It’s been a while since I’ve written a fitness related post (which may be due to my gym sessions not strictly going to schedule lately, shhhh...), but with it currently being the Easter break I’ve got a month uni-free and a chance to get back on track.
Despite my recent lack of gym days and imperfectly planned meals, my mobile phone has been constantly nudging me in the right direction. The direction I definitely want to be going in! But aside from the beeping notifications from my many-a-fitness apps making me tie up my hair and lace up my trainers, I don’t actually think I could complete my health and fitness goals without them now.
Fitness apps have become my motivators and reminders, my organisers, my trackers and my calorie counters. They’ve made my fitness journey miles easier. And while I’m by no means perfect even with the help of today’s technology, these are the apps I swear by and now couldn’t be without.
If this app and fitness plan can get my Mum to 5K, then it can get anyone to 10K! I would not have the foggiest idea where to even start training for a 10K run, but this app makes it surprisingly easy, and completely achievable in only 14 weeks.
The Couch to 5K (C25K) running plan is available all over the internet. The NHS website has podcasts you can download and listen to which guide you through each training session week by week. And the first 9 weeks on this app are identical to the C25K plan, but for me this app is much more convenient for several reasons:
- I can listen to my own music while the app is running rather than being forced to listen to the NHS’ choice of running music (which is not quite up my street).
- I had to install one app rather than three podcasts per week for nine weeks. Yes, I’m lazy.
- 5K is not the limit; while the C25K plan is great, when you’ve hit this target it’s nice to have more progression and keep pushing yourself. To infinity, and beyond!
The training plan is simple: a 5 minute warm-up walk, a period of alternating running and walking, followed by a 5 minute cool-down walk, with a very American woman notifying you when you need to swap between walking and running. And while I’ve not hit my 10K yet, I’m getting there! So watch this space…
I got a FitBit Alta for Christmas and I have not looked back since. It makes my life so easy to track. It made me realise, much to my disappointment, that I needed to do a lot more steps, but also that I needed to have a lot more sleep. An excuse to have a lie in? I’ll take that.
The FitBit app allows me to monitor my steps, flights climbed, sleep, active minutes and calories burned just to name a few. With my FitBit tracker obviously the app is much more useful, and if you’re debating buying a FitBit I would definitely recommend it, but even using just your mobile device the app can be a great way to track your basic activity like steps and calories.
My favourite thing about the FitBit app? It turns my activity into a competition with daily targets, FitBit awards and milestones to hit. A bit of friendly competition also always gets me motivated. When my seventy-year-old Grandad is taunting me because his step count is higher than mine I know I need to up my game.
For when my weekly yoga classes are fully booked (or I can’t be bothered to walk 15 minutes to to gym), this app ensures I don’t miss out! All you need is the FitStar Yoga and your yoga mat. Last year me and my housemate would do yoga in our kitchen as our other housemate cooked dinner; if there’s enough space to lie shavasana (definition: flat on your back), there’s enough space to yoga.
Catering for all levels of ability from newbie to advanced yogi, this app will have something for you. With a personalised plan which evolves as you develop strength and flexibility, and the easiest videos that you workout to, getting into yoga has never been easier.
If you’ve never tried yoga before this app is a great way to start, and if you’re already a keen yogi this app allows you to keep up your passion when short for time. I could not recommend more.
I love love love this app, and if you want to track what you eat or count your macros, MyFitnessPal is amazing. And free.
After inputting your weight, goals and how active you are, it calculates how many calories you should be eating per day. You then input the food as and when you eat it (with a handy bar-code scanning option so you don’t need to type everything in) and it does the rest. If there’s meals you eat regularly or homemade recipes, you can store these too so you don’t have to scan each ingredient every time.
As well as calorie counting, MyFitnessPal also gives you a calculation on what percentage of your diet should be carbs, protein and fats. This can be adjusted; my goals are to gain muscle mass so I amended my daily goals to have a higher percentage of protein and a lower percentage of fat. If you upgrade to the premium package your options become even more flexible, with the ability to set macro goals by weight and per meal, as well as receiving information on which foods are high in specific nutrients to help reach your goals.
If this doesn’t all sound hunky dory enough, MyFitnessPal also syncs with heaps of other apps. The only one I’ve bothered to sync it with is my FitBit app. The calories burned from any exercise I do is then calculated and added to my remaining calories for the day. Meaning more food, yay. Plus I only have to update one app and they’re all kept in the loop.
Okay, although it’s not strictly a fitness app, Spotify is my go-to when I listen to music in the gym, or anywhere for that matter. And with students getting a cheeky 50% discount (ooooh hello) it’s hard to resist.
Pre-Spotify, I’ve been in the gym for the fifth time in one week when the same song comes on again and again and I just want to rip my headphones out, throw them on the floor and walk away from my weights in a strop. Music goes from being motivational to being goddamn repetitive and annoying.
What Spotify gives you? Infinite choice. With the endless fitness and motivational playlists there’s bound to be something for you. Who wants to spend hours listening to your limited music library trying to work out which songs are at a speed of 150bpm and the correct tempo for running? Not me. Since Spotify, those days are long gone; someones already done all the hard work. Thank
If you would rather make your own playlist with access to basically every song ever, Spotify couldn’t make it easier to do so. And it will sit in your music library right next to your “Pre-drinks” playlist or your “Friday Night Party” playlist, silently reminding you that however drunk you get tonight, the gym is calling bright and early tomorrow morning.
And there we have it, the apps that I now could not be without and make being healthy so much simpler. And the sad truth? We spend far too long staring at our phones as it is (as you may be even be doing right now). So lets turn this bad habit into a good habit and use them to motivate, organise and help us on our fitness journeys.