When I first started my weight loss journey I was tracking my calories and exercise and quickly realized an app would have to be easier than making my own spreadsheet.
I want to talk about the fitness apps I use to help me stay on track. The best way to talk about them is to show you. So this blog is going to be very picture heavy. The main app I use is SparkPeople. Although honestly I rarely use their app, I use their web page. Their app is clunky, cumbersome, and chincy on features. Also, since you have to be online to use it, I am at home usually and would rather use a full featured web page. I include it because it is the main online tool I use. I tried a few others and was disappointed in their online communities. Spark has very few of what I call the “gym snobs”. One app I tried – which shall remain nameless because I am a gentleman – has some great features, and exported all your info easily to make your own spreadsheets (something I love to do). But the online “community” was almost as bad as the YouTube comment section. Not a friendly or welcoming place. I thought that was a shame because Lance is my favorite cyclist and I wanted to use his site… I also tried the UnderArmor app, but their app was no better than Spark and I never tried their community because Spark was so good that I quit looking.
SparkPeople has all the basic features you expect from a tracking app: calorie/macro tracker, exercise tracker, weight graph, all your goal management, and some chat (this is where the app suffers greatly). They have a pretty good database of food and exercise to use and it is very easy to add your own. I was surprised that about half the Filipino food I eat was already listed by other users. For user supplied info it is of course up to you to make sure it is accurate. Their website has a much better chat forum so I use it. Even if I am on my phone, if I have wifi, I use the webpage not the app.
MonitorYourWeight is by far my favorite fitness app. I used it for a while just because I liked the graphing of the weight loss/goal better than the Spark tracking. Later I really started looking at just how much info was on the screen and really was impressed. Especially for a free app. The graph page is nice because it shows your goal line, your trend line, as well as your individual measurements. But it is the main page that I found all the goodies on. At first I saw my starting weight & BMI, and the target weight & BMI. As I lost weight I noticed the lower half of the screen more. Body fat, kilos lost, remaining weight to lose, average daily loss, recommended calories, and average weekly loss. I also really like the progress v time. In the picture I was 42% towards my goal in 35% of the expected time. Since this pic was taken, in Dec, I hit a plateau and messed up the chart ha ha… 60% of the weight lost but 70% of the time used. Damn, I got to break this plateau. Anyway, I really love this app.
MapMyWalk is a handy GPS enabled tracking app. It keeps track of all your workouts so you can review them. While walking/running it draws a map, keeps your pace, and tracks distance. When you save your workout you can share it to various social media outlets, like Facebook. It is part of the UnderArmor family of apps and I think it will sync with their calorie/exercise tracker…that I cannot remember the name of… FitnessPal? Maybe. Anyway, it is a good walking app.
Tabata Timer is a good app for timing workouts. It comes with a few preset timers and on the free version you can save 2 of your own. That is all I need so I doubt I will pay for this one. It is handy, but it is just a timer. It has some nice settings though. You set your initial countdown, warmup, the exercise period, rest, number of sets, recovery, number of cycles, and a cooldown. It also has some music playing options that I have never looked at. I am old and prefer to use my iPod instead of my phone for music. I have music playing all the time and don’t want to drain my phone battery. I just prefer a dedicated music player. I mainly use Tabata Timer for my kettlebell swings. My weight lifting is not on a timer.
Since I wrote this originally I have changed up some of the apps I use. I am keeping this as is just to keep an accurate record of my travels. I will make a new post later showing my new apps. There are some good ones!