The 4 Fitness Apps That Also Prioritize Your Mental Health

Most fitness apps focus on burning calories, losing weight, and other aesthetic body goals. Although these motivations might suit some, they can encourage a toxic mindset in others.

There are ways you can enjoy exercise without feeling pressured to lose weight, however; fitness apps are evolving to include mental well-being features in their programs while reducing the potentially harmful focus on body image. This is great news if you want to improve your fitness while protecting your mental health.

Forget the scales and lose the measuring tape—here are four fitness apps you can use that also prioritize your mental health.

1. We Are Capable

Created by body image and fitness coach, Adriana Blanc, We Are Capable is a fitness app that aims to help users develop a more compassionate relationship with exercise. The app was designed for anyone who may have experienced a tricky relationship with exercise, food, or their body and wants to enjoy fitness in a mentally healthy way.

The foundations of the We Are Capable app focuses on improving your relationship with exercise alongside strength training. It’s ideal if you’ve tried resistance training already and want to add structure to your workouts while prioritizing your mental health. (You can also learn how to do effective strength training with calisthenics apps).

We Are Capable can help you look after your mental health within a fitness space in the following ways:

  • Work out without self-criticism. We Are Capable avoids any language that might focus on aesthetic outcomes of exercise and diet, making it a safe space for anyone who’s struggled with disordered eating or negative body image in the past.
  • Focus on improving physical ability, not aesthetics. The We Are Capable workouts are designed to help you improve your physical ability and strength rather than achieve a particular aesthetic goal.
  • Practice self-compassion. The main goal of the app is to help users develop self-compassion through accessible exercises.

If you want to neutralize an unhealthy relationship with exercise and receive guided strength training exercises and monthly programs, this is the app for you.

Download: We Are Capable for Android | iOS (Free, subscription or premium version available)

2. Alive by Whitney Simmons

Created by Gymshark ambassador and mental health advocate Whitney Simmons, Alive is both a fitness and wellness app. It’s aimed at women who want to “shape the best versions of themselves mentally and physically”. If Alive is one of those workout apps you’ve seen advertised on Instagram and wondered if it’s worth downloading, you’ll be happy to hear that it is.

Although known primarily as a fitness influencer, Whitney Simmons has spoken openly and frequently about her struggles with depression and mental health. Her mantra “it’s a beautiful day to be alive” is the backbone of the Alive app.

You can choose from two main workout programs: Alive at Home (strength training for at home), and Alive Inside (HIIT workouts). Alongside the 12 different workout programs and 100 exercises to pick from—all of which have video demonstrations—Alive also offers users the opportunity to prioritize their mental health with the following features:

  • Journaling. Alive offers a journal feature where you can record your progress as well as how you feel. Journaling is a proven way to support your mental health and can help you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with difficult feelings.
  • Fitness and well-being challenges. If you opt in to follow a challenge, you’ll be encouraged to focus on your mental health as well as your fitness. Alongside daily workouts, you’ll receive well-being prompts that focus on gratitude, such as taking time to focus on three things you’re most grateful for at that moment.
  • Join the community. The Alive by Whitney Facebook Group community brings together users of the app, which can help give you an all-important sense of belonging.

The Alive app is ideal if you’re looking for a variety of structured workout plans along with reminders to check in with your mental health regularly.

Download: Alive by Whitney Simmons for Android | iOS (Free, subscription or premium version available)

3. Give Me Strength

Give Me Strength aims to provide a safe tool for users to improve their fitness while supporting their well-being. Created by personal trainer and blogger Alice Liveing, this fitness app encourages you to learn more about training, nutrition, recovery, and other wellness aspects of your fitness journey.

You can choose between home and gym workouts, set your experience level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), and pick a workout goal that suits your needs best. Give Me Strength helps you to prioritize your mental well-being through the following features:

  • Choice of workout programs. If you want to improve your fitness without aesthetic goals (i.e. avoiding “fat loss”), then the Energize program is your best bet. This focuses on boosting your energy and improving your flexibility. There is also a Pre-/Post-Natal program to strengthen your body as a new or expectant mother.
  • Avoid tracking body measurements. The app allows you to track your weight, body measurements, and meal macros. These can be completely avoided if you’d prefer not to focus on aesthetic changes. Simply tap I’d prefer not to track during setup to turn this feature off.
  • Educate yourself to feel empowered. Give Me Strength includes educational articles on health topics as well as nutritious recipes to try. Learning how to improve your overall health can boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of empowerment.

It’s worth noting that while you can’t skip entering your weight during setup, you can enter an arbitrary figure to bypass any triggers (inputting 1 kg as your weight works, for example). Putting a random number in for your weight won’t affect your experience of using the app, but it can protect your mental health.

You can find nutritious and “non-restrictive” recipes under the Nutrition tab and track your menstrual cycle to further support your fitness experience with Give Me Strength.

Download: Give Me Strength for Android | iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)

4. Feel Better by Deliciously Ella

Famous for her wellness blog Delicious Ella, Ella Mills also has an app that combines healthy recipes with over 300 at-home workouts along with a host of mental well-being features.

Rather than focusing on weight loss or body image, Feel Better is about improving how you feel through exercise, nutritious recipes, and mindfulness. The app encourages you to prioritize your mental health in several ways:

  • Reduce stress. The mindfulness features (including meditation and breathing exercises) can help you relax, feel calmer, and reduce stress.
  • Feel more in control. The simple and easy-to-follow meal plans and recipes featured within the app are based on whole foods. These provide a healthy and accessible way of improving your diet, which can help improve your self-esteem and sense of control over your diet.
  • Connect with others. Feel Better includes a community feature where you can connect with other users and feel a sense of belonging.
  • Boost your motivation. The home workouts featured in the app are easy to follow and can be done in the privacy of your home.

As well as following exercise programs from yoga and Pilates to barre and cardio, you can sign up for wellness plans. These programs include a nutritionally-balanced meal plan, daily movement classes, daily mindfulness practices, and relaxing sleep sounds to give all-around support for your mental health.

Download: Feel Better for Android | iOS (Free, subscription or premium version available)

You Can Improve Your Fitness and Look After Your Mental Health

Looking after your mental health and your fitness aren’t independent practices—you can focus on supporting both at the same time. Good mental well-being is crucial for your physical health as well as your productivity, emotions, and general quality of life. By using one of the above fitness apps, you can improve your physical and mental health simultaneously.

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