- Published on Sunday, 09 March 2014 13:06 09 March 2014
- Written by OLIVIA GRECU OLIVIA GRECU
There's an app for everything, and that includes hitting the gym and meeting your personal fitness goals
It's been almost 40 years since Sylvester Stallone's character chased a chicken around to get in shape in the original Rocky movie — arguably the simplest and most old-school method of getting a workout in.
Things aren't quite so simple anymore, but thanks to all the new fitness technology out there, they don't have to be as complicated as they seem.
For me, fitness and health related technologies fall into two categories: the gadgets, and the apps and both can be good tools when you're working out solo. Personal trainers are great and so are group fitness classes, but both can get a bit expensive when you're getting fit on a budget. I think I've tried almost every fitness option out there, and there are definitely a few apps and technologies that stand out for me. I'll start by discussing what I use most — the gadgets.
There are two things that I don't go to the gym without. The first is my heart rate monitor. I hate to break it to you guys but you know that "calories burned" number you keep track of on the elliptical and treadmill? Pretty inaccurate, especially if you aren't entering your age and weight into the machine every time you hop on. My heart rate monitor is specifically calibrated to me, so it keeps a way more accurate record of what I'm really achieving at the gym.
I don't spend a whole lot of time on those machines because I think cardio is the devil, but I still think it's important to know how hard you're working, so you can stay accountable. I can keep track of my heart rate and how many calories I'm burning even while I'm lifting weights, or walking to the water fountain (hey, it counts!)
The second thing I always bring with me is my iPod nano. It was a birthday gift, and oh what a gift. It serves a couple purposes, the most obvious of which is music. There are so many studies out there that associate listening to music while exercising with increased motivation and performance, and frankly sometimes you do just need a little Beyoncé to get you through that last set.
It also has the Nike+Running App on it, which many people might be familiar with since it boasts about 7 million app users worldwide. In the summertime, when I actually venture on the occasional run, this handy little app tracks my time and distance for me. If I pre-set the distance I want to go, it even gives me a countdown by kilometer in my headphones. Anyone like me who can't wait to get to the end of a run understands the appeal here.
A new workout buddy
Confession: When I started writing this I had had the N+TC app on my phone for at least a year, but I had never used it (I have since tried it a couple of times, and may I say, ouch), and here lies the main problem I see with do-it-yourself fitness.
If you are not a self-motivator, or simply aren't quite sure how to get started, there isn't a lot fitness apps can do for you in that department. They don't call to make sure you go to the gym after work, they don't stop you from consuming one too many beers the night before a scheduled Saturday morning workout and they definitely don't kick your butt for you. That being said, if you can find the ones you like and get to the gym on a consistent basis, fitness gadgets and apps can be your new workout buddy.
MAKING THE CUT
I've downloaded and deleted at least a dozen apps off of my phone. Here are a few that were worth keeping:
Nike+Training Club: Free
Tabata Pro: Free
What do you think? Do fitness apps really
help you to achieve success at the gym?