Five fitness apps to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions
It's January, it's cold and the Christmas excess has taken hold. Time to hit the gym with these five apps that will help you achieve your goal
The most common of our New Year's resolutions is always to exercise more, drink less, eat better and get in the type of shape that would have us taking our shirts off in the depth of winter just to show off our rippling six packs. Does that ever happen? Well maybe, but it can be a hard slog if you're doing it on your own.
Thanks to smartphones though, there's now almost definitely an app for whatever you need, whether you're looking to start running, lift weights or just eat more healthily.
Endomondo Sports Tracker
A great way to start your fitness kick is to get out and about doing a bit of jogging. It's great for clearing the head, you work up a sweat and you can spend the time totally switched off and thinking about something other than work or college. Endomondo is a great way to stay on top of your training and make sure that you have some way to chart your progress, from the distance you're covering to how long it takes you to cover the ground.
You can also track a whole host of other activities including cycling and walking, and there's a social element to share how far you've run with your friends, as well as setting each other challenges, which is a great way to stay motivated. The app is free and works well on that version, and there are plenty of upgrades that will make it even better, like the interval training upgrade.
A lot of the time, the problem can be motivation to get yourself up and to the gym, even if you have already paid your membership. Formerly known as 'Gympact', this app helps you to have that drive to get up and go by hitting you where it hurts - in your pocket. You set yourself some goals, and an amount of real cold hard cash that you're willing to lose if you don't meet them this week.
If you succeed you get rewarded by getting some money (paid for by those who didn't reach their goals in the community), and the drive to not lose your own money should push you on to keep going. Once again, this great app is free, and if you do what you plan to, you'll even make a bit of dosh. Sorted.
Joined a gym but not sure what to do? From hundreds of ideas for new exercises to proper programs, workout trainer has enough material to have you working out and getting in the best shape of your life.
While the app itself is free, you'll have to fork over some cash for extra workouts (that's how they make their money) but it's definitely worth it. One of the key factors to success in the gym is making sure that you constantly change your routine to keep your body guessing, and whether you use equipment or not, this app has so many different ideas that you should be able to mix and match a great routine that really works for you.
Healthy Recipes by Spark Recipes
No matter how hard you work in the gym, the majority of the change that you make this year will need to be in the kitchen if you want to make sure that you meet your goals. This app allows users to upload their own healthy recipes, and not only is it great for a few ideas but you can search by certain requirements like vegan, gluten-free, and low carb diets.
While counting calories has some benefits, our pal Mike Dolce always likes to say that you should make calories count instead, and eating cleaner, healthier foods in tasty recipes is the best way to make sure you don't fall off the wagon. The recipes in here can help you do that, no matter what you're looking to do.
Fitocracy Workout Fitness Log
This app claims to make exercise fun, and while that's quite a lofty claim, it will give you some motivation thanks to the fact that you can track your workouts, earn points, unlock achievements, and do all sorts of other stuff that makes it almost like a gaming community.
You get a news feed to keep up with what your mates who use it are up to, and there are some great groups on there sharing tips and giving some good workout ideas, which can make exercise way more enjoyable. Going to the gym on your own is hard work, it can be a long slog, and it makes it more difficult. If you have a few mates, even online, who you know are there with ideas and words of encouragements is a big help.
Notable mentions that haven't made the list are The Mike Dolce Show app, which has episodes of the podcast from UFC trainer extraordinaire, which will make sure you stay motivated to eat right, which is more than half the battle. While we're on the subject, we can't say enough good things about his recipe books, which are worth the few quid that the eBook costs on Amazon.
Instagram is also surprisingly great, as is Twitter, where you can follow people who tag their healthy foods and share their recipes like Ellis Prevett, Protein Powder or simply by following a hashtag like #proteinpowder for some great recipe ideas.
Finally, some type of audio or music app will work wonders for your motivation. 8tracks has some good workout playlists, or signing up to a service like Deezer will allow you to put together your own favourite tracks for a list, as well as give you that extra boost when you're really flagging. Nothing will get you through one final rep like 'Gonna Fly Now' from the Rocky soundtrack.