There’s an App for that

This post is brought to us by local guest blogger Rebecca of the blogs Relish and Everything is ticketyboo!

I have a saying, “If you don’t log it or blog it, it didn’t happen.”

Whether or not that’s true, when it comes to fitness, one of the things that keeps me on-track, both literally and figuratively, is my diligent recording of my physical activity and nutrition.

Thankfully, there are several apps and websites that make short work of all that logging and calculating!

These are just a couple of my favourites:

My Fitness Pal
(iPhone/iPod/iPad, Blackberry, Android, Windows phone, web)

“Counting calories” sounds like something our mothers did in the 70s, but there might just be something to it. Research has proven that people who log their food intake and physical activity achieve greater weight-loss and maintenance results than people who don’t.

My Fitness Pal is a free app/website that calculates the user’s daily calorie requirements and allows the user to input their meals and exercise. The daily “allowance” of calories is adjusted accordingly; calories are subtracted as foods are eaten, and added for workouts completed. The app takes care of the math, but it’s up to the user to log everything as accurately (and honestly!) as possible.

Getting started is easy, with just a few questions such as height, current weight, and goals, and then you can jump right in and start inputting your meals and activities. With hundreds of exercises and activities and literally millions of foods, you will have no trouble tracking everything (Yes, even that third cookie that you didn’t think we saw you grab.) Be prepared to spend about 10 – 15 minutes a day on it at first, but as you use the app, it will “learn” your favourites, making them easier to find.

Weigh-ins, constant feedback, and a community of like-minded folks will help you motivated and on target. What have you got to lose?

Similar: Spark People

Map My Run
(iPhone/iPod/iPad, Blackberry, Android, web)

Despite the name, Map My Run is about so much more than running. Runners, cyclists, swimmers, rowers, and fitness junkies of all types can log and track their activities in this free, easy to use app/website. More than just an exercise log, MMR allows the user to create training plans and track their performance.

And, of course, the fantastic mapping function puts the “map” in Map My Run. Users can easily create routes with just a few mouse-clicks, or search for maps created by others. For those gadget-freaks, the app will also work with over a dozen devices, including Garmin, FitBit, and Nike+.

My favourite features of the app are the weekly and monthly summaries, as well as the sponsored challenges. They may not be Olympic medals, but I get a kick out of seeing my “trophies” when I log-in to my page.

Similar: I may be biased, but nothing quite compares to MMR.  MapMyRun was also Jenn’s pick for What We’re Lovin’ in June.

Fitbit

This is not your father’s pedometer! The Fitbit is a wearable activity and sleep tracker that literally records every step you take and every you make. (I think there is a song in there somewhere…) Users simply clip the tiny unit, which sells for about $100, onto their clothing, or a wristband, and go about their active (or less-than-active) lives. To transfer the data from the unit to your computer, the Fitbit can be syncs with its base station wirelessly, or by placing the unit in the station.

Once the data has been transferred to the computer, the website analyses the activity and provides the user with information such as calories burned and steps taken, including changes in elevation. The sleep tracking feature gives insight into not only how long, but how well you sleep. This is important because, for good health, the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity.

Skeptics may see the Fitbit as just another gimmick, but I have seen first-hand how it can make a huge difference, especially for a person who is trying to go from sedentary to active and needs a little (or a big) nudge. It’s pretty high-tech stuff, but it’s also FUN to see all those steps add up!

How far can you go?

Similar: Nike+ FuelBand

What are your favourite fitness apps?

Keep Well…Rebecca

Rebecca is a fitness instructor, blogger (Relish and Everything is ticketyboo! ), artist, reluctant morning person, and notorious killer-of-plants. She lives in a foliage-free home with her teenage son, Jacob.