By ALEXANDRA MATZKO
Sometimes I require someone or something else to help kick my butt into gear when it comes to getting fit. With modern technology, we have a lot of tools at our fingertips that can make getting healthy or getting inspired to get healthy a lot easier than it used to be.
Apps can keep track of your calories, your heart rate, or your optimal wake up time to aid in reaching your ultimate healthy you.
A lot of these apps are free, but I hate taking up my precious phone space with apps that are just okay and not used by me on a daily or weekly, at the least, basis. As I strive to get healthier in 2017, these are my go-to apps that help me along the way.
1. 5k Runner (Pro)
I’d never taken the plunge with a guided, running app before, and I read a lot of reviews before purchasing the pro version of this one. I really like this running app. First, anyone can do it. The workouts are truly tailored to an unfit person’s level of unfitness. If I’m starting to run from scratch, I want a program that truly starts from square one. An intimidating workout would be my undoing.
5k Runner has programming that maps out three runs a week over the course of several weeks. All of the beginner runs incorporate very doable intervals of running and walking. When I scroll through the steps of that day’s workout before my run, reading a plan that’s overambitious or impossible would be the worst.
That hasn’t happened to me with 5k runner. I also love that it’s usable on a treadmill or out in the real world. And, it has a little encouraging voice that will call out once, twice max, per workout to cheer you on that while cheesy, I’ve grown to enjoy.
It functions well in conjunction with a music app and has a great, reliable feature letting you know when to switch from a running to a walk interval and vice versa no matter what other app you’ve got pulled up. I’m very pleased with my purchase!
This app is essential for HIIT workouts. It’s essentially an interval timer. I love it because it’s super simple, user-friendly, and compatible with other apps. You just plug in your workout’s details such as how many total rounds you’re performing and how much time you want to allot toward “rest” and “exercise.” A whistle sound and buzzer chime to signal three seconds left of either and to mark the beginning of a new round.
It’s the perfect interval timer. My go-to HIIT workout will feature 20-25 rounds of 40 seconds of “exercise” and 20 seconds of “rest” with movements like burpees, sprints on the exercise bike, push-ups, and lots of others you can google to get your heartrate elevated.
When you’re active, and even if you’re not, staying hydrated is really important. Dealing with school bells all day, it’s really easy for me to forego water in order to skip my mad dash to the bathroom between periods. But, dehydration can thwart your healthy goals and leave you feeling just plain crummy. Again, I love this app because it’s so simple to use. You simply open it up, click the “+” button, and add the fluid ounces of the beverage you just enjoyed. It doesn’t just feature water — you can add juice, alcohol, coffee, or soda intake as well. When you sign up, it also calculates your optimal fluid ounces per day based on activity and body composition. It’s the best.
Around my mid-twenties, I began having difficulty sleeping, and it took me a while to figure out how to solve it. Now, I rely on melatonin for those nights I get up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
I wanted to track my sleep while I was originally in the middle of my ordeal. A lot of fitness tracker wearables track sleep, but I find wearing something on my wrist at night to be uncomfortable. This tracker is on your phone; all you have to do is stick your phone between your fitted sheet and your mattress. It even works if you share the bed with someone.
In addition to tracking your sleep cycle, the app also wakes you up when you’re at the lightest part of it, so you don’t wake when you’re in a deep sleep. That alone is reason enough to get this app!
Apps with exercise programs are so helpful for inspiring some sort of physical activity to happen. Sometimes, I’m at a loss of what to do, and I trust these apps to give me some guidance.
Club Beachbody offers all of their most popular programs such as P90x and Insanity. 12MinAthlete has a lot of hard and effective HIIT workouts and a ton of differents moves to inspire you. Both of these apps cost money, but compared to a lot of other costly exercise apps, I think they’re worth the money.
These might not seem to pertain to fitness, but some days I couldn’t make myself workout without them. Instagram has so many inspiring fitness folks that really help motivate me to get my butt to the gym.
Most of them aren’t about acquiring the perfect physique but about empowerment and positivity. While working out, music helps me block out the pain of it all. Blaring club beats can push me through almost any torturous run or set of burpees.
Spotify also offers a lot of pre-made playlists that are centered around workout inspiration, too.
So, check out these apps to help yourself attain your fitness goals for the year! Half of them are free and the others, aside from Club Beachbody, don’t cost more than $5. It feels good to use technology in a way that doesn’t make me laze around on the couch for hours but gets me moving and grooving.