We all seem to use our smartphones as daily planners, diaries, grocery list, and little black books. One thing that you might not of realized is your smart phone can be your trainer as well.
No need for a paper food journal, books and videos on fitness and health food. Your phone has it all! Check out some of the great apps to help you reach your fitness and health goals.
(Most of the apps or free, or have free versions, though there are ‘pro’ versions of the app you can purchase for additional services/features)
Argus– If spending a hundred bucks (or more) on a Fitbit One, Jawbone UP, or Nike+ FuelBand isn’t your thing, you might try the Argus app. It tracks your activity directly through your iPhone rather than a separately purchased device. As long as you carry your phone all day long, Argus will watch your movements. You can also log other workouts, keep an eye on how much water you drink, and take photos of your food to inspire yourself to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Be aware that Argus can drain your battery quickly, though.
CycleMeter – Bicycle tracking app Cyclemeter (for iOS only) collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well thought out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, but it is packed with data about your biking outings.
Hot5 – From abs and core to yoga and flexibility and everything in between, Hot5 contains pages and pages of 5-minute video workouts that are super easy to follow. You can find video workouts of all varieties and difficulty levels that will work you out with only five moves. The interface is also beautifully designed and user friendly. It is to the point and clear cut, saving you time by skipping the personal questionnaires and sign-up lag. I also love that this app can be used as an add-on to your fitness routine or as your entire workout. If you want to do 5-minute abs after a run, Hot5 is for you. If you want to do a full body workout, mix and match from their plethora of videos. This pick and choose system is great for beginners and fitness gurus alike.
Zombies Run! – This is one of the most creative apps out there. Put your headphones on, press start, and start running. And that’s when you’ll hear them…ZOMBIES! This app is a running game and audio adventure, co-created with award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. As you run, dodge zombies and follow orders from the voice recordings. Before you know it, you’ve just completed a successful run.
GymPact – We all need a little motivation when it comes to working out, and GymPact is the perfect way to get inspired. How does it work? Make a commitment to work out a certain number of times a week. Choose the amount of money you are willing to risk if you don’t reach your goal. If you don’t achieve your goal? Your credit card gets charged. Achieve your goal? You get paid! The days of being paid to work out have finally come!
Couch to 5k – Get the support and motivation you need to start your journey and finish a 5K. Train for 30 minutes a day, three days a week, in nine weeks. Utilize various training tools, music-sync programs and virtual coaching to run 3.1 miles.
DigiFit iCardio – If you want real hard stats about your workouts, accelerometers and GPS aren’t enough. You need a heart rate monitor… and an app that can access the information it collects. One option is the Digifit iCardio app for iPhone and Android. You can pair it with any supported heart rate monitor to track your runs, bicycle rides, and other workouts. It records heart rate, of course, but also distance, time, and pace. All the components needed to track heart rate can add up, so plan to spend somewhere in the $50 to $100 range to get full use of this app.
FitBit – I came to know the Fitbit system through testing the company’s activity trackers, like the Fitbit Force and Fitbit Flex, but you don’t necessarily need a tracker to use parts of the mobile app and website. Without a tracker, you can use the Fitbit app and website to count calories, log your weight, and record other health information, such as your blood pressure and glucose levels. If you do own a Fitbit, however, you can upload the data it collects to the mobile app through Bluetooth.
Endomondo Sports Tracker – Endomondo focuses on the community aspects of staying motivated to reach your fitness activity goals. The app uses GPS features on your phones to track running, cycling, jogging, skating, dancing—whatever. Endomondo can track numerous activities. Then you share your progress with friends by connecting Endomonodo to other online social accounts, such as Facebook. The app also can connect to some supported fitness devices, such as Garmin sports watches.
RunKeeper – RunKeeper has been around for a while, but it’s still one of the greatest fitness apps out there. RunKeeper allows you to track your runs, walks, or bike rides by using the GPS system in your phone. You can view your detailed stats on its easy-to-use layout, and also track your progress over time. RunKeeper even allows you to connect with your friends so others can track your achievements and goals. My favorite feature on this app is the audio cue option. RunKeeper provides real-time coaching by giving you audible updates on your pace, time, distance, and more.
Obstacles XRT – Say goodbye to boring sit-ups and treadmill runs. With Obstacles XRT, you can jump over tires, escape quicksand, and crawl under fences. All in the comfort of your own home—no equipment needed. Obstacles XRT uses plyometrics and HIIT training to get your blood flowing and fat burning. Get ready for an extreme workout.
Fitocracy – Fitocracy uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out. Fitocracy helps you track your various workouts, but more importantly, encourages social interaction among its users. Post a status, whether it’s your success story of going to the gym or the reason you skipped a workout, and you’re likely to find a wealth of support from the community. It also has plentiful resources for all kinds of fitness enthusiasts, from weightlifters to swimmers.
P90X – The interactive features in the P90X app make it fun and easy to stay motivated. Push through any plateaus, track your reps, manage your weight, and watch your body transform into a lean machine. The app now includes P90X2, providing a continuous challenge that allows you to take your fitness to new levels.
Pocket Yoga – Practice yoga any where and any time with Pocket Yoga. Gaia Flow Yoga created unique and creative flows to help you maintain your practice. It’s perfect for all ages, gender and skill level.
Abs Workout – Break away from boring ab workouts. This four-week training program helps you stay on track and develop a lean six-pack. Take the exercise videos to the gym, or at home to get a solid workout in. It’s easy to use and keeps you challenged.
Map My Fitness – The company that makes the Map My Run app for runners also makes a slew of similar apps for different sports, such as Map My Ride for cyclists and the more general purpose Map My Fitness. Although it might sound like Map My Fitness will give you the widest range of supported activities, really all the apps have settings that let you track different sports and workouts. In other words, you only need to download one of the apps, and you can use it for almost any activity (Map My Fitness has more than 600 activities). But beware: The free app keeps some of its features behind a subscription pay wall, starting at $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year. As with most fitness apps for running, walking, cycling, etc., Map My Fitness uses GPS to track the routes you travel, and shows you a map of the ground you covered when you’re done. It also displays length, in both time and distance, as well as pace, maximum speed, and a few other statistics.
Nike+ – The Nike+ Running app, which is available on iPhone and Android phones, tracks your distance, pace, time, and calories burned while you run. It uses GPS to map your route and has audio feedback built in—including real-time cheering every time one of your friends from Facebook or Path (a private social network) “likes” the post where you’ve noted you’re going out for a run. If you have a Nike+ FuelBand SE, the app integrates well with it.
Lose It! – The free website and app Lose It!, designed for counting calories and logging exercise, can help you lose weight, especially if you tend to eat name-brand American foods. Lose It!, which has been around for years, has an incredibly strong community of supportive people to help you stick to your goals. Lose It! is compatible with a long list of other fitness devices and apps, including Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit devices, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness, and Jawbone UP.
Runtastic Pro – Runtastic PRO lets you measure and track your runs, walks, and other exercises, but it also doubles as a coaching app to motivate you to keep working toward your goals. You can use it to train for races, too. The $4.99 Pro version is worthwhile, because the free app lacks (and tries to sell to you through in-app purchases) many of the features that are central to the experience, such as the coaching features, voice feedback, and music player integration.
Weight Watchers Mobile – Without a Weight Watchers membership, you can’t really use the Weight Watchers Mobile app, but members will love how it helps them keep track of the foods they eat and tally up their “points” (allotted calories) for the day and week. The app has a built-in scanner that lets you find information about packaged foods instantly. More Weight Watchers resources are tucked into this app as well, all designed to keep you on the plan.