We are reader supported and may earn a small commission on some (but not all) links within our content to products we think will genuinely help our readers at no extra cost to you.
If you’re looking to kickstart your fitness regime, there’s nothing quite like an online fitness program or app to help provide structure, guidance, and motivation.
They’ve come a long way in recent years and the quality of exercise programming, coupled with fancy tech, means the world of online exercise is undoubtedly thriving.
From celebrity-led live classes to fitness apps built using A.I. algorithms, we wanted to get to the bottom of which ones are really worth the money.
In this round up review, we provide an honest, first-hand experience of the best of the best when it comes to fitness programs and workout apps.
(We’ve also included any discount codes or links to free trials we could find).
At a Glance – Best Online Fitness Programs and Apps for Home Workouts
- Best Overall – Fitbod
- Best for Weightlifting – Alpha Progression
- Best for Variety – Beachbody
- Best for Yoga – Alo Moves
- Best for Weight Loss – MyFitnessPal
- Best for Stretching – StretchIt
- Best for Toning – P.volve
- Best for Recovery and Mobility – Pliability
- Best for Functional Training – VAHVA
- Best for Calisthenics – The Movement Athlete
- Best for Personal Support – Future
- Best for Bad Knees – ATG System
- Best for Meal Planning – StrongrFastr
- Best for Community – Obe Fitness
Why Trust Us? Review Process Explained
Here at Fitness Drum, we believe in editorial integrity and providing genuine value to our readers. For this review, we used and tested 32 popular fitness apps and programs over several months (details at the bottom of the article), and evaluated them on price, ease of use, effectiveness, enjoyment and purpose.
Best Overall – Fitbod
Award-winning fitness app that uses artificial intelligence to customize your workout plan.
Fitbod is elegantly simple, but incredibly effective when it comes to crafting customized workouts that are tailored to you and your goals.
There are a plethora of workout apps that promise to track your exercise routines, but none execute it quite like Fitbod.
Fitbod uses an exercise algorithm to adapt your workout plan based on your ability, past workout performance and available equipment. The result is a seamless exercise experience, whereby each workout seems to be so perfectly created (as if by magic!)
We’ve selected Fitbod as best overall fitness app, as it lends itself so well to track incremental improvements in your exercise routine, whatever your level. Without needing access to a certified Personal Trainer or fitness coach, Fitbod can help create a genuinely effective exercise plan to follow… which constantly adapts and changes depending on how you progress.
We’re big believers in the benefits of strength training, no matter what your age or experience is. Building muscle is a vital component to overall health and wellbeing, and Fitbod makes this achievable.
Fitbod also comes in a lot cheaper than most fitness programs and apps, so that’s certainly a bonus for the money conscious too.
Fitbod doesn’t offer live classes though, so if that’s a feature you want from your fitness app, there are others on this list you may want to learn about…
Best for Weightlifting – Alpha Progression
Log workouts, get customized recommendations, track weightlifting progress with ease.
We recently discovered the app Alpha Progression and really like this simple but effective approach to hypertrophy and bodybuilding workouts.
Alpha Progression is a gym logger that uses artificial intelligence to help create the ultimate workout experience.
Similar to Fitbod, the app allows you to set personal training preferences, such as available equipment, experience, goals and time available, to get a completely customized workout plan.
For those exercising at home and that don’t have access to gym equipment, this can solve a common problem of trying to find alternative exercises during a workout plan because you don’t have the required equipment. With Alpha Progression, you can simply select the equipment you do have access to and enjoy a workout that won’t include any other equipment.
Although Alpha Progression could be used for all sorts of training styles, we think it’s best suited to bodybuilding style workouts… i.e. workouts focused on building muscle.
With graphs to illustrate your 10RM and improvements over time, the app naturally encourages you to opt for volume, helping you shift your mindset towards hypertrophy and building muscle (as opposed to pure strength and 1RM stats).
Our Alpha Progression review includes more details on what it’s like and our experience using it.
Best for Variety – Beachbody
The original “online fitness” brand, access huge library of on-demand and live classes.
Beachbody is pretty much the grandfather of online fitness programs. With titles such as “Insanity” really kickstarting the concept of online workouts, Beachbody has gained a huge following with raving reviews.
In fact, considering how many users Beachbody has, the amount of 5 star reviews illustrates that the brand really gets fitness.
We selected Beachbody as best for variety as the on-demand service includes access to all their titles, which basically includes everything under the sun.
Beachbody has also just released a new coaching feature, which is a bit of a game changer and almost turns Beachbody into a personal training solution.
BODi comes in at a slightly higher price point but also includes live classes too. Our Beachbody on Demand review delves into all the details and different membership options.
Update for 2022/2023 – Openfit is now part of Beachbody too.
This means your Beachbody on Demand membership now grants you access to not just all of Beachbody’s content, but also all of Openfit’s too. This makes it unbeatable when it comes to accessing on-demand workouts and classes at an affordable price.
Best for Yoga – Alo Moves
Yoga app that includes a variety of yoga, mindfulness and bodyweight HIIT workouts for all levels.
If you like yoga and want to progress from just following YouTube videos, Alo Moves is a great choice.
Although it falls into the category of yoga app, Alo Moves includes quite a varied selection of workouts, including HIIT and strength workouts.
A feature we really like is the “skill” series, which helps you practice and perfect specific skills. If you’ve always wanted to impress friends with a handstand, for example, then these lessons are really worthwhile.
We’ve selected Alo Moves as best for yoga as it includes so many on-demand yoga classes led by world-recognised teachers. It also includes something for every level, including beginners right up to advanced yogis.
With so many instructors to choose from, you can find one that best suits your workout style. Whether you prefer your instructors to be laid-back and calming, or high energy and motivating, Alo Moves ensure you can find one that fits your style.
Although it is a “yoga” app, we think Alo Moves deserves recognition as one of the best online fitness programs too, as their HIIT workouts and strength routines are solid in their own right.
Best for Weight Loss – MyFitnessPal
MY FITNESS PAL
Popular calorie counting app, scan barcodes for easy logging, huge library of foods, includes workouts too.
With over 200 million users worldwide, it would be pretty hard to ignore MyFitnessPal on a list of the best fitness apps.
Launched in 2005, it’s still very much at the forefront of apps trying to help you get fitter.
MyFitnessPal is fundamentally a calorie counter… it helps you understand how many calories you are consuming and expending in a day, to illustrate if you’re likely to reach your overall fitness goals.
For anyone looking to lose weight (or gain weight for that matter), this ability to quickly see insights into your calories for the day is really useful… and considering the price, it really could provide incredible value for you.
The app is free to download, but the premium version includes more insights into your macronutrients, nutritional plans and doesn’t include ads.
You can read our full MyFitnessPal review for details on what the service is like.
Best for Stretching – StretchIt
Popular stretching app with instructor-led classes and fun challenges to help you become more flexible.
StretchIt claimed top spot in our recent comparison guide to the best stretching apps… and for good reason. This app is well priced, easy to use and comes with a whole host of stretching programs and challenges designed to help you get more flexible.
If you want to learn to do the splits… or just touch your toes… StretchIt is definitely worth considering.
We selected StretchIt as the best fitness app for stretching because we found the content to be effective, enjoyable to follow and simple to track progress.
Compared to other stretching apps, StretchIt’s use of instructor-led classes made a big difference, as they help guide you through the different stretches.
It seems most people agree with us and the online reviews for StretchIt are very positive on both iOS and Android app stores.
A feature we really like is the ability to upload progress photos as a simple but effective way to boost motivation during the programs. Improving flexibility won’t happen overnight, so seeing your improvements definitely helps to keep you engaged.
Best for Toning – P.volve
Low impact workouts that focus on toning and sculpting. Tailored equipment to accompany workouts too.
P.volve has carved itself quite a unique niche within fitness. It doesn’t really fit into any category, but rather follows the “P.volve methodology” to provide effective workouts.
P.volve’s workouts usually involve using their own equipment, so to get the most out of it, you probably want to buy their equipment too.
The workouts feel like a bit of a mash up between barre, HIIT and Pilates. The focus being on toning and sculpting the body.
Although toning is a key area for all P.volve programs, the workouts are also great for developing practical strength and balance too. They are also low-impact, making them great for an older audience as well, who may want to avoid the high impact routines of many other fitness programs.
We selected P.volve as best for toning as the workouts offer a great blend of low impact strength and cardio movements, helping to burn fat and tone your body. If you’ve struggled with weight loss but have never really tried resistance based workouts, P.volve would be a great choice.
Best for Recovery and Mobility – Pliability
Daily mobility routines, access 1500+ workouts, expert coaches, track progress, effective programming.
Once you give mobility training a go… you’ll likely wonder how you ever lived without it. A few minutes a day can have truly transformative results by improving the range of motion at the joints which leads to better overall movement.
From stiff hips to troublesome shoulders, mobility training is something we’d highly recommend for anyone.
One app that sits firmly at the top of the best mobility apps is Pliability.
Previously called ROMWOD, this app offers a big library of mobility sessions, including daily routines.
The app includes plenty of content for beginners but also includes lots of very specialist content for elite athletes or those really training hard with Olympic lifting or strength training.
A feature we really like is the mobility test, which allows you to identify any weakness when it comes to joint mobility. This provides some amazing insights and helps you understand any areas you should try and improve.
You simply may not have realized you have limited mobility in the hips… and that might be causing all sorts of issues, such as lower back ache.
Based on your results from the mobility test, Pliability with then recommend specific content to help you improve your score.
We selected Pliability as the best fitness app for recovery and mobility because the content is all based on proven sports physiotherapy principles and helps to improve movement through better joint range of motion.
We feel this is an area most people ignore and consequently could benefit the most from when it comes to making small changes to their fitness routine.
Pliability offers an unlimited free trial, so you can follow the routines before committing to a monthly or yearly membership.
To learn more about Pliability, check out our review.
Best for Functional Training – VAHVA
Complete fitness program, suitable for all levels, great alternative to traditional gym workout routines.
We would categorize VAHVA as more of an online fitness program as opposed to an app… VAHVA’s value lies firmly in the workout programming and content.
It makes you re-think what “fitness” means to you… and offers the tools and expertise to help you enjoy better movement and potentially move away from the typical gym machine workouts.
VAHVA’s methodology incorporates all sorts of styles of exercise and it is suitable for beginners and experienced athletes.
Most of VAHVA’s workouts don’t require any equipment (a pair of dumbbells at most) and focus on moving your body more meaningfully.
After following along to all 3 of VAHVA’s pillar courses, we found the workouts really are effective at building strength and burning calories… and ideal for anyone who is bored of their current workouts and wants to follow something new.
We selected VAHVA as the best option for functional training as the workouts include truly “functional” movements that will help build practical strength and attributes (like balance and coordination too).
VAHVA’s membership is pricier than other apps on this list, but that grants you lifetime access… so you won’t incur any ongoing membership costs which means over time, it might actually work out cheaper.
We would recommend VAHVA’s Movement 20XX program for anyone getting started.
Best for Calisthenics – The Movement Athlete
THE MOVEMENT ATHLETE
Popular calisthenics app, focus on bodyweight exercises, follow programs, track progress, engage with community.
Calisthenics is a great way to keep in shape and get stronger… and it’s becoming increasingly popular with all ages.
Without needing access to a gym or lots of equipment, The Movement Athlete’s app and online fitness program leverages the benefits of calisthenics to help you reach your fitness goals.
The Movement Athlete’s app is very easy to use and includes an intuitive design to make logging workouts simple and effective.
One of the features we really like about The Movement Athlete is the fact they add gamification to their program… as you complete workouts, you are able to unlock new content within the app. This keeps motivation high and encourages you to stick with it.
We also find the workouts are suitable for beginners and experienced bodyweight warriors alike, as the program includes ways to keep the movements challenging yet achievable for different levels.
We selected The Movement Athlete as the best app for calisthenics because it means this style of exercise very easy to follow and adapts it very well for home workouts.
The program is great for those looking to get into calisthenics as it will help you hit goals, such as a “muscle up”, by teaching you how to do the various components separately… and gradually teach you to progress each movement until you master the overall bodyweight movement.
Best for Personal Support – Future
Access to a human coach, follow completely customized workout programs, message your coach for help.
Future app is a popular fitness app that connects you to a real human coach. Once you sign up, you answer a few questions about your goals, and Future will match you to an appropriate coach, who will subsequently create a completely customized workout program for you to follow.
Although having a completely customized workout program is unquestionably better than following a generic one (e.g. excluding exercises you don’t like, adapting it to your lifestyle preferences, etc), we think the true benefit of Future lies in the fact you have a coach there to cheer you on and offer support during the week.
This accountability is proven to be one of the most influential factors in maintaining a fitness routine in the long-term… and Future brings this feature to the forefront of their app.
The benefit of using Future is that they find the best coaches out there and give you access to coaches you simply wouldn’t normally be able to engage with. You can also change coach if you wanted, for example, if you wanted to change focus… however, we’d guess you’ll end up creating a strong bond with your coach and won’t want to do that.
Future also syncs very nicely with Apple devices, giving you all the stats and performance history from your workouts. The downside is that the service doesn’t sync with Android devices, making it only available to those on iOS.
Best for Bad Knees – ATG System
Knee-friendly workouts from Ben Patrick (Knees Over Toes Guy), message coach, get tips on your form.
ATG System is the official program from Ben Patrick… better known as the “Knees Over Toes Guy.”
Ben and the ATG Systems team have bundled up all their recommendations around Knees Over Toes training into a very accessible online program.
ATG System is $49.50/month, which gives you access to all their programs via the app.
A surprising addition to the program is the ability to message and interact with a coach… which is impressive for the price point.
Ultimately, if you’re interested in the Knees Over Toes program then this is the program for you.
We think there are many benefits to Ben’s teaching but by far the most prominent is the recommendations on lower body strength training that keeps knees and joints healthy. This is why we selected ATG System as the best online workout program for bad knees.
If you’re serious about Knees Over Toes training, our Tib Bar review and Knees Over Toes Training Equipment Kit List are worth reading too.
Best for Meal Planning – StrongrFastr
An all-in-one meal and workout planner, recommendations based on your goals.
StrongrFastr is a simple fitness app that offers customized meal and workout plans to help you reach your fitness goals.
By combining meal plans with workouts, StrongrFastr is a great solution for anyone looking to slim down or bulk up… as you can track both your diet and exercise in one place.
The user-interface and design are simple… but the recommendations and content are powerful.
We selected StrongrFastr as the best app for meal plans because this is where we think StrongrFastr really excels… it’s packed full of really useful features that makes eating healthy easier.
For example, once you input your nutritional preferences and fitness goals, the app will create a shopping list to make it easy to follow along to the recommended recipes. This is a simple but really effective feature we haven’t seen with comparable apps.
The meal plans (and workouts) will also adjust over time, based on how you’re progressing… which keeps all the recommendations effective and useful.
Best for Community – Obé Fitness
Fun online workout classes, lots of variety, thriving community, inclusive brand.
If you’re finding your normal workout a bit boring and struggling with motivation, it’s time to discover the world of Obé.
Obé Fitness offers fun exercise classes and workouts, with a thriving community.
With its bold colourful backdrops and charismatic instructors, Obé doesn’t conform to what fitness apps should be and instead, follows its heart and provides a very unique experience.
If you want to get fit, but have fun at the same time, Obé is a great choice. Many fitness apps fall victim of being too serious and assume everyone wants an intense, high tempo, energetic coach… but if you want a coach with their own distinct personality, Obe is the perfect fit.
We selected Obé as best for community as you really do feel a part of a larger, caring community as soon as you join. The focus on live classes, instead of just on-demand workouts, means you really feel like you get to know the coaches too.
With so many different workout styles to choose from, and a jam-packed live schedule, there is something for everyone.
Check out our Obé Fitness review for a full breakdown (and a unique discount code).
This review highlights the sheer depth of quality when it comes to online fitness programs and apps that are available at the moment. Features and price vary quite dramatically, so you’ll need to think carefully about your personal preferences, budget and fitness goals.
Most of the programs and apps listed in this article include free trials so you can try them out for yourself before committing.
To create this comprehensive review, we tested and used the following fitness/workout apps and programs: Fitbod, Alpha Progression, Beachbody, Openfit, P.volve, Centr, Stronglifts, MyFitnessPal, 8fit, VAHVA, The Movement Athlete, DailyBurn, Obe Fitness, JEFIT, Nike Training Club, Tone It Up, StrongrFastr, Pliability, StretchIt, Future, ATG System, Home Workout – No Equipment, Strava, Peloton, Virtuagym, 7 Minute Workout, HIIT Down Dog, Asana Rebel, Fitify, Adidas Training, FitOn, and Sworkit.
Do You Need to Follow a Fitness Program?
Fitness programs are a great way to kickstart a fitness journey, providing expert guidance and support, but you might prefer to simply follow along with your own workout programming… in which case, you might benefit from more of a workout logger, to help track your performance each session, compared to a guided program that will recommend exercises.
What Features Are Useful in Fitness Programs and App?
Ultimately, you want any fitness program to be easy to follow along to. Clear navigation, video demonstrations, explanations and workout logging to track progress, are all useful features we like to see in a fitness app.
Online Vs Local Fitness Classes?
You may decide you simply prefer joining local fitness classes to keep fit. Nevertheless, online programs and apps tend to be cheaper and do offer some features, like workout logging, which may benefit your workouts when you use a local class too.
What is the Best Fitness Program?
The best fitness program will depend on your individual goals, which is why we’ve structured this review into the best programs and apps for specific purposes. There certainly isn’t one universal “best fitness program”, because “fitness” means different things to different people.
You may want to lose weight, or perhaps get stronger… or you may want to do yoga, or HIIT… these factors will largely influence which online app or program is best suited to you.
Obé Vs Openfit Vs Peloton Vs Beachbody
Alo Moves Vs Glo Vs Gaia Vs Yoga International