What did we ever do before we had apps? You can pretty much track anything you want, order food, shop, get coupons, watch TV, pay your bills, edit photos like a pro, and connect with your friends all with the use of an app! It’s amazing!
I’m sure our grandparents would tell us that life was much “simpler” without all the technology, but I have to tell ya that technology sure does make my life simpler in many ways!
Just the other day I ordered food from Subway via their app and was in and out with my delicious sandwich in seconds, without having to wait in line. Score!
I get excited when I find a good app that really helps me. So, today I want to break down five of my most favorite health and fitness apps that help me stay fit and why you should consider using them too!
1. Best Free App for Nutrition – MyFitnessPal
I have been using MyFitnessPal on and off for several years now. I started off using it just to track my calories and progress when I was on a mission to lose weight. But now that I’ve learned more and more about the importance of what you eat versus just how much you eat, I use it more to track my nutrition.
What a lot of people don’t know about MyFitnessPal tracking is that in addition to tracking your daily calories, you can track your daily macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and set goals for yourself. The default for macronutrients on MyFitnessPal is to eat 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat a day, but you can change those percentages around if needed (let’s say if you were doing a low-carb diet). The default goals for micronutrients will depend on your weight-loss goal and the recommended daily values.
It’s helpful to monitor what you are eating throughout the day, especially because I go many days without eating enough protein. If after lunch-time I look at my macronutrients on MyFitnessPal and my protein is down at 10% (which happens a lot), I will be sure to make an effort to ear a higher protein dinner. It’s all about finding a good healthy balanced diet.
I admit, it takes a little bit of effort to use the app at first because you must enter every single thing you eat in a day into your food diary. But MyFitnessPal has a good memory, so it gets quicker and quicker to enter in your meals the more you use it. It can also be shocking to see some of the nutrient values each food item has. That yogurt I just ate has how much sugar?
It has helped me to realize that some of the things I have been eating may not be as good for me as I thought.
So, while MyFitnessPal may be deemed the “weight loss app”, that’s not all it’s good for. I consider it more of a “nutrition app” and make good daily use of it to eat healthier! If you have never tracked your eating habits before, I recommend at least committing to it for a week so you can get an idea of how your nutrition stacks up and what areas you need to improve on.
MyFitnessPal Best Features
- You can become friends with people through the app for some extra accountability and encouragement
- Tracks your daily nutrition progress so you know where you need to improve
- Syncs with your FitBit tracker
- Allows you to set goals for yourself including weight loss goals, activity goals, or nutrition goals.
Become friends with me on MyFitnessPal by searching for LWBanks
2. Best Free App for Motivation – BurnThis
BurnThis is a social community devoted solely to fitness. It’s the perfect app for anyone who needs some fitness inspiration or motivation, or just wants to connect with other fitness-focused people!
People on the BurnThis app are either on their fitness journey, or looking to start a healthier lifestyle!
With the app, you create your personal profile and then start finding people to follow! Your “wall” will showcase all the latest pictures people have posted. Post your own picture, add a pre-designed slogan, or you can add a quote of your own to any picture you post!
I love browsing through the BurnThis app on a daily basis to get inspired! You can become friends with other users, as well as like and comment on anyone’s post. People get honest and real and share their accomplishments and struggles with fitness. It’s very refreshing to see!
The other awesome thing I love about this app is the challenges! There are several challenges with really cool prizes to win! You know how I love my challenges!
It is fun to get involved and push myself further with each new challenge. There are usually multiple challenges to join at one time.
This summer, BurnThis is hosting a special summer-long wellness challenge called the #flaunthis challenge. To enter the challenge, you share a photo on BurnThis of how you are flaunting your healthy lifestyle this summer using the hashtag #FLAUNTHIS. Each week, for 12 weeks there will be a new prize and a new winner!
BurnThis Best Features
- The challenges! It’s fun to see what other people post and get the opportunity to win great prizes.
- Connecting with other fitness-lovers who just “get it”.
Follow me on BurnThis @fitlifepursuits
3. Best Free App for Training – Interval Timer
I know there are a lot of fancy workout apps out there, but you don’t need them to get an amazing workout. My favorite workout app is simply the interval timer app. This app is awesome for interval training while running, circuit training, or when doing HIIT and Tabata workouts.
Here’s how it works:
Set up your intervals and number of sets before starting your workout.
First, set up your warm-up interval, meaning how long you want your warm-up to be. I recommend at least 30 seconds.
Next, set your low intensity and high intensity intervals. You can decide which comes first in the series as well as how long each interval is set for. For example, let’s say you start with your high intensity cycle (after your warm-up) and you set it for 1 minute. During that one minute of high intensity, you will be doing jumping jacks (or whatever high intensity exercise you choose) until you hear the buzzer letting you know that high intensity interval is over.
Once you hear that buzzer you will then enter into your low intensity interval, where you will do bicep curls for 1 minute (or whatever low intensity exercise you choose). You will hear an alarm again to let you know when to return to the high intensity interval.
You will program into the app how many sets you wish to do before the cycle ends, as well as how long your rest time is between cycles, how many cycles you will complete, and how long your cool down will be.
It sounds complicated, but it’s really not! Use the interval timer to set up your workout (it only takes a minute) and then start working out!
Here is an example circuit workout using the Interval Timer app. Set your warm up to 00:30. Interval cycle to 5 sets (10 total intervals). Cycle starts with low intensity for 1:00 followed by high intensity for 1:00. Repeat each interval cycle 2 times with a rest between cycles of 1:00 and a cool down of 1:00. Workout will be approximately 35 minutes.
Be sure to check out a video demonstration of each exercise before getting started:
The interval timer makes the workout flow much smoother. There’s no need to keep an eye on the clock, you just listen for the interval alarm (or vibration if you set it that way) to let you know when to move on to the next exercise.
Interval Timer Best Features
- Name and save each interval setting routine to use again
- Can customize each interval alarm sound
- Can play your stored music through the app
4. Best Free App for Tracking – Fitbit
I got a Fitbit flex when they first came out but ended up returning it. When the Fitbit Charge HR came out, I decided to give it another try. I was really excited about the heart rate feature because I wanted to be able to monitor my HR during my workouts. But, I now use it for so much more than that.
The Fitbit app allows you to interact with other Fitbit users and challenge each other to step competitions. Last week I was a part of a “workweek hustle” challenge with my husband, uncle, dad, and sister-in-law. It was a lot of fun to compete with my family for who could get more steps during the week! It really held me accountable to getting out of my chair and geting active.
This app is very eye-opening. It is very easy to sit all day and not realize how inactive you’re being. Fitbit will help get you moving daily!
Fitbit Best Features
- Ability to add friends and challenge each other
- Tracks sleep, heart rate and water intake
- Connects with MyFitnessPal
5. Best Free App for Health – SoundCheck
Here is where my nerd side comes out. The SoundCheck app is all about your hearing, and as an Audiologist, I consider hearing to be a very important but overlooked health concern.
The world is getting noisier and noisier and hearing loss is on the rise, especially in younger people. Hearing loss not only affects your communication, but can also affect your cognitive ability and general well-being.
With the SoundCheck app you can screen your hearing to determine if there is any hearing loss, but more importantly it can help prevent hearing loss. When you are in a noisy place you can use the SoundCheck app to measure the noise levels where you are. The app will tell you if the place you’re in is too noisy and could damage your hearing. At that point it’s up to you whether you wear hearing protection, leave the noisy area, or turn it down (if you have control of the sound in the room).
Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented and this app can definitely help make you more aware of the dangerous noise levels you may be exposing yourself to.
Soundcheck Best Features
- Can monitor your hearing by taking the free hearing check
- Tells you when the sounds in your environment are too loud
These are the apps I use every day. They make my fitness life easier!
Are there any health and fitness apps you love?