Thankfully, there’s no dearth of exercise and workout related information on the web. But sometimes even when working out at home, it’s an exercise to just pop open the laptop lid and get to that website. Then, you can’t carry that laptop with you to the gym. That’s where a nice smartphone app comes in as a pocket exercise guide and planner.
I have taken a look at quite a few Android fitness apps for workouts and exercise. Exercise apps on the Android market like Workout Trainer and VirtuaApp Gym have appealed briefly, but their in-app purchase costs were a bit too heavy for me. I haven’t found the perfect one yet, but Fitness Buddy comes close.
Workout Trainer – Enough ‘Free’ To Get You Started
Fitness Buddy is choc-a-bloc with exercises that are well-designed and well presented. The slight bad news is that it the free version has just 300+ exercises while the pro gives you 1700+ workouts to do. The good news is that the free stuff is sufficient to get you started with a healthy lifestyle. You can get a lot out of the free exercises and workout programs here, and later you can opt for the paid upgrades which won’t pinch your pocket.
Fitness Buddy starts with an Overview screen which is basically a calendar with your workout program charted out. But as I haven’t yet got to planning out my exercises, we will skip this screen and go on to the Exercises tab. A buying notification for the pro version is a slight irritant, but it’s only slight as the eye starts roaming over the options on offer.
The neatest way to narrow down to the exercises you want to do is by going to Exercises by Muscle. Exercises are also nicely categorized into groups as you can see on the screen. The Exercises by Muscle screen gives you a human figure with muscular systems marked out (and also an alphabetically arranged Muscle List).The Body Map is definitely more familiar for us.
You can click on any muscle group denoted by the circle touch points and go to the list of exercises which target that particular muscle group.
A Single Set of an Exercise
An individual exercise is illustrated by step-by-step animated photos showing complete body movements. The individual exercises also come with full text information on muscle groups targeted, difficulty level, and instructions on how to perform it. Additional buttons take you to a settings page where you can enter the weight and number of reps. Each exercise comes with its own graphical tracker. You can add exercises to your workout program by clicking on the downward arrow button.
Getting Into an Exercise Program
The free version of Fitness Buddy gives you a few full built-in workouts. The pro version has 70 of them. But the good thing is that you can easily create your own workouts (a maximum of 2). I don’t think you would be too many workouts simultaneously, so it’s pretty okay to have two in your hand and then create more by deleting the old ones.
As the screen below shows, you can add loads (if they are weighted exercises) and reps. A nice touch is the option that allows you to load the last set you performed. The little icons above allow you to favorite an exercise, set a timer, and plot out your sets on a graph and visualize it over the course of weeks.
Shaping up and exercising is about habits. Catch it all and see if you are slacking off on the Overview calendar.
With 300 exercises in the free version alone, you have a lot of flexibility to build your exercise regimen. I would have liked to see some stretching exercises in the free version too. A beginner could get confused with the choices on offer and I think one should have bit of an idea about working out before using this Android fitness app. The pro version comes with upgrades like 1000 HD videos, 1700 exercises, 75 workout routines, and more. At just about $1, it is well worth it. Try out the free version first. I hope you won’t say ‘no pain, no pain’. Say ‘no pain-no gain’ and also tell us about your first impression of Fitness Buddy.