Friday, July 26, 2013

Fitness Friday: Aps to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

As a continuation of the scheduled topic "series" (first one was Tech Tuesday), I have Fitness Friday. The first post is related to the first Tech Tuesday post covering the Fitbit One. Many of us are constantly trying to get into shape, loose weight, become healthier, etc. Whatever your health goals are, you can always use all the help you can get.  This is where free apps come in handy.  There's literally hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of apps, so which ones are actually useful? Much of that is based on personal preference, but here are the ones I personally have found useful in trying to achieve my health goals (all pics: google images).

To continue reading, click the link below.

MyfitnesspalMy first staple in weight loss/getting fit is monitoring what you eat. Sometimes knowing the actual caloric content of what you eat is all you need. It's rather suprising where hidden calories can sneak into your diet. When it comes down to it, it's all about calories in vs. calories out. I personally like Myfitnesspal, but another option is SparkPeople. With Myfitnesspal, you can also input physical activities, and I like it since it connects to my Fitbit account, making it easy track everything in one place. There is an online version as well if you prefer inputting your info via the intraweb.

Fooducate: This is an ap to help you determine exactly what the quality of food you're eating is, in an effort to make a better choice. There is a barcode scanner that allows you to scan products to compare.  You want hummus and want to know which brand has the "best" product based on your specifications (such as preservative and dye free), you can do that with this ap. I'll admit, I don't use this particular ap as much, but it is a concept that appeals to me.

FitBit: You can follow the link at the top of the post to learn all about the FitBit One, but this is the ap that goes along with the gadget. For all you iPhone users and Samsung Galaxy users, congratulations, you can do more stuff with this ap.  Everyone else (including me), you're better off going online to use that version since you can actually manipulate and "synch" your current process.  This ap is meant to see at a quick glance your daily progress in terms of calories burned, steps taken, etc., while managing your account like setting up your silent alarm and inputting activities. It's a great visual form to keep your daily goals in check.

JEFIT: Want a way to track your weight lifting sessions, or get ideas of new moves? This is the ap for you. You can choose the body part of your choice to work out, then add your various weight lifting options to create your own particular workout plan. You can notate the number of reps, sets, and weights you use. If you're not that creative, you can use the already made sample workouts. There's also a visual demonstration of proper exercise technique for each of the moves in order to make sure you're doing it right, even if you've never done that particular move before.

VurtyaGym: For those of you who are more of a novice in the work out/weight lifting world, no problem. This ap has built in work out programs based on your skill level. It also shows animations of how to do each of the exercises.

Runtastic: Not a gym rat and prefer the great outdoors? No prob, just use any of the seemingly millions of running aps on the market. I personally think they all work essentially the same. What I do like about Runtastic particularly is that the display of your current speed is large enough that it's easy to see quickly while running (even when I don't have my contacts in). It also calculates average miles per hour at the end of your run, which is something many running aps don't do. Otherwise it calculates the usual time running, calories burned, etc.

FitRadio: Need some motivation to run/jog outside or keep pace on a cardio machine? FitRadio (as long as you can ignore the annoying commercials) is a useful tool. You can actually pick a "station" based on the range of heart rate you want to achieve. If you want to run at a faster pace, pick the 100-140 bpm station to act as a metronome for your desired pace. It's mostly unknown songs/dance music, but it does the trick.

Earndit: This is actually a website, not an ap, but I include it on the list since it works with some of the aps mentioned (or your can manually enter info). Since you're clearly working hard at meeting your fitness goals, you should be rewarded. Earndit gives you the option of joining different challenges, but also an option for just earning points for working out. I have this connected to my FitBit account, so I don't have to worry about what points I'm earning. These points I can turn in for different prizes. Are these prizes worth it? It depends on what you want. They are usually a discounted price on anything from food, apparel, to gear. For example, I've gotten fish oil supplements that I usually get for half the price, and I got $10 off running shoes that I used on a site when they had a 20% off sale ($100 shoes for $60? Hell ya!).

HIIT Interval Timer: There are many variation of this one, so just do a search to find one that you enjoy. The one I have is literally titled "A HIIIT Interval", which is a rather non-specific name.  In any case, HIIIT interval timers are useful in anaerobic exercise or circuit training. You can Google/Youtube many different HIIT interval exercises to try out. The benefit of these is that it's usually short time periods of actual exercise time, but maximum benefit.

Now that you have some ideas, go get healthy and achieve the goals you want to achieve! I should listen to my own advance since I've managed to reverse my progress in the last 3 weeks, so I'm going to use my Runtastic and go run some of these excess calories off!

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