There’s an abundance of fitness programs and crazes today — including Crossfit, Body for Life™, Zumba™, Boxercise™, P90X™, Yoga, Pole Dancing, and more. Whatever you follow — whether it’s your own plan or a regimented program, a mobile app can help you schedule, track, and monitor your workouts all in one place — rather than relying on notebooks and binders that are cumbersome, and don’t allow you to easily identify trends based on the data.
Purchasing specialized apps for fitness programs can be expensive — with some apps costing up to $60.00! There’s plenty of fitness apps that can track the number of miles you’ve cycled, swam, or run and allow you to post that information to your social networks. You can also find apps that track your cardio workouts and strength training — but not necessarily in the same app. Some apps let you track your workouts, but not schedule them. Others track your nutrition and weight, but not your fitness. It’s all very confusing, so how do you choose the app that’s right for you?
We suggest that you look for the following capabilities in a fitness app:
Plan Your Workouts – Your Way
If you’re anything like me, you follow a mixture of exercise and diet plans. For example, I follow the Body For Life strength training program, but I follow my own cardio program consisting of cycling, spinning, running, and swimming. Sometimes I use a personal trainer or take a fitness class so my specific workout will be unexpected. In this case, I will schedule the fitness appointment, but not the specific exercises. Make sure you choose an app that’s flexible enough to adjust to the changes in your fitness plan, and also the level of detail you wish to record.
Schedule Your Workouts – Within Your Calendar
Ninety percent of success is just showing up. It never fails. The moment you plan to go to the fitness club, something gets in the way — your boss sends an email you need to address, a friend calls and invites you to happy hour, your child needs help with a homework assignment. To ensure workout success, plan a regimen that fits your lifestyle. It’s important that your fitness app lets you schedule your workouts, and view these workouts on the same calendar that you use to schedule all the other items that are important in your life. For example, if your child always needs help with their homework between 3:30 and 4:30 PM, schedule your workouts outside of this time to make sure you show up.
Set Your Own Goals – One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Beware of apps that aren’t flexible enough to adjust to your fitness level. Exercise caution when choosing an app that doesn’t take into account your fitness level and blindly recommends workouts for you. Choose apps that let you set specific, attainable, and measurable goals within your limits and level.
Use Instructional Information – Files, Instructions, or Bookmarks
At times, you might need help in remembering the specific form for a particular exercise. Make sure your app includes instructions for exercises — whether they’re included via bookmarks to videos or articles, file storage, or sets of instructions.
Keep Track of Food & Drinks – Nutrition Tracking
According to Livestrong, “both exercise and nutrition play a role in your level of health. Together they affect your ability to gain weight, lose weight or maintain weight.” When choosing an app, make sure that you can track both nutrition and exercise, as they have a synergistic effect on your overall health.
Analyze Patterns – Exercise Log
Keeping a log of exercise, and analyzing a corresponding graph for patterns helps you make improvements. For example, you may notice when you view your running log, your speed or mileage is decreased after too many workouts in a row or on a certain day of the week. Using graphs helps you see a correlation between exercise, nutrition, supplements, performance improvements, and fatigue. Graphs can also make some people feel motivated when they see a pictorial representation of activity. When selecting an app, choose one that provides graphs for viewing and analyzing this data.
Monitor Results – Weight, Measurements, BMI, or Body Fat Tracking
After all your hard work, it’s important to analyze your results to evaluate if you need to adjust or not — and seeing positive changes in the numbers as you progress gives you motivation to continue. You may choose to track your measurements, weight, body fat, Body Mass Index (BMI), or other statistics. (BMI is calculated from a person’s weight and height. It’s used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.) Make sure you choose an app that’s flexible enough to track one or all of these statistics and gives you the ability to graph the results.
LifeTopix – The Answer
LifeTopix was designed with all these factors in mind — and much more. It’s different from standard fitness apps because it manages all your life information in a single app. With LifeTopix, you’re free from the burden of re-entering the same data multiple times in different apps — which gives you more time to do the things you want to do – like keeping those personal training appointments!
Take a look at the following slide show to see examples of how LifeTopix keeps track of exercise routines. We’ve used the Body For Life strength training program as an example.
In a future post, we’ll do a deep dive into tracking nutrition, medication + supplements, and measurements / weight / body fat / BMI so check back later. And please comment and let us know how we “measure up.”