-ish", and also it became more like a Scavenger Hunt, requiring me to find certain brands of foods that were NOT carried in the local store that I happened to be shopping in. I'd even show the app and the product to store managers and they were totally confused - the app bad enough, but they didn't even have the products in their computer system or on their shelves. I ended up finding "Checkout 51" to be a better app for my area of South Central Kansas, and I've already earned $30-40. They actually MAIL me a check every time I reach at least $20 - who does that? Ibotta was all about this "funny money" stuff, trading my cash earned for gift cards for companies I might not be doing business with. But I don't know if Ibotta has changed since I quit using it 2+ years ago. I had been using it a year or two before this article was written in 2016, and I know I haven't used it in well over a year at this point.

I also used RunKeeper and MapMyFitness and now just prefer the FitBit app that works with my FitBit Charge 2. I don't really care about seeing a map of where I already went....or seeing constant advertisements for UnderArmour underwear and sport gear for tiny sizes that I can't even wear.

pretty sure I did CharityMiles for awhile, but after awhile I quit it because some of the charities they offered were not within my "viewpoint" or area of passion or whatever - like maybe were more liberal or more political than the charities I tend to prefer supporting.

Will have to check out a few of the other interesting ones like RockMyRun... want to see how "free" it really is. Seems like RunKeeper or MapMyFitness (and their spinoffs like MapMyRun MapMyWalk MapMyRide etc) had a "free" version all right, but was basically hamstrung and crippled, and had to pay lots of money to get the really useful features...and I'm like, I want to make sure the features really do benefit me and do work as advertised. Too many don't and I'm out the money. I don't like that nonsense!! Report
_CYNDY55_ 12/23/2018
Fooducate, I like it Report
ROSSYFLOSSY
Great suggestions! Report
RO2BENT
Some good ones Report
I couldn't get any of the links to work. Report
KHALIA2
Great info! Thanks! Report
Yes, very nice...a few of these apps caught my eye...think i will have to give them a try... Report
Love Love Love the Waterlogged app. It’s heled me reach my daily goal of 90 ounces per day & helped me lose 32 lbs so far this year! Haven’t tried the Headspace meditation app yet but since I’ve completed all the free meditations on both the Simple Habit and Calm apps, I’ll certainly give Headspace a try! Thanks for the suggestions! Report
Lots of suggestions to check out and think about. Thank you. Report
"22 Free Apps You Need to Download Now to Reach Your Goals" --- so if I don't download now, I will not reach my goals?

Report
I'm interested in some of these. I will check them out. Report
I can heartily recommend the Fabulous app. It is scientifically created and based and it really gets you going with great habits, one babystep at a time. It is something I have actually stuck to. Also, I love Endomondo. It is a great app where you can create your own favourite walks/ runs and it is easy to use. I sync it with my Fitbit and I sync my food choices from Sparkpeople with fitbit. If you are really out of shape, like I was, there is a great app called 30 days Fitness Challenge. It starts off really easy and builds upa bit each day. Super if you start easily overwhelmed and out of shape. Report
I have some of these aps and they are useful. I'm going to check the others out. Report
interesting Report
I reccomend an app called Seconds. It's a timer that lets you build your own workout. Free for basic and $3-4 dollars for the upgrade that lets you save multiple workout plans. Report
I downloaded an app called Fabulous. it it great for creating habits like drinking your water, exercise, sleep, and general well being. It is free to download and you have access to some free stuff - after that they are charging a hefty monthly subscription charge. Report
The Couch to 5K app costs $2.99 now, but there are other similar ones that are free. If you go to this one in Google Play, at the right side of the page is a list of similar ones. Also, the makers of the Couch to 5K app that costs money has one for free that's for 5K to 10K, which you might want to pick up, as well as one for a half marathon! Report
I really love the Zombies, Run! app. It may not be free, but it's worth every penny I've ever paid for it. I feel like with apps, you get what you pay for. If you only stick with free apps, be prepared for ads (they have to pay for them somehow) or other downsides. Not saying there aren't great free apps, but the few I've paid for (Daily Yoga, Zombies, Run!, etc) have been worth the price. Report
I just received a wireless headset which syncs with my phone but not my little ipod so I've just downloaded RockMyRun for my workouts although I'm not a runner but a treadmill user and walker. I'll see how that works out for me with the new headset. Report
Just checked reviews on Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor before downloading. Not good reviews. Frequent ads interrupt HR monitoring and it's not free. Must pay after so many trial uses. Most reviews only 1 star so I didn't download. Report
One APP that we do everyday is ResQwalk for the no-kill shelter where we volunteer. For every mile that's tracked, money is donated to that shelter. Check it out, there are numerous animal organizations all over including in Canada and walk for one of your choice. Do Good while you Do Good for yourself. Report
Insight Timer is a MUCH BETTER meditation app than Headspace. Headspace is NOT a free app. Headspace is trialware and only free for the first ten sessions.

Insight Timer is a free meditation app that is hundreds of times better than Headspace. Insight Timer has hundreds, possibly thousands of guided meditations as well as many bells for silent timed (and free-form) meditation. Buddhify is also a better free meditation app than Headspace. Report
So, does anyone care at all about those of us with Windows phones? Report
CHRIS3874
Why would anyone need to download 100 pushups when its online and you can even print off a hard copy minibook? Report
I use IBOTTA for shopping and have earned over $600 since I started last August. Report
I've heard about RockMyRun, but never downloaded it before (but did so yesterday). I also downloaded CharityMiles, which will help to keep me motivated since I do a lot of steps anyways. I will have to check out MapMyFitness since I didn't know that you earn rewards (it wasn't in the article, but saw a few people posted about this one in the comments).

I do think the apps can be quite helpful (with all of the technology, I would be surprised if there wasn't an app that could help you to reach your goals). And as my motivation changes, so should the technology that I use to help me to reach my goals. Report
I downloaded Sworkit after I saw it on Sharktank. Its a workout app, free for basic use and some ads. Its like having an instructor show you how to perform the exercise correctly. It tracks your minutes, your workout sessions, total calories burned and gives you medals for reaching certain goals.

I live in a small second floor apartment so I haven't been able to use it regularly but it serves in a pinch when I can't get to a gym. I currently also use my Fitbit and Spark People. I am just not a very motivated person and therefore my weight has spiraled out of control so I am hoping that using these apps will help motivate me to exercise more.

It also connects to other fitness tracking apps like Fitbit, MapMyFitness, Google Fit and Runkeeper. Hope this information helps! Report
Zombies Run!! If you're a sci-fi fan and want a good story with a little drama when the zombies chase you (sprints), Zombies Run is a great app. It's free if you don't use it that often, but I found it well worth the $20...especially if you run in the dark. Report
This was really timely. I downloaded Runkeeper just yesterday. Wanted to track time a distance. A friend introduced me to ibotta a month or so ago. I started off strong with it particularly when it offered rebates for bananas and such. Have not seen those choices on it for a week or two. Seems if you join a team the opportunity for more rebates increase. If SP has a team for ibotta i would join. Fooducate is also a go to for me. Thanks for the heads up about the others---RockMyRun is my next app to check out. Thanks Report
For the younger crowd, I recommend Fitocracy. It's like SparkPeople but only exercise, and it has a leveling up system, with quests and challenges. Report
I use my Spark Tracker and the Walking4Fun Site for a virtual walk with pictures and maps and commentary along a choice of routes! Report
I wasn't very happy with Runkeeper so I switched to Mapmyfitness. It maps my walks and gives me the map with my time and distance. I wasn't getting that with Runkeeper, but I might look at it again. Report
I love Runkeeper, but lately I have been using MapMyFitness. It allows me to earn reward points towards a rewards certificate with The Sports Authority. Report