With hundreds of fitness apps out there, I went on a mission to find three worth sharing with Central Oregon readers. After downloading, using and deleting dozens of health apps, these are the three I kept on my phone and plan to use in my fitness routine.
Nike Training Club: For finding the perfect gym workout
I heard about this app through some friends, so I gave it a shot. It filled a gap in my fitness routine that I didn't know I had. When I'm at the gym, I rarely have a plan or know what to do. I normally grab a kettlebell, Google a workout and do that. But this app gives me structure for my gym visits.
The Nike Training Club app has hundreds of workouts for users to browse, save and use. This app gives users a free and easy personal training experience. The "Home" tab features a variety of training programs that users can get started with, from basketball workouts to core strengthening. The "Workouts" tab is full of exercise tutorials that range from 5-minute to hour-long workouts. Users can search based on muscle group, workout focus, equipment and more. This app tracks activity and achievements.
I can target muscle groups, master my form and feel confident in my movements. The guided workouts provide support to people who may feel a little uncomfortable at the gym.
I would suggest this app to people who are new to the gym, enjoy guided workouts and are looking for new exercises.
Strava: For tracking stats, adventuring and connecting with friends
I started using Strava in August and I was instantly hooked.
Would you rather climb rocks, mountain bike in the woods, run along the river or ski down the slopes than hit the gym? Then this app is for you! Strava tracks physical exercise and is most popular with the running and biking community. It also serves as a social network for athletes.
Strava tracks almost every sport you can think of—running, biking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, skiing, swimming, skateboarding, windsurfing and more. It tracks performance stats, displays the user's trail map and (my favorite part) allows users to upload photos from their experience.
After creating my profile and logging my first activities, I realized it combined everything that motivates me—detailed stats, personal competition, photos and staying in touch with friends.
After an activity, athletes have access to almost every metric imaginable—distance, pacing details, elevation gain, segment PRs and more. The stats are what excite me. I want to break personal records, decrease my average pace and maintain a regular routine to track. When saving data, athletes can create a title, caption and photos, personalizing each activity to share with their friends. I usually take a quick selfie on the trail and a scenic shot of the location. After the activity is saved, it's uploaded to your personal profile and Strava feed, where users can see their friends' activities and give "kudos," similar to a "like" on Instagram or Facebook. Users have the option to post privately, as well. These are the features users get with the free version, but there is more to be discovered with Strava Premium.
I would recommend this to individuals who are stat hungry, craving a little competition and looking to connect with friends through fitness. Download this app, and I promise it will motivate you.
My Fitness Pal: Mindful diet and daily goals
My Fitness Pal tracks diet and exercise—it's an all-in-one health app. I was skeptical of this at first, because tracking calories is out, and listening to your body is in. But My Fitness Pal lays out data in a way that is mindful and motivational rather than discouraging. The accountability is helpful for people who need a little extra push to pursue fitness goals.
The free version of this app has a lot to offer. Each user is asked basic information, fitness goals and is put on a calorie plan. My Fitness Pal will take the goal calorie count (around 2,000 based on the individual), subtract calories through food and add calories through exercise. The goal is to hit zero by the end of the day.
In the "Diary" tab, users can enter breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and water. My Fitness Pal will log the nutritional value and calories of each entry. For example, if you have two pieces of toast and a latte for breakfast, the app will log it and subtract 503 calories from the goal count.
This tab also allows users to track exercise—yoga, weight training, swimming, etc. My Fitness Pal calculates calories burned and subtracts it from the goal count. So, if users exercise more, they should be eating more calories. My Fitness Pal helps track the fuel needed to keep the body healthy and nourished.
I tracked my food and exercise for a week and found that it wasn't about the calories. It was about being mindful of what I was eating and how I needed to fuel my body based on activity levels. On days I worked out for 2-3 hours, I was eating the same amount on the days where I only got a 15-minute walk in. My eating habits shifted, and I felt energized. I also found that I was making better choices with what I was eating based on nutritional value. Instead of a muffin or toast for breakfast, I opted for oatmeal with bananas and chia seeds because of the points it gave me in the nutrients section.
I would recommend this app to individuals looking to improve their diet and be more mindful about how to fuel their bodies. Tracking holds accountability and offers a little competition with yourself.