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Thread: What are your favourite fitness apps?

  1. #1

    What are your favourite fitness apps?

    Ultimately, it depends on you actually doing stuff like watching what you eat and finding time to do good quality exercise, so in that respect, the best app is the one you’ll actually use rather than some "best for everybody" app.
    I’ll tell you what has worked out for (and for the first time, I’m actually exercising regularly in winter too).
    1) Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Aria syncing up to the Fitbit app and account. I walk more, I climb more stairs, I walk up the escalators on the London Underground, I like the instant acknowledgement of effort in and outside of the gym including letting me know what my heart rate and calorie burn is during my exercise so I can maintain the right intensity level. That combines with the Aria helping me figure out if I’m actually making progress or not (poor diet could easily wipe out benefits of exercise).
    2) I used to use the myfitnesspal app, connected via cloud to my fitbit account. when I first got my fitbit, I was very closely watching my calorie intake with this and matching up with my calorie burn and I was losing weight at the rate of 1kg a week. It got a little tedious entering every little thing in and I don’t use it as much right now but if you can make use of it, it’s really effective.
    3) Netflix – Using cardio machines at the gym (I mainly use cross-trainer, bike and rowing machine/ergometer) can be repetitive and boring compared to playing sport because you don’t have the same mental stimulation. Netflix has allowed me to keep going back to the gym rather than avoiding it due to boredom. I’m actually trying to get to a place where that’s the only time I watch TV and spend more of my other free time reading and learning. Netflix is a double-edged sword as your exercise intensity may slacken as you get engrossed into what you are watching and your posture may be affected. You have to be attentive to maintain intensity of exercise and right posture.
    4) MixRadio – I’m a fan of this app as it gives me playlists of music without all the effort of constructing them and it’s free! You can also achieve something similar with YouTube. I use this mainly on the ergs where I can’t watch netflix and I want the emotional engagement to push me in the exercise to complete it at the right pace (especially when it’s towards the end of your session).
    5) Fitstar – This app was recently acquired by Fitbit. I only came across this recently. As a hard-working management consultant, I often don’t have the time to go to the gym during the week (if I’m coming home late) or I’m travelling and staying in hotels. This app lets me do some bodyweight based exercise in my own home or hotel room to make sure I’m at least doing something during the week, a little exercise is always better than no exercise. It’s a really well made app and has a degree of tailoring to you and your current fitness and strength levels.
    6) Seven – If you can’t get to the gym or do the fitstar exercises, this one should be possible to do everyday and anywhere, you just need a little floor space, some wall and a chair. It’s only seven minutes of exercise but if you do it with proper effort, it’s a really valuable seven minutes.
    Exercise is important for heart and lung health (and the endorphins you get after are fun too). I have a waterfall for every day: 1) go to the gym if possible, 2) If I can’t go to the gym, I’ll do fitstar, 3) If I can’t even do fitstar, I’ll do seven.
    Getting into an exercise habit is really important, it’s better than going all-out for couple of weeks and then giving up.
    But I can’t emphasise enough the diet side of things for weight loss. It’s so easy to eat up the calories you burn in exercise, diet control not only helps weight loss but you may feel better each day in terms of energy (no post-lunch carb slump), you may live longer (links to life extension), you may feel less bloated etc and you might save money!
    Best of luck to you in your efforts!

  2. #2
    Thanks a lot for the lengthy response. I know that diet is a huge factor in weight loss but sometimes I don’t exactly feel like the most inspired cook. Is there anything you found that helped you make/prepare better meals? I also don’t eat fish which I know a lot of people recommend as a substitute for other meats.

  3. #3
    Diet is a huge topic and a multi-billion dollar industry. I can’t give you a definitive answer, certainly not a pithy one but I can share a few thoughts:
    1) It’s about a healthy lifestyle and long-term diet changes not short term fads albeit you will go from losing weight to wanting to maintain a weight
    2) Ars Technica has a good article on why the calorie is broken that is worth a read. So high level calorie counting is ok but don’t obsess, focus on eating clean
    3) Balanced nutrition. I am a vegetarian moving towards veganism so I can’t really tell you about meat but eat the lean bits, have plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds etc in your diet. Without bias, you don’t need a lot of meat in your diet but if you have, go for a "white" over a "red".
    4) Focus on slow-release energy and carbs e.g. brown rice, quinoa; cut out bread, white flour especially but reduce carbs to what you need.
    5) Keep your mealtimes regular and consistent. It’s always better to divide up your food between more meals if you can (e.g. 6 half-portion meals vs 3 full-portion meals) but most people don’t have time for that.
    6) Focus on eating as much as you need rather than how much you want. Don’t eat until you are full (when I do that I end up feeling overfull). Eat slowly until you’re not sure you don’t have a real hunger and stop, 15 mins later you’ll feel hungry (there’s a lag time for your stomach to tell your brain you are full).
    7) People recommend oily fish for certain omega fats especially but you can substitute with flaxseed and a few other things.
    8) Cutting down on the alcohol consumption can help a lot (calories in beer, mixers plus more energy to get up and be active).

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