August 7, 2014 | by Gerard Burley
Only an app away
smartphone fitness apps, gay news, Washington Blade

Your smartphone is a great device to help you stay in shape. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

I don’t know about you, but it feels to me like the summer is flying by. Fortunately we still have a few beach weekends left so if you haven’t had the chance, get out there and enjoy the weather while you can.

With the summer waning, I find that many times this becomes a time when motivation to keep toward your health and fitness goals can easily falter. Luckily we live in 2014 and there is motivation in something we keep with us 24/7 — our phones. Today I want to give you a few of the hottest apps out there to keep your body on track and away from the fat relapse.

Argus — Though the name reminds me of one of the soldiers from the “300” movie, this app is here to help you fight against falling off the wagon. Argus is the all-in-one calorie counter, workout tracker, pedometer and everything elser that you get with the popular Fitbit or Nike fuel band, but it’s all on your phone. And it’s free. The one down fall is that this app drains the hell out of your battery, so if Grindr is your priority, this may not be the app for you.

Digifit Icardio — If you’re driven by numbers and cardio is your game, then you’ll love this app. If you tend to not work as hard as you should in the gym, then you especially need this app. Icardio is another free app that connects to your current heart rate monitor to display on your screen exactly how hard you’re working. It also tracks distance traveled and the time of your workout. Remember during exercise, monitoring the change of your heart rate is a better method of testing exertion than believing whatever the calories on the treadmill say. I’ve tried it and this app will make you go harder, longer.

Fitbit — This is an app that connects with the small Fitbit device which tracks your calories, steps, distance travelled and flights of stairs you’ve walked. Some versions even vibrate if you have been inactive too long, reminding you to get up off that rear end and move. Though I wasn’t a fan of the first version, which seamlessly clipped on to your clothes, I do like the new bracelet option they have now. It’s comfortable and doesn’t fall off during workout like my old clip on did. One another upside is that Fitbit’s app has a free version, but it goes up to $50 a year for the premium series with all the bells and whistles.

Myfitnesspal — This is still my favorite when it comes to calorie counter apps. I love that it also has the desktop version, so there’s no excuse for you not to log everything. The library of food is also so robust that I always find the foods I eat on it. If for some reason you cannot, you can put your own meal in and the app will save it. To make it even better, Myfitnesspal has recently linked up with Fitbit so your activity stats can automatically upload to your calorie log. In other words, when you run with your Fitbit your Myfitnesspal account automatically know you earned extra calories and deserve that extra cookie.

Fooducate — I saved the best for last. When it comes to meeting and achieving any fitness goal it really comes down to nutrition and this app may be your life saver.  Fooducate is an app that helps you to make better decisions before you buy foods in the grocery store. That’s right, this app won’t even let you bring the bad stuff into your house.  It turns the camera in your phone into a barcode scanner and allows you to scan any food with a barcode to see its Fooducate health rating.

Foods are rated on a schoolhouse scale from “A” to “F” with “A” meaning, “Eat as much of me as you want,” and “F” saying, “Don’t even think about it.” The best part is that the app will also tell you where the food ranks compared to other foods of its type and even give you healthier suggestions of similar foods. As much as I love looking at the back of nutrition labels, this sure saves time and worry. I was glad to find out I was eating the healthiest brand of ice cream out there.

When it comes to staying motivated to your health and fitness we don’t have to look farther than our phone for help. Many of the apps out today can help you to become more active and eat healthier. Remember in the game of healthy living, it’s a marathon not a sprint so any tricks you can use to keep on track are great to have in your back pocket.

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