With the holiday season upon us, we tend to start thinking about how our waistlines have a nasty habit this time of year of expanding as this year comes to a close and the new one begins. Fear those Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas cookies no more- we’ve found fitness apps that will help you stay active and healthy this holiday season so you can start your new year off on the right foot.
Designed with those who cycle in mind, but envisioned to be enjoyed by all who love to work out outside, Cyclemeter’s platform is the powerhouse for fitness junkie Apple users. You can record and store unlimited amounts of workouts, no website login required to access your data, swipe the stopwatch to see pages of stats, maps and graphs, and you can view your workouts on a calendar- which can be organized by routes and activities. Those are all just some of the features you get with the free version. If you upgrade to Elite, you can analyze your workouts across different Apple devices, store data in your iCloud, and view bar and pie charts of over 25 stats from your different workouts. In order to use this app, your device has to be GPS capable, so you can’t use it with your iPod touch (which most don’t use anymore, but just a heads up to those few who still do).
This app is especially great for those who are big into running, specifically long distance running. However, it’s still a great app if you enjoy walking, cycling, or hiking. If you’re training for any type of race though, MapMyRun has got you covered. This app will keep track of your mile splits in addition to showing you any incline that may have occurred on your long distance trek. This way you can get a detailed record of where you begin to fade in your workout, how different inclines are affecting your times, and you can compare past workouts to your recent one to see how much you’re improving. Depending on what city you’re in, you may even have access to routes that have been created by MapMyRun for certain locations. Tracking your activity has been made easier by being able to sync that app up with third party devices, like heart rate monitors, in order to better calculate how many calories you’re burning and keep your workouts up to date in the system. To create an even more in depth user experience, you can also log your food intake into the app. The system isn’t incredibly updated just yet in terms of a large food knowledge base, but if you stumble across a food that isn’t in the system you’re given the option to add it. Of course, as with all fitness apps, you’re entered into the MapMyRun social world, where you can get encouragement and give encouragement from friends, family, and the entire online community.
Available: Apple, Android
For a free app, you get a lot considering you don’t pay anything. Among the extensive list of features, you get real time GPS Tracking, workout history, workout goals, audio coach feedback, heart rate sensors (when you’re connected to your heart rate monitor), a long list of sports to choose from depending on what activity you’re doing, and importing your own music. Additionally, you become part of the Endomondo global fitness community in which you can interact with family and friends, or the millions of other users around the users. You can like people’s goal achievements, weigh ins, and send them encouraging words. You can even join in the global challenges or challenge some of your friends to a mini competition wherever in the world you are. If you choose to upgrade to premium, you get a training plan, advanced statistics, and interval training which you can fully customize. Although the three extra premium features are great, this is the best free fitness app on the market today purely because you don’t pay and you can choose from a wide variety of heart rate monitors to sync your app with, which means you can adjust how much you spend. It’s a huge benefit that this app works with many different heart rate monitors like Polar, Timex, Fitbit, and Garmin. This allows you to choose a watch that fits your lifestyle best and you can sync all of its data into their application.
Available: Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry
Fitbit is a powerhouse in the fitness application world. The Fitbit bracelets took the world by storm when they were launched just a few short years ago. Since then the company has been growing aggressively, coming out with more bracelets with advanced functions, apparel, and increasing the size of their online community for their members. It boasts an impressively large features section, in that you can record sleep, control weight, record workouts, set goals, sync wirelessly, see your progress, log food, and connect with friends. Fitbit really highlights different ways for you to see your progress so that you don’t become discouraged on your journey to a healthier life as well as encouraging you to network with your friends and motivate each other through the app. With MobileTrack, which is another feature on the app, you can track your daily steps and distance you walk a day on your smartphone even if you don’t have a Fitbit device. A Fitbit device is classified as one of their incredibly popular bracelets. What’s great about owning the bracelet, is that you can set it to sync to your app on your phone regularly, that way you can stay up to date with how many calories you’re burning, your heart rate, your sleep patterns, etc.
App Price: Free
Available: Apple, Android, Windows
If you’ve ever wanted to take your personal trainer home from the gym with you so they could smack all the food you shouldn’t be eating out of your hand, then this is the fitness app for you. MyFitnessPal acts like a food journal, only everything is documented online on either their free website or mobile app. The website and the mobile app update simultaneously, so you’ll never have to worry about missing data on one device, or needing to re-enter things more than once (because it’s enough to admit once that you ate that old fashioned glazed doughnut, no need to rub it in). MyFitnessPal has a huge food database, so almost everything from your favorite Chinese dish or your newest home cooked meal recipe will be calorie counted into the app. You can combine that with how many calories you burned in the day to see what you resulting total is. Additionally you can add your own recipes or important recipes that you find on the web, to keep all the meals you love to cook in one convenient area. There are studies to support that journaling your food intake helps you to lose weight quicker and since MyFitnessPal is free, it’s worth a try.
Available: Apple, Android, Windows
You live a busy life and rely on caffeine to power you through your day. Have you ever stopped to think about the effects that caffeine is having on you besides making you feel superhuman throughout the day? UP from Jawbone helps you answer this question. When you use one of UP’s tracker bracelets, it will monitor your sleep habits, heart rate during exercise, and activity tracking. But the greatest thing about the sleep monitoring is that on days when you log caffeine intake, the app with let you know the correlations it sees between your nighttime sleeps and your morning coffee rituals. This can help you get a better night’s sleep night after night, and saving a few dollars by skipping the Starbucks drive thru in the morning. You can look at their activity tracking bracelets here. If you’re surprised by the cost of the bracelets, keep in mind they’re able to connect to a variety of different fitness apps out there, not just the UP app- which provides a greater flexibility to you.
Available: Apple, Android
Finding your new favorite fitness app will take some time depending on whatever your individual fitness needs are. Fitness apps are, at the end of the day, merely a tool in order to help you keep yourself more accountable and make healthier lifestyle choices each and every day. This can become increasingly difficult as the holiday season brings out more sweets and treats than most other times of the year, but fitness apps can be a driving force to help you maintain your healthy lifestyle, or begin one today.