I am a bit of an app junkie. I especially love using fitness apps. Anything that combines my love of fitness, organization and convenience is getting downloaded immediately if not sooner. I’ve used several health apps over the years so I thought I would compile a list of my top 5 fitness apps. These apps have been helpful in adding to or maintaining my healthy lifestyle. Some were used more in the beginning stages of my weight loss and helped to kickstart my fitness routine and others I continue to use on a daily basis
I absolutely love this app! I mentioned this one before in my post about my current workout routine. What I love about it is that it's helpful for beginners as well as more experienced strength trainers and everything in between. You can follow someone else's workout routine, for example, PHAT by Layne Norton, LiveFit from Jackie Eason, or StrongLifts. These examples are probably among the more intermediate and advanced options. On the flip side, you can create your own workouts and templates from scratch. Currently in the app I have several workouts saved by muscle groups. This works well for me and helps me go into the gym with a plan.
If I start getting a little bored and want to switch things up, then I will go in and change the template around. Which brings me to the other awesome thing about this app. As someone who has been weight lifting for a couple years now, sometimes I run out of ideas. Maybe I want to work on my shoulders but I want to do something a little different. So with this app, I can use the Exercise Database and search for an exercise based on body part, equipment and type (cardio, strength, stretch, powerlifting etc). How cool is that? It tailors my exercises to things I actually have at my disposal and still works out the areas I want to target. This feature is so helpful as a beginner especially because each exercise in the database has a short tutorial on how to compete the exercise with proper form. Even though I don't consider myself a total workout newbie anymore, I definitely have referred to these videos to make sure I am using proper form.
Lastly, the app keeps track of how much weight you lift and will show your workout history. It will tell you what you used for your bench press last time you worked out so you know where to start off the next time chest day rolls around. So many good features in one app and best of all, it's free!
Get Running! (Couch25K)
I credit SO much of my initial weight loss success to this app. It was the one thing that I felt kickstarted my fitness routine and encouraged me to focus on something other than the number on the scale. Instead of how much I lost, I was concerned with how fast I ran or how much further I could go. For the majority of my life I considered myself a terrible runner. I ran for about 30 seconds before I felt like I had reached my physical limit and might pass out. I always told myself it was something I needed to work on but I didn't really know how. On top of that, there was so much pain involved with running for me that it was easier to just not do it. I came upon this app and decided to give it a shot. It was life changing for me! It gave me the tools I needed to become a better runner one step at a time. Down below is the logo so you know which one it is when you search for it. There are countless Couch25K apps out there but this is the one I used.
This app takes you from 60 seconds of running at a time to running a 5K (3 miles) without stopping. I had my doubts but I was determined to get through the 9 weeks of training. You do 3 runs per week and usually it's the same workout all three times. The app will coach you through the runs and let you know when it's time to run and when you can walk again. It also lets you know how much longer you have left in your run. When you're running out of steam and the voice pops up and tells you there is only 30 seconds left of your run, it helps you keep pushing just a little longer.
The running time increases as you move from week to week. I remember getting to week 5 and freaking out because the first run that week is 5 minutes, the 2nd is 8 minutes and then the last is 20 minutes straight. Umm excuse me? That escalated quickly. But I pushed through and huffed and puffed my way through the 20 minutes of running. I even teared up at the end because I was just so happy I did it! After successfully completing this app, I went on to run multiple 5K's and then a few half marathons. The lessons of this app stuck with me and even though I don't run as much as I did while I was training, it's nice to know I can go outside and bust out 3 miles whenever I want. Pretty worth the $2.99 if ya ask me!
This is a major one that I am sure almost everyone has heard of. Myfitnesspal (MFP) is what helped me begin on my road to weight loss. The main way I use it is as my food diary. I log my food for the day here and it tracks my macros, calories and micronutrients. I like to input my planned food the day prior so that when I am tracking my macros, I can see more easily what I am working with in terms of targets I need to hit for the day. I also use MFP to calculate the nutrition information for any recipes I make when I meal prep. When making recipes, I usually make 4 servings so I throw all the ingredients into the “create recipe” section and then set the serving size to 4. This gives me the info I need to be able to log that recipe or meal into my day.
I do pay for the premium version ($49.99 per year) and I have for the past 2 years. I definitely do not think it’s 100% necessary. I used the free version for years before I switched to premium. Premium just has a few extra features that I like (no ads, lets me set exact macro goals to the gram, allows me to switch the focus to macros vs. calories etc). All convenient but definitely not necessary. I used to use it to log my exercise as well. But that was until I got a FitBit. Which leads us to the next app on this list.
This is another app I use on a daily basis. Now in order to get the full functionality of this app, you do need a Fitbit so that would be the only downside. I currently have the Fitbit Versa and I LOVE it. You can still get the app and set your phone as the step tracker and log your workouts manually but you just don't get the full potential of what the app can do. With this app I log my steps, all of my workouts, my sleep and my heart rate.
Heart rate is something I never really paid attention to and it has been so cool to watch my resting heart rate decrease from 80 BPM to the low 60s as I have lost weight. Non-scale victory for sure! Helps me to remember there is so much more to fitness than the scale. I don’t love the food diary option in this app, hence why I use Myfitnesspal, but for workouts, this app is awesome. I start my workout from the tracker itself and then the timer starts. Once my workout is complete I stop the timer and it's recorded into the app.
You can also view a history of your workouts through the app and put them into preset categories (treadmill, run, weights, yoga etc). As evidenced below, I do a lot of circuit training.
The last cool feature about this app is the social capability. You can create or join in on weekly or daily challenges. It's a great way to bring out the fun competitive streak with your family and friends and keeps you motivated to get moving every day to rack up the most steps!
The last app I use is another to spice up my workout game. Whenever I want a high intensity day of conditioning I do a Tabata style workout. Tabata is basically working hard for a short time followed by an interval of rest. I typically do 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off. I like to do a full body circuit with upper body, lower body and core exercises with some cardio blasts in between.
With this app, I can format my workouts with whatever exercises I want and I have complete control of the intervals. I can break it up between right side and left side and get a reminder when I am halfway through my interval. I usually place my phone on the floor and the app will stay on for the duration of my workout and play in the background while my music is going. I also like that when I am not within sight of my phone, the app will talk to me to tell me what's coming up next.
This app is free however if you want to save your timers, then you have to spring for the paid version which is $4.99. You can definitely use the free version but you would have to give yourself time to format your workout each time beforehand. I think the $4.99 is totally worth being able to save my timers and just quickly select from which workout I want to do before heading to the gym.
And there you have it! Those are my favorite fitness apps. If you have any you love that I need to check out let me know in the comments below!