I was one the super-skinny lucky ones until I recently got hit with a one-two punch. I reached that sweet spot after age 30 and I had a baby. Now, two-plus months after the baby was born, I am still wearing maternity pants. I yearn for the days when my belly was a lot more toned and a lot less jiggly.
But if I exercise once I pretty much expect immediate and drastic results. And if I don’t eat much at all one morning and afternoon, I can’t fathom why I haven’t shed at least half a pound. I need help, inspiration, accountability—so i decided to see which apps could do something for me…
For Beginners or the Motivationally Challenged
Were you the kid always picked last in gym class? Did you never attempt to join any team sports because you didn’t want to subject anyone else to you being on their team?
Couch to 5K by RunDouble: It may sound like a lofty goal; and it is, but if you spend the majority of your free time on one of two couch cushions and you would like to be able to run a 5K (a little over 3 miles), this app is for you. Plan on setting aside 30 minutes 3 times a week for 2 months. You will start with short segments of jogging between walking, and work your way up to running for longer periods of time.
Download: Couch to 5K
7 Minute Workouts “Seven”, and the “Official” app by Johnson & Johnson: No more excuses because surely you can spare seven minutes of your day, and even if it seems strenuous, you know it will be over soon. If you find it just as easy to skip a 7-minute workout as to do one, you will lose one of the three lives you get each month with the Seven app, so you can think of it as a game. I couldn’t leave out the Johnson & Johnson app because its difficulty can be tailored to meet you where you are currently at. It makes it easy to create customized workouts of your own.
Download: Seven – 7 Minute Workout
Download: J & J Official 7 Minute Workout
FitStar by Fitbit: FitStar is also customizable, and can be adjusted to your body and its physical abilities. It recognizes that we may not all have the same goals, so it uses your input and ideal duration to create the best workout with you in mind. Additionally, the app will use your feedback about the level of difficulty to adjust future workouts. You don’t need a gym; you can use the app anywhere.
Download: FitStar Personal Trainer
Give and Get Fit—Charitable Causes
Doing something good for you and other beings? Of course it’s win-win.
Charity Miles: It might come as a disappointment if you are in for the features, but you can choose from thirty-plus different charities you can contribute to (at 25 cents/mile) just by moving. Turn it on while you run, walk, bike, or hike to earn money for these charities. Charity Miles is easy to use to track distance. It can make a big impact—over $2 million raised for charities so far.
Download: Charity Miles Walk & Run Tracker
Walk for a Dog: If you would sooner pet a strange dog than you would talk to a stranger, you might be more interested in this app. You can pull double duty by walking your own dog and helping support your favorite animal charity. It can benefit your local shelter or rescue or the one of your choice, and benefit your own health as well. All you have to do is download the app, remember your phone when you take your dog for a walk, and press the Start/Stop Walking buttons.
Download: Walk for a Dog
Social Fitness via Activity Trackers
Getting others involved with your fitness goals can help you in many ways. It can create more of a challenge, leverage competitiveness, keep you accountable, and it’s simply more fun than doing it alone.
Endomondo: Track your fitness and your calories, and see how they compare with others. The free mobile app syncs with the Endomondo website, other apps, and wearables; and together, they can help you analyze your health-related behaviors and offer guidance. It can be used for over 40 sports to monitor speed, duration, distance, and calorie goals. You can send/receive pep talks from friends via audio or social media, and race against a friend’s time.
Strava Running and Cycling GPS: Part of what makes a social app successful is the number of people who use it, and Strava has that part covered, with the participation of millions of cyclists and runners. You can compete with (and be inspired by) these cyclists and runners, and share your experiences via photo, play-by-play, highlights, or longer stories. You will receive athletic resources, such as the ideal trail to view the sunset or your next training partner. And don’t forget Strava’s aptitude as an activity tracker—you will get stats on pace, distance, speed, elevation, and more.
Runkeeper: Runkeeper is pretty social itself—you can integrate it with several other apps and devices. Set goals for your pace and distance and get audio updates about how you are doing. It’s not all just about running either. Join 50 million other users and use this app when you are walking, biking, or jogging to stay motivated and view your progress.
Food is wonderful, isn’t it? At least until you’re 30 something, and instead of eating pizza constantly, you feel obligated to drink pureed kale. Suddenly food can seem like your nemesis. But it may not have to be that way, because these days you can count every calorie and make educated decisions to meet your nutritional needs.
MyFitnessPal: With impressive stats like 200 million pounds lost collectively, and 88% of people who use the app for at least a week losing weight, it’s no wonder that this app is popular for those who want to shed some pounds, get fit, make new habits, and be healthier. Exercise can only go so far without a good diet. And the database that comes with this app leaves little left to guess—it contains over 5 million foods. You can help the app help you meet your goals by providing your weight, physical activity, and aspirations.
Lose It!: Dieting is hard, but your dieting app needn’t be. Upload a picture of the food you are eating and Lose It! will give you a breakdown of calories and nutrition content. Aside from that, your only task is to enter a little personal information and consume the same or fewer calories than the number the app determines you need. Lose It! boasts of 54,607,257 collective pounds lost at the time of this writing, and you can add to this number.
Download: Lose It!
MyPlate Calorie Tracker: Don’t see your food among the 2 million items within MyPlate’s database? Use the barcode scanner. You can also track your water intake with a swipe or tap. It is nice to see that calorie bar adjust when you exercise.
Download: MyPlate Calorie Tracker
Workout to the Max
Hey fitness buffs! If you are dead serious about wanting to get in shape, these are for you.. And there are no exorbitant personal trainer fees.
30 Day Fitness Challenge: Designed by a professional fitness coach, this versatile app increases intensity incrementally using your own bodyweight instead of expensive gym memberships or home equipment. Make no mistake, there are tons of 30-day fitness challenge programs out there—they were all the rage in 2016. But they aren’t all equal. This one lets you choose from 3 difficulty levels, and takes you through a step-by-step process that ideally lasts far longer than just 30 days.
Download: 30 Day Fitness Challenge
FitNotes Gym Workout Log: It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but it definitely shouldn’t be because of your app, and that’s why sometimes simple is better. You can use the Exercise Database to target certain areas, create routines, and track your workouts with precision. It doesn’t have a ton of features, but it hits on all of what is vital to keep track of your progress and ensures you are addressing all areas. This is a no-nonsense, straightforward fitness app.
JEFIT Workout: If you are a heavyweight when it comes to lifting weights, you can’t go wrong with JEFIT. Its main focus is on body-building and strength training. You won’t have to interrupt your workout to track your reps because the app times them automatically. JEFIT also has a huge database containing thousands of exercises categorized by body part and provides you with a workout planner, detailed charts and instructions, and integration with your JEFIT profile.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, run that marathon, or even help your favorite charity, these apps can make it easier. Feel free to add your own fitness app suggestions in the comments below.