Fitness apps have certainly made our lives easier. We have apps to keep track of almost any fitness goal. With so many great fitness apps available out there, how to select the best ones?
10 Ways to Improve Fitness
The most common ways to increase fitness are:
- Sports Specific Performance
- Body composition – Fat Loss, Muscle Gain
There are probably good fitness apps for all of these types of fitness.
Benefits of Using Fitness Apps
Since we already carry our phones everywhere, it’s very convenient to keep track of our fitness goals. There is longer an excuse not to stay on our fitness plan. Whether your goal is to powerlifting, bodybuilding, running, weight loss or even yoga, you will find an app for your goals.
Fitness apps keep us accountable. Most fitness apps have reminders and progress reports, which keep us motivated to reach towards our goals. These apps also allow you to share your progress with your friends, which makes you even more accountable.
Personal Data and Records
Fitness apps are a great way of keeping track of our training logs, maintaining our food diary, the number of steps we take, body weight and much more. These records are useful in determining progress. Many apps are also compatible with fitness trackers such as the FitBit. which can track your activity levels, calories burned, heart rate and sleep.
Many fitness apps allow you to add friends and motivate each other to reach their goals. Success in anything often depends on the people you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with positive, like-minded people, you will be much more successful. When pursuing your fitness goals, you will inevitably have to deal with negative people. These apps can help you stay positive.
Fitness Apps: The 4 Pillars of Fitness Success
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Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat. These are the 4 pillars of fitness success. If we can master each one of these, we can expect some great results. Fortunately, there are apps to help with each one of these pillars.
App#1: Eat – Nutrition
Nutrition plays a huge role for any fitness goal. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, optimize health and even have more energy, you need to eat for your goals.
Fortunately, we have many great apps available help us make better food decisions and keep track of our food intake.
Recommended App: MyFitnesspal
I’ve been using MyFitnesspal consistently for over 5 years. This app has helped me lose over 125 lbs and keep it off.
What I love about MyFitnessPal
MyFitnesspal probably has the largest food database in the world. You can find virtually any food item or dish in the app. This is very useful when you eat a large variety of foods. If you’re unsure about the calories and macros of a certain dish, you can easily estimate using the built-in database.
The app and the website are extremely easy to use. It is really easy to navigate between the different sections including food diary, exercise log, bodyweight log. Entering foods into the diary is also very easy. Anyone who is using the app for the first time can get used to it very quickly.
MyFitnesspal is not just an app or website. It is one of, if not the largest fitness communities in the world. They have millions of active users. You can easily connect with like-minded individuals. They also have a very active forum where people ask questions, share their progress and motivate each other.
The MyFitnessPal blog is regularly updated with great content. The articles are usually good and can be useful for beginners.
Food Diary: You can easily enter your daily meals and even plan ahead. You can also simply copy meals you had logged in on a previous date or even save the meal for a future date. The app even features a barcode scanner to log in packaged foods.
The helps you track your daily macronutrient intake and at the end of the day, you can measure your total intake. You can also log in your body weight and other measurements to keep track of your progress.
In addition to your macros, you can also keep track of your micronutrient, sugar, fiber and water intake.
Compatible Apps and Devices
Myfitnesspal is compatible with other apps such as Map My Run and fitness trackers such as the FitBit. One of my favorite devices is the Withings WiFi Scale, which automatically syncs with MyFitnesspal.
Myfitnesspal gives to the ability to set daily reminders and notifications to make sure you stay on track. I’m also a fan of their day counter, where it tells you how many days in a row that you log in. This is really motivating in staying regular by keeping the streak going. I’m currently on a 900+ day streak!
Add Me on MyFitnessPal: underdog_strength
App#2: For Sleep
Did you know that 1 in 3 people suffer from Sleep Deprivation? Sleep plays an important role in everyone’s lives. It affects our health, hormones, mood, cognition, energy levels etc.
When it comes to athletes, sleep is even more important because of the hight levels of stress we have in addition to the stresses of our daily lives. Not only do we want to make progress in the gym but most of us also have to perform in our daily activities including work, school, family etc. Sleep is crucial for recovery.
Most people generally require 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. While sleep deprivation can cause noticeable symptoms such as drowsiness, impaired cognition, fatigue, emotional issues etc., chronic sleep deprivation can cause some severe health problems.
Recommended App: Sleep Cycle
Even if you get 7-9 hours of sleep, you may still be sleep deprived. In addition to sleep quantity, sleep quality is extremely important. Sleep Cycle uses sounds and movement to determine the quality of your sleep. One of my favorite features of this app is called the ‘Smart Alarm’. Let’s say, you want to wake up at 6 AM. When you set a smart alarm, instead of waking you up at exactly 6 AM, it will wake up within a half and hour range around 6 AM.
Have you ever been woken up by an alarm, only to find yourself barely getting up and hitting the snooze button over and over again? This is probably because you were in deep sleep. This app wakes you up when you’re in the lightest stages of your sleep.
For training progress, it is important to keep a training log. I’ve used several apps to track my training. I’ve even used a physical journal to track my training.
Recommended Apps: Google Keep or Evernote
These may not be fitness apps but they are very convenient ways of keeping track of your training. These are compatible with nearly all devices and I like to access them on my phone as well as my computer. I like to create a new note every week. This way I can go back to several weeks, months and even years to see how my training has progressed.
These apps also allow you to add links, pictures and take any additional notes about how training is going. For example, I use Autoregulated Training Program using RPEs. The other apps I ‘ve used don’t have the capability of recording my RPEs. One of the great features of Evernote is that we can import spreadsheets into it. Many lifters like to maintain a spreadsheet to keep track of their lifts. You can also do this using Microsoft excel or google docs.
In addition to numbers, we can also take notes on how training feels overall. Sometimes, subjective feedback is also important.
App#4: Repeat- Consistency is Key
The biggest factor for fitness success is consistency. If we don’t eat, sleep and train consistently, we will not see the results. When starting any fitness endeavor, it is often hardest in the beginning. Over time, as we form good habits, its becomes easier to be consistent.
Fortunately, we have apps that make it easier to form good habits.
Recommended App: Productive
Learn to enjoy the process. If you develop good habits, you will not need a lot of willpower to keep going as this will be part of your daily ritual. This app allows you to enter the new habits you’re trying to form. It reminds you at the right time when you’re supposed to perform your task.
I highly recommend starting small. Instead of trying to improve your eating, sleeping, and training at the same time, try improving 1 of them until it becomes a habit. You can then move on to the next habit. If you want to learn more about habits, check out the book: The Power of Habit