When I get to the gym, I have to have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, I wander around the gym like I have exercise ADD and a severe version of exercise amnesia. I do a little of this, a little of that, some biceps here, a few push-ups there, 10 minutes on the treadmill and maybe some sets of assisted pull-ups. But I tend to blank on more complicated exercises that I’ve done a million times and can’t pull them out of my brain’s vault to actually do them at the gym. Then I feel like I didn’t have a “real” workout because I didn’t go in with a plan.
No matter how many years of workouts I have under my belt, my brain lacks the part that commits exercises to memory. I need to have a list in front of me, or a trainer pushing me—something to keep me on track. And because I don’t have a lot of spare time in my day to plan workouts—I can barely make it to the gym to actually do the workout—my saving workout grace lately has been workout apps.
Apps are my new personal trainer, and they make it easy to go to the gym with a plan so you don’t wander around aimlessly. Besides being helpful with my workout amnesia, one of the best things about a good fitness app? That it’s FREE. With so many millions of apps out there, I find no need to pay for one when I can keep scrolling and find several others that are free. And a recent article about the use of weight-loss apps like Daily Burn and Livestrong said that paying for these types of weight-loss apps didn’t get users much more than the free ones provided.
The study showed that all of these weight-loss apps may not actually be translating into slimmer people, which might be because apps don’t help people with strategies for making permanent lifestyle changes. But the good news is that free apps are just as likely to use evidence-based strategies, that is, strategies that have been scientifically researched and found to be effective.
Some old-fashioned weight-loss methods appear to be even more effective than newfangled apps. One doctor said that 95 percent of his patients who used a food journal lost weight. Food journals help you be accountable and take stock of what you’re eating—and that’s something you can do with pen and paper, for free. Obviously, downloading a digital app isn’t a miracle cure. You’ve got to do the workouts from the apps you downloaded, and you must consistently use weight-loss apps to improve your lifestyle choices and habits to have them be effective.
Do you use weight-loss and fitness apps? Do you go for the free ones or pony up the cash?
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