Last July we supplied a few apps for medical emergencies and it’s about time to relay some more tools for that device we always have available – a smartphone. There’s an abundance of apps that help you stay motivated to work out or help with weight loss meal planning and strategy. Here are a few of the newer ones that are both useful and FREE.
Do you lose the motivation to stay active or would like to track your workouts and movement throughout the day? Do you think the Nike Fuel band is overpriced? Well Moves actually launched today and it’s actually works pretty well – and it’s free!
What it does: Moves automatically records any walking, cycling and doesn’t require the user to turn on an app or carry another piece of tech on them at all times. Just make sure you have your iPhone on you when you’re out and about and Moves is tracking and putting together a timeline representation of your daily activity that you can analyze and pinpoint potential areas of improvement in your daily routine.
How it works: It’s basically a glorified pedometer with GPS tracking nested in a sleek interface. Just turn the app on, allow it permission to your location data, and setup how you’d like to be reminded about your progress and you’re done.
Why it’s awesome: While no shortage of fitness apps desperately striving for your attention, many of them are not constantly running in the background and thusly capturing all your activity throughout the day. Other apps like Nike+ and Runtastic require the user to turn the app on to track movement. Moves just keep track in the background and is a neat way to encourage incremental daily changes in your routines. Watching the storyline progress as an automatic diary of your life displaying where you were, for how long, and what mode of transportation brought you to your destination.
Why it’s terrible: Even if it wasn’t free – there isn’t much room for complaints here. It does a nice job on what it sets out to do – but if you had to nitpick it lacks social features and a calorie counter and isn’t a complete replacement for those used to running apps that provide much more detail in terms of tracking data and metrics to help you improve.
If you’ve ever tried to plan out meals for yourself or your family throughout the course of a month you know how hard it can be to stick to your plan after a week. Everybody is busy, life happens and drive-thru and pizza delivery follows suit.
What it does: Food Planner allows you to ditch the whiteboard calendar and stained recipe book and just keep an integrated meal plan, grocery list and recipe collection on your phone, tablet and computer, synced across all devices.
Why it’s awesome: Food Planner allows you to manage recipes and meal planning in a quick, efficient way without scouring the Internet and piecemeal a system together yourself. Also, all grocery items are able to be tagged and associated recipes allowing you to quickly throw a meal together with what Food Planner knows is in your cupboards.
Why it’s terrible: Again, another free app so it’s difficult to complain here, but if we’re splitting hairs the user interface and navigation throughout the app is somewhat clunky and awkward. Also, there isn’t a feature that allows you to share your recipes on major social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
So if you have purchased a late night infomercial work out product that promised to change your life – then subsequently only use the new product for a few weeks before you burn out – you’re not alone (I’m a victim of P90X – my program was really only a P14X having quit after two weeks). While Workout Trainer can’t motivate you in itself, it is a great tool to have at your disposal when you actually do work out.
What it does: Workout Trainer can help you get fit with 1000’s of free multimedia workouts coached by expert personal trainers. They guide you through exercises step-by-step with audio and video instruction – and encourage you the whole time.
Why it’s awesome: Put your headphones on at the gym and easily follow along to audio instruction and progress cues. If you ever need more information on a particular workout just take a glance at the screen for video instruction. You can also create your own personalized workouts from a robust library.
Why it’s terrible: The encouragement is somewhat annoying and the app seems to take a long time to load each exercise – that being said, it’s free.