Need someone to guide and inspire your fitness routine but can’t afford a personal trainer? Look no further than your smartphone. Whether you’re starting your journey towards a fit lifestyle or looking for some motivation as you take your fitness goals to the next level, we picked 5 diverse diet and exercise tracking apps that will be your partner in crime as you shed pounds — and they won’t cost you a penny!
MapMyRun is a great tool for both beginner and experienced runners. Key features include pre-routed runs, real time GPS, voice performance updates, progress tracking, and social media sharing.
You can use the GPS to route and save your own runs or choose from a shared run in the app’s database. Upload your runs to Facebook and Twitter to share your progress with friends. Adding a social element is a fantastic way to stay on track with your workouts – and maybe even add an element of competition! The voice updates let you know your distance and pace to help you better monitor your run and can be a huge motivator. You can also run this application in your phone’s background to simultaneously listen to music. MapMyRun will also save your past workouts to compare with future workouts as a helpful way to track your overall progress. Available for Android, iOS, and Blackberry.
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Using Charity Miles is a great way to get fit, involved, and motivated. The app is funded by corporate partners and donates money toward the charity of your choice based on your mileage; 10 cents for each mile biking and 25 cents for each mile walking or running.
This app also offers daily activity tracking. It tracks your total miles, including walking the dog and commuting to work. Counting your steps throughout the day can encourage you to move more. And knowing that your fitness is benefiting a larger good is a great way to stay committed. Available for Android and iOS.
Nike Training Club
Nike Training Club is specifically for women and empowers you with full strength training instruction and support. You can choose individual workouts, a 30-day plan, or a 4-week customized fitness program. The month-long program is a key feature because it puts you on a detailed program toward your goals.
The app allows you to choose from a variety of exercises to customize a workout. Because you can pick 15, 30, or 45-minute workouts, it’s easy to fit exercise into your busy schedule. Workouts are designed by well-known celebrity trainers and athletes with video demonstrations so you can see how to execute the moves properly. Share your workouts and progress on Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and stay motivated. The app saves your workouts and maps your progress so you can celebrate your results as you hit training milestones. Available for Android and iOS.
Gym Pact is a community-based app that helps you stay committed through money wagers. It allows you to set action specific goals, accept accountability, and offers social support.
At the beginning of each week you set goals for yourself focusing on workouts, food tracking or vegetable servings. Then you choose the goals and your wager. While the app is free to download, if you miss a workout or don’t meet a nutritional goal your credit card or Paypal account is charged that wager. Complete your goals for that week and get a cash reward that comes from the wagers of other Pact members who didn’t meet their goals.
The app works in conjunction with MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Fitbit, Jawbone and other partner apps to record your workouts. For example, you can use MyFitnessPal to track your food and commit to logging your intake for a certain number of days. For the vegetable count, Gym Pact requires you to submit photos so other community members can vote to confirm that you actually ate them! You also get points for checking into your gym or a class, but workouts must be at least 30 minutes. Gym Pact boasts a 92% success rate, so it’s definitely worth checking out. Available for Android and iOS.
MyFitnessPal allows you to keep a daily food log to better manage your nutrition. The app’s database has the caloric content and nutritional information for over three million foods, so when you enter items into the app it will record it for you and save the report to help you track your meals. You can also scan bar codes on food items for easy entry.
The app lets you enter and save your favorite healthy recipes, and you can track your customized workouts. There are 350 exercises in the system and you can enter your own as well. You can add friends to gain support and excel together and/or upload your data to Facebook and Twitter if you choose to join a larger community. This app offers a great way to get an accurate reading on your exercise and nutrition to help you stay committed. Use the saved data to see your progress and feel good about moving toward your goals. Available for Android and iOS.
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Jennifer Lutz is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. She’s a regular contributor to KnowMore.tv, writing fitness-related posts geared toward helping women live healthier, happier lives. She also writes a monthly column that focuses on a different piece of fitness equipment and shows you how to safely do 3 to 5 moves that will get you the results you want. She trains private clients around New York City and at Equinox Fitness and has recently returned to school to get her doctorate in physical therapy from Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter at @JLutzFitness.