Kale, coconut, seaweed… low carb, high fat, gluten-free… spinning, yoga, HIIT… it seems like everyone is obsessed with dieting and fitness right now, and (as you may have noticed) we’re no exception. So, what are the apps that will help us get up and go this year? We did a road test of a few of the main ones, kicking our bums into gear.
MY FITNESS PAL
Available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone. Also accessible via desktop.
MyFitnessPal is a genius little app that works essentially as a digital food diary. Input what you eat and the app will calculate for you daily how many calories you’ve eaten, even breaking it down into nutritional info. It works best when you can find exactly what you’ve eaten in their database, removing any guesswork with the brutal truth about what you’re putting in your body!
It also has a nifty ‘Scan Barcode’ option to make life one step easier when you’re feeling the shame and all you have left are the empty KitKat Chunky wrappers.
If you’re working on weight-loss, you can pop all your details in and the app will give you daily nutritional goals. And if you’re doing anything more involved such as Keto or Paleo, you can program in your own macros (percentages of protein/carbs/fats) so that it can give you daily goals for these too!
Finally, you can input exercise which the app will take into account – although we find it a little generous in how many calories it thinks you’ve burned off, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this. Somehow we struggle to believe that 40 mins of YouTube-d Zumba in front of Mum’s telly really did burn off 500-odd calories!
MyFitnessPal is a great way to keep an eye on what you’re eating, whether you’re a hardcore nutrition geek or whether you just want an easy, honest track of how much you chow down.
Available on iPhone
Drinking enough water everyday seems simple enough – however, when it comes down to it, it’s actually pretty challenging. We can think of a hundred other things we’d rather be doing than drinking yet another glass of H2-Oh-no.
But the fact of life is that we’re mostly made up of water, so it makes sense to keep drinking the good stuff. Getting enough water is fantastic for your skin, muscles, digestive system and brain.
Our main problem is just forgetting to drink throughout the day. And that’s where this app comes in – with a built-in alarm, it’s great at reminding you. You can also log how much you drink throughout the day. It’s a tiny step really but one that’s definitely worth making!
FIT MEN COOK
Available on iPhone
We know what you’re thinking but sadly this is not a sexy calendar – it’s just a fitness app. And Fit Men Cook – contrary to the name – is not just for men! This paid-for app (£2.29) is packed full of recipes, perfect for anyone that just wants to change to a healthier diet.
The recipes are put together by Personal Trainer Kevin Curry (good name), and are promised to be delicious, varied, healthy, straightforward and affordable. No hours of slaving away in the kitchen, no budget-breaking ingredients – just good food.
The app puts everything you need onto one big shopping list and can even scale up recipes for more people or more portions – it calculates everything for you. It has step-by-step guides and videos, so even the most kitchen-fearing wannabe-chefs should have no problem. Not only does it dish out healthy recipes, but they are also very tasty. Personally we recommend the Naan pizzas! YES PIZZAS!
After a couple of weeks of using it, we weren’t disappointed and will probably continue to use it pretty regularly.
Available on iPhone & Android
Pacer is pretty much what it sounds like – it measures your paces based on how much your phone has moved. It’s a pedometer, but in your phone.
The offering is fairly straightforward – with a clear and easy-to-understand interface, Pacer tells you daily how many steps you’ve taken, your ‘Active Time’ and distance covered.
It also helpfully points out whether you’ve been ‘Sedentary’, ‘Lightly Active’, ‘Moderately Active’ or ‘Very Active’, and has a little dial which fills up as you get closer to your daily step goal. It would be nice if you could personalise these little markers so that they read something along the lines of, ‘You are SO lazy’, ‘I see you walked to the corner shop’, ‘You’re on fire!’ and ‘WOAH how did this even happen?!’ – but we’ll take the set ones for now.
Pacer has some great reporting features, putting everything into handy little charts, and also has the ability to track more than just your steps if that’s what you’re looking for. You can input your weight, BMI and even your blood pressure and then watch the numbers go down (or up).
It also jumps on the ‘Couch-to-5k’ bandwagon and has Goals and Guided Plans such as ‘Walk Off Fat Quickly’ and ‘From Walking to Jogging’.
Finally, Pacer can sync with your MyFitnessPal account so that MyFitnessPal takes into account calories burned through walking (although again, these seem a little on the generous side). This is very convenient though, especially if you are getting a lot of your exercise through walking!
Pacer is a great basic fitness app with loads of added extras if you want to play with them. It’s nice to remember that fitness doesn’t always have to be about running marathons or becoming a Crossfit devotee!