With more than 318,000 health-focused apps available for download right now and 200 more being added each day, it’s no surprise that people—including health coaches like us, and our clients—are looking for ways to stay accountable as we work toward our health goals. But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones are best?
In this week’s post, we’ve rounded up 13 essential health apps, from food-tracking and paleo recipe apps to ones that help you manage your time, your sleep, and your stress levels.
Plan Meals, Eat Smarter, Cook Paleo
MyFitnessPal. Thanks to its huge database of more than 5 million foods (including restaurant items, packaged goods, and of course, whole nutrient-dense foods) this tracking app is the most popular one out there. Just enter a little information about yourself, and the app automatically creates a nutrition and fitness goal based on your answers. Don’t like the calorie count or macro split they recommend? It’s totally customizable.
Cost: Free or $9.99 a month (or $49.00 a year) for the Premium plan with exclusive ad-free content, food analysis, and priority customer support.
Eat This Much. This meal-plan maker takes the hassle out of eating well. With personalized meal plans based on your food preferences, budget, and schedule, plus calorie and macronutrient tracking and fully customizable recipes, it’s like having your own personal assistant when it comes to deciding what to eat. You can even export your grocery list to Instacart, and have all the ingredients you need delivered to your door in as little as an hour.
Cost: Free or $9 a month (or $60 a year) for a Premium account, which gives you automatic monthly meal plans and grocery lists. Not sure about committing to the Premium version? Try it free for 14 days.
Paleo Leap. You won’t be able to track calories or macros using this app, but you will get access to tons of paleo-friendly breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks with beautiful photography and easy-to-follow recipes. Sign up for Paleo Leap’s Meal Planner (web-only) and you’ll get a completely customized paleo meal plan too, which takes into considerations any food allergies, sensitivities, or preferences you have. The Meal Planner also has food and weight journaling tools, carb calculators, and more.
Cost: The Paleo Leap app is free and the Meal Planner is $9 a month (or $86 a year). Want to check it out first? Sign up for the 7-day free trial.
Stay On-Task and Organized, and Give Yourself a Break!
Focus Keeper. This time-management app is designed to keep you focused on one activity for 25 minutes at a time, with 3-5 minute breaks in between. It’s based on the Pomodoro technique—the idea that you can avoid mental fatigue and burnout and be more productive when you’re working in increments. Just choose a task, set the timer for 25 minutes, and stay focused until the timer rings. It’s totally customizable too, so you can set the length of your breaks, the number of Focus Sessions and even choose from 14 different alarm sounds.
Cost: There’s a free version as well as one for $1.99 that has a few more features.
Timeful. Billed as the intelligent time assistant, this app helps you accomplish more of your to-do list without making your head spin. Maybe you want to get to the grocery store. Or you need to squeeze in a quick workout. Or maybe you have to get the kids to practice. Whatever it is, add in all the must-do and want-to-do items on your list, and Timeful organizes them into the fullest and most efficient schedule possible. Plus, the app gets smarter over time, making recommendations for your future schedules.
Cost: There’s no free version, but this scheduling app is a steal at only $0.99.
Take Your Fitness to the Next Level
Workout Trainer. When you can’t work out with your clients, have them work with Workout Trainer. This app has thousands of free workouts and custom training programs, guiding you through each exercise with timed step-by-step instructions. And it’s great for every level of fitness, from beginners to experienced athletes. Features like Advanced Heart Rate Feedback let you connect your heart rate monitor for better results, and for extra inspiration, the app has a community of more than 20 million members.
Cost: Use it free with in-app purchases or go for the PRO+ membership for $6.99 a month.
Nike Training Club. Led by Nike’s roster of professional athletes and celebrities—including Serena Williams and Kevin Hart—the NTC app focuses on strength, endurance, and mobility workouts across three different levels of difficulty. And because most of us don’t have 2 hours to spend on training, the workouts are broken into easy-to-incorporate 15-30 minute sessions. Use the app at home, at the gym, or on the go, and then easily share your accomplishment with the Nike+ community or on your own social media pages.
Cost: This one is 100% free to use.
WOD Genie. Got any Crossfitters in the house? WOD Genie is a creative workout-of-the-day generator. It’s perfect for when you want to mix things up and challenge your body, but don’t necessarily want to leave the house (or get to a 5am Crossfit class). The app has a built-in timer for workouts, videos to demonstrate moves if you’re not familiar with them, and a glossary to help you decipher the lingo. You can even save your favorite workouts and do them again later.
Cost: WOD Genie is totally free.
Make Sleep and Relaxation a Priority
SleepStream2. Developed in tandem with sleep experts, hypnotherapists, and seasoned audio professionals, this sleep and relaxation app makes it easy to leave your hectic day behind. Choose from a selection of soothing nature sounds, guided relaxation and energy sessions, hours of calming music, and 51 brainwave programs (binaural beats) designed to ditch stress and help you sleep more soundly. It’s not just for a restful night’s sleep either. Use this app for meditation, yoga, general stress relief, or quick power naps.
Cost: You can download SleepStream2 for $2.99.
Pillow. One part sleep assistant, one part sleep tracker, Pillow helps you get better quality shut-eye. Built-in features allow you to fall asleep faster and get personalized insights and tips about your sleep. The app also tracks things like tossing, turning, snoring, and sleep apnea, and translates it into a graph that shows you the different stages of sleep you go through during the night. Pillow works as a smart alarm clock too, waking you up at the lightest possible sleep stage so you can start your day refreshed and relaxed.
Cost: Free or $4.99 a month for the premium plan, which clues you in to more about your sleep habits.
Be More Mindful Throughout Your Day
Headspace. If you’re interested in becoming more calm, less distracted, and having a clearer mind, give Headspace a try. Led by a former Buddhist monk with 10 years of Tibetan monastic training, Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations on topics like focus, exercise, and anxiety, and even has short sessions for busy schedules. It also has SOS exercises in case you’re on the brink of a meltdown (and these days, who isn’t?). The app has been downloaded more than 11 million times, with a celebrity fan base that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Branson, and Lebron James.
Cost: Use Headspace for free or upgrade your plan for $12.99 a month ($95.88 a year) to unlock premium features.
Simple Habit. Described as the meditation app for busy people, Simple Habit helps you reduce stress, improve focus and have a better night’s sleep in just 5 minutes a day. Guided meditations are led by some of the world’s best—from former monks to mindful experts at Google. And they’re divided into categories like stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as practical categories like commuting or overcoming a bad day at work. You can also track your progress with a feature called Mindful Minutes.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases, subscribe for $11.99 a month ($95.99 annually) for the premium plan or make a one-time payment of $299.99 for unlimited access.
Breathe. This app is only available on the Apple Watch, but it’s so awesome it’s worth mentioning. When you’re stressed out, you tend to take more shallow breaths, which keeps you in a cyclical state of stress. But the Breathe app helps you break that cycle by reminding you to take deep breaths on a regular basis. In the app, you choose the length of your sessions and how often you want to do them. And when it’s time to breathe, just follow the guided animation as you slowly and deeply breathe in and out.
Cost: The Breathe app is free, but you need an Apple Watch to use it, which starts at $279.
A Final Recap on Health Apps
Whether you’re recommending these apps to your health coaching clients or using them yourself, you’ll find they provide much-needed support and accountability to staying on track. Missed any of our recommendations? Check out our list of 13 essential health apps below. And if you’re looking for more suggestions, give Mark Sisson’s top 10 paleo apps post a read.
- Eat This Much
- Paleo Leap
- Focus Keeper
- Workout Trainer
- Nike Training Club
- WOD Genie
- Simple Habit
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