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10 fitness apps to keep you on track

Group fitness classes and personal training sessions are a great way to get results and stay motivated. But sometimes, they don't work with busy schedules, or they're just too crowded, expensive or uncomfortable.

Luckily, technology has provided some much-needed alternatives in recent years, making it simpler for people to eat and exercise right on their own time and turf.

A variety of health and fitness apps are now available, bringing trainers and exercise routines straight to smart devices and making workouts more fun and diverse than ever. Most of them allow users to track their progress over time, and some also are capable of syncing online, with other apps like Apple HealthKit or with Apple Watch. The prices of the apps range from free to a few dollars to a monthly membership.

Here are 10 apps worth trying. They might even help you reach your 2016 fitness goals.

MyFitnessPal

How it works: Set your goal weight and how fast you want to get there, and the app tells you how many calories you need to consume daily. Then, record your exercise, food and water intake, and weight in the journal. More than 5 million foods are stored in the database, but you can also input your own.

App formats: Apple, Android and Windows

Cost: Free

Information: www.myfitnesspal.com

Pact

How it works: Pact turns your exercise and diet into a friendly bet. Set goals for your workouts, mealtimes, and/or vegetable and fruit intake, and make cash wagers (generally 30 cents to $5 per week). You pay other users if you fail, but they pay you if you succeed.

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: Free

Information: www.pactapp.com

Motion Traxx

How it works: Experienced trainers lead you in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises on equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing machine or stair climber. The music soundtrack adapts to the pace of your movements.

What you need: Cardio machines

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: $4.99 monthly or $34.99 for a year. Get the first session free, and four more on the house when you register.

Information: www.motiontraxx.com

Fitnet

How it works: Certified trainers lead you in five- and seven-minute workouts tailored to your fitness level. The library includes more than 200 exercise videos. Fitnet uses your phone's camera to follow and critique your movements.

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: Free

Information: www.fit.net

7-Minute Workout

How it works: Get in a quick but effective workout with this straightforward app. It features 12 high-intensity, 30-second exercises with 10 seconds of rest in between. The app tells you when to start and stop each exercise and what's up next, and provides videos and text instructions for each movement.

What you need: A chair for step-ups and dips

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: The main workout is free, but you can unlock alternative workouts for 99 cents extra.

Information: www.wahoofitness.com/sevenminuteworkout

Superhero Workout

How it works: You pretend you're a superhero on a mission to save the world, and you've got 12 workouts and more than 40 bodyweight exercises to help you do it. Your phone's front-facing camera keeps track of your reps and calories.

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: $2.99

Information: www.superheroworkoutgame.com

Strava Running and Cycling GPS

How it works: This running or cycling companion app makes it easy to track your routes, times and distances and offers challenges that will earn you special badges. You can connect with other athletes and share results and photos from your runs and rides.

What you need: Bicycle if cycling is your primary sport

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: Free

Information: www.strava.com

CycleCast

How it works: Select your instructor and class length (20, 45 or 60 minutes) and pedal through a one-on-one cycling class. Fast-paced playlists accompany the workouts, and explanations are given for adjusting your bike and tackling the moves properly.

What you need: Indoor bicycle

App formats: Apple

Cost: $9.99 monthly or $89.99 for a year. Free 30-day trial.

Information: www.cyclecast.com

Zombies, Run!

How it works: This app turns running into a game. You're a survivor in the zombie apocalypse trying to get to one of the last human bases. As you run, you're given instructions about your mission and incoming obstacles, while your music plays in the background.

App formats: Apple and Android

Cost: Free

Information: www.zombiesrungame.com

Runtastic Six Pack

How it works: More than 50 workout videos are provided that focus on abs, core strength and overall fitness, with music playlists to accompany them. Follow a personal trainer avatar, pick an exercise plan and check out daily tips.

What you need: Exercise mat (optional)

App formats: Apple, Android and Windows

Cost: Free

Information: www.runtastic.com/sixpack

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