App reviews of Footsteps, TabataTrainer, Workout Hero, NHS Blood
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.
This is part 2 of a summary of the apps I use to help me workout and add fresh ideas to my workouts to keep it interesting. The order I am working through is based on the frequency I use the apps and each post covers 4 apps, so there will be 5 posts in total.
App icons are links to the Apple Store.
Running a restaurant means I am on my feet a lot of the time. One day a guest asked me how much I walk. Curious, I downloaded this app to figure out just how much I do actually walk. Surprisingly I clocked up a half-marathon one very busy day, which is not bad for being inside a 100 square metre building! This is a good app as it is easy to set up and generally figures out most of what it needs to after you enter a couple of parameters. The downside with apps that use the internal sensors of the iPhone to continuously monitor movement (the same is true of Sleep Cycle last week) is that they quickly drain your battery. For a 5-hour session, this usually meant that my iPhone was drained unless I had a full charge before I started. My personal recommendation is that, if you’re serious about measuring movement continuously throughout the day or for long runs, get a separate unit which is either completely standalone, or that can send the data via Bluetooth to another app on your iPhone. I am looking into this and will post my findings in the future.
Tabata is a full-on exercise regimen. Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high-intensity training with high-intensity interval training. The results were that the athletes training in high-intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did moderate high-intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.
The idea behind this app is that it generates a Tabata training routine for you, or you can pick one of the pre-selected programs. The concept is simple – you do 8 cycles of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. After 4 minutes you’re done. You can also opt for extended Tabata, which means you do 2 or more sets in succession – not for the faint-hearted!
Workout Hero (pro)
This is a Crossfit app. I was curious about Crossfit and wanted to find out more about it. I did some research on the web, and although there isn’t a Crossfit centre near me as far as I can tell, there are some routines (or WOD – Workout of the Day) that could be integrated into my usual training schedule to vary things. So I downloaded the app so I have access to the WODs just in case. The app contains how-to videos, random WODs, Paleo recipes and more. Remember that this is a pro app, so you’ll need to fit and know your form before diving into any of these WODs.
[No Longer Available in App Store]
Sometimes you have to give back, so I have this app as I am a registered blood donor and it helps me find nearby donor sessions so I can schedule appointments. It’s more efficient for me than the old paper reminder system they used to use as I always forgot to arrange it and often missed sessions.
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.