There are so many great fitness apps and gadgets out there. Here are my favorites.
My Fitness Pal — Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, MyFitnessPal is one of the best apps you can download when it comes counting calories. It’s never been easier to log your food and calorie intake because of the variety of really great features on this app. I like this app because you can log most of your meals and snacks within seconds.
MyFitnessPal’s food database is so extensive that you can enter almost type of food or ingredient and it will come up, providing you with the calorie count and nutritional information. Had a cheat day and decided to get the burrito bowl with sour cream and cheese? Don’t worry. It’s on the list. You can even scan the barcode on your food labels to see if they come up on the list. It works 90 percent of the time. So what about the other 10 percent of the time when you make something from scratch? No worries. You can input your recipe into the app and it will estimate its nutritional value. Once you start using the app consistently, it gets to know your eating habits and saves a list of your favorite food items, making it even easier to use. The app is free for iOS and Android devices and syncs to other apps like MapMyRun and FitBit.
Yoga Studio — One of the main reasons I love the Yoga Studio app so much is because it offers a little something for everyone. Are you new to yoga and not sure what tree pose or triangle pose is? No worries. This app does a great job at providing easy step-by-step videos to follow. Perhaps you are more advanced and looking to add variation to your birds of paradise, this app has a yoga workout designed just for you.
Another great feature of this app is that allows you to customize and create your own yoga class by picking your favorite poses and putting them together. While the app costs $3.99, it’s well worth it because you can download all the high-def videos to your device and don’t have to take up much of your phone’s memory. I also like the fact that you don’t have to change your schedule or rush to the gym to get to a yoga class; you can do these yoga workouts at home.
Fooducate — For me, there’s nothing like instantaneously getting a letter grade for eating healthy food and that’s exactly what Fooducate app does. Fooducate scans your food and grades it on a scale for A to D, even adding plus or minus. Let me tell you how surprised I was when I learned my Sabra hummus and Garden of Eden chips both earned at C-. I was not a happy camper. What I was happy about was that the app immediately provided a list of healthier hummus brands.
So what’s the secret behind this successful and simple app? It works because it grades your food on two simple criteria: One, how minimally processed the food is and two, how nutrient dense it is. The app also highlights key facts about your item and tells you the health benefits or risks of consuming it. The app is free on both iOS and Android devices.
Fitbit — While I find that Fitbit has similar to features to My Fitness Pal, I like it for several distinct reasons. First, it tracks all of your activities in real time. I don’t have to take the time enter or input my exercises or activities in the device like I do with the MyFitnessPal app. Fitbit records all my steps, calories burned, minutes active and distance traveled. While I don’t think entering your meals is the easiest thing to do on the Fitbit, I do like the sleep-tracking feature that allows you to see how well you are sleeping at night and if you are getting enough required sleep. I also like the fact that the Fitbit is a small wristband that looks like a fashion accessory and that you can switch out the bands to match whatever you’re wearing. The Fitbit, depending on the model, can range anywhere from $79-250.
Follow Bucky Mitchell on Instagram or Twitter @bucky_mitchell or Facebook (Fitness, Food and Fun) or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org for fitness or cooking consultations. His Couples Cooking classes continue at CulinAerie (1131 14th St., N.W.) with sessions planned for Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 3, Oct. 16, Nov. 7 and Dec. 4. Details at culinaerie.com.