With summer festivities about to start, it’s high time for most of us to come to terms with the harsh reality of looking nowhere near ready to strip down to our swimsuits. Let’s face it: If you’re not an athlete or an A-lister who’s actually paid to eat well and stay fit, it’s tough to stick with healthier lifestyle choices for the bangin’ summer bod we dream of. I’m here to tell you, however, that all hope is not yet lost! You still have two things going for you: (just enough) time and technology.
We’ve all got a lot on our plates, but thanks to today’s sometimes scarily hi-tech smartphones and smartwatches, we can also take better control of our day-to-day fitness. There’s literally an app for everything, and if you haven’t explored the plethora of fitness and nutrition apps available for your smart device, you may be missing out on that little bit of motivation that could make all the difference. Lucky for you, I’m here to point you in the right direction with 5 of my personal recommendations, in no particular order:
1. MyFitnessPal (FREE on iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
If you’re looking to equip yourself with just one app and your priority is watching what you eat, MyFitnessPal would be it.
If it doesn’t have the most comprehensive food database in all of app world, I don’t know what does. With MyFitnessPal, you can tailor your weight-loss plan according to how much weight you want to lose, how much exercise you plan to do, and how soon. Logging food is a breeze, especially with the app’s built-in barcode scanner, and it’ll be tough to find an app or wearable gadget that doesn’t sync well with it.
Proper nutrition and portioning is king when it comes to weight loss. Remember: “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.”
2. Nike Training Club (FREE on iOS and Android)
If you’re a big fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training), TABATA (tactical bodyweight training), or basically workouts that nail cardio, strengthening and toning in under 60 minutes, you’ll enjoy the NTC app.
It’s awesome! You have instant access to over 100 different workouts – all of which you can download onto your phone. The app makes it very easy to find the perfect #WOTD (workout of the day), and notes your fitness goals to come up with a customized program to help you achieve your goals within the timeframe you want. It’s sleek and user-friendly, as well.
The only drawback is the app has a more Nike Women feel to it because most pictures and instructional audio and videos are female. While, of course, there is nothing wrong with this, male users may prefer something more relatable.
Caution: This app may make users buy a lot more Nike gear over the gradual course of time because it constantly gives you ideas for gym outfits, and you can buy the outfits straight out of the app.
3. Spotify (FREE or $9.99 a month for Premium on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone)
No workout is complete without the perfect playlist to pump you up. Whether you like putting your own playlists together, or you want readymade, tastefully-curated lists, Spotify should be your go-to music streaming app.
It’s a great app on its own, but it also syncs up well with other apps. Spotify also recently added a running playlist that adapts to your running tempo. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, Spotify is also a social network. You can collaborate on a playlist with other users, share yours, and follow others’ playlists.
To the naked eye, $9.99 a month for ad-free streaming may not seem like anything special, but Spotify Premium users stream higher quality music, which they can save onto their phone for unlimited offline playtime.
4. Bit Timer ($0.99 on iOS only)
This sleek app boasts being “The simplest interval timer ever,” and it’s not lying. The era of using your smartphone’s native timer feature for interval training has ended.
Now your 10-second rests can be spent actually catching your breath, and not resetting the timer.
5. Daily Yoga (FREE or $7.99 per month for Pro access on iOS and Android)
If you are about to try or have just gotten into yoga, like I have, I would recommend this app. It’s fuss-free, and it has a good amount of content to keep your practice feeling fresher, longer. You also have the option to follow a recommended daily yoga program, based on your goals.
Most routines last between 20 to 30 minutes, and come with a bundle of soothing tracks to go with your practice. It also helps that the voice cues are soothing and effective at helping you maintain good form.