“Maybe just one more slice of turkey. Oh, and I have to try the honey glazed ham! I can’t forget about the homemade cheesecake that I only have twice a year.”
Now fast forward to stepping on the scale on December 30.
“Oh boy, what did I do?”
Naturally, you make a New Year’s resolution to get fit and stay in shape. If your experience with these resolutions is anything like mine, it lasts about a week.
If you’re working to stay fit though, you can break the cycle of pointless goal setting with some good old-fashioned motivation (and a little help from some 21st century technology). Here are some of our favorite options for the new year.
These two apps are similar concepts in that they count calories. You can probably find anything you’ll ever eat within the built-in databases, which include branded items. There’s also a barcode scanner in both apps.
MyFitnessPal asks about your goal, and takes your level of activity into account when making calorie recommendations. I put in that I want to maintain my weight and that I don’t exercise at all and it told me I should eat 1700 calories a day. The number for Lose It was over 1900, but it didn’t ask about my activity level.
You can pay for the premium version of Lose It and get tips if you’re looking to bulk up or cut carbs. On the other hand, MyFitnessPal ties into all sorts of other devices you might have to track exercise and other physical measurements.
Both apps are free, but they in-app purchases are available.
Now it’s time to put in the work. If you’d like to track your runs or get workout routines, which apps should you choose?
(Before we go any further, I want to say that many of these are free, but include in-app purchases.)
If you’re into running, hiking or cycling, you might want to check out the MapMyFitness series of apps. These integrate with MyFitnessPal and keep track of your routes, speed and calories burned.
For workouts, you might give Fitocracy a shot. You can pick a routine or create your own. The app game-ifies things a bit; you get points for completing workouts, and you can level up as you progress. There’s also the option to hire a coach at a dollar a day.
Another entrant in this category is FitStar. The draw here is that the app features celebrity trainers like former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. The workouts require no equipment, and they’re optimized for small spaces. The company also makes a yoga app.
Another option is PopSugar Active, which allows you to download videos and customize routines based on how much time you have.
There’s no shortage of fitness smart bands or watches available on the market now, and there’s no right or wrong answer as to which one you should get. However, we’ll give you a couple of ideas to get you started.
The Fitbit line of products has been around the longest. These track your workouts and sleep habits, and can act as a watch and caller ID. They sync wirelessly to an app on your smartphone.
There are plenty of smartwatches available that have many fitness-tracking capabilities. Unfortunately, many of them are set up to work exclusively with certain phones. If you own a recent model in Samsung’s Galaxy S line, you can get the Gear Fit. The device includes an optical heart rate monitor that helps determine how difficult your workout is, and gives direction on that basis. It also integrates with Samsung’s S Health platform and adapts over time to your fitness level.
If you have an Android phone that’s not from Samsung, you may want to check out an Android Wear watch. There are currently six watches available. Features vary, but they all have some level of fitness tracking capability.
If you own an iPhone, the best bet might be the Apple Watch. Out early next year and available in a couple of different price points, this piece of technology integrates with Apple’s Health app. The watch will also include a heart rate sensor.
If you’re looking for something with cross-platform functionality, check out the Pebble Watch. Compatible with both iOS and Android, the watch’s fitness capabilities were recently expanded through partnerships with Misfit, Jawbone and Swim.com.
Another device that might be helpful is a pair of wireless earbuds. It’s easier to work out if you don’t have to worry about the cord connected to your device.
Do you use any apps or devices that we missed? Share them with us in the comments.
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