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North Hills Monthly

APPchieving Your Fitness Goals in 2018

Jan 31, 2018 02:02PM ● By Jennifer Monahan

If your New Year’s fitness resolutions are a distant memory because you lost momentum somewhere around January 4, take heart—it’s not too late for a reboot. Just as orange is the new black, February can be the new January. This time, try tackling your exercise and weight loss goals with the assistance of some fitness apps to keep you on track for improving your health in 2018.

MyFitnessPal is among the most popular fitness apps for a good reason. This app does it all: tracks calories, analyzes nutrients, records water intake, imports nutrition information from your recipes, logs workouts, syncs with other apps (e.g., MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Strava) and plays nicely with wearable devices such as FitBit and Garmin to save users the trouble of logging information twice. MyFitnessPal is easy to use. First-timers create a profile either on the website or via the smartphone app. After entering their current weight and setting weight and exercise goals, individuals can start tracking calories and workouts immediately. Reviewers laud the app’s extensive food database and say the app increases their sense of accountability. MyFitnessPal is a fantastic tool for people new to technology and fitness tracking as well as hard-core fitness buffs that have been attached to their FitBits for years. (Free; available for iOS and Android)   

Gym rats—and gym rat wannabes—should check out JEFIT. This workout-log app tracks users’ progress with various weightlifting and fitness activities, but its best feature is the massive database of exercises. For example, users can search for exercises specific to a particular muscle group. Abdominal workout, anyone? JEFIT has 284 ab options, categorized into beginner, intermediate and expert levels. Standing at the gym wondering what to do with a kettlebell? JEFIT has six suggestions. With helpful photos and clear directions to explain each exercise, this app is a boon for anyone who has ever been too intimidated to step into the weight room. And if the gym still seems overwhelming, JEFIT has a host of exercise options that require neither a gym membership nor special equipment and can be executed in the privacy of your own home. (Free; available for iOS and Android)  

If yoga is more your style than deadlifting, yoga apps abound. Daily Yoga is one of the best; its free version offers a 10-day beginner class, which leads users through the basics. The beginner practices range from 14 to 21 minutes in length and cover most of the essential yoga poses. The 12-day yoga foundations sequence provides a series of 10- to 15-minute lessons ideal for users new to what yoga is all about. Lessons are designed by certified yoga professionals and include Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa styles. Other popular and fun yoga apps include Simply Yoga, Pocket Yoga and 5 Minute Yoga; Daily Yoga stands out because of the quality of lessons and its clear explanations of the poses. (Free, with option for in-app purchases; available for iOS and Android)  

A host of running apps is available to help runners stay on track. MY ASICS Run Training is a helpful tool for those who want to prepare for races ranging from a 5K to a marathon. The app prompts users to enter the race date, distance and goal time, and then creates a training plan unique to each user. For each workout, the app provides a distance, suggested pace and tips for training. It gives an overview of the week as well as a day-by-day breakdown of mileage—it even tells users when to take a day off. (Free; available for iOS and Android). The Couch to 5K app is a great option for beginners, but costs $2.99 on both iTunes and Google Play. Other favorite apps for runners include RunKeeper and MapMyRun, both free and available for iOS and Android. 

RockMyRun provides upbeat musical playlists to keep athletes motivated during any workout and can definitely boost cyclers’ and runners’ enjoyment (and pace) by matching a song’s beats per minute to the individual’s goal pace. Users can choose music preferences from a variety of genres ranging from hip hop to country to classical to Christian. Although the app is free, unlimited access to all the great playlists only lasts during the trial period. After that, the free version is limited and users must upgrade to monthly or yearly “Rockstar” subscriptions to access all the music. (Free; available for iOS and Android)  

Whether choosing an app to enhance your current exercise regimen or to get back on track with your 2018 fitness goals, give this technology a try.