One step towards improving your health and well being is taking control over it and making sure you keep an eye on your performance, exercise, and diet. One of the best ways to do that is to sign up for a site or service to help you track your progress to your health goals. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites to help.
Photo by Hector Alejandro.
Fitocracy is a new service, currently in beta, that turns fitness tracking and management into a social game, complete with motivation from others, achievements to unlock, and points to earn to help you "level" as you get in shape. The service boasts an easy to use interface and a wealth of health tracking tools to make sure that you stay on track and stick to your plan once you've reached your goals.
Fitocracy and its fans weighed in heavily to make it into the top five, and while we normally wouldn't highlight a service in invite-only service, Fitocacy has provided 3000 invites to Lifehacker fans who want to try and service themselves. Just use invite code LIFEHACKER to sign up, or follow this link to give it a try.
MyFitnessPal is a large community of people eager to help one another with their diet, fitness and overall health goals. It's built on top of a series of tools to help users easily track their diets, log their meals and exercise routines, track their overall progress, and share their experiences, troubles, and challenges with the community. The service has a massive database of foods and workouts to make it easy to accurately log your meals and exercise, and users around the world to help you stay motivated and active. It even has mobile apps to help you stay motivated and keep your logs up to date on the go from your iPhone, Android device, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone.
Runkeeper puts a social spin on keeping track of your exercise and running habits. The webapp, combined with its Android and iOS apps, can help you monitor your run while you're out, review your speed and distance progress over time, and help you tailor your workouts for the most impact. While Runkeeper doesn't have a diet or food tracking portion, and it doesn't boast a built-in community, it does help runners and avid exercisers keep track of their activities, share them with either own friends on Twitter and Facebook, and lets you look back over your past performance. The last time we looked at your favourite exercise tools, Runkeeper came out on top.
SparkPeople is actually a network of sites, each targeted at helping you leave a healthier life. The Sparkpeople.com keystone site would be your first stop towards getting involved with a community of people who can help you get active and tools to help you build a diet and exercise program that fits your needs. The site hosts calorie counters and whole meal plans you can customise, fitness programs you can tweak to make your own, and a built-in system that rewards you for sticking to your guns. Of course, the site also gives you reports and tools you can use to monitor your overall progress. From there, you can explore the rest of the SparkPeople network, including a recipe site, a motivational site, even other sites that help you with parenting, personal finance, and more. SparkPeople also has iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps to use when you're away from your computer.
DailyBurn is a webapp and iPhone app that both offer meal tracking, exercise tracking, calorie counting, nutrition tracking and workout plans that can all be customised to fit your needs. The webapp gives you the ability to monitor your progress and track our performance, and the iPhone app (and its companion apps) let you update your account while on the go, scan food and snap photos of your meals to have them virtually dissected and added to your diet log, and keep an eye on your workout schedule. The service also has a social component and a community of other users who all help motivate one another, either by offering advice and tips or competing with one another on fitness challenges and leaderboards.
This Hive collected over 40 nominations, so clearly not every contender could make the top five. Did your favourite miss the cut? Want to explain why you think it's better than the top five? Have something to say about one of the ones above? Have your say in the comments below.