Our Picks for iPhone and Android
By Molly Newman and Suzanne Lewis Ship
We sort through the hundreds of fitness and training apps available for iPhone and Android to bring you these workout standouts.
Want to improve your 10K time? Tone your deltoids? Step away from the dessert tray? There’s an app for that. (Well, maybe not one that will physically pry that éclair out of your hand.) We sacrificed our phone batteries and data plans to download, test and compare a smorgasbord of fitness-friendly apps for iPhone and Android phones. A few standouts—and a few surprises—made the cut to be included here.
For folks who think a phone should just be a phone, we’ve also included a few cellular-free options for boosting your workout’s tech factor. Plan a route, monitor a meal or discover a new music mix from the comfort of your computer chair.
My Fitness Pal
Android and iPhone
Keep an eye on your diet with this user-friendly calorie tracker. The thousands of foods (including popular restaurant options) and exercises stored in its database make it simple to log your meals and workouts. Get a quick snapshot of the nutrients you’ve consumed, and see at a glance how many calories you have remaining for the day. (If My Fitness Pal doesn’t think you’ve eaten enough, it beeps at you, but it remains welcomely silent if you’ve overindulged.)
Just how unhealthy are those Doritos, anyway? Grab a quick nutritional snapshot of nearly any food in a package with a UPC code—just point, click and compare against Fooducate’s massive nutritional database. Fooducate grades each product on its nutrient profile and offers suggestions for healthier options. Great for comparing one packaged item to another, but less useful if you eat mostly unpackaged foods or lots of restaurant meals.
Noom Weight Loss by WorkSmart Labs
Noom combines exercise tracking, food logging and motivation (both cheering and nagging) into one easy-to-use package. Set up a personal weight loss plan, follow your progress, log meals, get exercise reminders and track all your daily physical activities from walking to yoga. Pair it with CardioTrainer for an integrated look at your fitness and nutrition. You can also share (or overshare) your progress via a direct connection to Facebook.
CardioTrainer by WorkSmart Labs
Our favorite Droid app for tracking everyday fitness, indoors and outdoors. Its integrated GPS tracking and built-in pedometer let you easily record and review your workouts with stats like distance, speed and calories burned. Running or cycling outdoors? Keep track of favorite routes with Google Maps, and challenge yourself to beat your previous fastest times. You can also set up a weekly training schedule and bug your Facebook friends with training updates.
Daily Workout Series by Daniel Miller
Free / $0.99
For quick, effective moves to sculpt butt, arms, abs or legs, the Daniel Miller workout series is a great pick. Step-by-step video instructions guide you through 5- to 10-minute routines—no “I haven’t got time” excuses allowed. A countdown timer keeps you on track as a friendly voice offers audible cues. Get rid of ads by shelling out $0.99 per body part.
Turn to JEFIT for all things weight lifting, including routines and a suggested menu of exercises for each muscle group, as well as animations of proper form for all exercises. The broad range and number of exercises for each muscle group is helpful, as are sample beginner routines for each day of the week. The illustration on the main Exercise screen looks very much like a naked Duke Nukem on steroids.
Instant Heart Rate (Android) and Heart Rate (iPhone)
These apps are useful one-trick ponies: They use your phone’s camera lens to sense blood flow in your finger, yielding a reasonably accurate pulse. Make sure you’re working in the right zone (or measure your road rage).
ON THE GO
Android and iPhone
Keep all the running, cycling or walking data you can imagine in one easy-to-access spot. Endomondo tracks time, distance, speed and altitude; it also monitors your progress with route maps, lap times and even music playlists. Competitors will love the features that let you race against Endomondo-using friends (or even strangers) without having to work out at a specific time. Not only Droid and iPhone users, but those toting Blackberry, Palm or Garmin devices can connect via Endomondo. Join an existing fitness community, or team up with friends and neighbors to create your own.
Android and iPhone
From easy 20-minute workouts to blister-raising distance runs, RunKeeper offers friendly encouragement, personal music mixes and training tips to help you power through any workout. Track your distance, altitude, best times and favorite routes. The super-supportive RunKeeper community is great for keeping your motivation high, too—more than 1000 RunKeeper groups meet for training and events around the world.
You’ve got three hours to kill in Cincinnati before your conference starts. Look up a route that fits your schedule and fitness level via MapMyHike.com, then record your own trail adventures with the mobile app’s GPS tracker. Real time tracking measures distance, pace, speed and elevation. Integrates with Facebook and Twitter so you can share your hikes with friends.
Android and iPhone
Our surreal fitness favorite is SpecTrek Light, which gives you a very tight time limit (and uses the phone’s GPS and map functions) to send you racing around the world taking pictures of virtual ghosts at arbitrary locations near wherever you are. Run to North Temple and City Creek Canyon! Run through Memory Grove! Go, go go! If you don’t make it in time, no ghost picture, no points.
COMPUTER-BASED FITNESS HELPERS
Haven’t jumped on the smartphone bandwagon yet? There’s no cell plan required to take advantage of the free fitness, exercise and nutrition resources offered at Livestrong.com. Just register (it’s free) and login to track your daily meals and workouts. Our favorite feature: Over 20,000 “loops,” or training routes, that offer step-by-step guides to great places to run, hike or cycle in your neighborhood. (There are 610 suggested loops around SLC alone.)
Motion Traxx Podcast
iTunes or motiontraxx.com
No workout is complete without a soundtrack. (Ours is heavy on Henry Rollins and the Bee Gees.) Get a free, hyper-motivating mix of tunes twice a month, expertly scripted by Deekron the Fitness DJ. Calibrated for workouts ranging from spinning to rock climbing, this podcast’s driving energy and finely tuned BPMs will keep you running up that hill.