This week on my column on CBC Edmonton I talked about my favourite fitness apps that I recommend to many friends and clients. If you search on iTunes or Google play you'll find an endless number of health and fitness apps that track your nutrition, prepare you for your first run, or track your sleep cycle. I think we're seeing two big trends in apps: they have become visually complex and entertaining- from turn by turn replays of your runs overlayed with fly by topographical maps. Secondly, we're seeing an increased trend in gamifying apps: the focus is on creating small social games - Fitbit for instance has the ability to set a weekly group competition amongst friends or a network where you set a goal for number of steps and activity. First person to get to the goal gets a badge. Many fitness tracking apps have this ability but also have the opportunity to change who can view your data and how much of it is released. For instance I generally tend to be a bit more private with my data so I don't share it with anyone, I'll just use the app to track something like distance ran.
Which one reigns supreme for your summer shred or just getting you out there and enjoying the trails? Here are my top 3 plus a bonus one!
1) Nike Training App:
As with most of anything that Nike does: this thing is slick. This app has workout programs that you can use at all fitness levels. Whether you just want a body weight program or you have dumbbells at a gym, Nike Training App has a program for you. I also really like the integrated timer so you can see the amount of time that you have left in the exercise and also the visuals: the app shows how the movement should look like with a smaller animation and if you need a more in depth explanation then you can just pause the workout and click on the video. If you have an Apple watch, this thing will also upload all of the workouts onto the watch so you don't even need your phone! I've used this app many times if I need a full body workout and I'm feeling like I don't want to design my own programs.
You can download it on iTunes here:
or on Google Play here:
Although I strongly recommend people talk to a dietician or nutritionist for balanced nutrition advice, MyFitnessPal has been around for ages and gives you the opportunity to track all of the calories found in most foods, portion control, and set caloric goals for the day and week. The app also tracks your energy expenditure either by you inputting the information manually or by integrating the infromation from your fitness watch like a fitbit or a garmin. What I really like about this app is the wealth of nutritional information that it has. You can literally walk into a restaurant and type in a meal and it will give you a fairly good guess about things like fat content, salt content, calories, so you can make a more conscientious decision. I've used this app a few times back in my bodybuilding days to monitor my calories if I was cutting but also to help clients stay on track with their goals.
You can find it on Itunes here:
or on Google Play here:
If you know a runner or a cyclist... they're probably on Strava. This app can record the distance that you have ran, time, elevation and all those fun things but what has brought this app to international fame is the users ability to race other people. If you have the app on while you are running or cycling, the app will notify you that you are approaching a place where other people have ran called a segment and if you can try and beat it. The social shareability of this app is absolutely top notch, I've heard so many people become friends... or bitter enemies because they meet other users while running and then they start running together. Think about this app like the Facebook of cycling and running. What I also like about this app is it's ability to integrate with any hardware: if you are using a watch like garmin, fitbit, polar, suunto and all of the other brands, you can upload your data to Strava without a hitch!
You can find it on iTunes here:
You can find it on Google Play here: