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With well over 40,000 aps on the market to help you improve your health and fitness, how in the heck do you know which ones to use? And do they really help make a difference anyway? I’ve been diddling around with quite a few for years and using several regularly to help move my wellness needle, so let me save you some trial and error time here and share my experience with only the good ones.
How did I select the best health, fitness and weight loss aps?
Because I use them. A lot of them and several times a day. I’m not new to wellness and I’ve watched the technology evolve over the years. I’m VERY happy with what is available today. And the fact that these are all free or maybe a few bucks, and it is just mind blowing to me! If you have goals to improve your general health or fitness and/or lose weight and you’re not already using these guys, I suggest you take a look today!
On June 1st, I set some pretty lofty goals to get back on track
I wanted to become stronger and be more like the person I like to be. And over half way through the month, I’d say it’s going pretty darn good! I’m getting faster, I feel leaner, I lost a few pounds, I feel calmer, in control, I’m focused AND I’ve gained some pretty great insight into my diet. And while I probably could have done all of this without the help these health, fitness and weight loss aps, I really couldn’t have done it as easily. Or at least have the ability to know exactly how well I was doing without the data and insight from these free tools.
First some fun facts:
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed when you go to the ap store looking for something to help you lose weight, eat better, run faster or achieve goals, you’re not alone! There are literally 10s of thousands of aps in there, almost all of them free. I did a quick search on these key words, and here’s what comes up…holy cow, even I was shocked there are this many!
- Fitness: 16,726
- Running: 6396
- Diet: 5330
- Journal: 4154
- Weight loss: 3982
- Diet Tracker: 671
- Meditation: 633
So instead of spinning your wheels downloading and messing around with buggy aps for years, let me cut straight to the 8 that I love the most and have found to be the most valuable. These aren’t really listed in any particular order.
I was an avid user of MapMyRun, and I still think it’s awesome. I’ve used it for years to map out runs when in unfamiliar territory, so it earns credits down at the bottom of this post as well. I just happen to be loving RunKeeper right now because of the workouts you can schedule before you head out on your run. You can schedule an interval workout and she talks right over your music and tells you when to speed up, slow down, and gives you a nice little summaries throughout your run and again at the end. This is saving me from being a victim of watch checking every 30 seconds, which I imagine, is also much safer as I can keep my eyes and focus on the road when sprinting. I also got my dad to download this on my last trip home and was able to schedule some workouts for him and there is a social function, so I can see how he’s doing.
I’ve been tracking calories off and on for decades (and that is actually a literal statement), so I’m not new to the tedium that comes with recording every bite of food you consume. It’s a pain anyway you shake it and there are a lot of options to choose from. I like this one the best for 2 main reasons. First, the search function is unreal, I can find anything in a few seconds and it’s memory for “recently eaten” makes loading your favorite meals and protein shakes a piece of cake! It takes me no more than 20 seconds to log an entire meal. Second, if you go to the desktop application, it gives you macronutrient breakdown (% carbohydrate, protein and fat), not just calories. That is crucial information if you’re really trying to understand how you’re fueling your body. Best part, it’s FREE. This is actually hard data to find in a lot of diet trackers and is often available if you pay for the “premium” version.
Now, I’m a little biased here because I’m also a coach on DietBet and I have hosted over a dozen games in the past year and a half, so perhaps I use the ap more than the average bear. But I love this concept of betting $35 that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days. And if you do, you win money! And the community feature of this concept is the best part. I offer daily advice and coaching and I love reading contestants responses and realizations. I’m playing my own game now, and if I can shake off this last 1.4 pound by next Thursday, I’ll get paid about $50 — that covers the new white Lululemon shorts I just bought yesterday! Free shorts and goal weight? I’ll take it!
For those of you who have a FitBit, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t have a FitBit, get one now! I got mine in January and it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I was fearful that while I was still getting in my workouts, that my “sitting” all day was ruining my health (because you know, sitting is the new smoking). Striving to hit the 10K a day steps is the simplest and most fun way to get up and get moving more. It bring relevance to those things we’ve heard for decades like “take the stairs instead of the elevator and park far away in the parking lot.” In fact, I’ve walked laps around a parking lot just to hit my goal. And the ap dashboard is awesome along with the community and challenges you can join for extra motivation.
My mind is like popcorn. It jumps around like crazy and I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. This has been a real problem for my productivity for…ever. I’ve been wanting to start a meditation practice for years, but never knew where to start. This one is very new to me, I’ve only had it for about a week, but I can tell you I wish I had found it years ago. It has a free and paid version. I’ve been using just the free for now, but I’ll probably pay to upgrade in the coming weeks. It’s loaded with daily guided meditations that help you work on just about anything you care to improve: relationships, happiness, life, spiritual, relaxation, performance and success. There are also morning and evening specific sessions to listen to and of course weekly challenges (you know by now how I love the structured of a challenge)!
You have probably heard that journaling is a great way to set goals, hold yourself accountable and create clarity. I have terrible handwriting, so pen and paper just don’t work for me. I’ve downloaded aps in the past, but never found one that I grooved with like this one. It says it’s $5 now, although I don’t remember paying for it. But I’d pay for it again over and over again! It’s simple, it’s clean and I love the way it organizes my daily thoughts and I can include pictures, tags, weather info, location stamps. It’s great! I feel like it’s my very own private FaceBook and I can share all the dirty details of my life nobody needs to know about. And it’s all locked up in the safety and convenience of my phone (and backed up to the iCloud should this gadget ever get lost again). It has helped me tremendously find clarity and create good change in my life.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, this has nothing to do with McDonalds. It’s actually a very handy ap that houses all the McMillan running calculations. You can type in any race goal pace and it backs out for you all the paces you need to hit for your easy, tempo, and interval runs. I’ve used the McMillan calculations for years, but used to have to print them out and tape them to my running logs. Now I can just type in any pie-in-the-sky goal and know exactly what I need to be running at to hit that goal. I think I may have paid for this ap, but it wasn’t more than $2-3.
8: Best Workout Planner: This will be your gym’s ap
Hopefully your gym has an ap and you can use it to automatically check and schedule all the classes they offer. Both 24-hour fitness and my local gym here in San Diego have aps and I use them both regularly! I schedule spin, yoga and any group X class I’m going to. When you schedule your workouts like real appointments, it’s much more likely you will actually stick to it since your calendar is already blocked.
So those are my 8 favorite aps in the whole wide world to help me with my health, fitness and happiness goals. But there are also a few more I’d be remiss if I did not mention…
These are aps I have heard are amazing, but I don’t use, so can’t personally vouch for their awesomeness:
- Strava: Social and run tracking.
- MyFitnessPal: Everything fitness related and diet tracking.
- MapMyRun: See Ap #1.
- RockMyRun: Run specific play lists (I just use pandora).
- Pact (GymPact): Make a pact to achieve a goal. Get paid if you do, pay if you don’t.
- Calm: Different meditation ap.
- 7 Min Workout: Tutorials for 7 min, do anywhere workouts.
- Good Habits: Support with healthy habit creation.
I’ll share a full post update in early July to let you know how I stacked up against my June Goals to get faster and leaner and also share the interesting insight I learned about my shift in diet!
Now you tell me, what are your favorite health and fitness aps?
Am I missing out on anything else amazing?
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