Reviewing: 100 Pushups, Stronglifts 5×5, MyFitnessPal, YAYOG, Fitocracy
Getting fit has never been easy, and while this is mainly due to motivation and trying to adapt to introducing a massive change in your life (instead of small incremental steps), there are a plethora of tools and apps available today to help you on the road to fitness. I’ve used a few and have a kit-bag of apps on my iPhone to help keep me on track or provide a diversion to my usual program to break up the monotony.
As you know, I started taking health and fitness more seriously a couple of years ago when I hired a personal trainer. I have always been conscious of health and tried to balance out my diet and avoid the nasty things that often find their way into the foods we eat. Working out once a week helps keep me on track but you need some help along the way. And last year I discovered Fitocracy.
Fitocracy is a social network dedicated to fitness. You score points and earn badges for working out, so you get to track your progress as well as get social with like-minded folk on the same journey. The network is very supportive and there are lots of groups for specific activities (some non-fitness related) so you can ask for help, bounce ideas around, discover new things and not feel like your alone on your journey.
I have the app on my iPhone and I use the main website regularly. I’d recommend it for anybody keeping fit, whether you’re starting out or already serious about your training.
My App Selections
This is my health and fitness page on my iPhone:
There are a number of apps here, and here’s a quick rundown of what I have and why I have it in order of my most-used apps. Naturally, downloading an app onto your smartphone doesn’t mean you should jump in and follow the program.
Before you start any exercise program or make any changes in your lifestyle and diet you must get your doctor or physician’s approval. This post is for informational purposes only and is not meant as professional advice, nor is it a substitute for professional advice. Many of these apps are designed for fit and healthy individuals only (I have marked these “pro”).
Performing exercise of all types can pose a risk to the exerciser. I advise that you should take full responsibility for your own health and safety. Before exercising make certain your equipment is in good condition and be sure to know your own physical limits. Adequate warm-up and cool-downs should be undertaken before and after any exercise.
Do not perform any of the exercises in these apps until you have been shown proper technique by a qualified fitness professional. If you experience any pain, discomfort, dizziness or you become short of breath, stop exercising immediately and consult your doctor/physician.
[Click the icons to access the Apple Store for the apps]
100 Pushups (pro)
This one arrived as a result of Fitocracy. There is a quest which you can do (there are in fact many) which is to complete 100 push-ups in one set. I was chatting to a couple of other Fitocrats and we all agreed to attempt the challenge. It’s nice to have a virtual group to keep you motivated, though I did fall by the wayside last month. Sorry!
The app guides you through a series of sets with varying reps (repetitions) to build you up from being a beginner is push-ups to completing the 100 push-up challenge over a period of weeks. It’s a balanced program and you take it at your own pace, though you should follow the days even if you plateau and don’t always manage to increase your reps.
Stronglifts (aka Stronglifts 5×5) (pro)
Lifting heavy weights is proven to be doubly beneficial in that it also encourages fat loss even while you are not lifting. I won’t go into the science here, but I settled on this program because it is relatively simple to understand and implement and does not require hours of training. I also want to look a lot more toned and lose a few percents of body fat.
The program is good because it gradually increases your weights over time so that you always progress toward your goal. You don’t have to become a power-lifter but it helps you get up the ladder quickly without over-complicating things.
This one is for calorie tracking. A key part of achieving health and fitness goals is managing what you put into your belly. Garbage in, Garbage out is the old expression and it’s true of the food you eat. I’m not an obsessive calorie counter, but I use this app to give me a heads-up on the main foods I eat so that I can see where even the healthy choices I make (at least on the surface) may be less balanced for what I need to be eating to achieve my goals. For example, my granola and natural yoghurt breakfast is great, but it’s mostly carbs and I should be eating more protein as one of my main goals is muscle development, so I’m thinking of adding a scoop of the banana Whey protein that I drink post-workout to augment this.
Your Gym (aka YAYOG) (pro)
Another product of being on Fitocracy. YAYOG, or to give it the full title You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren, is all about body-weight exercises and putting together different sets to give the whole body a complete workout and get toned. The app is great because it gives you video examples of each exercise so you can easily pick up what’s needed and follow the programs easily. For me, this is a great addition to my personal workouts as I don’t always have the same amount of time and can find myself needing to fill 15 minutes and this is a great way to do that. Of course, you can always use it as your main program as that’s what it’s designed to do.
I will continue the rundown of my apps and how I use them in Part 2 next time. Until then, add your feedback in the comments or tell us about what you use and why below. Thanks.