12 Top Fitness and Wellness Apps for 2014

Still holding onto your New Year's resolution to get fit? These mobile apps will help you stay on track.

12 Top Fitness and Wellness Apps for 2014

Statistically speaking, that New Year's resolution you made to get healthier in 2014 will soon be toast. (Whole wheat, preferably.) Only 41 percent of people who vowed to get fit in 2013 kept their resolution, according to a SessionM survey of some 40,000 mobile device users. Most people only stuck to their new health/fitness regimes for a few weeks.

But you're going to keep your resolution, right? Heck, we're going to make it a little easier for you. What follows are 12 Android and iOS apps designed to make you run, sweat, get buff, eat right and avoid illness.

James A. Martin writes the CIO.com Martin on Mobile Apps blog. Follow him on Twitter @james_a_martin and on Google+.

Fitocracy
Credit: nyul
Fitocracy

Free, with premium option
Android average user rating: 3.6 stars
iOS average user rating: 4.5 stars

Fitocracy turns getting buff into a game — complete with points, leveling up, achievement badges and social pressure. The app connects you to other "Fitocrats" so you can challenge and support each other (as well as compete). You can plan a workout before hitting the gym using the app's many exercise suggestions. When exercising, you use the app's workout tracker to record your reps and activities. Fitocracy is ideal for gym rats and syncs with RunKeeper. A premium version, called a "hero account," costs $45/year and provides weekly activity reports, private messaging with other Fitocrats and more.

Fooducate
Credit: nyul
Fooducate

Free, with premium options
Android: 4.4 stars
iOS: 4.5 stars

As its name implies, Fooducate is designed to educate you about the foods you eat. Its barcode scanner, for example, will call up information about a food, including stuff you wouldn't necessarily learn from the packaging label. Fooducate will also present better options for the specific food item scanned. You can keep track of food consumed, including your own prepared meals.

Worth noting: The free app features advertising, and most of the useful features — such as personalizing your food choices based on such things as controlling cholesterol or carbs — require a premium plan that's $5 for three months or $15 for one year.

HealthyOut
Credit: nyul
HealthyOut

Free
Android: 3.8 stars
iOS: 5 stars

Sticking to a diet when dining out is no picnic. But HealthyOut, a guide to local restaurant dishes, makes it easier. Set your dietary preference — Atkins, heart healthy, glucose control, lactose-free, vegan, even pescetarian — and then search for local restaurant dishes that meet your dietary preferences by type, ingredients, cuisine and more. You can restrict your search by delivery, take-out, or dine-in restaurants. When you select a dish, the app even offers advice on how to make it healthier, such as "request light oil and brown rice." Though the app doesn't provide a nutritional breakdown of dishes, it's still a must-have for dieters who eat out regularly.

Hot5 Fitness
Credit: nyul
Hot5 Fitness

Free
Android: not available
iOS: 4.5 stars

The Hot5 Fitness workout app from Hot5 Inc. features 50 minutes of videos starring both women and men in a variety of programs, including yoga and flexibility, abs and core, cardio, and muscle and strength. You can follow along with pre-set workouts or build your own. The app stores videos on your iPhone or iPod touch, so you can follow along when traveling (and avoid eating into your cellular data plan) or otherwise offline. Hot5 also syncs with MyFitnessPal, which lets you access calories consumed and workout stats across both platforms. Keep in mind some exercises require equipment, such as a yoga mat or stability ball.

The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout
Credit: nyul
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

Free
Android: 4.5 stars
iOS: 4.5 stars

Don't have time to exercise? Sorry, that's no longer an excuse. Johnson & Johnson, the conglomerate behind Band-Aids, Tylenol and Splenda, has an app (through its Wellness & Prevention company) that steps you through a seven-minute, high-intensity aerobic workout using just your body weight, a chair and a wall. (For example, jumping jacks are followed, after a five-second siesta, by wall sits.) The app contains more than 30 minutes of video tutorials and combines a timer with each exercise. There's even some science to back up the claim that an intense, seven-minute workout can produce muscle changes "comparable to … several hours of running or bike riding."

Moves
Credit: nyul
Moves

Free on Android: 4 stars
$3 on iOS: 4 stars

This sleek app tracks walking, cycling and running using your smartphone's GPS and other sensors, such as the M7 motion coprocessor in Apple's iPhone 5s. Your activity is plotted on a map and a timeline, which is cool. The app runs continually in the background; as long as you have your phone with you, you'll get activity stats and estimated calories burned throughout your day, no Fitbit or other dedicated hardware needed. But because it runs constantly and uses GPS, Moves may cause your smartphone battery to need recharging more frequently. A "Battery Saving" feature can reduce the impact, but it makes tracking a little less accurate.

MyFitnessPal
Credit: nyul
MyFitnessPal

Free
Android: 4.7 stars
iOS: 5 stars

Counting calories is tedious. But if you're trying to improve your diet, you need some idea of what you're eating. With MyFitnessPal, the more you use the app, the easier it gets. It's built around a user-contributed database of more than 3 million foods. Enter the ingredients of your favorite smoothie and you'll get a breakdown of calories, fiber, carbs, sugar, cholesterol and so on. You can also save that smoothie as a meal for easy re-entry later. MyFitnessPal syncs with third-party apps and devices such as Fitbit activity trackers. Once you've completed a workout, your MyFitnessPal daily calorie allotment is adjusted based on the estimated calories you burned in your Fitbit workout.

RunKeeper
Credit: nyul
RunKeeper

Free, with premium option
Android: 4.5 stars
iOS: 4.5 stars

Countless apps track your activity via GPS, but RunKeeper ranks among the most full-featured. Need inspiration? The app offers a variety of workout plans based on goals such as "Get Fit" or "Lose Weight." You can create  customized workouts, including time or distance plus desired speed and warm-up/cool-down periods. Unlike many workout apps, you can set the frequency and volume of audio feedback, as well as the audio info you receive, including time, distance and average pace. RunKeeper syncs with numerous heart rate monitors and incorporates their data into your workout stats. For $20 per year, RunKeeper's Elite plan offers advanced reporting, the capability to compare workouts and more.

Sickweather
Credit: nyul
Sickweather

Free
Android: not available
iOS: 4 stars

Next time you hear someone say, "There's something going around," pull out this iOS app and show them on a map exactly what's spreading in your area: Flu, bronchitis, chicken pox, "man flu," norovirus, whooping cough or what-have-you. The app developer says Sickweather scans Facebook and Twitter for reports of illness and then maps those reports (anonymously). You can pinpoint specific maladies or grouped illnesses — respiratory, gastrointestinal, environmental and childhood, for example. You can opt to receive illness alerts, too. Though this is hardly scientific stuff, you can at least get some sense of which maladies are more common in your area.

TempoRun
Credit: nyul
TempoRun

$3
Android: not available
iOS: 4 stars

A killer playlist keeps many runners, hikers and athletes pumped. TempoRun plays DJ for your workout. Once installed, it scans your iPhone or iPod touch music library and then categorizes the tracks, from level 1 to 10, in terms of workout intensity. The app sometimes makes curious choices about intensity levels — in which alternate universe would Diana Krall's "Popsicle Toes" be considered a level 10? — but you can manually assign levels to each song. The app also tracks miles covered, calories burned and pace during each workout. If you have a free SoundCloud account, TempoRun will let you listen to free music during exercise. (Author's note: This feature didn't always work.)

Weight Watchers Simple Start
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Weight Watchers Simple Start

Free (with subscription)
Android: 4.2 stars
iOS: 4 stars

The venerable Weight Watchers program goes high tech with an app that provide two weeks of meals designed to help you jumpstart weight loss. The meals take some guesswork out of planning a diet and aren't as taste-deprived as you might assume (how about a burger with oven-baked fries for lunch?). The app makes it easy to track meals and snacks consumed, too.

Caveat: You need a Weight Watchers eTools account or online subscription to use the app. An eTools account is for active Weight Watcher meeting members, while an online subscription is available for $65 for three months or $19 per month with a $30 one-time sign-up fee.

Zombies, Run!
Credit: nyul
Zombies, Run!

$3
Android: 4.3 stars
iOS: 3.5 stars

Need a reason to run? How about hungry zombies on the hunt for fresh brains? That's the general idea behind Six to Start's Zombies, Run! The app is part "zombie apocalypse" game, part fitness app, in which the undead motivate you to run for your life — and health. You're the hero in the story, on a mission to save the world from total zombification, stopping here and there on your run to "recover supplies." Updates to the zombie massacre are interspersed with your playlist tracks. You can share workouts with Zombies, Run! friends through the (free) ZombieLink service or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also check stats and achievements through Zombielink.