Sometimes, we need help getting our healthy lifestyle on! Wouldn't it be silly not to take advantage of the technology that's already all around us (and mostly in our pockets or handbags)? From tracking to guided exercise apps, there's something for everyone out there.
Disclaimer: all the information about pricing and features are correct to the best of my knowledge as of September 2017.
Lose It! (Free basic version, Paid subscription)
I'm a huge fan of this app. If you're just starting out, the free version will be more than suitable. The app offers the basic functionalities that you would expect, so logging meals and exercise is a given. You can set goals in terms of weight or exercise minutes, and participate in challenges with other app users if you need motivation by competition.
The premium version has a few more features, detailed here. I'm on the premium plan, but I haven't really found any reason to be on it as opposed to the basic plan. But, you know, now I'm stuck in the one-year subscription, it happens sometimes! 😛
Regardless, I really love the app. My favourite features are the motivational reminders they send you so that you don't forget to log, and the nice graph that shows your progress towards your goal!
Nike Run Club & Nike Training Club (both free)
I swear by these two. I'm telling you, they are the best free fitness apps out there. Okay, maybe I'm biased because I love Nike. 😛 But still, they're so, so good. The best thing about them is probably the value you get for absolutely no money, zilch. No ads, either.
Nike Run Club has a coaching option that allows you to set up a personalised running plan depending on duration, specific goal (if you need to train for a race), your personal running records, and the frequency at which you want to train.
The app tracks your runs on GPS, or if you're running indoors, it uses motion detection. It gives you all the usual stats. Plus, you get awards for completing certain objectives like running 3x a week, or your fastest 5k, etc. I always love getting a shiny new virtual badge! One of my favourite things is that Nike Run Club connects to Spotify, so you can listen to your own music during runs without having to switch apps all the time.
Nike Training Club is the workout equivalent to Nike Run Club. The app has a database of over a hundred categorised workouts to choose from, with plenty more being added all the time! You can go for high-intensity workouts or more relaxed ones to cool down, there's a lot of choice. What I like about Nike Training Club is that their videos are very comprehensive, and they add an audio description of how to do the exercise so you don't get confused just looking at it.
With just these two free apps, you're all set to get started on your fitness journey! No more excuses!
Headspace (Free basic version, Paid subscription)
Bear with me, ok, I confess, I used to be a "meditation, ew, I don't like that spiritual mumbo-jumbo stuff" person. I still kind of am, I guess that's the hardcore scientist in me speaking. To each their own, right?
HOWEVER, mindfulness, as it is presented in this app, is not about "spirituality" as such. It's more of a training to improve your mental health. It's not like therapy, it doesn't solve any issues you might have, but it gives you the tools to be able to deal with them better as they arise.
I, for example, have suffered from insomnia for a while now. Listening to the "sleep" package in Headspace has given me a few techniques for how to process my day and try and put myself in a mental state for sleeping.
It's a very simple concept, you put aside 10 minutes a day (and what's 10 minutes, right?) to meditate with audio guidance. You get to choose the topic. Options are limited for the free version, but great if you just want to give it a go first.
Can't hurt, right?
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That's my short and sweet list! Hope you try these out and see whether they work for you.