Mobile fitness apps have changed the way people create, record and reach fitness goals, thanks to mobile phones and mobile devices that put a powerful computer right in your pocket. Here's a look at five of the best mobile fitness apps.
Photo by Lululemon Athletica.
Immediacy and consistency are keys to reaching fitness goals. If your gym is right next to your work, you're more likely to go. If it's easy to record the weight you just lifted or the miles you just ran, you're more likely to track your progress and be motivated by it. The following applications, designed for various mobile platforms, offer a range of tools for tracking and measuring your fitness goals.
CardioTrainer (Android, Basic: Free, Premium: $US2.99)
CardioTrainer is a well-rounded Android application focused on running and other cardio activities. It tracks your runs via GPS, counts the steps you've taken and supports workout recording for everything from distance ran to yoga classes at your local gym. CardioTrainer's features focus on helping you while you're actually in motion, including pausing your workout routine when you get stuck at stop lights, integrated music playback and voice notifications to update you on how far you've run, how long you've been running, calories burned and more. The free version of CardioTrainer includes nearly all the functionality of the premium app, which adds in a weight loss training module and the ability to race against yourself to beat your best times.
RunKeeper (Android/iOS, Free)
RunKeeper was one of the early running applications available for the iPhone and has since expanded to include Android phones. RunKeeper combines GPS tracking, map integration, music management and more into a polished application. All of your RunKeeper activities, including those you enter in manually, are aggregated on the phone and your RunKeeper dashboard — accessible through the main RunKeeper website. You can keep your stats to yourself for personal review, or you can share them easily thanks to integration with Twitter and Facebook.
iFitness (iOS, $US1.99)
If you're more interested in tracking weight lifting and stationary fitness routines than running and cardio activity, iFitness has you covered. iFitness has a catalogue of over 300 exercises ranging from those requiring cable machines and free weights to exercises you can do without any equipment. You can easily mix together exercises to create custom routines. If you need help setting up a weight-lifting regimen, iFitness includes 20 routines designed by fitness experts. Should you ever need a refresher on proper form, each exercise catalogued in iFitness has clear pictures and videos to show you how to do the exercise safely and effectively. When you're done working out, you can save the routine and record your progress; all progress is saved locally and on the iFitness servers to keep your workout records accessible.
Endomondo (Android/Blackberry/iOS/Misc, Free)
It would be more accurate to call Endomondo a fitness social network than simply a fitness application. Endomodo, the application, is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, LG, Eten and Garmin devices. You'd be hard pressed to find a portable device or phone with GPS capabilities that they aren't working on bringing into the Endomondo network. With Endomodo installed on your mobile device, you can track where you run, how long you run, check your personal best times and share them with friends. From the Endomondo site, you can view exercise summaries, issue invites and challenges to get your friends involved in your fitness push and participate in site-wide challenges. Endomondo is a cross-platform running app with a huge network of fellow runners built right in.
SportyPal (Android/Blackberry/iOS/Misc, Free)
Endomondo isn't the only fitness app with a wide reach across platforms, SportyPal is available for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Mobile, as well as Java and Symbian-based phones. Fire up SportyPal when you're in motion whether you're running or roller blading, and it measures your distance, speed, calories burned and more. Later you can sync your data up to your web-based profile and see all the stats gathered from your exercise routine charted out. If you're an outdoor sports enthusiast and you cover a lot of ground hiking or mountain biking SportPal can even display your route on a topographical map for a 3D-style representation of your exercise adventures.
An honourable mention goes out this week to MyFitnessPal, a contender that just missed inclusion in the top five. Have a favourite app that didn't get a nod? Let's hear about it in the comments.