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.