As both a person trying to live a healthy lifestyle and a technology connoisseur, I’ve downloaded my fair share of fitness apps to try and figure out which ones are worth keeping. Some ended up in the trash can five minutes after downloading, and some have been on my phone for almost a year.
Here are some of my personal favorites that I couldn’t go without:
Strong is a weightlifting app that replaces the pencil and notepad you may see some people still lugging around to the gym. It instead offers a digital way to record workout progress.
Strong has a few routines already built in, but most people will want to build their own. For me, this consists of four different routines corresponding to the four days a week I (try to) get to the gym. Creating routines is easy and involves picking from a predefined set of exercises, although you can add custom exercises as well (including assisted exercises like assisted pull-ups). For each exercise, you can set the target number of reps as well as the amount of rest between sets.
Strong makes recording your progress during your workout a breeze. Once you’ve finished a set, type in the weight you used and the number of reps you completed. After you tap done, Strong will automatically start your customized timer. It even has a plate calculator, making it easy to figure out which plates to put on the bar.
Once you’ve got a few workouts completed, Strong can generate graphs showing your progress over the last few weeks or months, the perfect way to see how far you’ve come. Other helpful features include the ability to add progress pics after each workout, a warm-up calculator, a free exercise mode and a running total of how many tons you’ve lifted across all your workouts. Strong is free, but some of the features require an in-app purchase to unlock.
Anyone who keeps track of macronutrients knows that adding up protein, carbs and fat all day can be truly annoying. Thankfully, MyMacros+ exists to relieve some of that pain (although, let’s face it: Counting calories will never be fun.)
Setting up MM+ involves entering the number of each macro you plan on eating every day. From there, the app’s barcode scanner provides quick access to nutritional information for over 4,000,000 foods that you can add to a food diary. Adding food this way is super easy and only takes about 30 seconds, and if you find one of the rare foods that isn’t in there, it’s a simple process to add custom foods. Throughout the day, your running totals tell you how much of each nutrient you have left in order to hit your daily goal.
Other great features include an Apple watch app for a quick glance at your progress and the ability to create “recipes” that combine multiple foods into one item that can be easily reused. There’s also a bodyweight log that can generate graphs showing your weight progression over time. MyMacros+ is $2.99 on the app store.
Although you’ll find me sticking to the treadmill during this hot August weather, if you’re into outdoor running, MapMyRun is a must-have for your fitness app collection.
MMR gives you access to running and biking routes near your neighborhood, whether you’re looking for a two-mile run or a marathon route. You can also build your own routes and add them to the database for other people to use. During your run, the app uses GPS coordinates to track your location and speed, and a voice in your headphones notifies you of your pace and distance once every mile. Of course, everything is saved so that you can continue working toward your goals. The app also makes it quick to share your workouts on social media so friends can see a map of your route, distance, and pace.
The base version of MapMyRun is free, but there is also a paid subscription available for $5.99 a month that includes features such as personalized training. VT
By CHARLIE MEREDITH, Contributing Writer