Like many American’s after the turn of a new year, I’ve been hitting the gym hard-core this month. Actually, I feel that my chances of success are higher because I started hitting the gym hard-core before the new year (no failed New Year’s resolutions for me, thank you very much) and I’ve armed myself with several apps on my iPhone to help me through it.
I should preface this by saying that I was never the most in-shape person in this solar system (this was evidenced by me whining through and not even completing one spinning class), so these apps serve as much-needed inspiration and a major productivity boost for effective workouts.
Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I started training for a 5k. I went through many 5k apps and running tracker apps before finally finding the ones that work for me. I’ve also thrown in a few apps that just make working out and tracking your health a little more fun.
I love downloading music from iTunes as much as the next person, but the cost can really start to add up after a while. iHeartRadio not only allows me to listen to local radio stations, but I can listen to any Clear Channel station across the country that is available on iHeartRadio. But wait there’s more! My favorite part about this app is the ability to create your own radio stations. Simply enter an artist or song and iHeartRadio creates an endless stream of music based on your request. Don’t like a particular song? No problem. Just skip it or give it the “thumbs down” and iHeartRadio will remember that and play less of the music you don’t like, and more of the music you do like.
This app makes for a free and different playlist every time.
Nike+ GPS; $1.99
Before shelling out the money for this app, I decided to try the highly rated, free version of the iMapMyRUN app. The problem though? This app didn’t recognize my runs on the indoor track at my gym. I gave it an honest try, but after two runs that weren’t tracked, I saw an article highlighting the top fitness apps and Nike+ was at the top of the list. I don’t have the sensor in my shoe or around my wrist, but the app works perfectly for detailing my mileage, average pace, duration and calories burned.
Some other great features: You can also tag your run with how you felt during your run, the weather, the terrain and and leave comments in notes field. Need to challenge yourself? Choose to challenge yourself to run farther, longer, faster, or to even beat a previous record.
I have yet to explore the Nike+ tag feature, as I’ve only used this for two runs, but if you have used it, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.
5k Runner; free trial; upgrade to full version for $1.99
There are a ton of 5k apps on the market, all promising to help you get off your couch and running a 5k in 8-9 weeks. And honestly, it’s all about personal preference when it comes to these. I’ve tried a few others before stumbling across this one, and it’s been my favorite ever since. Like other 5k running apps, this one has voice overs that tell you when it’s time to run and walk, but I also like the colorful chart that lets you easily see that workout’s progress. After completing so many runs, you earn fun badges and are even able to share your completed “wins” on Facebook and Twitter.
The previous three apps are all used simultaneously during my run. These next two I use on a daily basis to keep my health goals in check.
In conjunction with it’s free website, this app allows you to track your food consumed throughout the day, as well as your fitness. This comes in very handy at the gym when I want to remember the reps and weight of the strength exercises performed. SparkPeople has a large selection of food and exercises in their database submitted by the company and by SparkPeople members.
I’ve owned my BodyMedia Fit for about a year now, and it has been an amazing eye opener to see how many calories I actually burn (or don’t burn). The screen shot above doesn’t show my calorie deficit correctly, because as you can see I didn’t enter any calories consumed for that day (I use SparkPeople for that), but I do love seeing how many calories I burned, how much moderate or vigorous activity I endured, the number of steps taken and how long I slept the night before. In addition to tracking how long you’ve slept, it also tracks your quality of sleep as well as determining between time spent laying down and actual time spent sleeping.
And lastly, check to see if your gym has its own app. My gym finally came out with one last week and it’s been especially helpful for looking up playroom hours for the wee one (no more excuses as to why I can’t go to the gym!), or if I were to take any, the class schedules.
I’m always on the lookout for new apps to make my life easier (and more fun), so please, shout out your favorites in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and let me know why you love it so much.
Disclaimer: I was not offered any kind of compensation by these companies for the review and promotion of their apps. In fact, they don’t even know that I exist.