I encourage everyone to find a workout partner if you can because it makes such a difference in keeping you motivated and on track. It can be hard to find someone with similar goals, abilities, and schedules though so what are you supposed to do if you don’t have a buddy to kick you into gear?
Well, first, you should read my SUPER helpful fitness articles chock full of helpful tips. Second, you can rely on digital peer pressure instead. Below are my top picks in health and fitness apps. And because you know I’m a cheapskate, I mean thrifty, I’ve only included FREE apps. Oh, and even though I have an iPhone, my two BFF’s do not so I’ve only included apps that are available on multiple platforms so no matter what device you use, you should be able to download these.
GymPact: You set a workout schedule and set an amount you are willing to pay if you don’t workout. At the end of the week, if you’ve missed your workouts, you forfeit whatever amount you agreed to or if you don’t miss any workouts, you collect a small dividend from the money collected from the slackers. If you are financially motivated, this is the program for you!
Endomondo: Social fitness at its best. You can challenge your friends, compare stats, and follow one another. Endomondo allows you to track your fitness activities in a variety of sports (e.g. running, cycling, skiing) using GPS. You can set goals, view a history of your previous workouts and times, check calories burned, among other things. Your friends can send you pep talks during your workout too (and you can send them to your friends).
Daily Cardio Workout: This app is super easy to use, comes with videos of each exercise, and lets you customize the length of your workout. If you don’t have time for (or just don’t want to go to) the gym, this is a great way to get in a quick calorie-burning workout at home. The free version comes with 10 different exercises so if you really like using it, you might opt to purchase the full option. Also, check out the other FREE apps in the series for full-body strength conditioning (e.g. Daily Butt Workout, Daily Ab Workout, Daily Arm Workout, etc.).
Jillian Michaels Slim Down: Love her or hate her, Jillian Michaels has helped thousands of people get in shape and lose weight. Her app provides you with 20 exercises (with videos of each) specifically designed to help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism. If you love the app, you can upgrade to the full version to get access to 150 exercises (with videos), a personalized workout program, and access to her website’s recipes, diet and exercise tips, and many other tools designed to help you lose weight and get in shape.
MyFitnessPal: This is the most popular fitness tracker and calorie counter on the market for several reasons. 1) It has a huge built-in database of foods and exercises. 2) If by some miracle you happen upon a food that isn’t in the database already, you can easily add it using the barcode scanner. 3) Easily store meals or recipes so that you don’t have to input every ingredient each time. 4) Designed to easily integrate with other fitness devices and apps (e.g. Fitbit, Endomundo, and BodyMedia FIT). You can link up with your friends so you can check in on one another to see if you are meeting your exercise and diet goals.
Fooducate: If you’re tired of trying to figure out which foods and ingredients are healthiest for you, this app is a must-have. Scan foods and it will give you a “healthiness” rating based on scientific algorithms developed by scientists, dieticians and concerned parents. For each product, you get a health grade and then a list of notes related to the score (e.g. contains controversial artificial sweeteners or provides more than 10% daily fiber).
ShopWell: Similar to Fooducate, but you set up a profile so it can help you choose the right foods for you. This is a great choice if you want to tailor your shopping for a specific health goal (e.g. weight loss, gluten-free, or heart healthy).