Stay fit at uni (and beyond) with the best free fitness apps for students

Keep healthy without breaking the bank

woman stretching with Peloton TV app
(Image credit: Peloton)

Staying fit while studying at university can be a real challenge when you’re skint - and that’s before you factor in the continuing cost of living crisis.

Indeed, a recent survey has revealed that 47 per cent of 18-24-year-olds have given up gym memberships they can’t afford (the highest of all age groups), even though this age group is more likely to go to the gym in the first place!

It’s a sad situation, especially when you consider the fact that exercise is scientifically proven to help reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and lift low mood – all vital when you’re facing exam pressures, dealing with annoying housemates, or missing loved ones - while keeping your body fit, strong and healthy. 

But don’t worry! In honour of T3’s Back to Class month, we’ve rounded up some of the most cost-effective virtual workouts around so you don’t have to choose to buy one of the best laptops over looking after your health.

1. Peloton

In a bid to make their world class-content more inclusive, Peloton recently launched the new Peloton Free app, where you can gain access to a rotating set of more than 50 classes curated across 11 of Pelton’s disciplines - from strength training, cardio and Pilates to yoga, meditation and outdoor running - without paying a thing. In a nice touch, you don’t have to enter any credit card details to sign up, and you’ll also be able to track your workouts and follow non-video-based, step-by-step workout plans built by the brand’s elite instructors to help you meet your goals.

Fiit Marathon Prep

(Image credit: Fiit)


Leading workout app FiiT made access to its scheduled Group Classes completely free earlier this year, including those not on a paying subscription. Without entering your payment details, you can book into any of the 44 classes running every day at peak times, morning, noon and night, covering everything from Kettlebells and Metcon to Core work and Strength for Runners. 

3. Freeletics

Top global fitness app Freeletics specialises in harnessing the power of AI and the expertise of human scientists to generate the best workout plan for you. As you’d expect, receiving hyper-personalised workout plans will cost you, but the good news is you can get access to many of its top signature workouts for nothing, as well as a library of single exercises, runs, and audio sessions. Simply download the app for free and visit the Coach tab, then go onto the current day and tap on ‘Explore all’ to get started.

WithU app screenshot

(Image credit: WithU)

4. WithU

The No1 audio fitness app WithU now offers a range of its audio-led workouts free of charge for you to enjoy at home, in the gym, or outdoors. Guided by world-renowned coaches, these inspiring workouts will help you stay motivated and on track whether you’re sweating, sprinting or stretching – you just need the best running headphones to take advantage! 

Runners will also be happy to hear that WithU have partnered with Parkrun to develop a collection of personalised audio sessions and programmes for parkrunners of all abilities, whether you’re just starting out and looking to complete your first 5k or a seasoned pro looking to cross the finish line in record time. 

5. AllTrails

If you love exploring the great outdoors, you need the AllTrails app on your phone. This global trail map app is the most trusted and used outdoor platform in the world, offering hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners access to over 400,000 hand-curated trail maps via its community of more than 55 million users. 

Free of charge, it has a filter feature to help you sort trails by type of activity, length, experience level and distance from your current location, and the app acts as an activity tracker where you can record your experiences and save photos. Simply enter your location, find your nearest trail, and you’re off!

6. Ultimate performance

Train like the stars for a fraction of the cost with Ultimate Performance and their video-based app, UP On Demand. It offers two progressive 18-week Strength & Conditioning programs – one for men and one for women – all based on the real training sessions UP has built its global ‘body transformation’ reputation on.

While this app isn’t free, access costs just £2.99 (approx. $3.81/ AU$ 5.94) a month, which is a total bargain considering it would set you back £1,700 to train with UP’s expert PTs in person. Plus, you can access a no-equipment 18-week cardio program designed to burn fat and complement your strength training. Perfect for strength training fans and newbies alike, each move is expertly demonstrated in detail so you can hone your technique and get amazing results. 

Joanna Ebsworth

Jo has been obsessed with writing and fitness since her teenage years and spent all her pocket money on magazines and workout VHS tapes. When ITV cancelled Gladiators – causing her dreams of becoming the next ‘Jet’ to crash and burn - she decided to combine her passions and become a fitness writer instead. A qualified PT and author of several fitness guides, she has spent the last 15 years writing for many of the UK’s most respected newspapers, magazines, and online publications. When she’s not interviewing celebrities and athletes or testing fit kit, she can be found watching YouTube breakdowns of the latest MCU releases.