When it comes to exercise, fitness and nutrition, having the right tools to help you along the way is critical. For those of you who don't know, I once weighed in at close to 300 lbs. and eventually lost over 100lbs. Believe it or not, my apps were some of the biggest reasons I was able to lose the weight and stay on track. They helped educate me about how many calories I was burning for each exercise, the caloric content for different types of foods and the proper combination of exercise and food intake to help me achieve my goals. After trial and error, I found a select few that really stood out above the rest. Additionally, there are a handful of new apps on the market now that are really amazing with what they can do. Here's our rundown of the Best Fitness and Nutrition Apps:
The one app that I used, and still do, religiously is My Fitness Pal. This amazing app tracks your weight, exercise activities and your daily food consumption. The app itself is extremely intuitive and allows you to set your target daily calorie consumption based on current and target weight. Each day simply enter or scan the barcode for everything you eat so you can track your daily calories. The database powering My Fitness Pal is so large that I have NEVER been able to stump the barcode scanner. Whether restaurant foods or from the grocery, the database has the information. It makes it extremely easy to stay on track when you know exactly how many calories you are consuming as well as the Fat-Carb-Protein makeup of your calories.
If the food tracker weren't enough, MFP can track pretty much all the exercise regimens out there. From running, swimming, belly dancing, basketball, cycling and more, simply add all your information and you get a complete picture of your calories burned through exercise.
Now that you have your calories in and your calories out, you can, if you choose, turn on the social functions of the app. Invite friends to follow and support you and share your progress online or even on Facebook.
To make this app even better, recently they have been integrating with a number of other fitness apps and programs. So, if you use another app for tracking your running (as I do with Runkeeper), MFP integrates with it so that when you use your other app, the data is instantly synced into your MFP account! If there is one app to get and use, this would be my choice!
Our second choice for the best fitness app goes to Runkeeper. Even though the name makes it sound like an app totally focused on running, that couldn't be farther from the truth. While Runkeeper does allow you to track your running, it also tracks walking, hiking, swimming, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cycling, mountain biking, elliptical and more. It also has built in workout plans you can choose and then base your trainings off of. Probably the coolest feature of Runkeeper is how it integrates with your music. Simply choose which playlist you want to listen to while exercising and when you hit start, Runkeeper begins tracking your exercise AND starts playing your playlist. Want to share your progress with friends?
The social networking features are pretty cool as well. Invite friends to support or train with you or simply choose to broadcast your success over Facebook after each training. One last cool feature is with the recurring notifications the app sends. When you set a new record, you get an encouraging email. When you haven't trained in a while, you get a reminder. Every little bit helps and with the ability to link Runkeeper with My Fitness Pal (see #1 above), you have two of the best fitness apps talking to one another making your life that much easier!
Released just last week on July 3, Argus is the latest health and fitness app from Azumio that is really unique and extremely promising. Going back a bit, first let's talk about Azumio. Azumio builds biofeedback health apps on mobile devices. They have an extremely impressive range of apps for all things healthy. Looking for an app that monitors your sleep, they've got it. One that tracks your heart rate with NO heart rate monitor, they've got it. One that tracks your fitness, sleep, stress and more, they've got it. Their list of apps is quite impressive AND useful. However, launched last week, their latest app, Argus, aims to combine all of your sources of data about your food intake, daily fitness, sleep, stress and more into one app that supplies context about how these data sources relate to each other.
While it's still in its infancy, it has a lot of useful features. Turn it on and as it operates in the background it will automatically count your steps and tell you how many miles you walked, how long of time that covered and even at what time of the day you walked! Although I haven't tried it yet, the app has a feature that will automatically detect when you start running and track your running activities. They say in the future the automatic tracking will work for biking also. The app still doesn't sync with a lot of other apps, but that's on the horizon. Keep your eyes on this app as it has tremendous potential however it is currently only available for IPhone and not Android.
Extremely similar to Argus is the relatively new Moves app. While not as comprehensive as Argus, Moves will give you a complete, and automatic, diary of your daily life. No need to start of stop your tracking activities for walking, running, or cycling as the app automatically senses when you are doing these and will record it accordingly. Additionally, when you are idle it will record that and you can set your GPS location service to record your position as Home, Work, or other. The end result looks like this:
So even though there is no features, as of yet, to track food intake, Moves is pretty impressive in that you simply turn it on and go and it records everything for you. Best part is that the app is free however the downside (again) is that it is only available for the IPhone currently but you can get on a list to be notified when it comes available for Android.
There are many, many, many other apps out there, but these are our picks to get you the total coverage for everything you need for your fitness lifestyle. Whether you're a beginner or pro, these will get you what you need. Let us know what you think of these and which ones you might like INTEGRATED into your ACTIVENOW account and profile as we are looking at ways to add even more ways to help you create a one-stop experience for everything active. We figure being able to keep track of your steps, running, swimming , etc would be a no-brainer and make it that much more convenient for everyone. Let us know your favorite fitness apps and which ones you'd like us to integrate into your ACTIVENOW account at firstname.lastname@example.org.