Chip Chick's Guide to Getting in Shape with Gadgets and Apps
Ah yes Summer, its that time of year for short shorts and bathing suits. Even though next week will already be August, sometimes it takes till now to realize that last years jean shorts are only accentuating your newly acquired muffin top and thunder thighs. It’s not too late to get the Summer body you’ve always wanted, and why not let technology give you a hand to get there? With all of these apps and workout companions, you can exercise like a pro and achieve the summer bod you’ve always wanted, perhaps just in time for Fall.
For me, getting fit means adjusting three things: my diet, my workout schedule, and my stress level. Obviously, I’m not a doctor or personal trainer, so make sure that you find a plan that works for you. For me, dieting is not easy in the summer when there’s a frozen margarita or ball park frank around every corner! How can you have fun this summer while staying fit? It’s all about balance and accountability. My secret weapon: calorie counting. With a variety of iPhone and Android apps to help me keep track, I can monitor my summer calories and activity and even indulge in the amazing fatty foods of summer without feeling like I completely threw my diet away.
Lose It! is an iPhone app that lets you create a daily calorie budget and record all food and exercise intake complete with graphs to track progress. What I really like about this app is that it’s completely customizable based on your diet goals. The app features graphs that show you how much of your daily calorie budget you’ve inhaled so you don’t overdo your calorie count in one day. This is perfect for me because I tend to indulge in a particular meal (see aforementioned margaritas and hot dogs) so I can see that I used up “x” amount of my calorie budget for that particular day. A similar iPhone app is the FitReach:Training and Diet Planner, an app that lets you view your goals and manage your daily eating habits as well as exercise. Particularly for Android, there’s Calorie Counter, an app designed to help you meet your diet goals; whether you want to lose weight or maintain your current body-type. The coolest thing about this app is that you not only have the option to search for certain food items, but you can also scan a food package’s bar code to get an instant read of the calories and serving size of whatever is in front of you! All of these apps are handy tools for managing your diet and exercise because having a journal is a motivational tool as well as a way to note fluctuations or losses.
For me, staying on track with my diet is always a problem (mostly because I love to eat!), which is why I turn to exercise to maintain my current body frame and even tighten up that derrière. Aside from just tracking your physical activity as part of your calorie counting using the iPhone and Android apps, there are other techy tools to help you succeed. For me, the best way to shape fast is by getting moving. For this I love my Nike +, a running shoe sensor that syncs with my iPod to track my speed, time, distance, and calories burned. I can even share my best run times on Facebook or Twitter, which you all know I’m a big fan of. Like the Nike+, the Philips Activa Portable Fitness Device is an all-in-one music player and fitness tracker, that both monitors exercise and prompts you throughout your workout with personal trainer-like statements including “pick it up!” and “that’s all you’ve got?” If that’s not motivation to work harder, I don’t know what is… The other thing I really like about the Philips Activa Portable Fitness Device is that you can track calories from a multiple activities, like rowing, running, or cycling. Another exercise tracker that I consider the Mac Daddy of pedometers is the Garmin Forerunner 110. This bad boy looks like a watch but integrates GPS tracking technology and a heart rate monitor that lets you track calories burned, compare performances, and monitor your route taken during multiple different activities (including crazy sports like windsurfing). There are also tons of exercise apps that make working out anywhere, anytime, completely simple. With apps like iPhone’s Yoga Stretch and Android Yoga Trainer there’s no need to get to the gym since these apps guide you through sessions, which is great for someone with limited space and time. Also, if you’re a Wii lover, there’s always the top rated EA Sports Active fitness program, which turns your Wii into a mini gym complete with stretch bands, weights, and other accessories to make your workout the best possible, all while tracking progress. EA Sports Active is coming out with a feature that uses EA Sports Active 2, a new way to game that requires no controller; you make a move and your move is reflected on the screen. When it comes to working out with a video game, EA Sports Active 2 means that you’ll feel like you’re part of the game and the game can help you perfect your form, much like a trainer would. Whatever sport you’re into, or how you prefer to track your movement, the key is to get moving and active.
The third component to the “Lydia Leavitt guide to feeling good while still eating french fries,” is relaxation. Summer is all about balance: work hard, play hard, and don’t forget to relax somewhere in the middle. We all know that there’s nothing more important than a good night’s sleep, which is why I’m into the Android app Lightning Bug Sleep Clock. The app uses the sounds of nature to wake you up, or if you know that won’t wake you up you could always go with a natural sunrise dawn lamps that many companies are selling these days from Oregon Scientific to Philips. These simulators slowly coax you out of sleep, compared to that blaring alarm you’re used to,you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. An equally cool app for iPhone is myMeditation, an app designed to guide you through a daily meditation.
Exercise routines have become so much more high tech and accessible with new phone apps and gadgets that help you track your progress. Tracking your progress and being accountable for what you eat and do is the first step towards feeling great.