Top 6 Fitness Apps I Can’t Live Without

It’s kinda crazy how technology has become such a huge part of our lives. I really feel sorry for anyone who took a road trip before 2000, before Google Maps was created (I hear maps used to be in paper form, crazy right).

Technology is no stranger to the fitness world either. Tech companies have made the adoption of a fitness lifestyle soooo much easier for any and everyone. All you have to do is download an app then you can take that tech with you wherever you go.

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Let’s dive into my list of must-have fitness apps.

1. MyFitnessPal

(MFP) is a well known app (currently at 10 million downloads in the Google Play Store) used to keep track of calories. If you have read my other blog posts then you know that keeping track of your calories is one of the most important parts to any fat loss or muscle gaining program.

In the past, tracking calories would have to be done by reading the nutrition facts label on EVERYTHING you eat and writing down the amount of calories, macronutrients you actually ate.

Nah…I couldn’t imagine living in that world. Luckily, with MFP we just have to scan the barcode on a food product or search MFP’s massive food database (which has over 6,000,000 foods).

MFP also allows you to import recipes for easy tracking. The app not only allows you to count calories but also count macronutrients too.

One thing to keep in mind, if you are new to MFP, when you first sign up, the app will ask you some questions to give you a suggested nutrition plan. Unfortunately, this plan is based on outdated food recommendations and does not apply well to folks who perform intense exercise and weight train.

So, if you need help making a truly customized nutrition plan, then check out my 3 part series on “How to Choose Macros” or I can make a plan for you and help you implement it through online coaching.

2. Jefit

Jefit is an exercise app I’ve been using for years. I use to write my workouts in a notebook. That’s how I kept track of the resistance I used and the reps I performed. Then I found Jefit!

Jefit is a fitness app that allows you to design your own workout plan in an organized, clean format. It has a huge library of exercises for every body part (with a description and animated demonstrations for each exercise).

Personally, I don’t use the app to “design” my workouts but more so use it to log my resistance and reps for each exercise I perform. Keeping track of this is important especially if you are looking to gain muscle. In order to gain muscle, you have to increase your volume (volume = resistance x reps).

You can only increase your volume (in simple terms) if you lift heavier weight, increase reps, or increase number of sets. It’s much easier to do this if you keep track of what you did in your last workout. Jefit allows you to easily see what your volume was in previous workouts and stay on that gainz train!

3. HIIT Interval Training Timer

This is an app I use when I’m performing any High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of training that includes a bout of intense exercise (like sprints, bleacher runs, stationary biking, kettlebell swings) that is performed with 100% effort followed by a rest/recovery phase.

When it comes to fat loss this type of training is superior to traditional steady state cardio (i.e. jogging for 30+ mins). To learn more about HIIT and it’s benefits be sure to check out my previous blog entry.

I like the HIIT Interval Training Timer app because instead of having to watch the clock, I can focus on not dying from my workout (after doing HIIT, you should feel like you are on the brink of death, otherwise you weren’t pushing hard enough).

The app allows you to choose the number of sets, the warm-up, work interval, rest interval, and cool down times. It’s a simple app, but gets the job done.

4. Karvonen Formula

This app is not the sexiest app but it saves me some time and saves me from doing math…because who really likes math? The Karvonen Formula is used to find the intensity at which a person should workout.

The formula uses a person’s heart rate at rest and maximum heart rate to spit out a range at which your heart rate should stay at during cardiovascular exercise. I won’t bore you with the actual formula but here a screenshot of what the formula gave me:

So I would need to keep my heart rate between 139 beats per minute to 173 beats per minute in order to have an effective aerobic cardiovascular workout. I recommend doing steady state cardio workouts no more than once a week for fat loss.

Yes, HIIT is better at burning fat, but that s*** is hard on the body and steady state cardio isn’t. So when the muscles are sore and aching from all the deadlifting, bench pressing, sprinting and stuff, steady state cardio may be a better exercise choice to increase calorie burn.

5. Sworkit

You may recognize this app from my favorite TV show, Shark Tank. This app is cool because you get to choose your workout time and form of exercise (i.e. stretching, cardio) and it will give you a video workout that you can follow along with.

You can choose workout times from 5 mins to 60 minutes. I use this app for my stretching. Stretching is boring but necessary. It’s not as boring when it’s mixed up with random stretches. I set my time for 5-10 minutes and get’er done.

6. Bodyspace

Bodyspace is a fitness social network, kinda like Facebook for folks that are into fitness. If you are looking for a network of positive people who are at different stages in their fitness journey, then you need to be on Bodyspace. I use bodyspace (add me here) to connect with other people, answer questions, and to track my progress with progress pics and with body measurements.

Tracking progress is important because it helps you figure out what is working. Tracking progress helps determine what is moving you towards your goals and what isn’t.

However, sometimes you can’t always see your progress through your pictures which is why I always recommend folks measure their bodyweight AND take circumferential measurements (around waist, hips, calves, chest, shoulders, neck and arms). Seeing just a quarter inch decrease in these areas is a sign your program is working and a huge motivator to keep going. Bodyspace keeps all these measurements neatly organized in a table and graph.

There you have it, your fitness lifestyle is now techonoligically advanced!

Can you think of any apps that should have made the list? If so, let me know if the comments below.

About the Author

Dr. Halid helps busy people lose 10+ lbs and adopt a healthy lifestyle. He was able to transform his body by losing 30lbs of fat while working 50+ hour weeks as an Orthopedic Physical Therapist---and he's kept it off for years. Feel free to stalk him on Facebook or Instagram. Read more about my story here.

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