I’m starting a new health and fitness routine … again. It officially makes my third “fresh start” since my son was born, but THIS one is going to be the one that digs in deep – past the special places in my heart reserved for pinot noir and Cheez-Its – and hits the motivation switch.
I know what you’re thinking, and I warn you not to doubt me. I have clawed my way to that switch before and achieved my goals. Sure, I’m seven years older and have about the third of the energy I did in my 20s. But still. I have confidence in my commitment.
By Monday my refrigerator will be packed with only the best of what our natural world has to offer, each crown of broccoli waiting to join a perfectly portioned three ounces of lean meat on my plate. My workout routines will be overanalyzed and calculated, printed, and placed proudly in the kitchen. And I will be PUMPED.
This healthy dance will continue for a month or two, and then I will get BORED.
We have all been there. And if you haven’t… well, then you’re superhuman and I think you are amazing. (And I secretly dislike you a little bit.)
For most of us, if we aren’t training for something specific and our goal is something like, “I just want to lose 15 pounds” or “I want to be Jasmine for Halloween,” a deviation from the grand plan is almost guaranteed.
Boredom is often the culprit. Or just plain not knowing what to do. It can be a ton of work to prepare for a strict diet and plan great routines to meet your goals.
Lucky for us, technology offers more than just an abundance of sources to inspire personal body shaming. Our phones provide tons of super cool apps to assist our fitness and weight loss goals!
A recent study revealed that using exercise apps positively affects motivation and self-efficacy, resulting in increased exercise and lower body fat! Which is generally the goal, right?
So this means that whether you get sick of counting calories or your same old exercise routines, there are a wide variety of apps at your fingertips to shake things up.
After digging around, I compiled a list of five major categories of awesome health and fitness apps.
Activity tracking apps can be fiercely useful in their ability to monitor almost anything, such as your distance, pace, and route. Couch to 5k and RunKeeper are two popular apps for tracking performance and progress for beginner to advanced runners. For those involved in competitive running and cycling, apps like Strava provide more sophisticated analytics to log and compare workouts. How exciting to have all your performance stats waiting to celebrate you after a great workout!
We are not all blessed with the gift of creating highly effective and fun exercise routines, so we can just sit back and let the apps do the work. You can literally roll out of bed and have a customized workout waiting for you, determined by practical variables like the amount of time you have and the area of the body you want to focus on working. Apps extend far beyond just weight-lifting and cardio routines, too. If you’re a yogi, apps like Pocket Yoga have you covered with a large database of routines designed by instructors. Love to Spin but can never get to the gym on time? CycleCast provides an interactive Spin class right on your phone. You can pop in your headphones, and select your instructor, music, and length! The Sworkit app even provides fun exercise routine videos for the kiddos!
Calorie Counters and Meal Planning
Most will agree that diet is integral to any health and fitness goal, and often it’s the most difficult to keep on point. We can have a great workout, but if we follow up with a 600-calorie snack full of carbs, our sweat is for nothing. If learning all about the best recipes and diet plans is not your thing, apps like Athleats offer meal planning, grocery list building and an extensive recipe database. You can even scan barcodes at the grocery store and count your calories with apps like MyFitnessPal.
A strong source of boredom can stem from working out on your own. A community of people striving to meet similar goals may be the motivating force you need! You can find your “pack” to train and celebrate your success through ACTIVEx, or gain support and inspiration for weight loss with the Fooducate app community.
A little encouragement and instruction can go a long way when you need to raise the bar! Music and coaching are two great forms of motivation during exercise, though techniques for boosting energy can vary significantly from person to person. Apps such as PEAR Personal Coach offer the benefits of a personal trainer without breaking the bank, with personalized routines and a massive database of videos. Also, you can find high tempo and DJ-created cardio mixes for FREE on apps like FIT Radio and RockMyRun.
Help a girl out.
Comment below if you have a tried and true app!