Five Gadgets and Apps to Hack Your Way to the Gym

Keep your body in shape at the gym using these five gadgets and apps. REUTERS/Stringer

So how's your New Year's resolution about going to the gym working out so far? It's more than three weeks into 2016, and that newfound hope of getting in shape must seem so far away to many people. It can be a battle not only to go to the gym but also to make sure you know what to do while there.

These are the times that try men's (and women's) souls in the weight room or on the treadmill, but we have the technology to help you out. Here are five wearables and smartphone apps—all at $50 or less!—to help you reach your goals.

Garmin Vivofit ($50)

There are a million and one wearables out there seemingly selling you the same thing. From the ridiculously cheap Misfit Flash—selling on Amazon for $26—to the Apple Watch at $399, all these watches and wristbands track sleep, calories and heartbeats. So many choices can give you a headache when you're just trying to make going to the gym a little more palatable.

The Garmin Vivofit is the best fitness tracking wearable on the market—for its price. The main selling points are that it's waterproof (then again, so is Fitbit and other wearables) and its incredible battery life. For the latter, the Vivofit uses two watch batteries and can last for an entire year. The Vivofit is not there to wow you or anyone at the gym, but it will get the job done in motivating you to get there. Every morning, the Vivofit will set up personalized goals to accomplish, which is a pretty smart idea for a smart gadget.

Ankovo Wireless Headphones ($30)

Bringing a tethered headphone to the gym can be a real pain. Headphones often won't stay by your ears as you run on the treadmill or do sit-ups. While some people prefer the silence and convenience of working out without music, others need music to keep their minds focused.

As is the case with wearables, there are a myriad of wireless headphones available. We chose Ankovo wireless headphones because of their light weight and necklace-like strap that keeps them from falling out. The headphones run on Bluetooth, and Amazon reviewers have commented that the sound quality is good to excellent.

RIF6 Mini Tripod for Smartphones ($10)

For those who lift weights, form is everything. Bad form can mean muscle injuries. A common way weight lifters are correcting their form is by using their smartphones to shoot videos of themselves doing squats or bench presses and uploading them to online fitness forums.

Instead of having your friend—or worse, a stranger—hold a smartphone to record, simply attach this RIF6 mini tripod onto a side of the machine, place your smartphone at an angle to capture you working out, and record. It's an unconventional gym hack, but it can pay huge dividends when you're practicing correct lifting form.

Zombies, Run! (free)

If you have a competitive streak, going for a run alone or with your best friend may not be enough to generate motivation. Zombies, Run! is a fun, immersive game that lets you get your sweat going by running away from zombies. Through voice commands via headphones, the commander will tell you to stop or run faster.

This app has been around since 2012, making it ancient for a smartphone application. A new version was released last October, so there is no need to worry about playing an archaic fitness game.

5X5 StrongLifts (free)

Another free smartphone application, 5X5 StrongLifts is a tracking app that revolves around its eponymous workout. The entirety of the 5X5 StrongLifts workout is to do five sets of five repetitions for three different kinds of exercises. It's a simple formula and has attracted many beginning lifters.

5X5 StrongLifts lets you set a timer during the breaks in between sets and allows adjustments in adding weights to future workouts. It's incredibly simple to use and minimalist in design, and it costs nothing. That's as ideal as a workout app can get.