There are countless fitness apps to choose from these days to track everything from calories consumed to number of steps taken per day and years left to live.
Okay okay so not quite that last one (0r in fact I should probably check my facts because it may well be out there – who knows!).
But believe it or not, these cellular gizmos can have a major impact on your fitness and weight loss efforts! In my own experience they sure have! And research has shown that the mere action of TRACKING improves compliance to diets and fitness regimes AND improves results! Methinks it’s time you got on the bandwagon!
Not only do fitness apps help you achieve the results you want…some of them are FREE!!! Yes! FREE!! The best part, is that some of them actually remove the need for a gym membership altogether. I must say that was the selling point for me – gym memberships have become so overly priced! Who wants to pay a fortune to be healthy and get into shape, when you can have your very own personal trainer and weight-loss coach at your fingertips?
Let me slow down a bit, before you think I’m some kind of salesperson. I just get a little excited sometimes. But the point is, fitness apps can really help you get where you want to be if you know which ones are the best to use, because trust me – there’s a LOT of junk out there too! In this instance, we want them to be free, right? And that is often the problem, because developers often neglect the free version of their application. I mean, you’ll come across something that looks fantastic, download it, and then find you have to upgrade to “pro” in order to utilize any of the features you actually like. And another problem, especially with free calorie/nutrition trackers, is the lack of accuracy – what a VIBE KILL!
Anyhow….do not fear! I am here to help you separate the wheat from the chaff! Keep in mind that choosing one that works for you is all down to PREFERENCE. And, in some cases they may not work for you at all 🙁 However, a point to note is that getting fit and losing weight is not an easy task. Fitness trackers won’t magically shave the pounds off your behind, BUT they will make the process a lot easier if you let them to. You just need to be prepared to put in a tiny bit of effort to reap the benefits – like taking some time to log exercises or calories etc.
Let Us Begin…
1. My Fitness Pal
BEST FOR: Tracking calories, macronutrients, and weight trends
Probably one of the most popular fitness apps out there, and I personally LOVE IT! In essence, it is a calorie counter, but there is a lot more to it. You can scan barcodes to automatically add nutritional information to your food diary, and they have an enormous database of brands and foods on their system . What I LOVE is that they have loads of South African brands – even restaurant options! AND in the unlikely chance they don’t have the food you are looking for – you can simply add it manually.
You can also create your own recipes. I love this feature, because we all tend to make the same dishes over and over – especially on weekdays. Create the recipes in advance, and the app will save the nutritional information on your profile to add easily the next time you cook that recipe. My Fitness Pal also allows you to log a variety of exercises and can connect to many fitness trackers like fitbit and apple watch.
In my experience with this one – just be careful when logging foods, because some of the calorie information can be inaccurate at times. Don’t worry though, many of the food items have been verified (shown with a green tick)…it’s the unverified ones you need to be wary of.
You’ll also be left with a great feeling after logging a day’s eating, because it lets you know how much you will weigh in x-amount of weeks if you “continue eating this way”. A very motivating feature I’d say! Of course, you first have to log how much you currently weigh, and then it calculates how much weight you will lose if you eat a certain number of calories per day. Additionally, you can keep track of macronutrients and micronutrients to ensure you meet your health and training goals! Plus, it notifies you when you’ve met your daily requirements for protein, sugar, fat and so forth.
2. Nike+ Training Club
BEST FOR: Getting fit, strong, and lean.
I downloaded this one recently…and it’s pretty darn fantastic. Well it’s free so that’s a seller in itself. But wait, there’s more! Consider this app to be your very own personal trainer. When you sign up, you can select a fitness level to get specific workouts at the desired intensity. Then select your desired workout – whether it be ‘strength’ to build muscle; ‘endurance’ to improve cardio fitness; or ‘mobility’ to increase flexibility. You can also select workouts based on other factors such as “no equipment workouts”, “short workouts”, or workouts developed by athletes like Serena Williams. Awesome right?! Well, that’s only the beginning. After you’ve selected your desired workout – the app shows you EXACTLY how to perform those exercises, with video demonstrations. And if you’d prefer something a little bit more tailored…they also offer workout plans that stretch over a number of weeks and achieve a desired result like building endurance or getting lean.
3. Nike+ Run Club
BEST FOR: Getting running fit, and losing weight.
This one I’ve had for a while, and if you’re an avid runner you’re going to LOVE this. It’s a fitness app that will get you into running shape faster than you can say ‘marathon’. And an amazing side effect is of course that amazing fit body! The app uses GPS to track your runs, and gives you feedback in real-time. I love this feature! As you run, it notifies you how far you’ve ran after every kilometer. So no more guessing 5 km distances 🙂 After every kilometer, you can expect to hear a voice chime in to let you know your time, distance travelled, as well as average pace per kilometer. Plus, it can connect to your music to play as you run. Then – after you have completed your run, you can review your route to see how your speed changes over different segments of elevation and so forth. Other features, include achievements – which keeps track of all your runs and records “longest run, farthest run, fastest 1K,5K” etc; and run levels – which records your total mileage and rewards you with badges as you complete a certain number of kilometers (the highest being “volt” badge for 15000 kilometers). This fitness app is definitely one to try!
BEST FOR: Tracking workouts and fitness progress, training ideas and losing weight.
This fitness app is all about TRACKING, which, as I said before, has been proven to maximize results by keeping you accountable. After you download JEFIT, you can sign up with Facebook or e-mail, and then it asks you for a few baseline stats such as your gender, age, height and weight to get you started. Thereafter, it will guide you through features in the “discover” tab, showing you how to log workouts, add exercises, connect with friends, and so forth.
On your profile tab, you will see your most recent body stats, and you also have the option to add progress photos and other body measurements like body fat, and circumferences. In the workout tab, the app automatically starts you off with three workouts: Monday, lower body; Wednesday, upper body, and Friday, abs and core. However, you have the option to add workouts as you wish, and also add exercises from their vast database. For example, if you go to the exercise tab, you are able to browse through exercises by muscle group. Then, if you click on the exercise there is a little animated demonstration as well as a full written explanation of the specific exercise. You then have the option of adding it to your preferred workout.
This app also has a bunch of other features: you can set body goals, compete in challenges (competitions hosted by the app with actual prizes), and also connect with friends that also use the app. Overall a great app for staying on top of your fitness and weight-loss goals!
Well there you have it folks! In my opinion these apps are the best…well…the best FREE fitness apps that is 😉 And in today’s society – anything FREE is fantastic! And even more so if it actually WORKS!
Side-note: I realize this is a short list, but please note that I tested loads of apps, and these were definitely the best, but more importantly – ACCURATE fitness apps. The most popular downfalls of the ones that didn’t make the cut: inaccurate nutritional information, lack of South African food information, and lack of reliability.
Hope this was useful 🙂