Train with tireless virtual coaches

Getting from flabby to fit need not cost hundreds of dollars in gym membership fees. With fitness apps, that mobile device in your hand can double as a personal fitness trainer.

Fitness apps have been around, even before most smartphones made their debut.

If you owned an Apple iPod, you may remember the Nike+iPod app that was a pre-installed feature on Apple's digital music players in 2006, a year before the very first Apple iPhone was launched.

Get-fit apps remain popular today and, chances are, you are already using some of the most downloaded ones.

But there is no need to limit yourself to chart-toppers such as My Fitness Pal, Nike+ Running and RunKeeper.

Many fitness apps are little more than digital workout diaries, but the five offered here work like tireless virtual coaches. They are ideal if you need an exercise companion or a helping hand.

Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout

Free (Android and iOS) 

Great for people who find visits to the gym too time consuming, this app promises to help you burn calories in as little as seven minutes.

Packed with 13 workouts of varying difficulty levels, this app will suit anyone, from barely beginner to absolute athlete. Besides the titular seven-minute workout, you will find programmes for core training, strength building and sports conditioning.

You can even design your own by compiling a personalised combo of the app's 36 exercises.

Beautifully designed, the app has a Smart Workout mode that will automatically generate an exercise programme tailored to your fitness level.

None of the exercises requires special equipment, just empty floor space, a wall and a chair. Each routine has its own professional demo video and voice instructions so you can watch and perform each move correctly.

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