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The 10 Best Fitness Apps 2013 – 12 Days of Fitness: Day 4

December 11, 2013 0 Comments

FitnessApps_677-02406950d_n_lg(This is Part of a 4 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

What’s one piece of technology that most just can’t seem to live without? From Ipads, to tablets, to GPS, no one needs to worry about ever finding an answer or have to pick a map up again. But one device that can do all of those things AND seems to be attached to everyone every minute of every day is the smartphone. Smartphones put vast amounts of information at our fingertips which also makes them such good fitness and health companions. Fitness apps really have revolutionized the ways in which we keep an eye on our health and stay fit. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, work out more often, track your food intake, or just increase your total amount of daily movement, an app that’s always with you and always connected to a network of supportive people can do wonders. Following is a list of 10 of the best fitness apps and their highlights as well as cost. Some are free, some cost just a few bucks but in the end it will all come down to personal preference.

  1. CountEat. Calories – helps you estimate, rather than count, how many calories you consume at each meal, and helps you find a range, rather than a precise target, for how much you should eat. The innovative approach is worth a try for anyone trying to lose a lot of weight, but too imprecise for dropping two or three pounds.  Cost: 99 cents  Available for: iOS
  2. Cyclemeter – it collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well thought out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, however.  Cost: $4.99  Available for: iOS
  3. – used for counting calories, recording exercise, logging your weight, and tracking other personal metrics (including heart rate, glucose levels, sleep, and blood pressure) although you don’t need to own a tracker to use the app. If you do own one of the Fitbit gadgets, you can sync it so that the data it collects automatically appears on your account. On its own, the Fitbit site gives you the ability to record your personal data to keep track of your fitness goals. Its food-tracking system could be better, but you can use another, such as Lose It!, and integrate that data in its place if you prefer.  Cost: Free to $49 per year for Premium  Available for: Android, iOS, and Web
  4. Fitocracy – uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out. The apps and website feature social interaction prominently. Post a status, whether it’s your success story of going to the gym or the reason you skipped a workout, and you’re likely to find a wealth of support from the community. It also has plentiful resources for all kinds of fitness enthusiasts, from weightlifters to swimmers.  Cost: Free  Available on: Android, iOS, and Web
  5. Fitsby – uses a combination of gaming and betting to push you and your friends to reach a desired goal for exercising. You and your friends decide how much money you want to wager, and the person who checks into the gym the most in a given period of time wins the pot. Betting real money is optional, so you can use Fitsby for friendly competition without any monetary stakes if you prefer.  Cost: Free  Available on: Android (iOS reportedly coming soon)
  6. – Calorie Tracker (a.k.a. MyPlate) – another calorie and exercise logging tool. It requires more work than others in its class, but it manages to get the job done.  Cost: $2.99  Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web
  7. Lose It! – is designed for counting calories and logging exercise, can help you lose weight, especially if you tend to eat name-brand American foods. Avid home cooks and those with a more international diet may feel stymied by its database of foods, and they should try MyFitnessPal instead. Lose It! does have a strong community of supportive people to help you stick to your goals, though.  Cost: Free  Available on: Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook, and Web.
  8. Map My Fitness also known as Map My Run or map My Ride. The app has settings that let you track different sports and workouts. In other words, you only need to download one of the apps, and you can use it for almost any activity. Unfortunately, there are some features that require a fee subscription starting at $5.99 per month. As with most fitness apps for running, walking, cycling, etc., MayMyFitness uses GPS to track the routes you travel, and shows you a map of the ground you covered when you’re done. It also displays length, in both time and distance, as well as pace, maximum speed, and a few other statistics.  Cost: Free; optional $5.99 per month membership required for some features  Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
  9. MyFitnessPalone of the best all-in-one calorie counter and exercise trackers for the iPhone. Using the app is a quick chore rather than a fatiguing project, which is essential to its success. It has an expansive database of international foods, including U.K. brand name packaged food, international cuisines, and much more. MyFitnessPal also has an active and supportive online community.  Cost: Free  Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web.
  10. Nike+ – specifically a running app, it tracks your distance, pace, time, and calories burned while you run. It uses GPS to map your route and has audio feedback built in—including real-time cheering every time one of your friends from Facebook or Path (a private social network) “likes” the post where you’ve noted you’re going out for a run.  Cost: Free  Available on: iPhone, Android

Give the gift of health to a family member, friend, colleague, or yourself this holiday season and have another level of accountability to keep you on track.

See you tomorrow for Day 5 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.


About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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