A Beginner's Guide to Fitness Apps
If you’re new to fitness, those first few steps through the gym are always the hardest. It can be a big challenge to set your goals, learn exercises and navigate the minefield of conflicting advice on both training and nutrition. And let’s not even get started on supplements!
If you’ve never been to a gym before, it’s essential you get professional advice from one of our fully qualified staff. They’ll show you how to train, offer some basic nutritional advice and put you on the right track from the very start.
However, if you want a full time friend to help with education, support and generally cut through some of the rubbish advice floating around the health and fitness world, then we have some apps that can help you with your own personal journey.
So, you’ve ventured through the gym doors… but what’s next? Below is a list of apps that not only help you create your own workout but help motivate, instruct and log your progress.
Jefit is an app I have personally used to great success. It’s highly programmable, gives details on how to perform exercises correctly and comes with a whole host of professionally designed workouts for both the gym and home. This app is very plug and play, which gives you the freedom to start working towards your fitness goals straight away. It also has a comprehensive workout tracking log so you can map your progress over time.
AAPTIVE: AUDIO FITNESS APP
For those more interested in cardio, then Aaptive: Audio Fitness App has plenty of audio led cardio workouts for a wide range of cardio machines. It also has programmes that help you progress to completing a 5k run, 10k run, half and full marathons – if you really want to set yourself some serious goals.
Exercise apps are great. But as the saying goes, you can’t train a bad diet. That’s where nutrition apps come in, so you can easily keep track of what you’re eating and make adjustments where necessary.
MY FITNESS PAL
The most popular app when it comes to nutrition is undoubtedly My Fitness Pal. This food logging app allows you to set your nutrition goals, and with a few details, lets you set daily nutrition targets. You can then use the app to plan your meals to stay within your daily calorie budget, hit specific macronutrient targets and even track key vitamins, minerals and fibre.
This app even has an inbuilt barcode scanner which covers pretty much every single food, brand and restaurant you could imagine. So even when you’re on the road or eating out, you can stay on track. You can log your weight and other measurements to map your progress and make sure you can stay on target too.
EAT THIS MUCH
An unsung hero of the nutrition app market is Eat This Much. In many regards, this app is similar to MFP, allowing you to set daily nutrition targets in relation to your goals. However, Eat This Much does not come with the same functionality and database as MFP. The real reason Eat This Much is a personal favourite is due to its meal builder, where you simply enter your calories, the number of meals you want to eat, select your eating ‘needs’ (vegan, dairy free, gluten free etc) and it will come up with an amazing amount of recipes for you to try at home so that eating never becomes boring.
There’s a lot of talk about supplements. Some good, some not so good. In short, supplements are not a replacement for a healthy, balanced diet. However, they can give you an edge and boost your efforts if used correctly.
When it comes to knowing your supplements, there’s only one place on the internet to truly trust and that is examine.com. This website is a completely unbiased and independent resource that assesses the effectiveness of pretty much every supplement you can imagine.
Each supplement is investigated in detail, looking at the claims, benefits and the evidence for the use of specific supplements with some easy to understand summaries so you can see where and when to spend your money!
Examine also contains some of the best myth busting articles and is a solid resource for all things regarding nutrition. This is one site you can 100% trust.
Unfortunately, examine.com doesn’t have a mobile app but it’s easy to navigate on mobile and is the only resource (that I’m aware of) that offers this much detail so it’s definitely worth hunting down before you start spending your hard-earned cash.
Sometimes you might not want a tough gym session. You might suffer from aches or pains and just want to learn how to move and control your body efficiently through a proper range of movement.
Although an often neglected aspect of training, movement work is important. Correct movement ensures you get the most out of your workouts and helps protect you against injury. However, with pilates training from Fitivity, you can get a number of different pilates workouts that can be used to develop important movement skills and a strong core.
In summary, there are literally hundreds of apps covering every aspect of fitness you can imagine, whether you’re into running, cycling, yoga or bodybuilding – there will be an app that can give you what you need.
From a nutrition perspective, MFP is the ‘go to’ app for logging your food intake and tracking long term progress. For supplements, examine.com is the only resource I personally trust. For other aspects of fitness support, my advice is to take a look at some of the many free apps available for android and iPhone and see which ones best suit your needs.