We don’t trust ourselves anymore. The act of exercise is no longer a mind-to-body experience but rather a mind-to-fitness-tracker-device-to-body phenomenon.
Instead of listening to our bodies—when we need a glass of water instead of food, need a nap instead of a coffee, or become suddenly hangry after processing the 42 grams of sugar from a Starbuck’s classic chai tea latte (inducing a severe attack of hypoglycemia)—we turn to our Fitbit, Garmin, Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone or one of the many other fitness trackers, or MyFitnessPal.
For the record, I’m not telling you to trash your Jawbone or delete your MyFitnessPal app. As a personal trainer, your use of a fitness tracker or food app means one thing to me: you are somewhere on the spectrum of behavior change for health, you’re curious about health, and if you sport the fitness tracker on your wrist in a pink coral color, you just love fitness jewelry.
Here’s my problem with fitness trackers and food calorie counting apps: They all rely on very limited metrics (steps taken, movement when you sleep, calorie tracking, heart rate monitor in some, and distance traveled with the movement) giving you a very skewed analysis about your health. Your health, however, is not so black and white, just like the colors of your fitness tracker. Two hours on the row machine, like Frank Underwood does, will not cancel out the pizza you ate during your House of Cards binge.
Your health depends on so many factors—cultural, genetic, whether your cat lets you sleep at night—that I find it really interesting our fascination with the extraordinary simplicity of the fitness tracker and food app scene. Yet, nearly half of all smartphone users indulge in some form of health app according to the American Journal of Medicine (and half of all Americans adults have a smartphone). That’s a lot of people using insufficient forms of data feedback to make big assumptions about their health.
When David Sedaris purchased his Fibit last summer, this small piece of technology inspired him to walk after dinner instead of sitting on the couch. When his Fitbit died, however, walking became pointless without the steps being counted or measured. Sound familiar?
I equate using a fitness tracker or food calorie tracker as a marker of dishonesty with ourselves. We are missing a pivotal step: self-reflection. It’s really easy to buy a Nike Fuel band and wear it. It’s much harder, however, to get deep with yourself.
Fitness apps are a flawed, abbreviated version of this self-reflection process. They focus too much on the number of steps, calories, or distance traveled. Fitness tracking devices distract us from what really needs to happen: we need to look at ourselves naked in the mirror and have an honest conversation with our naked self about the status of our health. From a weight-loss standpoint, it’s critical. Then let’s unplug the TV, peel ourselves off the couch (if not get rid of both the TV and couch), and buy a few free weights and a yoga mat before throwing down for a fitness tracker. The cost is about the same, but the impacts couldn’t be more different.
The quest to “knowing thyself” is distorted, not enhanced, when we let the fitness trackers and food calorie apps take over. Take the MyFitnessPal app, which scans and tracks calories. Here’s the conundrum: Our bodies do not interpret all calories to be created equal, just like legislators in Indiana don’t believe their residents are created equal, but that’s another story. Point being, tracking the calories is not going to make you any healthier because the body metabolizes calories from say, one gram of sugar, differently than it does from, say, one gram of fat. Yet, our American culture wants to simplify this concept. I recommend using the time spent logging your calories by reading Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss and learning about the plotting of the food industry instead of pretending to be a nutritionist. Better yet, use the time you spend scanning your food by watching this violent salad video and getting inspired.
I have not bought a fitness tracker to be an iconoclast. Honestly, I hear the Jawbones get smelly, break after six months, and I don’t believe the metrics will make me any healthier. The snap bracelet fad of the ‘90s is also the extent of my career wearing plastic or nickel so that I can avoid getting the cancer as long as possible. I also don’t need a device informing me of my restless nights of sleep. I can infer that by my baggy eyes in the morning. In a way, using a fitness tracker is like going to the revered and intimate Lambeau Field and being glued to the pixels of the Jumbotron instead of watching the beauty of an Aaron Rodger’s touchdown-throw from afar. The technology is eschewing the overall experience.
The battle between listening to your own body’s needs versus letting technology tell you what your body needs has begun. Call me a Luddite, but I side with your inner voice. When was the last time you wrote in a journal—dear diary—how you felt physically (energy levels), what you ate and your mood two-three hours later; or what you did for exercise (walking included) and used complete sentences? It sounds cheesy, but I’m serious. You owe it to yourself. Tracking calories from your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup addiction in a food app is not going to solve your problems. Reflecting on how groggy you felt after eating the sugar bomb will.
Alas, a beacon of hope shines through with the Apple watch. Reason being, the Apple watch reportedly blends the quality of the movement (heart-rate?) paired with personalized reminders based on the S.M.A.R.T method. You set the parameters. The watch also relies on a larger variety of metrics and these data points could cultivate a better mind-to-body connection. Only time will tell, I’m still doubtful, but as my favorite Styx song suggests, “The problem’s plain to see: too much technology. Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.”
We should be pursuing fitness activities not for the sake of pleasing the fitness app and hitting the numbers (nor to share the length of our run in Central Park) but because exercise makes us feel better, look better, and be better.
Put another way, occasionally cover the treadmill screen with your towel at the gym and listen to your body, not your app.
Source: Johnny Adamic, The Dark Side of Your Fitbit And Fitness App. The Fitness Critic, Daily Beast,
Apps like step trackers and calorie counters are meant to help users stay healthy. But for those who suffer from eating disorders, these technologies are ripe for misuse.
THINK OF YOUR fitness tracker like a personal trainer—one that happens to live on your smartphone. There are things you want it to do, like monitor your heart rate, your pace, the time it took for you to complete your last sprint, and whether your sprints are getting faster over time. And then there are things you don't particularly want it to do, like stalk your every move and follow you home at night.
With fitness apps that hoover up more and more data, it can be hard to split the difference. Consider Strava.
Though mobile fitness apps can provide inspiration to get out the door, experts say they can be unhealthy and dangerous.
A fitness-tracking app’s ability to reveal supposedly clandestine locations is a reality check for people lax about protecting their security and privacy.
Companies want to turn all those numbers about consumers into more personalized—and fun—workouts.
Can’t afford a $300 tracking device to record your steps? Turns out you might not need to shell out the big bucks just to hit your daily goal of 10,000 paces per day. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that smartphone apps could be just as accurate as wearable devices, and comparable to pedometers and accelerometers, when it comes to tallying your strides.
From 7-Minute Workouts to downward facing dogs, these iPhone and Android apps will get you off your keister.
I’m too busy. I’m not a morning person. I’m travelling.
When it comes to excuses to skip the gym, we’re full of them.
But whether it’s not having time, not knowing what exercise to do or simply not being able to find the motivation to exercise: there’s an app for that.
Dubbed by some as “the Netflix of fitness”, Fiit gives you access to on-demand fitness classes led by high profile fitness experts all from a mobile device that either streams to a TV or can be used on the move while out and about.
Buying apps related to an activity can often serve as a substitute for actually doing that activity. I've spent more time reading reviews of meditation apps, for example, than I've actually meditated. I buy grocery list apps as a substitute for ever actually going to the grocery store. I buy cookbook apps and then strenuously avoid cooking.
For most of my smartphone-owning life, fitness apps have been no exception. There's almost always a good reason not to go to the gym, and simply installing a fitness app on your phone can comfort me, however falsely, that I am at heart an athlete.
What do Endomondo, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Runtastic, FitStar, and RunKeeper all have in common?
Aside from all being smartphone apps that track your health and activity, all of these apps have been acquired by bigger companies — bigger brands — over the past couple of years, the latest being RunKeeper...
While it’s not as big of a target as the health care industry—stolen health credentials can go for 10 or 20 times the value of a stolen credit card on the black market, for example—apps like MyFitnessPal still store a large amount of detailed, personal information that can be used to profile and track an individual.
Are you running the same route, eating the same grilled chicken and veggies for dinner, or listening to the same playlists over and over? Anyone can fall into a rut, but it’s time to push past the monotony and re-energize your habits. Choose among these 12 apps to find inspiration and ideas to eat, exercise and, yes, sleep better every day.
Tracking steps and inputting calories into your smart phone drown out the conversation we should be having with our bodies.
ClassPass is the leading membership to the world’s largest fitness network. With ClassPass, staying active has never been easier – or more fun. Search, find and book the fitness activities you want to try including yoga, cycling, Pilates, barre, running, strength training and beyond.
Microsoft Health helps you live healthier by giving you actionable insights into how your physical activity benefits your overall health. View your Microsoft Band data and insights about your step counts, workouts, and even sleep quality in the web dashboard. Easy-to-understand graphs chart data that are important to help you understand your current, and changing, fitness levels.
Your connection to the world of fitness, wellness and beauty, the MINDBODY app makes it effortless to explore classes and services. Discover the flexibility, enjoy the freedom, and find what makes you unstoppable.
In 2015, Ethan Agarwal was trying to stay fit during his business travels. It wasn’t easy—he found it difficult to stay motivated during runs. He wanted an audio-based guide that would be with him every step of the way. Not finding a product that suited his needs, Ethan started Aaptiv. Today, Aaptiv is the top audio-based fitness app on the Apple App Store, and the fastest-growing mobile fitness product on the market.
C25K® is the easiest program to get beginners from couch potatoes to 5K distance runners in 8 weeks. Over 5 million people did it! Tailored for first time runners.
Make getting fit suck so much less with CARROT's hilarious 7 Minutes in Hell workout.
Earn money for charity when you walk, run, or bike.
Daily Yoga inspires yogis worldwide with the largest yoga pose base. Enables you to practice yoga on all mobile devices and multiplatforms.
With Endomondo on your phone, you can track your running, cycling and other sports. It's fun, it's social and it's motivating.
We are a team of dedicated healthcare entrepreneurs and technologists who believe that by working together we can inspire each other to better health. We call this the EveryMove Movement and we want you to join us.
I want more of you to enjoy the benefits that everyBODYwithIskra brings. Many of you have told me you’d love to join the program but just don’t have the money for a paid subscription. I hear you and I want to help you. So I’ve decided to make everyBODYwithIskra free! everyBODYwithIskra will now truly be for everyBODY!
Instead of a single song, you will get an entire mix that is professionally designed to keep you motivated.
We select only the most upbeat tracks and have the ability to manipulate music, so kiss those long, lagging intros and outros goodbye and get moving!
Get fit anytime, anywhere, with Fitbit Coach—the personalized training app that gives you access to unlimited adaptive video workouts and audio coaching.
When you hit the gym, Fitbod guides you through exercise, sets, reps and weight, so you can focus on putting in the work that counts.
Follow the exact workout routines used by the world's best trainers.
FitSnap is the iPhone app that adds your workout information on top of your photos to create motivational pictures to share with your friends.
The best mobile run tracking experience, backed by the world's largest digital health and fitness community.
We believe — and medical studies prove — that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to simply keep track of the foods you eat. Gimmicky machines and fad diets don't work, so we designed a free website and mobile apps that make calorie counting and food tracking easy.
Get the Nike+ Run Club app and Choose Go every week with Just Do It.
Sunday, Audio Guided Runs, challenges and weekly achievements.
The all new Road ID App is a great tool for runners, cyclists, hikers, walkers and basically anyone not glued to their couch. With amazing features like eCrumb Tracking, a Stationary Alert, and a custom Lock Screen creator, the Road ID App is your perfect training partner. With the ability to track your workouts in real time, your friends and family can stay better connected whenever you head outdoors...delivering peace of mind like never before.
Strava lets you track your running and riding with GPS, join Challenges, share photos from your activities, and follow friends.
Strong is simplest and most intuitive workout tracker for iOS and Android devices.
Sworkit is the app for working out anywhere. Simply choose what part of your body to focus on and how long you have. Sworkit will create a custom circuit training workout using just your bodyweight.
With TwiikApp you can log all your workouts in your free workout journal. Use the web or the app. Follow programs, like other users workouts or create groups and challenge your friends. Join us today. It's free.
Virtuagym is the all-in-one software solution for health clubs and fitness professionals, with tools and integrated mobile apps for client coaching, membership management, scheduling and more.
Fear daytime sleepiness no more. Wakeouts are fun and healthy movements that energize, destress, and relaxes you in less than 3 minutes.
Keep it at the ready on your homescreen for whenever drowsiness strikes.
Run in the Real World.
Become a Hero in Another.
Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home.
And you have another mission — one they don’t know about...
The at home training game connecting cyclists around the world.
1 minute of exercises while sitting at your desk. Get a reminder every hour during office hours. Release tension while sitting at your desk, or if you are in a meeting.
7 minute home workout exercise.
7 Minute Fitness Challenge is an app designed with your
busy life in mind. Backed by actual research, the app can
transform your body for a mere 7 minutes a day.
The world’s first smart training apparel that equips you with real-time insights on muscle intensity, heart rate and performance.
Barre3 is a modern evolution of the ballet barre workout, influenced by yoga and Pilates. Barre3 workouts utilize isometric holds to strengthen the body using your own body weight, increasing intensity with small one-inch movements, followed by functional exercises to raise the heart rate and lengthen the body.
Bluefin Software is powered by a husband and wife duo, Alex and Tanya Stankovic. Together, we develop apps for mobile devices. Our apps are more than just beautiful at their core, they're designed around the fitness experiences of real people and supported by the latest knowledge in health and fitness, software design, and technology.
Whether you're a first time exerciser or an extreme fitness enthusiast looking for a challenge, BCC has the right program for you.
Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest to use calorie counter for Android. With the largest food database of any Android calorie counter (over 3,000,000 foods), and amazingly fast food and exercise entry, we’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app — period.
Simply hold your phone in front of you and get your
heart rate accurately measured in seconds.
Coach’s Eye is hand-crafted by a small team, passionate about helping coaches and athletes take their game to the next level. We work everyday to make Coach's Eye your favorite coaching tool.
Enhance your memory, focus and brain speed with our award winning brain training program designed by neuroscientists.
Introducing FitnessClass - the only marketplace for real-time, on-demand fitness video workouts, right on your iPad. Choose from a selection of 300+ fitness classes by PumpOne and a collection of the world's elite.
Free daily workout tracker and fitness community with 800+ exercises for strength, sports, weight loss, and motivation.
Set fitness goals. Monitor your progress. Get to a healthier you.
Book a personal trainer to come to you for a workout.
Headspace is your very own personal trainer, here to help you train your mind. You can even fit us in your pocket with our FREE app.
The new Health app gives you an easy‑to‑read dashboard of your health and ﬁtness data. And we’ve created a new tool for developers called HealthKit, which allows all the incredible health and ﬁtness apps to work together, and work harder, for you. It just might be the beginning of a health revolution.
Your Fitness Companion right in your pocket.
Innovative fitness Apps for mobile devices.
Keas.com, the most popular online social health and wellness game, gets even better with the all-new Keas App! You can now update your fitness and dietary goals, take fun quizzes, and earn sweet new badges from anywhere.
Forget about past diet failures, the road to weight loss success starts here. Lose It! helps you make the small, manageable changes that lead to big results.
iMapMy (powered by MapMyFitness is a location-based application that uses the built in GPS technology on your iPhone to allow runners, cyclists, (or any outdoor fitness activity) to track their daily training data.
Over 100 full body workouts inspired by top Nike athletes and
designed by NTC Master Trainers, N+TC will help you track
progress, stay motivated and train better. Welcome to the Club
7 minutes a day for the next 7 months. Using nothing more than a chair, a wall, and your own body weight, you can accomplish a daily physical workout that will dramatically improve your well-being.
A fitness app that posts a map of its users’ activity has unwittingly revealed the locations and habits of military bases and personnel, including those of American forces in Iraq and Syria, security analysts say.
SuperBetter helps you achieve your health goals – or recover from an illness or injury – by increasing your personal resilience. Resilience means staying curious, optimistic and motivated even in the face of the toughest challenges.
Our goal for Teemo is a tad audacious: We want to help people live healthier, happier lives. Research shows that even small amounts of exercise lead to better overall health, that interval training is one of the most effective ways to gain fitness quickly, and that social motivation is the glue that makes good habits stick. With Teemo, we're bringing these ideas together into one fun and quirky little game you can carry with you everywhere and play anytime. We hope you enjoy it.
The on-the-go companion for triathletes, cyclists and and runners who are serious about achieving their goals.
The free TrainingPeaks mobile app syncs with your TrainingPeaks.com account to provide a complete web, mobile and desktop solution for tracking, analyzing and planning your training.
TriAlly is a free app available on the App Store that lets you calculate finish times, find new worksouts, discover triathlons near you, keep up on the latest triathlon news, and help you prepare for your next big race!
Stay motivated and build better habits with our award-winning health app—for free.
We are iPhone-Powered Fitness. Wahoo Fitness harnesses the power of your iPhone to transform the way you ride, run and reach your fitness goals.
Get in the best shape of your life with thousands of free workouts and premium workout programs that help you achieve your fitness goals. Workout Trainer is a TOP app on Android -- download it now!