January Fit Tips
Resolving for a Fitter 2014? There’s an App for That.
Justin Warren, VIDA Fitness Personal Trainer, Metropole
You undoubtedly spent the holiday season following a disciplined gym routine and avoiding sugar and fatty foods. Alright – maybe not.
November and December can derail even the most avid of fitness enthusiasts. But for those looking to get back on track, help is just a finger swipe away. Whether you’re shedding the calories left over from a wild New Year’s Eve or just starting your journey to a “new you,” this list of five mobile applications will help to bring accountability back to your diet and exercise regimens.
MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
Apple, Android (Free)
For those looking to lose weight or pack on lean muscle, one of the toughest pills to swallow is that dedicating yourself to the gym is only part of the solution. Achieving your goals requires just as much discipline in the kitchen. Enter MyFitnessPal.
The application starts off by asking about your height, weight and dietary goals. Within two minutes, you’re granted access to a database of over three million foods that you find at local grocery stores and restaurants.
Adding these foods to your daily food log is incredibly easy. Type the names of each item directly into the search bar or, better yet, snap a picture of the barcode and have the application do the work for you. MyFitnessPal immediately adjusts your calorie allotment for the remainder of the day.
The application allows you track all major nutrient, your overall progress over time, log exercise, connect with friends to monitor one another’s progress and automatically syncs to the web so you can make changes at home or on the go.
Apple, Android (Paid: $1.99)
Some people were born to run. They can hop on the treadmill, find the proverbial “runner’s high” and go for miles. And they even enjoy it! For some of us, though, running comes neither naturally nor enjoyably.
The Couch-to-5K program is designed by fitness experts and gives those new to the track an opportunity to make serious and noticeable progress in less than three months. Go ahead and register for a 5K race three months now and I can all but guarantee that you will be ready.
The program asks you to dedicate 30 minutes a day, three days each week to a program that starts from square one and finishes with you covering 3.1 miles nonstop in a matter of nine weeks.
The application uses voice commands to guide you through walking and jogging intervals, with each workout pushing you harder and farther than the one before it.
Not sure where to go once you’ve finished the program? Coucn-to-5K’s sister application, 5K-to-10K, takes another nine weeks to double the distance and move you one step closer to that goal of running a marathon.
Apple, Android (Paid: $2.99)
Couch-to-5K didn’t entice you enough to hit the pavement? Well maybe zombies will do the trick.
In Zombies, Run, your movement becomes vital to the survival of mankind. In this display of exercise meets gaming, you run, walk or jog to collect supplies and fortify a base to halt the zombie apocalypse.
Then, when you’re back home, you can keep the game going by using the application to put the supplies you collected to good use. Your run might just turn into the highlight of your day!
For those interested in interval running, the application features a zombie chase mode where you are forced to speed up and slow down according to how close the creatures are on your tail.
The application includes over 35 missions with more currently in development.
Apple, Android (Free (Ad supported), $0.99 (No ads))
If you look at almost any trainer on the VIDA floor, you’ll see that our clients do plenty of pushups. Why? It’s a fantastic bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere. Pushups help to strengthen your chest muscles (pectoral), arms (triceps), shoulders and core.
Even though most of us have been doing them since elementary school, many people struggle to do more than 20 pushups consecutively. The Hundred Pushups application aims to bring you closer to 100.
Using the application, you will complete a program of pushups three times each week for six weeks. The application gives you all of the information you need: how to complete your pushups using good form, the number of pushups to complete in each set and even a timer that counts down rest periods.
You’ll do tests along the way so you can see your progress in real time. Whether or not you end up at the magic number of 100, you’ll certainly see major improvements on an exercise that should be a staple for almost anyone’s fitness routine.
If you try it and like it, there are sister applications designed to increase your maximum rep count for other basic movements, like sit ups and squats.
7 Minute Workout
Apple, Android (Varies)
High-intensity-interval training is all the rage in health clubs across the country. By combining longer bursts of activity with short rest periods, there is evidence to show that one can achieve high caloric burn and increased metabolism in a relatively short workout.
The 7-minute workout was published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal, and features 12 bodyweight movements, each performed for 30 seconds with only 10 seconds of rest between each movement.
Perfect for the busy bodies of DC or the traveler without access to a full gym, the program will have you breaking a sweat and hitting the showers in only slightly longer than a TV commercial break.
There are numerous applications in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store that provide illustrations of the movements, timers and progress tracking. Most are free, but others offer special features for a price.