5 Ways to Use Your Smartphone to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy Benjamin J. Roethig February 12, 2013 News 4 Comments 0 Shares Google+ 0 Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 0 Reddit 0 Pin It Share 0 Buffer 0 0 Shares × For those who know me, I’m not a small guy. I never will be, its genetics. That being said, I am also not at my ideal weight. If you’re like me, who could gain from losing a few, or even if you’re like Cali, who seemingly never gains a pound, you could use a little helping reaching your goals. Now we’re going to take a look a couple of apps that can do just that. A Few Tips Before You Begin Okay, I lied. We’re not going directly to apps. There are a few tips you need to know first. 1) Be Committed. You’re not going to lose a pound if your heart isn’t in it. Pun somewhat intended. You need to get yourself a regimen of diet and exercise and diet and stick to it. Sitting on your butt and/or having your meals at the drive thru isn’t going to help you one bit 2) Focus on your immediate goals. This can be true for anything, not just health and fitness The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is right on. If you try to run a marathon or cut your calorie intake in half, you’ll end up hurt, hungry, and frustrated. If you do it in increments, you’ll get a little bit better every day. it’ll add up to something substantial fast. That being said, this is not an excuse for laziness. Give it everything you have, just not more than you’re capable. 3) Make a habit, not a diet. Diets do not work plain and simple. If you don’t like what you’re eating/drinking, you’ll relapse. I’ve made a concerted effort to switch from high fat/ high sugar items to low fat sugar free. I eat a lot more white poultry and a lot of Splenda-sweetened items in lieu of red meat and sugary stuff. You know what, it tastes pretty good and it’s a whole lot healthier. If you’re satisfied, you’ll stick to it. Oh, and pop/soda/coke whatever its called where you live, get rid of it. It robs your system of oxygen and seeing that this acidic enough to dissolve a nail, God knows what else. 4) Get the tools you need. A reliable scale, a good pair of running shoes, hand weights, a fitness ball, and some good workout clothes are things you want to invest in. For food, glass measuring cups are also something you want. You need to know exactly how much you’re putting in your body if you’re on a calorie count. 5) A good workout playlist helps. If you’re into the music, you focus less on the time and how tired you are. 6) As an ex-NFL and track star told me during a seminar I attended, do your workouts first thing in the morning. Your body uses its fat and sugar to repair itself while you’re sleeping. Comes to reason, you’d be in best position to do some damage to those fat cells. Plus, it has the added bonus of only having to take one shower. Social Media You might have noticed I neglected to mention a support system. That’s because it deserves its own section. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or whatever your social network of choice is can be powerful allies. When John P. did his Health Challenge, he used the #healthchallenge hashtag on Twitter. Its a much easier task when other people have your back. In fact, if you have exercise buddies, it can become a game where you drive each other. The more competitive you are, the more everyone wins. Since most of the apps I’m about to show you have social media tie-ins (to Facebook and Twitter, at the time of this article G+ integration is rare), it’s a very easy tool to use. MyFitnessPal This essential app is available for free in the App Store and on Google Play. Officially it’s a calorie counter, but it will also help you track your water consumption and exercise. Think of it as a personal assistant for your health. When it comes down to tracking your calories, you have multiple options. You can either enter in all the info for a food or you can enter the calorie info only. To make easy for you, there’s also an integrated barcode scanner using your device’s camera. It’ll even save recipes. It also saves all nutritional information, not just the calorie count. Of all the similar apps, this is by far the best one I’ve tried. If there is a downside, the social connection is to Facebook only. Hundred PushUps This app is $.99 in iOS and $1.12 for Android. Geek Beat’s Japanese BFF Yukari Peerless introduced me to this app and I’m glad she did. As the name implies, its a limited scope app, but it does it very well. The premise is simple, every other day you do five sets of push-ups of differing amounts. Your exact workout is determined by an entry workout. I started on level 3. The pace from moves up pretty quickly as I’ve doubled to 81 in just two weeks. It’ll give you a full graph of your progress. You have between a minute and two minutes of rest between sets and you can request more time or just go on to the next set if you like. Social Media Tie-ins include Facebook and Twitter. If there’s a downside, the in-app audio controls suck. They’re very basic and have no option for a random playlist. If you like this app, they also make Two Hundred Situps and Two Hundred Squats along with some other apps. Same deal, same price. You can find them by looking up other works by the developer in your store of choice. Nike+ Running/RunKeeper This is a two for one deal, because I honestly can’t decide which one I like better. Both apps are very similar in functionality. They track you using the GPS on your smartphone. From there, they track your location, speed, and elevation. You have post activity access to your runs and splits. They even track calorie burns, though I have no idea how accurate the information is. The music controls is very good on both. Where they do differ? Runkeeper has some goal setting functionality, but I think the route tracking in Nike+ is better since it color codes you splits on the map. You’ll know where you were fastest and where you started to slow down. The downside to both, like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, they’ll only track if you move. Any in house activity or stationary bike action, it won’t pick up. All this information is also available online. Runkeeper is free on iOS and Android. There is also added functionality in the form of Runkeeper Elite for $4.99/mo or $19.99/yr. Nike+ Running is completely free with no premiums upgrades. iOS | Android All Trails Our next app is semi-related to the last pair. If you watch Cali’s other show My Mobile Life, you’ll know this app. She’s an avid hiker and swears by this app. The premise is simple, its a database app for trails, biking and hiking alike. It includes reviews, topographical info, and the the ability to share all your exploits with your friends. There can be a big downside though. In my experience, the database isn’t complete as it needs to be. The IA-WI-IL tri-state area is riddled with trails and most of them are missing. The huge state park that’s listed doesn’t have the complete list of trails marked in this app. If you use it (like Cali did on her Arkansas trip) to find a trail in an area you’re unfamiliar with, this is a very useful app. That being said, if you’re in an area for a while, also check the location visitor’s bureau for gems that might not be listed. The app is free for both iOS and Android. For those of you who like that dastardly white stuff during the winter months, they also have a similar app called All Snow to help you find the slopes. Closing I hope these apps are useful to some, if not most, of our readers. If you find something you like better or should be added to the list, let us know below in the comments section. Everyone be safe, be healthy, and most of all have some fun while you’re doing it. 0 Shares Google+ 0 Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 0 Reddit 0 Pin It Share 0 Buffer 0 0 Shares × 4 Responses John February 12, 2013 Give Endomondo a try. http://www.endomondo.com Found it useful for tracking my runs and other activities together, in a place I can stat it all out… Benjamin J. Roethig February 12, 2013 I had noticed that one right after submitting my article and I will try it out. To be honest, the freemiums in the free version and the seemingly constant ads for the $4.99 pro version have me a little a little bit Tom G February 12, 2013 Good roundup. Just one correction, Nike+ running absolutely works indoors on a treadmill (at least on iphone). I use it every day and it’s amazingly accurate. It uses the motion of the phone, you need to just keep it on you (in a pocket, in your hand, arm band, etc).