By: Sarah McWilliams
Many people who are interested in losing weight or even just maintaining their current weight are turning to fitness apps to help them do it. Different apps serve different purposes. Some help you track your caloric intake, others focus on maximizing your training while others use positive motivation and social connections to encourage you along the way.
Here are our top five favorite free fitness apps available for the iPhone and Android out right now:
1. CALORIE COUNTER
For tracking fitness and nutrition, the current must have app is Calorie Counter, from My Fitness Pal (www.myfitnesspal.com). This easy to use interface allows you to create goals, track your caloric intake, your daily fitness and connect with other users.
Begin by inputting your current weight and your goal weight. The app will tell you how many calories you need to consume daily minus the calories you burn through exercise to get that goal weight in your desired time frame. The app won’t let you be unhealthy or unrealistic. No matter what your goals are, the app recommends consuming the minimum of 1200 calories per day and even scolds you if you are below it.
Calorie Counter makes tracking your caloric intake easy with thousands of foods from all different restaurants and grocery stores available. It even offers a bar code scanner that inputs the data based on the scan.
It also lists a variety of exercises and the estimated calories burn based on the time you spent doing both cardio and strength training.
Calorie Counter allows you to connect with your friends and other users or keep your information private based on your personal choices.
Overall this app is great for calories, but definitely lacks some of the fitness capabilities of other apps.
2. NIKE+ RUNNING
Nike+ uses a GPS tracking system to track the distance, pace and time of all of your runs. By syncing the app with www.nikeplus.com, you are able to set goals as well as see the top routes in your area.
Nike+ also syncs with Facebook and allows users to post their runs, and have friends cheer you on during your run. You can turn this feature off, however, if you aren’t always interested in your Facebook community seeing your progress.
Although Nike+ is great for running, one of the app’s downfalls is that it doesn’t include any nutritional guidelines or tracking. If you are searching for a more cohesive program, you may want to consider a different program or use it in conjunction with Calorie Counter or Lose It!
3. LOSE IT!
Lose It! (www.loseit.com) focuses on calorie tracking and peer support. The app has the capabilities to enter complicated recipes and track your calories and nutritional information of recipes you use the most.
The app also tracks the nutrients such as proteins and fat of everything you eat. You can also scan the barcodes of foods to enter into your food diary.
Lose It! focuses on the social media aspect and motivates you further by connecting you to other users. You can add friends just like a social media application, where everyone is interested in losing weight. Your friends can motivate you and encourage you.
Similar to My Fitness Pal, you can enter the exercise, but you may want to supplement the fitness application area with another app that is more training based.
The Couch to 5k program has swept the nation for people wanting to run their first 5k or someone who hasn’t ran for a long time. The program works you in slowly to make sure you don’t get burned out and quit. Although you don’t need the app to complete the program, the app helps motivate and encourage its users.
Since the program consists of both running and walking, there is a convenient audio app that lets you know when it’s time to walk and when it’s time to run. Although this app does not have a GPS tracking system, it is compatible with Nike+ and other GPS tracking applications.
To help keep you motivated you can integrate the app with Facebook and Twitter and meet other users to encourage each other.
This app is strictly for training and does not have any calorie tracking program within the app.
5.EVERY BODY WALK!
Every Body Walk! turns your phone into a pedometer so you can measure your distance during training as well as count the number of steps throughout the day. The app calculates the time, distance, calories and route saving your walking history for future reference.
This app is also capable of integrating with both Facebook and Twitter. By sharing your walk history, you can receive encouragement from all of your social media pals.
Regardless of what app you use, fitness apps are a great way to keep track and keep you motivated during all of your training sessions.