There are so many fitness apps out there in the market right now, it’s difficult to know where to begin!
If you’re of the same opinion, then this blog may help you to narrow down the apps that may be worth you investing in. We’ve taken a little look at the current leading apps in the fitness industry and would like to share our thoughts with you…
#1 My Fitness Pal
MyFitnessPal is a free app, with the option to upgrade to premium for £7.99 per month or £39.99 per year. It’s quick and easy to get set-up, but there is always the “Getting Started Guide” to help you if needed. In summary, MyFitnessPal is a fitness app that enables you to monitor your nutrition as well as your exercise.
There are many other similar apps out there (Livestrong and Calorie Tracker for example), but MyFitnessPal seems to provide the largest database of foods to choose from when you complete your food diary.
You input what you eat, input your exercise, set a weight loss/maintenance/gaining goal, and the calculator projects your possible outcome target. As well as monitoring your training, you can set goals, share your meals and create recipes. Interestingly, the nutrition database within MyFitnessPal is generated by the users so is ever expanding.
The goal of this app is to help you reach your nutritional and exercise goals, and assist you in your endeavours to lose weight, maintain weight or gain weight, safely. MyFitnessPal also integrates with other tracking apps like ‘Fitbit’, ‘DigiFit’ and ‘Endermondo’ to name a few as well as integrating with social media for sharing purposes.
MyFitnessPal is an app that demands your commitment through goal setting, detailed logging of your calorie intake as well as details about your energy expenditure (exercise). Sometimes it is easy to become disheartened when you don’t feel like your dieting or training is going very well, but MyFitnessPal provides the tools for you to monitor your progress in a tangible way, therefore maintaining user-engagement. Integration with social media, other fitness apps and the ability to share your food diary with friends are all ways of maintaining high engagement levels.
Endomondo is also a free app with the option to upgrade, and is a very user-friendly app to set-up. Endomondo uses your smartphone’s GPS in order to detect your location and monitor your movements. Simply put, this app is an ‘activity tracker’, measuring, recording and giving you feedback on your selected activity to help keep you motivated.
Endomondo provides users with 58 different activities to choose from, plus ‘other’. Like most fitness apps, the most accurate ‘activity feature’ of the app is the ‘running’ activity due to the simplicity of the body moving from A to B during the same repeated running/walking movement.
Simply begin with your run/walk and click the play button on the app, ensuring the correct activity has been selected under ‘sport’ on the ‘play page’. Due to the GPS feature, the app is able to literally map your route when running or cycling for example. When performing an activity such as tennis or badminton, the app doesn’t need to map your route, but it will provide you with information on the distance you covered during the session as well as the duration you trained for and the amount of calories you burned. Once you have finished your activity, click ‘pause’ and then ‘stop’ to finish the workout. You then have the option of sharing it on social media, and you will be provided with a session summary.
Endomondo is a great, easy-to-use, fitness app. As well as having the ability to integrate with other apps (such as MyFitnessPal), link to social media, challenge your friends, make commitments (goal setting), you can also monitor your nutrition by connecting Endomondo with the ‘Myfitnesspal’ app. This fitness app can provide you with all the basic tools to work towards health and fitness goals. The ability to compare a session to previous sessions detailed in ‘history’, set future goals via ‘commitments’ as well as the ability to challenge friends are all great tools to maintain focus and aid motivation.
Other features that help with engagement is its integration with social media and Myfitnesspal – nutrition is just as important (if not more-so) that training, so the connection with nutritional monitoring via Myfitnesspal is a great addition to this app.
#3 Map My Fitness
Like MyFitnessPal and Endermondo, ‘MapMyFitness’ is a free app with an option to upgrade. And this app is again user-friendly and easy to get set-up. Largely like the Endermondo app, Map My Fitness is a fitness app that can use your smartphone’s GPS in order to detect your location and map your workout route. You can then save or discard your workout, and share it on social media. If you save your workout, the app will give you feedback on the distance you covered, the duration of your walk/run, your pace, as well as calories burned – calculated with reasonable accuracy due to the information you gave the app regarding your bodyweight and height.
There are over 100 different activities that the app offers to you, which allows you to log what type of activity you have done and for how long to help calculate your energy expenditure via exercise. As explained with the Endermondo app, the accuracy of the information regarding ‘calories burned’ during many of the exercises within the app (such as a yoga class or a PT Session for example), will provide less accurate results due to the nature of the irregular exercise compared to the more accurate information tracked via the app during a mapped, repetitive exercise such as running.
That said, Map My Fitness is a simple, user-friendly, well-rounded app that provides you with the ability to monitor your activities and is therefore a useful tool to help you achieve your fitness goals. It provides tangible data to aid motivation and progress your fitness.
#4 Apple Health App
The Apple Health Kit is a free app that was an aspect of the iPhone software update. HealthKit has combined many different fitness apps in one. Rather than needing independent apps for calorie counting, heart rate monitoring, exercise tracking etc, the apple healthkit has attempted to combine all this data within one app – plus more! It also collates data from other fitness apps so the app can hold as much health information about you as possible. The idea of the holistic app is fantastic… It can just be a little over-whelming, as there is so much to it!
Once input, the Apple Healthkit contains your ‘Medical ID’. This includes your name, DOB, height and weight, emergency contacts, medical conditions, any medication you are taking, any allergies you may have, your blood type and whether you are an organ donor. There are 3 other main tabs: ‘Sources’, ‘Health Data’ and ‘Dashboard’:
- The ‘Sources’ tab provides you with the ability to share more information from within this healthkit app. You need to go to ‘Motion and Fitness’ under Privacy in the Settings app to control the fitness tracking on your iphone within this healthkit app. You decide on which apps can access and integrate with this data.
- The ‘Health Data’ tab allows you access to many different categories of data; from different vitamins consumed; to sleep analysis; to workouts you have performed. You can manage them by adding in data points as and when you wish to do so.
- The ‘Dashboard’ provides a summary of your health data contained within this healthkit app. For example, below you can see a summary of ‘steps performed’and ‘heart rate’ over a set period of time.
The overall goal of this app is to contain all of your health data within one place. It has the potential to contain a lot of information, which you are in-charge of managing. It can then provide your other fitness apps with additional information to enable those apps to give you more assistance as you work towards achieving your health and fitness goals.
If you have made the initial steps in deciding that you want to improve your health and fitness, these apps could definitely help you along the way. The 4 fitness apps that we have identified here are user-friendly and easy to engage with – both through the simplicity of the navigation around the apps, as well as the interesting data that you will collate. The apps help to raise your awareness and motivation with regards to the health and fitness goals you are working to achieve. Plus, the fact that information can be integrated and shared via other apps and social media means there is no hiding and you can also work with friends as you share and see others’ results.
There are so many overly complicated apps floating around the fitness industry, but hopefully this blog gives you a little insight into our top apps that provide you with all the basics (and more), so that you can focus on your workout and get some interesting data afterwards to aid motivation and help monitor your progress.