Your fittest winter yet: Apps to get you on track like never before, even in the toughest months
From calories to crunches, a little digital help can go a long way
After a long holiday binge of snacks and naps, many of us start the new year with a vow to get fit again or anew. Boosting our fitness levels might be a matter of finding the right workout routine, tips to manage temptation or getting enough rest. If you need a little nudge, advice, information or motivation, you're not alone, and, well, there's an app for that. Countless apps, and we've handpicked a few that may help you up your fitness game.
Perhaps the king of all food-tracking apps, MyFitnessPal has a searchable food database of over 300,000,000 items (and counting), as well as the ability to calculate, track and adjust your caloric requirements, weight, body fat and activity levels. It has a built-in barcode scanner, so a quick snapshot of whatever you're eating can instantly give you it's nutrient values. You can also add your own foods and recipes, creating your own food database, so the more you use the app, the easier it becomes.
MyFitnessPal, Free with in-app purchases
While MyFitnessPal is great if you have a basic knowledge of health and nutrition, Fooducate is the perfect app if you have a steeper learning curve. Fooducate is designed to go beyond simple calorie tracking to reveal what else is in the food you're eating. Based on your dietary restrictions and general health, the app grades food selections based on how beneficial they are to you, reveals chemicals, additives and hidden ingredients and suggests healthier alternatives to eat.
Fooducate, Free with in-app purchases
Having the right foods in your fridge is one thing, but staying on track while eating out is a completely different beast. HowUDish is a food tracking app that lets you record your dietary preferences and restrictions, then lets you know what restaurants in your area have dishes that will fit your goals. All establishments and dishes are also user-reviewed (Yelp-style), so you'll never be stranded with nothing good to eat again.
HowUDish, Free with in-app purchases
If you're needing a tailored, personal connection in your quest for wellness, Noom Coach pairs you up with an actual coach and user support group to help you reach your goals. Along with being a food and activity tracker, Noom is designed to educate you about what you're doing as well as setting realistic goals (that incorporate indulging and sometimes treating yourself as all part of the process) and bettering your overall behaviours to live a healthier life.
Noom Coach, Free with in-app purchases
Couch to 5k
Running a marathon is on a lot of bucket lists as both a mental and physical achievement. If that goal seems a little too far away, Couch to 5k is a running app to help you put one foot in front of the other. Designed to have the novice runner in marathon shape in just 8 weeks, workouts increase in difficulty, ensuring you can build your strength and endurance in a practical way.
Couch to 5K, $2.99
If you need another reason to move, knowing you're helping worthy causes can be a great motivation. The Charity Miles app tracks all your movement (not just running, but walking, dancing, etc.) and for every mile that you move, the app's corporate pool makes a donation to a variety of charities you can choose from. Furthermore, if you want your friends to get in on the fun, they can sponsor you via the app and vice versa, a productive way to keep active.
Charity Miles, Free
If you'd rather put the money in your pocket, Achievement can integrate over 30 other health and fitness apps to give you incentives based on your progress. Collect points for a variety of activities (including healthy eating, exercise, meditation and sleeping) and earn $10 for every 10,000 points, deposited directly into your Paypal or bank account. By no means a way to get rich, it's a great means to work in concert with your other active apps and get a bigger bonus for yourself.
Instead of wandering aimlessly around the gym, Seven gives you daily no-gym-needed workouts, each 7-minutes long, structured to give you the maximal fitness benefit in the least amount of time. Best of all, it uses a gamified motivation system: you start with 3 "lives", losing one for each workout you miss, eventually resetting your progress score and achievements to zero. So not only is the app fun, but the workouts are the perfect "no excuses" intermediary to get your exercise in.
Seven, Free with in-app purchases
For a little more control and customization of your workouts, Sworkit offers over 50 workout routines designed for specific goals with the ability to modify workout length from 5-60 minutes. Whether you want to get leaner, stronger or better conditioned, the app has specifically targeted routines, or you can choose from the exercises offered to build your own ultimate workouts.
Sworkit, Free with in-app purchases
30-Day Squat Challenge
There's something to be said for simplicity and just because something is straightforward, that doesn't mean it's easy. The 30-Day Squat Challenge app gradually builds up your strength and endurance each day (through both squats and other exercises) so that by the end of the month you're a squatting machine. There are 6 levels of difficulty (you can use the app well beyond 30 days), graph tracking and pre-programmed rest days, so all you need to do is follow along and reap the benefits. A great way to develop a strong base, not only for exercise, but for everyday living.
30-Day Squat Challenge, Free with in-app purchases
If a coach in your ear gets you up and at 'em, Aaptiv has more than 2,500 guided audio workouts, by some of the world's top trainers. Regularly updated with over 40 new classes a week, choose routines based on your goals, favourite trainers, favourite music or other preferences (like exercising outside), plug in your headphones and get to work.
Aaptiv, Free with in-app purchases
For an even more tailored experience, the PEAR app makers teamed with renowned fitness coaches to deliver specific, real-time coaching. After selecting your goals and workouts, the app measures your heart rate and fitness levels during your exercises then motivates and adjusts accordingly, to make sure you stay on target and achieve the best benefits.
PEAR, Free with in-app purchases
And if none of those options are getting you in gear, being chased by zombies will definitely do the trick. This running app brings classic zombie gaming into your real world. The story is that you need to collect supplies to build your base in a post-apocalyptic town. While you'll collect supplies and points the more you run (or jog or walk), sporadically being chased by zombies will force you to move even faster. With over 200 specific missions (and the ability to customize your own), music integration and online syncing so you can track and play with your friends, this app will have you running for your life.
Zombies, Run!, Free with in-app purchases