In the fast-paced, on-the-go world that we collegiettes live in, it can be difficult to keep up with anything—much less an exercise regimen. However, being a part of the digital generation has its perks too! With smartphones have come a slew of weight loss and fitness apps and websites designed to assist users in creating realistic and educated fitness goals, along with assistance in reaching them. While the apps can’t do the exercising for you, that gratifying feeling you’ll receive after a logging a spin class or seeing your net calories burned for the day may give you that extra boost to stick with an exercise plan. And whether it’s convenience, encouragement, or accountability that you feel your current workout regimen is lacking, let HC’s guide help you find the best digital fitness tool for your needs.
Available on: iPhone, Android, Samsung S3
The name of this app says it all. A program that creates a daily caloric intake plan and indicates the specific number of calories you will burn performing an array of activities, Lose It! is truly an “all inclusive” guide to losing weight and staying on track. Lily Herman, a freshman at Wesleyan University, says consistently using the Lose It! app helped her reach her weight loss goals and make some important changes when it came to what she was eating. “I went through a period of eating a lot of gummy bears throughout the day,” she explains, “when I plugged it into Lose It! I realized my gummy bear-munching habit was adding over 300 sugary, empty calories every single day! After that, I switched over to fruits, like apples and bananas, and vegetables, like carrots or celery. I instantly felt better and was able to put my calories towards better options.”
The app also offers users the option to enter their own custom exercises, and allows you to share healthy recipes and workout suggestions. The simple, user-friendly format distinctly displays how many calories you are “under budget” and the program can also analyze your nutritional data for the week. Lily says that the food log tends to be a little scarce, but is perfect for those who may be unfamiliar with nutritional lingo and calorie calculations. If you are a collegiette just beginning to exercise and make healthier food choices, this straightforward app may be what you need to stay on track!
Price: app is free, missed gym sessions will cost you
Available on: Android, iPhone
Frugal fitness fanatics, this one’s for you. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing there was some added incentive to make it to the gym, (other than the lingering hope that you will have a rockin’ bod by beach season) look no further than the Gympact app.
Created by two Harvard 2010 graduates, the app centers on the concept of behavioral economics. Users input how often and for how long they would like to work out that week, and then check in on the app every time they arrive at the gym. Because smartphones know where you are at all times anyway, the app is able to track when you are actually checking in to your gym location and for how long you’ve stayed.
And here’s the kicker. After an initial down payment is made, Gympact allows users to “invest” in their workouts by either fining them a minimum of five dollars for missing, or paying them for attending, with the money the “lazy cats” lost that week. That’s right, Gympact allows you to actually make money from sticking to your workout routine. You can adjust or freeze your account for the week, which begins a new “payment period” every Sunday, but for the most part you can consider the app a mini personal trainer who is certainly not afraid to charge extra.
Available on: iPhone, Android, Blackberry
Similar to the Lose It! app, MFP offers a food and exercise log, informing you daily of your calorie intake, calories burned, and net calories. It is also equipped with specific tools to provide encouragement to its users. Daily and weekly progress reports, like the one pictured above, show how well users remained within their calorie limits and remembered to log. Along with this, the app also produces daily reminders informing other users of your small successes, another way this app stands apart from the rest.
The very simple logging format uses a database that holds over two million foods, according to MyFitnessPal.com, and includes everything from meals offered at restaurants to brand specific items. The detailed formatting of the app helps users get a firm grasp on how many calories they are taking in during the day and how effective their exercise regimen is towards meeting their fitness goals. Accountability is the main component of MyFitnessPal and little reminders of your progress sent straight to your phone are another great way MFP keeps its users on top of things. An app that is just as serious about your fitness goals as you are? Sounds like something worth checking out.
MyPlate by Livestrong
Available on: iPhone, Android, Blackberry
The cool thing about MyPlate is that it allows users to see a breakdown of how their day’s going as soon as they launch the app. The front screen displays a breakdown of calories consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, exercise calories burned, water consumption and how many calories the user has remaining for the day.
Similar to the other apps mentioned, MyPlate allows users to search foods from a large database that includes specific restaurant meals and user-added recipes. Another added perk of MyPlate? The way the app integrates other forms of tracking into their services, “[My dietician] recommended MyPlate to me because you can use it to count nutrients, not just calories, and she had given me specific guidelines for a couple different nutrients that I needed to follow,” HC Life Editor and UNC Chapel Hill senior Michelle Lewis says. “Ever since I started tracking what I ate on MyPlate, I’ve lost 19 pounds!” A breakdown of your daily “plate” may help uncover bad eating habits or times when eating healthy seems to be put on the back burner. And let’s not forget that the app also keeps you up-to-date on your water intake, another important piece of any eating plan or fitness regimen. Looking for a support network as well as a fitness tool? The app, powered by Livestrong, has a community message board in which users can share successes, inspiration, and meal ideas among other things. Whether you are looking to shed pounds, track your work out progress or ensure your food choices are providing you with enough nutrients, it looks like MyPlate may be your answer.
Price: free to download, other costs vary
Available on: iPhone
‘Tis almost the season for beach bodies, ladies, and we’re sure you’ve got more than a couple of friends interested in trimming down before summer. Want to add a fun added incentive to dropping pounds? Try DietBet, the app that allows users to bet against others that they can lose 4 percent of their body weight in 4 weeks, with teams of friends or other users. It works by allowing users to input their money into a virtual “pot,” and whoever has lost 4 percent of their body weight by the end of 28 days gets a share of the money! While the app may be a get-fit-quick scheme for those looking to drop pounds, don’t consider it a get rich quick scheme, as DietBet has some pretty stringent rules to ensure there is no cheating. After joining the site, users are asked to upload a picture of themselves on a scale, with the number indicating their starting weight. This number is not disclosed to other users, however your progress is, through body weight percentage lost. Finally, after a month, whoever is able to upload a “final weight” picture that meets the bet’s requirements, wins a share of the money originally put up. Nothing like some friendly competition and the chance to win a couple of bucks to get you into the workout spirit! Who knows, you might be able to combine your profits from DietBet and Gympact and fund a new bikini purchase to show off that rockin’ bod!
When it comes to trying out fitness apps, you really have nothing to lose (except pounds!). Not only will fitness apps help guide your food and beverage choices, but you may find the satisfaction behind logging in an awesome workout or hitting your goal water intake more rewarding than you think. Not to mention, these apps are free—perfect for any collegiette’s budget. You use your phone for everything else, why not use it for something that will directly benefit you in a major way?