Fitness Friday: Fitness Apps

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I thought that rather than giving you a 15-minute workout, I’d share a few of my favorite fitness apps. Some of these can be used to actually build a workout and others are used to track parameters you can specify (like time, distance, pace, sets, reps, weight, calories burned, etc.). There are a ton of great fitness apps out there, but I’m only going to list the ones I use and love here.

MyFitnessPal – I have this app on my iPad and iPhone, and I love it, but I have found that the online web interface is very user-friendly, too.  That’s great news for those who have managed to stay off the smart phone bandwagon.  This is primarily a calorie tracking web site – you enter everything you eat and drink throughout the day and also what exercise you do, and MFP will tell you whether you ended the day with a calorie surplus or deficit.  What I love about it over other similar apps is the huge database of foods – nearly every variety and brand of just about anything is in there – and the fact that you can customize which macro- and micronutrients you want to track.  I personally have my food diary set up to track grams of protein, fat, carbs, sugars, sodium and saturated fat, and MFP lets me know as soon as I’ve passed my daily goal in any of those categories.  The biggest drawback to MFP is the not-very-exhaustive list of exercises in the Cardio database, which means you sometimes have to guess at which workout from their list most closely matches what you did.

Map My Run/Ride – As far as I can tell, these two apps are exactly the same. One is just named to appeal to runners, while the other is more frequently downloaded by cyclists. Both can be customized to track just about any type of workout, though.  This is a GPS-based smart phone app that tracks time, distance, pace and calories burned while you are walking, running, cycling, etc. It even has other workouts listed, like pushups, sit ups, “other gym workout”, stairs, etc. so that you can track the duration and calories burned for those activities (the GPS doesn’t magically know how many crunches you did or anything like that). A big criticism I have of Map My Run/Ride is the non-GPS mapping function of the product.  It’s a super big pain in the butt to draw out the route you want to run or bike on the map, especially if you will be hitting any off-road trails.  Read on to learn about a much better product for that.

Footpath – Footpath isn’t super well-known, but it should be. With this app, gone are the days of jumping in the car and driving around for an hour to find a route that will work for the distance listed on your next training day. The Footpath map interface works so much better than the one on Map My Run/Ride. So if, for example, your training plan calls for a 9-mile run today and you’re not sure which loop will get you out and back home in around 9 miles, you can plot out a few possibilities from the comfort of your couch.  Sadly, this is app is only available for Apple products. There is an Android app by the same name, but it’s a completely different product.

Pocket Yoga – Pocket Yoga is a simple, graphics-based app (no live videos of actual people) that lets you plug in a few parameters and choose from a list of yoga sessions.  You can choose the level of your experience (beginner, intermediate, advanced); the duration of your session; and the style of yoga. There is also a comprehensive yoga pose dictionary, which is very helpful for beginners. This is the only app I’ve listed that isn’t free – it’s $2.99, but I think it’s worth the price, especially since you don’t need an internet connection to use it once it’s been downloaded onto your device.

This list of fitness apps barely scratches the surface. If you have a favorite that I should know about, please share with everyone by commenting below.

 

4 comments

  1. kristi says:

    Great suggestions! A friend recently recommended Rock My Run, which features mixes of songs with varying beats per minutes depending on what pace you choose.
    Love the website, Rashell
    Kristi

    • Rashelle says:

      Thanks, Kristi! Awesome suggestion – I have been looking for an app like that for a long time. Looks like somebody finally developed one. That would be so useful for runners who are trying to hit the 180 steps per minute recommended for “good form running.”

  2. Camille says:

    I’ve used Map My Run in the past, but have consistently stuck with RunKeeper for at least a year. I think I just like the layout better, but it does have its quirky moments, especially with GPS that some days has me running through buildings and lakes thus totally screwing up my pace reading. I’ll stick with RunKeeper through my next race, but will maybe give Map My Run another look, as I’m sure it has evolved over time as well.

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