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I did a thing.  I joined a gym.  Anyone who knows me in real life may be a little confused or surprised by this because I'm basically sedentary.  I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had neglected my physical health for years because I just assumed that being naturally skinny meant that I was healthy.  Obviously, I was completely wrong.

So I've changed my idea of healthy and I've decided that I need to make my physical health a priority.  But I don't just use the gym.  There are days when you don't want to drag your ass to the gym.  There are days when you have a little extra energy and want to continue your workout at home.  And of course, there are times when you can't get to the gym because you're swamped or you're out of town.  That's where fitness and health apps come in.  You can find an app for just about anything and you can usually find multiple apps.  Here are 7 of the best, free fitness and health apps that you can download and begin using today.

To track hydration, use Water Minder: What I really love about this app is that you can easily track tons of liquids, not just water.  I drink lots of tea, coffee, and carbonated water, so this is definitely something I love.  It even includes soup!  I haven't had any problems with this free app.  This app easily connects to other apps, so I also see my water intake on other fitness apps.  It also has a widget that you can use to quickly add water.

For a quick at-home workout, use 8Fit: One of the most common excuses I hear (and use) for not exercising - or really for anything - is, "I don't have time" or "I can't afford a gym membership."  Y'all.  There is research that shows that high-intensity interval workouts can actually be just as effective as traditional workouts.  I used 8Fit to complete several quick, interval workouts and found that they were super challenging, but also super easy to follow.  The best part is that you don't need any equipment!

To finally train for that 5k you swear you'll run, use Running for Weight Loss: Let me just get the bad out of the way - the ads are freaking annoying.  But the program and app are both actually pretty great.  They do have a free trial for a week so I may try that to see what the benefits are and if it's worth it just to get rid of the damn ads.  The app uses a timer to countdown the time you have left in each interval and has voice cues so you don't have to stare at your app the whole time.  You can use this app on a treadmill or outside.

To figure out how many calories you need and to track your nutrition, use Lifesum: I don't use this app for everything that it can be used for because I have a Fitbit and find that syncing my Fitbit is a lot easier than adding things in manually.  I really love this app because it breaks down your daily nutrition and food needs.  It doesn't just say that you need a certain amount of calories - it also tells you when you need the calories and how many macronutrients you need a day.  It's a great set of guidelines for your meal planning.

To find an awesome workout plan that's straight out of Pinterest, use PopSugar: If you haven't seen the PopSugar fitness plans on Pinterest, you're really missing out (and you somehow use Pinterest with your eyes closed).  This app is basically a collection of all of those workout plans and workout challenges.  You can also save workouts to complete at a later time or challenge yourself with different challenge plans. 

To find guided strength training plans, use Bodyspace: Strength training and weight lifting can be super intimidating if you don't know what you're doing or where you should even start.  This app lets you access top-notch fitness programs from some of the best trainers for free.  And since it's a phone app, you can bring your workout plan with you and it just looks like you're checking your phone.  You can also watch quick clips to make sure you're completing an exercise correctly.

To feel flexible and centered, use Down Dog: It can be pretty hard to come by a free good yoga app.  Down Dog is one of the few that I've found and truly enjoy.  This app is basically a beautiful slideshow of yoga poses and the narrator's voice is so calming.  This setup is great, but it doesn't include any sort of tutorials and you can't really see the transitions between poses.  Still, it's a great app.  One of my favorite things about the app is that you get a new workout every time you come back because it's randomized and has tons of different poses to choose from.

There you have it - my favorite fitness apps.  And they're all free.  What are your favorite fitness apps?  Are they free or paid?  Why do you love them?

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