- What is HIIT and why is it so popular?
- Our choice for the top 3 HIIT apps
- Which HIIT app is for me?
The struggle of fitting hour-long exercising into your schedule is real. Low-intensity workouts and cardio can become quickly monotonous and may not even burn as many calories and fat as you’d like. Worse yet, nothing can be more frustrating than not finding any available equipment at the gym.
High-intensity interval training also known as HIIT promises to keep you active with fast-paced routines on your own terms. No gym membership required!
HIIT workout apps that come with their own routines, progress tracking and more, make it easier than ever before to get a good workout!
But which one to pick when there are so many? We have tried dozens of the most popular HIIT apps to present you with our choice for the Top 3 HIIT mobile apps that you should download to change your fitness habits for good!
So Why Exactly Has HIIT Started a Revolution in The Fitness World?
High-Intensity Interval Training has become extremely popular in the past years and we’re not really surprised by it. In case you’ve never heard of it, HIIT is a series of fast-paced exercises completed at intense output level followed by short recovery periods. Meaning that you have to alternate between low and high intensity activities and repeat them cyclically.
There are several explanations behind the HIIT hype, both scientific and psychological. The quick and equipment free nature of this workout style is definitely among the top convenience reasons. One set of HIIT can last anywhere between 7 and 30 minutes and mainly use the body weight as an equipment. Now let’s see the scientific side!
There are scientifically proven health benefits of HIIT which highly contribute towards the preferability of such workouts. As the NRC Research Press stated, HIIT has been proven to cause several physiological improvements in areas including aerobic capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness, glucose tolerance and exercise endurance. Aerobic capacity is your ability of keep doing a certain fitness activity for a certain amount of time. Cardiorespiratory fitness basically referees to your body’s ability to provide you with oxygen throughout any physical activity. Combining these to explains why HIIT has the potential to, for instance, improve your long-distance running capability.
Due to HIIT’s highly beneficial nature towards endurance and cardiovascular performance, such as increasing one’s peak running pace, it’s become a common exercise routine among the world’s best athletes as well.
As you’re working at a much higher intensity level than during Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio sessions, your body’s calorie expenditure is greater too. This means that even though the workout itself is shorter, you’ll still burn more calories and fat than when working at low intensity for a longer time.
What’s more, the combination of high intensity with interval training also intensifies burning calories after you’re done with the workout, as it pushes your body into a hyperdrive state during recovery. In other words, HIIT boosts your metabolism up to 48-hours after the workout is completed. It makes you burn more calories even after you stepped outside the gym.
This is the dream, isn’t it? But, there is a big BUT here. It’s really important that you have to work with maximum efforts during your high-intensity periods, otherwise, you won’t see those calories dropping. As we all know: “No pain, no gain”.
Why You Should Use HIIT Apps
HIIT apps can be great for beginners who lack a good routine, don’t have a personal trainer and are worried about their form. Equally those more advanced will be happy to discover new exercises and a firm training plan that helps them to stay motivated.
Fitness apps are amazing virtual coaches that will show exactly what exercises you should do and as a plus also keep you motivated. Do you only have an hour between 2 business meeting and can’t leave your hotel room either? No worries. These apps are not bound by time or location, which really aligns with our flexibility needs.
So here are the 3 best HIIT apps that will get you lean.
1. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout
This app will actually make you feel like having a personal trainer. It will literally set everything according to your personal data and preferences, which I think is amazing.
As a first step, you set your own fitness level on which the app will base its workout suggestions for you. You can choose between 5 categories from ‘Beginner’ to ‘Advanced’, but don’t worry it’ll give you some hints if you’re not sure which group you belong to. Additionally, you can connect with Apple Health and also set your fitness personal ‘motivation’. So now you might be wondering why I’m telling you all this, as this is pretty basic stuff, no? Well normally it is, but Johnson&Johnson spices it up a bit. They build the difficulty level, the interval lengths and the exercises, so basically every aspect of the suggested workout on this info. This is called the ‘Smart Workout’ feature.
Once you’re all set you can jump on to the workout straight away. You have three main options here:
1. Let the app give you a smart Workout
2. Choose one from the 20+ pre-set workouts
3. Customize your own workout from the exercise library
In the first option, the app will base the length of the workout and the difficulty of the exercises on your fitness level. In the second option, you decide the level of difficulty and the app will tailor the workout accordingly. Finally, in the latter option, it works vice versa. So you customize your own workout and the app will tell you the difficulty level based on that. These are great features for those who would like to test where they’re at and scale up based on their improvements.
When you start your workout it gives you an option to “warm up”. Unless you already did, definitely choose YES, because warming up is extremely important to avoid injuries. This is actually one of the really unique and amazing features of the Johnson&Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout app. Warm up tends to fade away from not only our minds but also other apps as well. However, I can’t stress enough the significance of it, especially for these HIIT workouts.
The second amazing feature is Chris Jordan, Director of Exercise Physiology at the Johnson & Johnson, doing the exercises along with you. It’s not only a big bucket of motivation, but is also a guarantee of doing the right movements. Plus you can also “learn the science” behind each workout plan from him. Watch, listen and master your technique!
And lastly, the Johnson&Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout app will keep track of your workouts and run an activity log for you. Fitness tracking is crucial for consistency and improvement. Also, not having to worry about doing it manually will help you standby this habit easily.
If you are really keen on personalized workouts and would like to get a detailed insight into certain exercises, the Johnson&Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout app is the one for you. Learn how to warm up, do a HIIT workout with a virtual personal trainer and let the app run a basic activity log for you.
The app is completely FREE, available for both Android and IOS and now on Apple Watch as well.
The high variety of options you can choose from in “Simply Work It” and the personalized incentives will really make you simply work it.
Fitness Activity types
Once you’ve entered some basic personal data you can go ahead and select the workout you’d like to complete. What’s really cool is that you can first choose the activity type and then select a particular workout after. This’ll help you to put your focus on where you’d actually like to. You can choose anything from strength through yoga to cardio and go for the beginner or advanced options. If you upgrade to the premium version, you even have options like “Older Adult Workouts” and “Sports Conditioning Workouts” for softball, figure skating and many more. Unlike sticking to the same old routines, this endless range of opportunities will avoid boredom and balance your workouts’ focus.
SWorkit allows you to customize the time for each workout. You can go from as short as 5 minutes up until an hour. Now obviously 5 minutes is a bit too short, but beyond 35 minutes it’s not really a HIIT anymore. The reason being is that you can’t possibly maintain such high intensity, which is the key for HIIT, for a session over 35 minutes. However, it’s a great feature for those who prefer longer circuit style of workouts and are interested in building muscles.
Precise Calorie Tracking
Probably my favorite feature of the SWorkit app is the calorie counter. It’ll tell you exactly how many calories you’ve burnt based on the exercises completed. It saves it to your profile where you can see a break-down of your ‘Average Workout Duration’, ‘Total Sessions’ ‘Total Workout Time’ and ‘Total Calories Burned’. As I said before, precise fitness tracking is a key to consistency and improvement. Additionally, you can sync all this to Apple Health or other fitness tracking apps to monitor your progress even better.
Lastly, don’t even think about skipping a workout or losing motivation. SWortkit lets you set push notifications to remind yourself if you “accidentally” forgot to exercise for a number of days. Is this really not enough? Ok, then try this: earn mPoints by simply completing workouts and keeping yourself active and then redeem them to reward yourself. How is that for an incentive?
If you like a greater variety of your workouts, thinking about muscle building and would like to track your burnt calories as well, you should choose SWorkit. It provides an opportunity to do longer sets of circuits and also tells you the exact number of calories you can burn with a workout. Plus offers a reward system, which can be a great source of motivation.
You can download the free version on both Android and IOS and it’s available for your Apple Watch as well. If you feel it’s necessary, upgrade to premium from $2.99/month.
Exciting workout types, high personalization and challenges are exactly the reasons why Seven made it to our Fitness Apps That Make Exercise Too Fun To Skip list as well.
If you upgrade to the premium version, you’ll be able to choose from countless types of workouts. They have some pretty exciting stuff, like ‘Butt lift’, ‘Lean Legs’, “Bikini Body’ and so on. This is not only fun to read, but if you’re a beginner this is probably the best way to give you an idea what you can achieve with a certain workout. It’s also a guarantee for not getting bored after using the app for a week.
Unlike in other apps, Seven also lets you personalize the lengths of both high and low-intensity periods in the free version, not just the full length. They suggest that 7 minutes is a good enough length for the overall workout, which consists of 12 different exercises. If you are more like at an intermediate level though, I would say don’t hesitate to do 2 cycles from this.
The most unique feature of Seven is that you can personalize your instructor almost from head-to-toe. You can choose their gender, language and their coaching style. Have you ever wanted to be a cheerleader or a kung-fu fighter? Now you have the chance to taste their coaching spirits. Your coach will also count the calories burnt and make sure you are they’re saved in your log.
Lastly, this Seven also runs a ‘7 Month Challenge’ for you. If you keep going, it’ll unlock a new random workout for you every second month. But if this is not motivating enough, you can also set reminders and track your progress on color-coded graphs. But this is still not all. The premium version will give you three lives and take away one each time you miss a pre-set workout. If your lives are all gone, your workout calendar goes with it. And we don’t want to lose our activity logs, right?
To make sure your workout targets your specific goals, have personalized “trainers” and motivate yourself with fitness challenges, download Seven. It’ll tell you exactly what you should expect from a workout, make sure you and your “trainer” are in line and also challenge you to keep you going.
You can download the free version on Android and IOS and use it on your Apple Watch too. However, if you would really like to get the most out of this app, get a membership for $4.99/Month.
Which Is The One For You?
HIIT workouts have been proven to have fitness and health benefits and it’s also easy to find time for them. But in order to experience these benefits, you have to work at high-intensity level with appropriate recovery times. You can highly benefit from downloading a HIIT app that will coach you along the way. Make sure you choose the right one for yourself!
We have expanded on why tracking HIIT workouts and your cardiovascular endurance is important in our Ultimate Tracking Guide.