Tracking Fitness and Fuel? There’s an App for That

The exponential technological growth of the last few decades has produced numerous inventions that have drastically changed the way many people live day-to-day. One obvious invention that has transformed daily life is the smartphone. The increasing reliance on smartphones is often painted in a negative light; however, companies constantly create new apps that aim to make our lives healthier. As health apps become more widespread and varied, people have more options to choose from to meet their health and fitness goals.

Photo by Jen Middleton

Fitness tracking apps like MyFitnessPal and Fitbit offer their users the chance to keep track of eating and exercise. With Fitbit, a tracker worn on the wrist collects exercise data while users manually enter their exercises with MyFitnessPal. Both of these apps are useful for people who are trying to change their daily habits on a small scale—for example, reaching Fitbit’s recommended 10,000 steps per day. MyFitnessPal is more useful for people specifically focused on improving their diet, while Fitbit is useful for improving both exercise and diet. That said, a downside of these tracking apps is that they can overly emphasize calorie goals, potentially breeding poor and destructive eating habits.

In addition to fitness tracking apps, there is also a plethora of workout apps. These apps provide workouts that users can often tailor to their exact fitness level and goals. Many of these workouts come with pictures, videos, and a voice that guides the user through the exercises. Nike Training Club is one of my favorite workout apps because it’s free and there is a ridiculous number of workouts to choose from. The app separates workouts into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and each workout has its own specific purpose. For example, there are workouts for building core strength, increasing agility, or burning fat. You can filter workouts based on how much time you have, what equipment you have access to, and which body parts you want to target. If you want to be more consistent with your workouts, you can even create your own plan and the app will generate workouts and a calendar for you.

For the runners out there, there are even apps that specifically focus on running. Recently there has been an increase in apps that offer audio-guided runs, including Nike Running Club. This is great for doing running workouts because you don’t have to constantly look down at your watch. If you’re willing to invest some money, the best audio-guided app is probably Aaptiv. Aaptiv is a new app that offers audio-guided workouts for running, cycling, and other forms of exercise. Like Nike Training Club, the workouts are highly customizable. It’s also unique because you can listen to the workout without having to look at your phone, and each workout comes with its own musical playlist that doesn’t interrupt the instructor’s voice.

For indecisive people who prefer to simply follow instructions, there are plenty of apps that include just one program. One of these apps is Sweat, an app created for women that takes the user through Kayla Itsines’ program, Bikini Body Guide. This program is ideal if you are willing to fully commit yourself to it, as it combines strength training, high intensity interval training, and cardio. A downside is that the subscription costs money, so it is an investment.

The apps discussed in this article are only a small percentage of the apps available. If none of these apps seem to click for you, explore online—there is almost undoubtedly an app out there that best suits your personal fitness goals.

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