I was lucky enough to receive a hand-me-down iPhone 3g back in early December, and have been delving into the world of iPhone apps ever since. Below are my recommendations for some of the best health/fitness related apps that I have found on iTunes to date (if you have personal recommendations, suggest them in the comments! I’m always looking for highly recommended fitness apps).
I have broken these down into targeted audience, along with main features, cost and drawbacks. Some of these apps, like Gym Buddy, have *tons* of features, so I have included only those which I found most useful and interesting. If you wish to read more just follow the link to the app description in iTunes.
These are all compatible with the 3g onwards.
Audience: intermediate & advanced resistance training enthusiasts
- Record reps, sets & exercises.
- Create custom workouts.
- Plan future workout days with inbuilt calendar, or review past workouts
- In depth summaries, statistics, on-the-go 1RM’s and more
- Timer for interval training and HIIT
- Body tracker with fully customisable entry options, for tracking weight, BMI, BF% and more
- Data management and email backup
- No automatic programming functions (all manual, create your own programs)
- No pictures of exercises or biomechanical guides/explanations
I honestly cannot do this app enough justice in this short review. Although I listed two drawbacks, these are necessary compromises for the amount of freedom this app allows the user. It’s assumed that you will do your own exercise research (know the right technique etc), so this isn’t really for the beginner unless you use it in conjunction with another app (ie Fitness Buddy). Highly recommended and easily worth the cost.
Cost: Free ($5 for Pro version)
Audience: fat loss / muscle gain
- Track meals, exercise performed (basic calorie tracking purpose), weight, charts & measurements, vitamins & medications (basic note function here)
- Customise your own ingredients and ‘recipes’ for easy tracking of frequently eaten meals
- Review macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron etc) eaten in the day, and whether they meet minimum daily requirements
- Set calorie goal for the day, easily review remaining calories and macronutrient breakdown
- Favourites category, easily identify your customised food entries
- Barcode scanner!
- Nutrition and consumption calorie reports
- Barcode scanner only in the paid version
- Barcodes are not always linked to products, and sometimes the barcode scanner does not scan properly (depending on lighting etc)
- For most products, the only nutritional information available is that which is printed on the package. This means that a lot of micronutrients and even in some cases caffeine, are not displayed
I’ve never been a big fan of tracking calories, in fact I’ve been very stubbornly opposed to the entire concept for a long time. What this app does is allow you to remove the focus from calorie counting (though the info is all still right there, if calorie counting is your thing), and places the focus on macro and micronutrient tracking. The amount of nutritional information this app allows you to review is fabulous – you want to track how much iron, calcium or vitamin C you’re consuming? Easy!
Audience: cardiovascular crazed / joggers
- Time and measure the distance, speed/pace of your jogs, hikes or walks
- Measure calories burnt
- Inbuilt Google maps function, shows where you are, and where’s you’ve jogged
- Share your routes on Facebook with the click of a button
- Basic functionality so only a small learning curve
- No inbuilt heart rate monitor support
- No inbuilt interval timing functions
Although my favourite jogging app to date, it’s lacking in the two drawbacks mentioned above. Still a great app though and highly recommended, let’s just hope for a future update which includes the two functions above!
Audience: beginner resistance enthusiasts
- Preprogrammed exercise routines
- Pictures and description of how to perform exercises
- Unable to modify or enter your own exercises, so you’re constrained to those on offer
- Not a lot of features
A great program for beginners, provides some nice descriptions with accompanying pictures.
Audience: RPG’ers (role playing gamers) who are also fitness enthusiasts
- Reward system (think badges, or ‘achievements’) for accomplishing strength goals
- Reward system for accomplishing “quests”
- Leveling system to encourage frequent workouts
- Facebook/twitter style interface with tons of very active social groups to meet all tastes. The community is truly amazing, with heaps of support and social interaction
- Resistance training focus
- Information for past workouts can only be entered for 5 days prior to the current date
- As you level up, it becomes harder to level up – but that’s what RPG’ing is all about!! (incentive to train harder)
Although not technically a simple app for the iPhone and more of an interface app for the Fitocracy website (requires sign-in prior to use), I had to include it on my list. Fitocracy has helped motivate me in a way that nothing else has, and given me goals where before I really had none. If you’re an RPG’ing nerd, like me, and also into resistance training – Fitocracy is an absolute must.
What smartphone apps have you found that help to organise, record and plan your workouts?