Health Blog

Which Fitness App is Best?

There are over 300,000 fitness apps available for download for your Apple and Android devices. With that many apps, how do you know which one is right for you? Two of our Bellevue physical therapists, John Bernhardt and Josh Setterbo, did some research and reviewed four fitness apps, Shred Fitness, Down Dog Yoga App, Nike Training and Clock Yourself, to help make your decision a little easier.


Cost: Free (with subscription feature)

  • Monthly Subscription $12.99
  • Free Trial Monthly $12.99
  • Free Trial Yearly $99.99
  • SHRED UNLIMITED $99.99, $59.99 or $12.99

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Platform: iOS and Android

General Overview:

Shred is a fitness app for iPhone and Android users with a target audience of gym goers, as well as people exercising at home. There is a very customizable platform, which allows you to select the type of work-out that you are looking to do, how long you want to do it, and what equipment you have available. Shred will make a recommendation on the body groups that you will train or exercise during each session. You still have the flexibility to change the muscle group or type of exercises that you perform.


Below is an example of a round of the mini (20 minute) workout using dumbbells:


Tracking and Customization:

One aspect of the app that I really thought was beneficial was the ability to log and track the amount of weight that you used for a particular exercise. When you enter the weight, it also gives you a rating scale from too easy to just right to too hard, so you can make appropriate adjustments the next time you do that particular exercise. Within each exercise you can select alternate exercises if you don’t have the appropriate equipment or if the movement is too challenging for you. There are video demonstrations with each movement and written instruction to go along with it.


Mindset and Motivation:

The app has also recently added new features to facilitate motivation and help with mindset when you are training. The motivation feature includes inspirational tracks from successful personalities including Will Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Rogan, Matthew McConaughey and many others. These can be uplifting tracks that you listen to while warming up, stretching, or any other time that you are not even exercising.


Social Connection and Music:

The Shred app also is a feature in which you can cheer on other app users and in turn, they can cheer you on. You can synchronize workouts with buddies to hold you accountable. The app also offers curated playlists with different musical genres, so you are likely to find something that you like. You don’t have to fumble around with a separate music app if you don’t want to, but they allow you to seamlessly integrate iTunes or Spotify into the app so you can control from the Shred app.



  • Customization – pick what’s right for you. This is the app’s greatest strength as you are able to choose your setting, your equipment, and your body parts to be exercised.
  • Tracking – you can track the number of times you worked out, what body regions, adding non-Shred workouts, weight and reps performed, rating of difficulty. It’s like your built-in journal to log your training session.
  • Useful added features for Mindset, Motivation, and Music


  • Target audience is mostly geared towards intermediate to advanced exercises. May not be the best for people with no prior gym or weight-lifting experience. Check with your health provider for advice to see if this is right for you.
  • Foul-language motivation (optional) – Not a problem for me, but others may find it offensive. It’s like a tough coach that you may have had in sports in your youth.
  • Social feature – they have a feature that allows you to share your progress on social media platforms. Since I am not a person who excessively uses social media or sees the benefits of that type of interaction, I feel like the app would be just fine without it.



Cost: Free (Premium was previously $14.99/mo)
Experience level: Beginner-Advanced
Platform: Requires iOS 12.0 and watchOS 4.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.General Overview:
Nike has designed a workout app that specializes in quick, convenient workouts using whatever equipment and space you have available at home. Right now, both the basic and premium version of the app is free. There are over 350 workouts ranging from strength, endurance, yoga, and mobility training. The premium workouts are studio style streaming workouts with specific Nike trainers.



  • Quick workouts that are convenient for any space available at home
  • Heavily focused on high intensity burst exercises to improve power
  • Offers yoga and mobility training for the ‘off’ days of your workouts or generalized stiffness
  • The premium version provides a topical health and wellness education section on training, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness and recovery
  • The premium version offers a variety of pre-made workout programs led by the Nike trainers that span 4-6 weeks and range in intensity


  • Primarily time-based exercises, which require internal motivation to achieve maximum repetitions
  • No alternate options for exercises that might be too challenging
  • No ability to log personal data after doing a program for things like amount of weights used or number of repetitions with each exercise



Cost: Free for the basic version. Fees apply for additional pro membership access.
Experience level: Beginner-Advanced
Platform: Requires iOS 9.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.General Overview:
This app is free and is solely a yoga-based exercise app. It offers several different types of yoga practice sequences including: Vinyasa, Hatha, Gentle, Restorative, Yin, Ashtanga, Chair, and Sun Salutations. You are able to customize length of practice, levels of experience, and body region of focus. 


  • Narrator guided routines with someone modeling the exercises
  • Customizable routines based off of style, body region, duration, intensity and experience level
  • Warm up and cool down periods for mindful meditation portion
  • Music that rises and falls with your breathing
  • Download a practice for offline use and take it with you anywhere! Practice in your living room, in a hotel, or on the beach.
  • Available in nine different languages


  • Currently there is no way of recording how you performed with each session to log progress
  • The data tracking only shows which dates you performed the exercises, and does not provide any qualitative data tracking (i.e. ability to track balance or strength gains)



Cost: Free
Experience level: Beginner-Advanced
Platform: Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.General Overview:
This balance training app is designed by Australian Physiotherapist, Meg Lowry. The exercises challenge your body and brain to expedite the neuroplasticity in people with balance deficits. You start by standing in the center of an imaginary circle and tap your feet, body or hop onto imaginary objects at a pre-set frequency. The concept was created for patients in neurological rehabilitation, and can be modified to challenge even the most coordinated athletes. You can increase the speed, number of body parts involved in the movement, and the intellectual demands of the exercises to meet your skill level.



  • Extremely convenient for home setting. The only equipment you’ll need is enough flat floor space for a 3-5 foot diameter circle
  • Can be modified to your specific skill level from advanced athletic training to basic balance training in the neuro-compromised populations
  • Uses volitional step training, which has been researched to improve the speed of reaction times during loss of balance to prevent falls
  • Number of steps and duration are logged after each exercise and put into a categorized spreadsheet based off the type and frequency of steps you choose for each session


  • No way of determining quality of performance or accuracy of your steps. The activity log is only based off of what frequency you choose at the beginning of the session
  • Relies heavily on vision and hearing to perform the exercises, which can be a challenge for people with poor vision looking on a small iphone screen
  • For those with balance deficits, I highly recommend that you consult your physical therapist when first learning the program

Whatever app you ultimately choose, we hope that it helps you reach your fitness or rehabilitation goals. If you need some help along the way, please don’t hesitate to contact your local MTI Physical Therapy clinic to schedule an appointment.

John Bernhardt, PT, DPT (right) is a Doctor of Physical Therapy pursuing his Fellowship in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. He is passionate about helping others improve their daily life experiences and get over pain as he has had many sports-related injuries himself. He loves the outdoors, lawn games, working out and seeking adventure of any kind. In his free time, you can find him making his way to the next highest Washington peak, cycling along the Burke Gillman Trail or enjoying the company of his friends and family.

Josh Setterbo, PT, DPT, (left) is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who enjoys sports, fitness and nutrition. He enjoys working with clients who may have had similar experiences with athletic injuries and want to return to their given sport with confidence. In his free time, you will find him working on one of the many construction projects at home. There is always something that can be improved upon with the body or the home.

They both treat patients at MTI Physical Therapy’s Bellevue Clinic. You can contact them directly at or

Tags: , ,