Whether you like it or not, most of us spend a large chunk of our waking day with our phones glued to our hands… We use our phones for messaging, keeping up with friends and laughing at cats reacting to cucumbers (if you haven’t searched this before, what on earth are you waiting for?!). Whatever your fitness goal, why not make the most of your smartphone and use it to help you reach your fitness goals faster. This is our pick of the top four apps to help you improve your health:
1) My Fitness Pal
We’ve all heard the sayings “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, “abs are made in the kitchen” or “70% diet, 30% exercise” or whatever crazy percentages people like to throw around. Either way, diet is key and if you fail to address what you are putting into your mouth, your fitness goals are going to suffer. My Fitness Pal is a free calorie-tracking app used by millions of people around the world. It even comes with a handy barcode scanner for quick diary entries and its database of food products is huge. In fact, ‘huge’ is an understatement. Think you have your diet sorted? Think again. The app will tell you your daily calorie intake whilst giving you a breakdown of the protein, carbohydrate and fat in these calories. You’ll be surprised at what you consume on a daily basis.
As a heads up, we don’t always agree with the calorie goals that the app provides, sometimes vastly underestimating your required calories. You can alter the calorie goals yourself or, alternatively, hire someone with a sound knowledge of nutrition to get you set up.
This app has somewhat of a cult following. Strava is, arguably, the best distance tracking apps for cycling, swimming and running. “But what if I just want to go for a leisurely jog and not track every footstep of my run?” we hear you ask. We agree that sometimes it is nice to go ‘off-grid’ and take it easy. But if you are serious about improving your fitness, you’ll want to know how fast your pace is and you’ll want something to beat in order to ensure progression. Any app that game-afies fitness seems to do pretty well and Strava has this nailed better than any workout app we’ve seen. You can keep it private or link up with like-minded fitness friends. The routes from your cycles and runs are tracked into leader boards so that you can compete for number one spot. What do you win? Pure pride and bragging rights of course…
This is an app that all smartphones come with as standard. No frills or spills just a twenty first century adaptation of paper and a pen. This app is perfect for those lone-wolf gym workouts that have a tendency to become…complacent. It may seem like a hassle but, trust us, tracking your workout is a sure fire way to make faster progress. Think back to the last time you were in the gym. What exercises did you do, what was the weight you lifted on every set and how many exact reps did you do on every set. No idea? Exactly. The key to muscle growth is increased volume of weight lifted over time. If you, over time, continually put the muscle under increased stress, it has no choice but to grow to meet the increased demands you are putting on it. If you have been going to the gym for months lifting the same weight every time you go, why would your body adapt to get stronger? It doesn’t need to. In notes on your phone, write down your workout plan and make a note of the weight you have been lifting. Then every time you are in the gym, make sure you are either beating your last visit by an extra rep or by slightly increasing the weight. Unsure of when you should be increasing the weight? When doing an exercise, if the last two or three reps aren’t much of a challenge, then up the weight!
We love Instagram, but it can go one of two ways. It can be a hotbed of anxiety as we compare our lives to the seemingly blissful existence of others. Or it can be the perfect place to find fitness motivation and to learn from the leading brains in the fitness industry (we like to include ourselves within this category)! We want you to try your best to focus on the latter. The ease of communication between those wanting advice and the professionals with the answers you seek is incredible. Have a diet related question you want answering? Click on the fitness professionals profile and drop them a message. Easy. Also, find fitness profiles that inspire you and that get you motivated to exercise. It might sound a little cheesy, but some days you don’t feel like going to the gym or putting your trainers on for that run. This is where a perfectly timed fitness meme can be all it takes to get you pumped up for your workout.