5 Best Fitness Apps to Improve Your Lifestyle

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Mmmmm…technology.

So I recently gave in to my smartphone craving and got myself a brand-spankin’ new iPhone4.

I’ll admit it – this thing is absolutely incredible! I now have immediate access to anything I need at any moment in time.

It’s an unusually powerful feeling.

As we all know, the 3rd party applications are what make the smartphone so powerful. Thanks to all the ridiculously creative and intelligent developers out there, we’re now able to do things that we thought were impossible even a decade ago.

Banking on your phone anyone?

Being the fitness freak that I am, the first thing I did was check out the various fitness applications. After testing and using dozens of them, here are the 5 best fitness apps I think can truly improve your lifestyle:

1) Fitness Pro (free)

Fitness Pro is by far my favorite application. It has a database of over 450 exercises and shows you exactly how to do each exercise and what muscle groups you’re targeting. You can build and customize your own workouts by adding adding exercises and choosing your sets, reps and weight relevant to your training. If you’re not comfortable building your own workouts, they have preset routines developed for beginners and advanced gym-goers.

My favorite thing about Fitness Pro is the Anatomy tab. Detailed information is available for any muscle group with relevant exercises that target that specific muscle group.

The application also lets you track your progress with logs. You can enter the weights that you were lifting so you can keep track of your strength gains. I’m a huge believer in tracking your progress so you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. This app also helps you track your runs in extreme detail, but I haven’t used this feature extensively. You can share all of your information online as there is seamless integration with Facebook and Twitter.

This application is absolutely PACKED with features.

Oh, did I mention it was free?

2) Interval Timer Pro ($0.99)

I do a lot of interval training (especially with Kettlebells) and so I have tried a few interval timing applications. The Interval Timer Pro was by far my favorite. It’s very simple to use and has been a HUGE addition to my workout kit. It helps me keep track of my work and rest periods as I can specify high/low intensity periods and rest periods between sets. I can also choose how many sets I’m doing, total set time, timer sounds, and much more.

My favorite part of this app is the ability to load different routines effortlessly and quickly. When I do my kettlebell interval workouts, for instance, I use different timing structures when I do swings and when I do my snatches. This application lets me quickly choose the routine I want so I don’t have to waste time configuring my work and rest times.

There is a free version of this application but it won’t let you load different routines. You’d have to configure your times each time.

At $0.99, the Interval Timer Pro is a steal!

3) British Military Instructor ($4.99)

I haven’t used this app extensively because I follow my own workouts, but the British Military Instructor has been rated the #1 on the best fitness apps list by Sunday Times back in August 2010. I would completely agree.

This app is literally like having a real-time fitness trainer in your pocket. It lets you choose the intensity, duration and focus of your workout and, based on your entries, quickly generates a completely unique workout session. With an immense database of exercises (with video demonstrations) and workout sessions, this app claims to have an ability to generate over 5 million unique workout sessions!

My favorite part of this app is the built-in fitness tests. The app encourages you to undertake regular fitness tests to track your progress. Three tests – push ups, sit ups, bleep test – are use to identify how you’re progressing. All your scores are recorded in your history log so you can see your improvements from test to test. There is also a built-in heart rate monitor in the app but I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy.

If you think $5 is a lot for an application, just think how much you’d have to pay for a personal trainer who offers the same services.

4) Run Keeper Pro (free)

If you’re a regular runner, the Run Keeper Pro app is for you. The app takes advantage of your smartphone’s built-in GPS and gives you comparable results to expensive GPS watches.

You need to create an account on the Run Keeper Pro website before you begin. When you go for a run, the app tracks how far you went, your pace, running duration, calories burned, and the path traveled on a map.

Once you finish your run, all of your data is synced to the Run Keeper website where you can view a history of ALL of your activities. There is a lot of integration with social media so it’s easy to share any information you choose.

My favorite part about this app is the insights you’re given during your run. The app will tell you if you’re ahead or behind your target pace, for instance, so you know if you need to speed up or slow down. There is also a built-in heart rate monitor but you’ll need separate equipment for this.

If you’re a runner, this can be an absolutely invaluable asset to you.

And yes, it’s absolutely free!

5) My Net Diary Pro ($2.99)

My Net Diary Pro is by far my favorite calorie-counting application even though I’ve only been playing around with the free version. Whether your goal is to lose weight or put on mass, this application will help you calculate your daily caloric needs.

MyNetDiary helps you track your daily meals, exercise, water consumption, vitamins and medication and much more. You start off by creating your body profile (height, weight, etc.) and you input your target weight. The app calculates your daily caloric needs and, using a food database of over 300,000 food items, helps you keep track of your intake. One cool feature I found was the bar-code scanner. The app has a built-in bar-code scanner you can use to keep track of foods you’re consuming. The foods are broken down into a nutrition summary outlining all sorts of information (carbs, protein, fat, sugar, sodium, etc.)

You can also keep track of your measurements (this is huge in my opinion because it’s important to know WHERE you’re putting on/taking off weight). The paid version has a few more options here.

There are TONS of features in this application and I think it can be a valuable tool to assist you on your weight loss/gain journey!

There you have it. My 5 best fitness apps for the smartphone. Are there any fitness apps you love to use? Please share in comments below.

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Comments

  1. Oh nice list of apps I use mine mostly for games for the few I do have and use are:
    1. Bleep test: Every now and then I check my fitness level by doing the beep test, the basic is free and has 4 different standard tests for military, police and sports

    2. Sleep cycle: it’s an alarm clock and it measures my sleep pattern and starts to wake me up at my estimated lightest sleep cycle rather than the deep levels.

    3. Yoga training lite: for some yoga sequences
    But yeah smart phones are addictive and I can get too caught up in it sometimes
    RAymond

    • I’m really not THAT big into the games to be honest. Maybe I just haven’t found the good ones yet!

      I’ll make sure to check out the apps you’ve listed. I’ve heard of the sleep cycle app and I’m definitely thinking about trying it out. Have you noticed any improvement in your sleeping patterns by using it?

      The bleep test one sounds interesting. I’m downloading it as we speak! Thanks.

  2. Some good looking apps there, I dont have any fitness apps on my phone to be honest, just a load of games!

    However I have a game called missilewars were you can send missiles and kill other people, the thing is it is gps based so if a missile is coming for you, you need to get out of the way which can sometimes involve running down 100m down the street to avoid getting hit! Not a fitness app but gets me running around a lot!

    Lance

    • I must admit that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day:). Sounds like an amazing app though. I can just picture watching people randomly start sprinting down the road. I’ll have to check that out! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Interesting how technology has made it interactive and easier to track things like our fitness progress on our phones.
    I have never used tech stuff for fitness. I guess you could say that I am behind when it comes to this. I don’t even have a heart rate monitor.
    However, I am sure it helps many with staying on track.

    -Sam

    • It’s very interesting indeed! The ability to leverage technology today allows us to do things previously thought impossible. In the fitness world, I think technology has it’s place. For instance, look at the Nike+ brand. It leverages the power of technology to bring like-minded runners together from all over the world to share, connect and even compete. It is an incredible motivational tool to get people moving and, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Tracking is a whole other ball game that’s going to make everyone’s lives easier.

      It’s hard to say you’ve never used tech stuff before you define what ‘tech’ is…You must’ve used a stop-watch time at some point, for instance?? This is considered tech too. :)

  4. It’s amazing how much help we have nowadays to not only get us thinking about working out and eating healthier, but taking action it.

    Thanks for enlightening us with all these great apps and nice post.

    • At the end of the day, nothing matters unless we take action. We can do all the planning and all the information gathering but if we don’t DO IT then there is no hope.

      I think technology (like these various fitness apps) can help keep us accountable for our actions. Our phones are always with us and it’s not easy to completely ignore the reminder from RunKeeper Pro that we’re supposed to go for a run today.

  5. So I guess this means the next time I see someone playing with their phone in the gym they could be using a fitness app instead of goofing off?

    I’m way behind the curve with all this stuff, but these look cool, especially My Net Diary. One of the reasons I never counted calories was because it was too much hassle, but this would be really easy!

    Michael

    • Michael, I’ve seen a lot of people in the gym goofing off on their phones. I don’t understand why they don’t just stay home and do that?

      The technology is there. How you use it depends entirely on you. I’ve seen the phone used effectively in the gym. People would bring their workout routines on there so they can quickly jot down their set-rep-weight info to keep track. Others use it as effective timers to keep their intervals in check.

      It pretty much boils down to what you said at the end of your comment – it eliminates the hassle. If you’re focused on your workout, then these apps can be very valuable.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Wow. What a great post! I’ve had an Iphone for over two years and I never really paid attention to all of the possibilities with these apps. I really like the Fitness Pro one. Thanks! I am going to be checking these all out. My wife is a big runner, so I will let her know about the running one.

    -Kelly

    • No problem man. I’m glad you found the post useful! When you have a second try to search for some fitness apps on your phone. You’ll be amazed at all the crazy things out there. Then let me know if you find anything interesting!!

  7. Thanks for such a comprehensive post on a hot topic! I just caved and got a BlackBerry for the first time yesterday. I am very new to the APP world, but will definitely check these out. Just need to learn how to use my phone first…..

    Cheers,
    Jordan

    • It’s an exciting feeling for sure when you open that baby up. It takes a little bit of playing around before you get the hang of things. Did you get the Torch?

      I haven’t checked if all the apps I listed are covered in the BB app world as well. However, the majority of my friends have BBs and I know they have some unique apps of their own.

      Let me know if you find anything cool!

  8. I got the curve. My wife has the torch. I really can’t tell the difference, but it sure is nice having the world at my fingertips! My wife also has an Iphone, and I think it’s spectacular!

    Cheers,
    Jordan

  9. She is crazy, that why I love her! The BB is for work and Iphone for play I guess. When school winds down I will definitely get more involved in the App world.

  10. I would have to add that another great iphone diet app for weight loss is http://intelli-diet.com

  11. Wow iPhone 4 just looked more powerful with this apps. I can’t imagine having a fitness trainer on my phone. I’m an avid fan of fitness trainings, so I think I’m going to get iPhone 4s and install these cool apps. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the comment Steph! I can only imagine all the crazy things the 4S will allow you to do with the addition of “Siri”. It would be perfect as a timer – you just say “start” and it will time it for you. I’m going to stick with my iPhone 4 for now until maybe the 5 comes out – it’s too early for me to change. Let me know if you find any other cool fitness apps!

  12. To be honest so far I’ve used only the ‘Lose It’ App but it didn’t help me the reason being not able to devote much time even to explore the app, so its not the app’s fault :) Since I value the information shared on this blog I may very well check on these apps you’ve recommended and find out the one best for me.

    • You definitely need to try them out Dr. Suarez! Since I’ve written this post, there has been a plethora of great new apps that have come out. I’m going to have to do another post to highlight them.

      What smartphone do you have?

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