I haven’t worked hard at losing weight since about 2003, when I was doing a weight loss program that handed out little booklets that you carried everywhere to track your food and exercise. Now, of course, no one needs one of those little booklets you can use apps on your smart phone.
Starting in November I decided to get serious about losing weight and getting back in shape. It’s been going well; I feel great and have even gotten back into hiking a couple of times a week, which is one of my very favorite things to do. I’ve been using some amazing apps to both keep myself accountable and to track changes to my food and body as I go. But I’m always on the lookout for new ones, particularly great ones for hiking, and I thought I’d share my research with you. Here are the very best seven apps I’ve found for fitness, ranging from practical to hilariously helpful. Hope these help you too!
Getting Fit With Your Phone! 1 of 8
Get in shape with app support.
My Fitness Pal 2 of 8
I completely credit My Fitness Pal for the 35 pounds I've lost so far. In all my years of dieting I've never had such great access to a huge database of foods with nutritional info. It's so simple and easy to track my food and exercise with this app, and I also use the desktop app as well and they sync seamlessly. The community aspect is great, too I love cheering on my friends, and sure love it when they cheer me on as well. This is definitely the best app for fitness I've found. Best of all, My Fitness Pal is available in iOS, Android, and Windows.
LiveStrong’s My Plate App 3 of 8
If My Fitness Pal doesn't work for you, the next best option is definitely the LiveStrong My Plate app. It offers many of the same features in a slightly prettier interface. It's also available in iOS, Android, and Windows phone although you might find it called Calorie Tracker rather than My Plate.
Endomondo Fitness App 4 of 8
I just discovered Endomondo during my research for this post, and I cannot WAIT to put it into practice! This app is for the runner, biker, or hiker that wants to track time and distance. It uses GPS to figure out how far you've gone. I can't wait to try this on my next hike; I usually track time rather than distance but I'd love to know how far I get on some of my longer hikes, or even just when I walk the dog in the neighborhood. Available in iOS, Android, and Windows and offers both a free level and a paid "pro" version.
Instant Heartrate Fitness App 5 of 8
This app is sooooo cool! Instant Heart Rate uses your phone's camera and flash to figure out what your current heart rate is. I used it and then took my heart rate the old fashioned way (you know, using a stopwatch and your fingers on your pulse) and found it to be consistently accurate. While I've been relying on the gym's heart rate monitors to keep mine in the correct range, I love having this option when I'm in the woods because I know sometimes I push too hard when I'm going up a steep hill. Available in iOS, Android, and Windows.
Zombies, Run Fitness App 6 of 8
Okay, I'll confess: I dream of being a runner, particularly a trail runner. I can't run much now because my body size combined with tiny ankles (and still being a bit early in the fitness process) makes it not safe (according to me and my doctor; she said to wait six months and then try), but I have done a few slow jog "sprints" on the treadmill at the gym. But I have my eye on eventually becoming a runner, when I do, I can't wait to use the Zombies, Run! app. Also, it's more than just an app; it's also a game. You can play your own music while running, but you'll also hear the zombie hoards coming to catch you. Hilarious and awesome! Available in iOS, Android, and Windows.
Pocket Yoga Fitness App 7 of 8
I learned the hard way to not underestimate a yoga workout. Yoga is about more than getting zen and stretching; it's a challenging workout that requires you use your muscles in a unique way. Now, I struggle with yoga poses both because my muscles are super tight from too much inactivity, but also because of my body shape and size. This is why Pocket Yoga is such a great app; it allows me to practice yoga at home alone, and it allows me to choose to do the poses that work best for my body (I do better at the standing poses, for instance). This app isn't free ($2.99 in iOS) but is available in iOS, Android, and Windows.
Performance Stretching Fitness App 8 of 8
With all that working out, you're going to need to do some stretching. Lolo's Performance Stretching app is an AWESOME tool for helping you stretch. I've been using it after workouts and also a bit first thing in the morning when I've pushed my body and feel a bit achy and tight in the morning (carefully, though, as cold muscle stretching isn't ideal). Sadly, it's only available in iOS now, for $2.99.