Three Apps to Help you Get Back in Shape this Summer
Summer is almost here, and you know what that means — time to get outside and get moving. Running, cycling, swimming, hiking and many other activities are all staples of the summertime, and also a great way to lose the pounds that many of us end up acquiring over the course of the winter.
In order to get the biggest return on your workout investment, you need a way to quantify your labor. For example, “I ran 5 miles,” isn’t nearly as helpful as “I ran 5 miles in 45 minutes and burned 650 calories.” The latter gives you a much better overview of where you’re at in terms of creating a caloric deficit, speed, pace and the like.
While there are no shortage of apps that let you track this sort of information, I want to share a handful of my favorites that are available from Google Play (they should all also be available on iOS for those of you who prefer Apple’s hardware).
Of all the fitness trackers I’ve tried on Android, Runtastic is easily my personal favorite. It can track a slew of different activities, like running, cycling, swimming, baseball, football, basketball and too many others to list. Using your speed, distance, time and elevation data (where applicable), and taking into consideration your age, height and weight, it will then provide you with some really good information in relation to how many calories you’ve burned. This information is absolutely crucial when it comes to weight loss, but I’ve got another app for that. Keep reading.
OK, so let’s say you don’t want all the bells and whistles Runtastic has to offer (which I admit can easily be overwhelming). If that’s the case, then Strava is probably right for you. It’s very, very simple in that it only tracks running and cycling (it’s actually extremely popular in the cycling community). That said, it does a very, very good job with what it does track.
Strava has a sort of social network attached to it, which can be accessed via the app (unlike Runtastic, where the social features are browser-only). This allows you to see what your friends are doing and track their progress, which can lend a bit of motivation if you’re having one of those days when it’s hard to get off the couch.
When it comes to losing weight, tracking your food intake is absolutely crucial. Counting calories is, in my personal opinion, the best thing you can do to lose weight. Exercise alone generally won’t cause weight to drop off like you want, but combining it with food tracking can help you create a caloric deficit that will help the weight come off in a timely manner.
When it comes to tracking calories, MyFitnessPal is the gold standard. It’s easy to use, does a great job of making it easy to monitor your food intake, and even syncs with apps like Runtastic and Strava so you get “credit” for your workouts. If you’re looking to lose weight, this app is a must-have.
While this list definitely isn’t an end-all, be-all when it comes to exercise and calorie tracking, these are my personal favorites. There are many others out there — Runkeeper, Endomondo, Google Fit, and MapMyRun/Ride are also good ones to check out — so do a little research and don’t be afraid to branch out. I find that trying new things often keeps me motivated to get outside and moving. Which, really, is the point, isn’t it?
Have a favorite fitness tracker that I didn’t mention here? Drop it in the comments and let me know! And regardless of which fitness tracker you prefer, don’t forget to protect your device with trusted OtterBox protection.