Top Fitness Apps
What makes mobile apps such good fitness and health companions is that we typically have them with us at all times. Fitness apps really have revolutionized the ways in which we keep an eye on our health and stay fit. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, work out more often, or just increase your total amount of daily movement, an app that’s always with you and always connected to a network of supportive people can do wonders.
Smartphones put vast amounts of information at our fingertips, from precise calorie calculations to GPS services that can figure out exactly how much ground we covered on a long run. More than that, the sheer act of picking up your smartphone multiple times a day and launching an app that tracks your food intake or total exercise can serve as a reminder to stay the course.
Some people find motivation from their competitive edge, and indeed, there are some apps that tap into your winner’s mentality to spur you on. Other apps focus more on community support. Some apps let you maintain total privacy, if you prefer to keep your fitness goals and progress to yourself.
Some of the apps highlighted here are posed as tracking tools, in which you log your workouts or calories eaten, while others automate the tracking for you while you’re working out. Some are coaching apps that march you through a fitness routine, and others are a combination of all these things. Most of these apps can pair with an activity tracker to further help you keep an eye on your total fitness. Most important of all, the best fitness apps let you set your own goals and maintain a pace that’s right for you.
The 99-cent iPhone app CountEat. Calories (for iOS only) helps you estimate, rather than count, how many calories you consume at each meal, and helps you find a range, rather than a precise target, for how much you should eat. The innovative approach is worth a try for anyone trying to lose a lot of weight, but too imprecise for dropping two or three pounds.
Available on: iOS
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. All this adds up to an Editors’ Choice among fitness apps. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, however.
Available on: iOS
Fitocracy uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out. The apps and website feature social interaction prominently. 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.
Available on: Android, iOS, and Web.
The mobile app Calorie Tracker (a.k.a. MyPlate) – is another calorie and exercise logging tool. It requires more work than others in its class, but it manages to get the job done.
Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web.
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. Avid home cooks and those with a more international diet may feel stymied by its database of foods, and they should try MyFitnessPal instead. Lose It! does have a strong community of supportive people to help you stick to your goals, though.
Available on: Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook, and Web.
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[[COMMERCE]], the app integrates well with it.
Available on: iPhone, Android