Yes, “there’s an app for that.” Some provide the most important element – FUN! They can be rewarding, literally rewarding. I’m talking about real cash and prizes. Whether you’re just getting started or feel the need to accomplish more, a great software application can give you an edge to achieve your fitness goals. Many integrate social networking, which adds encouragement, competition and the chance to make new friends. Cost and convenience are primary reasons for the growing popularity of exercise and fitness apps.
They’re significantly cheaper than gym memberships and personal trainers, and these fitness apps perfectly fit your schedule and demands because you’re in full control. So take control and wield it as any skilled craftsman would a prize tool.
I reviewed a few below, but there are some things to remember. The fitness app doesn’t do the work for you. In our modern society, we need to add it to the list — no perfect exercise, no miracle pill, no magic diet, no special app. Living life takes effort, and you must take ownership of your actions, or lack thereof. Many provide detailed instructions with adequate audio and visual aids, but this is not a substitute for a trained and experienced teacher. There is the potential for injury and be certain you are medically approved to attempt the program. Take the time to learn, listen to your body, and solicit qualified advice if you’re unsure.
Nexercise – iOS, FREE; $2.99 upgrade
This Facebook of fitness apps can track more than 90 activities. Key features include chat and comments with friends and the ability to earn points and medals for accomplishments. These can then be redeemed for real prizes or discounts on various goods and services. GPS tracking verifies location and routes to keep everyone honest. This fitness app is for tracking purposes only; it is not for exercise instruction or planning workout routines.
MapMyRun – iOS/Android/Blackberry, FREE; $2.99 upgrade
This app has all the great tracking information a running app should have with voice prompts to keep you updated on your progress while you’re exercising. It integrates social networking, including photo and story sharing for added motivation and the ability to search for local events for added competition. Join sponsored challenges to win prizes. This app is great if you love to run, but it doesn’t have options to mix in other types of fitness.
GymPact – iOS, FREE
This one is simple and straight forward. Set an activity goal, such as number of gym sessions completed in the next 30 days. Complete it, and receive a small cash reward, but fail, and you pay. GPS allows you to locate a nearby gym, check in, and log time spent exercising. This app is for tracking purposes only. It is not for exercise instruction or planning workout routines, and the only social interaction is to share your routine.
Nike+ – iOS, FREE; $1.99 upgrade
One of the original and continually evolving fitness apps, it can be enhanced with the purchase of additional technology, such as a sensor wristband. They have since expanded into general fitness with workout routines and exercise instruction. Nike has also partnered with Kiip to offer rewards for completing achievements. There is some variety with Nike, but not an all-in-one app to satisfy your demands.
Zombies, RUN! – iOS/Android, $7.99
Turn running into an actual game. Complete missions and story lines, or just run for your life while listening to voice prompts and your own playlist. You can use it anywhere, even on a treadmill. It lacks performance tracking and social networking, but the developer is promising upgrades soon.
FitnessBuilder – iOS/Android, FREE; $9.99 upgrade
This is the king of fitness apps with 750+ workouts and 5,600+ exercise photos and videos. It also includes a virtual personal trainer, performance and body composition tracking, as well as the ability to customize your own routine. There are event options for professionals to track group or individual client performance. You can share workouts and ask questions, but it would be nice to have more social networking capabilities.
You Are Your Own Gym – iOS/Android, $1.99
Based on the book by Mark Lauren, this fitness app teaches you to use your own body to exercise anywhere. In includes customizable timers and lots of instructional photos. Developers are promising videos and the ability to ask questions to a trainer, maybe even a little social networking because it always more fun with friends.