Fitness Apps: Stay in Shape for Less

June 10, 2014

Coloradoans are known for their healthy lifestyles. In my (biased) opinion, we have year-round access to some of the best outdoor recreational areas in the country. Whether you like winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, or if you prefer summer activities such as cycling, running, and swimming, you have a lot of options to choose from. Others may enjoy working out inside at a gym, or they at least include that as a component of an active lifestyle. I am partial to cycling and lifting weights at the gym, but have certainly dabbled in the other sports.

No matter your preference – there is an app to help you enhance your workout. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Map My Run/Map My Ride
Cost: FREE
If you take your phone with you on a walk, run, or bike ride, this app will use the GPS on your phone to track your distance, pace, and time, and will provide you with a map showing your route at the end. Users can share their routes with others, so if you are looking for a new route or are visiting a new area and want some ideas, then you can search on the app. The only downside is that the continuous use of the GPS can drain your phone’s battery, so keep an eye on that.

Couch to 5K
Cost: $1.99
This app will provide step by step instructions  to get you ready for a 5K in as little as 9 weeks. You need to commit 3 days a week, 30 minutes a day, and will be all ready to run a fun 5k at the end! I never run but decided to sign up for a 5K with a friend last year. I used this app to go from zero (couch) to the 5K. It gives you walk/run intervals over the 9 weeks, slowly increasing the running intervals and decreasing the walking. The app will give voice commands during your run so you don’t need to look at your phone. I recommend it to anyone who wants to give running a try.

Zombies, Run!
Cost: $3.99
If you need some motivation while you are out on a run, then this app is for you. This is a game that will keep running interesting. When you slow down too much you will hear the zombies breathing and yelling in your headphones, which prompts you to pick up the pace to “stay alive!"

My Fitness Pal
Cost: FREE
I’ve tried a lot of different food tracking apps and this one is by far my favorite. There are over 3 million foods listed in the database and it makes it really easy to input what you eat during the day. One of my favorite features is that it will remember your favorite or frequently consumed foods to make it even easier to input data. If you are eating a packaged food with a barcode then all you need to do is scan it with your phone and it will come up immediately. In addition, it has an exercise feature so you can track how many calories you burned on that bike ride or at the gym. Lastly, you can connect with friends to stay motivated and hold each other accountable. 

GymPact 
Cost: FREE
This app helps you keep your exercise goals each week by putting some money on the line. Say you have a goal of going to the gym 3 times this week, and you want to put $5 for each workout on the line. If you only make it to the gym 2 times, then you will lose the $5 that you put on the line for the last workout you didn’t complete. The money from everyone who doesn’t attain their goals is aggregated and split between all the people who attained their goals for the week. So, it’s a great way to stay motivated and make a little money as you do it.

Endomondo
Cost: FREE
This app will track almost any distance-based sport and keep a log of duration, speed, distance, and calories burned. The app will give you audio feedback for every mile, and is compatible with heart rate monitors. It allows you to keep a full diary of all of your workouts so you can track improvements. Last, it includes an audio coach to help you reach workout goals that you set.

Grocery IQ 
Cost: FREE
Healthy eating is part of a healthy lifestyle, but meal planning and going to the grocery store can be a major hassle. This app helps you easily build your grocery list so you don’t forget anything at the store. You can keep track of your favorite foods, and easily add any packaged food to the list by scanning the barcode. There is a share feature so you can add your whole family to your group, and everyone can add items to the same list for ease of use. If you are looking to save money, the app also has a database of coupons that you can search and either print or add to your store loyalty card.

Do you have a favorite workout or healthy living app?