I’m sure by now, you guys are wondering why I’m the NERDY gym rat. I mean, all I’ve talked about to this point is protein powders, lifting weights and how to make good nutrition choices. All that does is solve two-thirds of the name!
Well good news! The nerdy side is coming out with this post!
I think we can all agree that setting goals with health and fitness are crucial if we’re going to see improvements. We can also agree that 90% of the world has a smartphone permanently attached to their hand for 16 hours a day (because we’re all getting our eight hours of sleep, right?). The great thing about this is that we can use that addiction to our advantage, with the development of apps for each format (Windows Phone, Android, iOSwhatever-version-they’re-on).
Now, like most apps, there are good-to-fantastic ones and there are those that are…well…not. Here are a few of my favorite from each of the platforms. (Note: I’m reviewing the FREE versions of these, since I’m a bit on the cheap side with the apps on my phone. Sadly, CheapskateNerdyGymRat.com was taken.)
RunKeeper (Available on Android & iOS)
I’ve had this app on my Motorola Atrix (and before that, my iPhone 3Gs) since the date of purchase. As a person who hates long distance running, the integration with my playlists makes the run a whole lot easier on me (especially the one a few weeks ago that went for 8 miles). Whenever I have that moment of wanting to just stop, I have the music to help me push through (as well as an optional coach, updating you on your current pace/distance at certain intervals).
Psh…someone’s doggin’ it!
My only complaint with the app is that, while it has an on-board GPS to track where you’re running, it can get a bit spotty, depending on your provider. Mine being AT&T, I haven’t had that big of a problem running around Orlando. However, if I go on a jog in Gainesville or New Smyrna Beach, I’ll fall off the map. For a free app, it’s pretty fantastic, though!
MyFitnessPal – Calorie Counter (Available on Android and iOS)
Weight Loss 101: Calorie deficit = loss of pounds. With this app, you can track your caloric expenditure throughout the day. It actually has a pretty good database to pick and choose from (restaurants included) and also lets you punch in the serving size of whatever it is you ate.
Very Nice Design!
This may be me being a little nit-picky, but I have one big problem with calorie counting apps (including the Weight Watchers one). Sure the less calories you take in/burn off in the gym, the lower your weight will be…but what about the other important nutritional information? This is sort of like seeing a 100 calorie pack of Oreo’s. Sure, it’s 100 calories, but they’re EMPTY calories. If this app allowed you to also punch in information like, say, grams of protein or fiber, I’d find it to be much more effective in assessing your overall health.
Nike Training Club (Available on iOS)
Now THIS is an app I can get behind! While aimed towards the female demographic (something the interface design does quite well in conveying in tone and color scheme), men can appreciate the exercises listed in here if you’re looking to tone up. The Nike Trainer Club allows you to customize your workouts, as well as work out to your playlists.
The only fault I could find in this app is that it only allows tracking of one user at a time, so no sharing between mother & daughter. However, this is something that I’m sure Nike will fix, as they have with their other apps (Nike+, for example). Once they refine it a bit more (and maybe have it join forces with its male counterpart, the Nike BOOM), they’ll have domination of the fitness app world, especially since you don’t need to buy a special $100 pair of sneakers for it to work!
Bodybuilding.com (Available on Android and iOS)
I’m actually a big fan of Bodybuilding.com as a website. The store usually runs good deals, the database of workouts is solid and there are countless articles that span over years of research from credible people in the fitness world. The app is a great extension of that. In its most recent update, it allows for you to shop from their store, something that wasn’t available in older versions.
Yeah, like I was going to miss a chance to screencap Jamie Eason!
The biggest problem with the app, however, is its tendency to freeze and shut down on Android phones. With so much traffic going to the site, it may just be an issue of a lack of bandwidth to handle everything at once. I’d suggest a purge on the website of articles from 2007. Maybe that will help reducing the frequency of crashing.
Restaurant Nutrition (Available on Android and iOS)
I will admit: I’m the guy who researches nutritional information PRIOR to going out to dinner with friends. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry for that. This has been a staple on my phones since my first smartphone and has been a godsend. Knowing every detail of information from most major chain restaurants lets me know that I’m better off with two “fresco style” tacos over a grilled stuffed burrito at Taco Bell (a bit obvious, I know, but still a good example!).
Big Macs are unhealthy, you say…
Unfortunately, it only does chain restaurants. It may just be me wishing, but with the capabilities of GPS location in this day and age, there should be a way to access local restaurants nutritional info, if available. For example, chains in the southwest (i.e. In-n-Out Burger) should pop up when I’m in Las Vegas. Again, I’m sure this is something that can easily be fixed as we move ahead in the world of technology.
Well, hopefully that gives you a good starting point of apps to download (if you haven’t already). With the help of some of these, you should have no problem keeping yourself accountable. Your phone will happily be your buddy on the road to a healthier lifestyle.