Friday Five: 5 Favorite Free Fitness Apps

I don’t know about you guys, but I rely heavily on my phone to keep me on top of almost all things fitness related. I use my phone constantly to track activity, log calories, map/navigate routes for my bike, or even to provide me with a quick circuit workout. I’m sure you’ve heard of or use most of these already, but I’ll tell you a little about how I use each one and why I love them.fitbit

  1. FitBit – I have a Garmin already, so why did I need a Fitbit? Because it’s awesome, that’s why! I got the Fitbit Charge HR and while I don’t use it to replace my Garmin (it’s step based, so distance isn’t totally accurate when I run), I use it to log the calories I expend. The only negative I can think of is that I can’t use it in the pool. It can’t track my heart rate during swimming since I can’t wear it, so I don’t have an accurate estimate of calories burned during that time. I start the timer during most activities – particularly running and cycling – and it tracks your heart rate during the exercise and has a pretty accurate estimate (at least, I think it is) of what you burned. I have it linked up with Fitness Pal (up next!) so it automatically knows how many calories I have left for the day, and it updates my calorie expenditure every time I sync it. I don’t start the activity tracker during strength training or yoga, etc – just when I’m doing something that really raises my heart rate. It’s still tracking your heart rate during that time anyway, just not creating a separate log entry in the app for the activity if you don’t start the tracker. Yes, I realize many people make fun of the Fitbit community. I don’t care – it’s freaking cool. Myfitnesspal-logo
  2. Fitness Pal – I’ve been using this app for almost three years. Actually, I don’t know if it was a glitch but when I hit 999 day streak, it flipped me back to one and I got mad and almost stopped using it! BUT the truth is, I love to eat. Love. My week might seem to revolve around training, but I could probably write a whole separate blog about food and cooking – I LOVE it. So, Fitness Pal is essential in my life because I have no concept of when to stop eating. It’s a problem. Anyway, I used it sans Fitbit for years and had great success with it. Now I’m loving it even more since I got my Fitbit. I store all of my recipes here and learned a lot about portion control using this app. It’s a fantastic tool regardless of your goal – whether you want to lose weight, gain weight (I actually know someone who used the app for that – lucky!), maintain your weight, or learn to effectively fuel your body for physical activity or training purposes.

    nike

  3. Nike Training Club – When I say I did abs for 15 minutes, you can bet I used this app to tell me what to do. There are SO many more workouts than just core workouts here (and they can range from 5-45 minutes) but I mainly use it for core. The workouts are great and though some require some equipment, most can be done at home with a mat and your workout gear. Some of my favorite workouts? Alpha Abs, Core Crunch, Fearless, Perfect Alignment, Lengthen and Strengthen, Dynamic Yoga (don’t let that name fool you – it’s a huge plank workout!), Marathon Prep, Fierce, Beach Balance…the list goes on. Having this app makes it convenient to fit in a quick circuit almost anywhere, so if you are short on time but want to squeeze in a workout, this app is an awesome tool to be familiar with. unnamed
  4. 30 Days – I like to do little challenges, like plank, push-up, dips, squats, lunges etc. This little app is free, keeps track of your progress, gives you your daily goal and lets you customize it to easy, medium or hard! It’s pretty basic looking but it does the job. I’m sure there are other challenge apps out there – I know when I was looking for one last year I downloaded a few. This was the one I liked the best. I’m currently doing a 30 Day Challenge for planks, dips, push-ups, hip drops, bridges, mountain climbers, and sit ups. I do them on the days when I don’t go to the gym for a traditional strength session and it takes less than 10 minutes (until the end of the month when you are doing more volume)! At day 30, I just start over but take the volume down a notch from where I ended so I can build again.

    unnamed (1)

  5. MapMyRide – Most people normally like the other app in the family, MapMyRun, but this version of the app saves my butt constantly when I’m out riding in a new area. I am pretty sure I’m geographically challenged so unless I know exactly where I’m going, I am lost. But I like to ride my bike and explore, so can be kind of a problem. I don’t use it to log activities – I just create routes, send them to the app on my phone, and have it ready to go in case I can’t remember where I wanted to go (which happens really often). It’s pretty great when I’m 30 miles away from home and can’t decide if I should be turning right or left. It’s taken away the need for cue cards or directions because I can just stop and look at the map and see how far off I am.

Those are the apps that I can honestly say I wouldn’t know what to do without. It’s fun to go technology free sometimes, but I like to keep track of everything. I think it’s the “type A” personality in me. If you don’t already use these, check them out and let me know what you think!

Do you have a Fitbit or use any of these apps already? What fitness based apps are your favorites? 

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6 Replies to “Friday Five: 5 Favorite Free Fitness Apps”

  1. I actually use my fitness pal. Ok Allison my new blog that I started completely fell into a black hole when I tried transferring info to it yesterday so I’ve had to start from scratch AGAIN … ugh!!! my new site is http://www.orangeblackattac.wordpress.com it’s without the “K” and I’m following you from there now 🙂

    FLRunnerBoy

  2. I actually don’t use many fitness apps – the only one I really use is Strava, because many of my blog friends are on there and although I don’t find the app particularly user-friendly, I like the social aspect. I have a mapmyrun account but don’t really use it for much except to create new routes.

    I got a fitbit flex for Christmas from my boyfriend’s parents, but sadly I’ve stopped wearing it. It was cool to see my sleep patterns but the novelty wore off after a while (plus I always forget to turn it on/off sleep mode). I’m not very good about keeping track of everything I eat, drink, and do all day so it just doesn’t serve much purpose for me. The only thing I want to track I already can with my Garmin.

    Although I have to say, I never realized how difficult it is to hit 10,000 steps in a day. There would be days I would run 4-5 miles and STILL not hit the goal! Like I know I work in an office all day but how on earth is that possible?? LOL

    1. I had Strava for awhile and I figured I would hear someone mention it! That is such a cool app. I really liked it when I had it, but I almost felt like it made me too competitive or too worried about my pace…or if I had a bad run, I just didn’t want to share it. I hate admitting that, because I know I should not feel that way. I think my competitive side is what keeps getting me injured so I got rid of it. I did like all of the stuff it would tell you about your run, though. Really cool features. I thjink why I love Fitbit is because even your Fitbit friends can’t see your actual activity so it stays personal. I do use Garmin Connect to track all of my runs, but I don’t really use the app on my phone and I don’t have any friends on there, LOL! It is SO HARD to hit 10,000 steps in a day! Not as bad when I am in the middle of a high mileage training week…but I’ve been in recovery mode the past few weeks and sometimes I don’t make it! It makes me feel lazy!!

  3. I really don’t use my phone much for fitness except to write notes about my treadmill splits and using the timer for my planks – haha! But that said, I need to find some good core workouts so the Nike Training Club sounds perfect!!! Thanks for the recommendations! 🙂

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