Just 10 years ago, if you wanted a personalized fitness plan, you had to make an appointment with a personal trainer, pay for an expensive gym membership, and continually text your friends to make sure you were all meeting up for that “fitness pact” you made together.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with that approach, and indeed those tried-and-true methods are still working out quite well for many people. But what about parents with infants at home? What about someone working two jobs? What about teenagers who do not yet have access to a car or gym equipment?
This is where technology and personalized fitness plans take center stage. Thanks to fitness trackers and some amazing exercise apps on our smart phones, there’s no longer a financial or geographic barrier between you and a targeted workout.
If you haven’t yet checked out the world of personalized fitness plans, or if you’re looking to change up your routine, here are a few of our favorite fitness apps which allow you to take back control of your workouts whenever and wherever you can fit them in.
The FitBit app syncs up with the wearable fitness tracker of the same name. At its most basic level, the FitBit tracks the number of steps you take in a day, as well as some other extras like heart rate, and sleep cycles.
However, the FitBit app has expanded and now offers users a comprehensive fitness and nutrition plan which can be personalized for your specific needs. There’s a calorie counter, a hydration meter, and an encyclopedia of different exercises which can be tracked.
By using a Bluetooth connection, your FitBit broadcasts workout information to your phone or computer, presenting you with a heads up display of your personal fitness goals, progress, and milestones. Considering it inputs most of the information automatically, you can’t beat this one for user-friendliness.
The Fitocracy app shows true genius in its simplicity. It addresses two major aspects of a fitness plan: socializing, and workout incentives.
When you and your friends create profiles on the app, you compete with one another, and earn points. You can record your workouts by type, intensity, and duration. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the gym every day as exercises like “housecleaning” and “yard work” can also be tracked.
The more you work out, the more points you earn, and the higher up the ranks you move. It’s a great way to introduce some friendly competition and promote healthy habits among your social group.
C25K stands for “Couch to 5k,” and it’s targeted at those who want to begin a running program from square one.
This app talks you through alternating stretches of walking and running, starting out very slowly, and building up your stamina as the weeks progress. Your time and distance will be tracked, and you will be prompted to run or walk by friendly reminders which play through your headphones, or phone speaker. (And no, they won’t interrupt your music.)
Running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise there is, but many people are reluctant to start up a program, especially if they don’t consider themselves to be “runners.” This app aims to break down those barriers and prove that anyone can get into running, even if they have no experience.
If you have to choose one app that will give you comprehensive health and fitness coverage, and that can easily pull data from a number of different wearable trackers, MyFitnessPal would be the place to start.
This app offers a huge database of foods for easy calorie counting, and can help estimate the number of calories you are burning in a day when it tracks your exercise. You can either input your workouts manually, or allow it to collect data from your fitness tracker.
This app also has the advantage of a huge user base, so you may have better luck finding your friends and acquaintances here than in other apps.
No matter which app you choose to download, the important thing to remember is this: you now have access to personalized fitness plans with robust tracking capabilities. In the past this type of tracking would have been relegated to tedious pen and paper work at best, and outright guessing at worst. We encourage our readers to take advantage of the amazing health benefits you can derive from the combination of fitness trackers and personalized workout plans, especially now that you can carry them in your pocket.