Smartphones (and their many ‘applications’); whether you love them or hate them, it is clear how much they have changed the way we live our lives. Nowadays there is an app for everything, so much so that I often wonder how we ever survived without smart phones.
To demonstrate this, here is a rundown of my typical morning: my phone alarm wakes me up, I then check the weather, read the news, check traffic, message my partner to have a good day at work and share a joke with my girlfriends… all before 8am and all using a handy, innovative little app.
When it comes to fitness, there are also a myriad of apps that claim to boost your motivation, shake up your exercise routine and burn those calories fast! In the past, I have made the mistake of clogging up my phone memory with pretty much every app out there, so I have saved you the hard work and laid out my three most used apps below.
My Fitness Pal
This is hands down my most used app and the one that really made me stop and think about what I was putting into my body on a daily basis.
My Fitness Pal is a free, simple food diary app that allows you to input everything you eat, at every meal. It will set you a calorie goal by asking you several simple lifestyle questions or you can set this yourself. Not only will it guide you on calories, but also break down your calorific intake by fat, sugar, protein, carbohydrates etc. to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet.
This app is fantastic; it gives you a greater awareness over what you eat, not just in a sense of knowing what is good and bad for you, but also by promoting a healthy, sustainable way of eating that will lead to long term results.
It also has a section for inputting exercise and will calculate this into your daily calorie intake, therefore encouraging you to eat to compensate for the exercise that you do, ensuring your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
Best feature: I love its barcode scanner, all you need to do is scan the barcode and it will calculate all the calories and nutrient breakdown; helping you make healthy decisions on the go!
I absolutely LOVE my Fitbit and the app that comes with it. I have tried a few of the various activity trackers on the market, but Fitbit is unquestionably the easiest and most fun to use in my eyes.
It tracks everything, from steps, kilometres walked and ‘active minutes’ to calories burned, days that you have done exercise and how many hours in the day you have been active (it even vibrates on your wrist if you have been sedentary for too long).
It sets goals for you to meet, and lights up green when you exceed them so that, at a glance, you can see how active you have been for that day. It is a fantastic little tool for making sure that you incorporate activity into your everyday life; so many fitness apps only help you with running or an exercise routine, however the Fitbit is all about encouraging you to be an active person rather than focusing on an activity, leading to better, long term results.
Best feature: I love the fact that it syncs with My Fitness Pal and the two talk to each other, meaning that I know where I am calorie and fitness-wise at any point in the day.
Headspace is a meditation app that gives you hundreds of guided meditations for every mood and situation. Now you might be thinking ‘that’s not a fitness app!’, but I assure you mindfulness is as essential for you mind and body as a good run or work-out is.
I started using headspace about a year ago, when life was getting stressful and my morning run didn’t seem to be helping in the way it usually did. The reason Headspace was so fantastic for me is that it offers bitesize guided meditation anywhere, anytime, meaning that I found myself using it on the train, at work or just anytime that I felt overwhelmed or stressed.
Now that I have been using it for some time, I have started to explore other guided mediations and have found that YouTube also offers a great range of guided meditation videos; I often do a lengthier guided meditation before bed using these as it helps quieten my mind after a long day.
Best feature: Headspace has different sessions that tailor to where you are and how you feel, whether you are working, commuting or going for a walk. This is great if you are unsure which meditation to choose when you are first starting out!