Fitness apps keep you on track
Apps are useful for tracking growth and getting new ideas for workouts. They're great on the road, too, and may even trigger your compulsive side.
Special to The Seattle Times
THE NUMBER of fitness apps out there is dizzying. There's an app for every kind of workout. You can track calories, your walking pace, your cycling pace and your last run. If only the app could do the workout for us.
Apps are useful for tracking growth and getting new ideas for workouts. They're great on the road, too, and may even trigger your compulsive side. Whatever gets you to work out, right?
Fitness apps also apparently fill in as entertainment for some fitness fanatics. Need motivation to run? "Zombies, Run!" has zombies chase — and possibly kill — you on your daily run, which means it is my hands-down favorite for high-entertainment-value fitness app. Other apps feel unnecessary, like one that requires you to touch your nose to the phone while you do pushups. Can we no longer count for ourselves?
At the very least, apps give you one more chance at keeping your workout on track. Here are a few free ones to get you started:
This app is easy to navigate, and helps you track a huge variety of workouts, including belly dancing, crumping and something called a slosh pipe carry (fill a tube with water, cap it and carry it as far as you can). Other members give you props for your workouts and, if that's not enough, you get badges, too, which is perfect for prize-lovers. It's easy to share your tracked workouts via Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Fitocracy taps into what we already know: If others are watching, we work out more. Some call it competition; some call it motivation; we call it effective. And we love the motto here — "Making You More Awesome."
C25K (Couch to 5K)
Specifically, this one is designed to train beginners to run a 5k through an eight-week program. The app is set up by week with three workouts per week that alternate between jogging and walking to get you up to speed. It is so easy to follow you can't possibly say no. It's time to run your first 5k!
These apps are straightforward and easy to use. They use GPS to track every twist and turn in your run, walk or ride and keep records of your routes. It's an easy way to see where and how much you're working. We also liked the nutrition section, where you can input calories for the day. The app tracks how many calories you burn.
Working out is just one aspect of getting healthy and fit. MyFitnessPal is one of the best free apps out there for keeping tabs on your nutrition, keeping you accountable day by day for what you're putting in your body. It includes a convenient bar-code-scanning feature to add in details of what you're eating. That is, as long as you record what you're eating and you don't mind finding out the details. This app also can be paired with the Fitbit app for a fitness and nutrition system.
Nicole Tsong teaches yoga at studios around Seattle. Read her blog at papercraneyoga.com.