Working Mother - - Contents - By Anna Davies

Real moms test ex­er­cise apps to see if they can get you in shape with­out break­ing the bank.

When ev­ery sin­gle sec­ond of your day counts, skip­ping the gym in fa­vor of a cus­tomized at-home work­out could be a smart strat­egy. But how ef­fec­tive are these apps? Real work­ing moms give them a spin.


Cost: A per­son­al­ized work­out plan is $89.99 per year, $29.99 for three months or $11.99 a month.

About: Us­ing the HIIT ( high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing) method, Keelo al­lows you to choose work­outs for ev­ery day of the week. Through pre­re­corded videos, cer­ti­fied train­ers show how to do the moves, and you can adapt the length of your work­out, start­ing at as lit­tle as seven min­utes. Some ex­er­cise op­tions as­sume you have equip­ment such as ket­tle­bells and pull-up bars read­ily avail­able; tog­gling the “no equip­ment” op­tion is key if you don’t.

“I just had a baby four months ago, and ini­tially, I was a lit­tle bit in­tim­i­dated by the ‘se­ri­ous work­out peo­ple’ images. There was a bit of a learn­ing curve. While I’m fa­mil­iar with ba­sics like squats and lunges, cus­tomized moves like ‘mon­goose’ and ‘shock­wave’ were con­fus­ing. It was def­i­nitely a good work­out, and I was sore the next day. Ul­ti­mately, I feel like it would be a good app to use at the gym, where you have all the equip­ment you need.” —Mak­ena Cahill, direc­tor of strat­egy, Bos­ton, MA


aap­ Cost: A 30-day free trial op­tion; af­ter that, it’s $14.99 a month, or $99.99 a year. About: An au­dio-based app com­bin­ing playlists and trainer-led work­outs, Aap­tiv guides users through more than 40 new classes each week, with ar­eas of con­cen­tra­tion in­clud­ing out­door run­ning, strength train­ing, yoga and in­door cycling. The app of­fers monthly chal­lenges, as well as spe­cific train­ing pro­grams for 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons. Your trainer will tell you to pick up the pace or glide into down­ward dog as you lis­ten to cu­rated playlists. Be­cause the app has no vi­su­als, it’s best for peo­ple who are al­ready fa­mil­iar with ba­sic car­dio moves and proper strength form.

“I’ve been a run­ner for a long time, but my mo­ti­va­tion has stalled since I had my son nearly two years ago. I found the pro­grams mo­ti­vat­ing and easy to fol­low, and I also ap­pre­ci­ated the playlists for each work­out. I did sev­eral tempo runs that pushed me a lot faster than usual. The work­out can be down­loaded in ad­vance, which is great when you’re head­ing into an area with iffy re­cep­tion. I liked that there are five-minute runs, runs with strollers, and op­tions if you’re preg­nant. I don’t have a gym mem­ber­ship right now, so this was per­fect for me. It was fun, and I was a sweaty mess at the end of 30 min­utes. I’ll def­i­nitely keep us­ing it!” —Kar­lyn Nel­son, Real­tor, Los An­ge­les, CA


Cost: A one-month free trial op­tion, then a $29.99 three-month subscription, or $79.99 yearly subscription.

About: Based on your fit­ness level, tar­get zones (think legs, arms or core) and time avail­able, Sworkit of­fers equip­ment­free work­outs with spe­cial­ized strength and car­dio moves demo’ed by per­sonal train­ers via pre­re­corded video clips. The data in the app can be synced to other health apps such as Google Fit and My Fit­ness Pal, and fa­vorite playlists can be saved and archived to try again. The app also has an ex­ten­sion called Sworkit Kids, with kid-friendly ex­er­cises (think “crab crawl” and “tightrope walk­ing”) that can eas­ily be done by par­ents too for a fun way to si­mul­ta­ne­ously work up a sweat and spend time to­gether. For moms se­ri­ously crunched for time, a five-minute op­tion, which of­fers strength and car­dio in 30-sec­ond chunks, can help you stick to your fit­ness goals. Fi­nally, a “talk to trainer” op­tion al­lows you to trou­bleshoot or ask ques­tions in real time.

“I love work­ing out and pre­fer do­ing it with friends, but an app is great for when I’m short on time. This one was pretty in­tu­itive, and I loved that it didn’t re­quire a huge learn­ing curve. But the voice was mono­tone, and it wasn’t in­cred­i­bly mo­ti­vat­ing. Hon­estly, the only way I could fin­ish the full work­out was by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the op­tion to lis­ten to my own mu­sic at the same time. I liked that I could log my work­outs, but once it didn’t work, which was frus­trat­ing. I did get sweaty, so this app could def­i­nitely work in a pinch. —Kam­bri Kretschmer, data an­a­lyst, San An­gelo, TX


an­ Cost: A seven-day free trial op­tion, fol­lowed by $9.99 a month or $99 a year. About: Com­bin­ing work­out op­tions with a meal tracker and recipe builder, this all-in-one app is de­signed to help you move more and eat bet­ter. Cre­ated by fit­ness ex­pert and en­tre­pre­neur An­drea Mar­cel­lus, mini work­outs—which can be done in the of­fice, dur­ing meal prep or even on an air­plane —are of­fered along­side longer, 30- to 45-minute strength and car­dio ses­sions, all led and demo’ed by Mar­cel­lus her­self. Un­like other apps, this one also in­cludes step-by-step recipe videos and gen­er­ates recipe ideas based on in­putting fa­vorite in­gre­di­ents. And if you’re a mom mo­ti­vated by peer pres­sure, the app al­lows you to in­vite up to three friends to take a vir­tual class in real time.

“I loved that I could cus­tom­ize my work­out by the amount of time I had, which, to be hon­est, is usu­ally very lit­tle. The app could be a bit glitchy—it some­times pre­viewed an ex­er­cise that then wouldn’t play, leav­ing me scram­bling. I got a glis­ten by the end of each rou­tine, which proves it made me work, but it prob­a­bly wouldn’t re­place a good barre class for me. The meal-plan­ning as­pect was a plus—I liked the salad recipes I made—but I felt like I was lim­ited by the num­ber of foods I could add to ‘build’ each meal. All in all, though, this is a solid fit­ness app.” —Ugochi Auchin­leck, lawyer, Philadel­phia, PA

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