Fitness Apps: What to Look For

Apps basically run our lives (if you have a smart phone). Back in the day, a huge marketing point for smartphones was “There’s an app for that.” Nowadays it’s a given. Fitness apps are no exception. However, just because you invest money into something doesn’t mean that it’s going to be worthwhile. As most of you are aware, someone pushing a program or product might not look too hard into even the basic facts of fitness. So, in no particular order, here are a few things that you should look out for to see if a fitness app is worthwhile or just out to make money off of the ignorant:

  1. Banning Foods: Any app that tells you to avoid a food completely is only trying to sell their diet or program. Avoiding carbs, fats, sugars, etc. is a mainstay of tons of diets that never work for long and it’s a road to failure. One should be mindful of their intake and not binge on those nutritionally lacking foods. Moderation is key, not prohibition.
  2. Tracking Food/Exercise: This feature should be in most, if not all of these apps. Not only that, but it should be flexible and allow for personal touches on data entry. Tracking your food and your exercise throughout the day/week is a great way to see where there are places that need improvement or where you can see your success. Being able to estimate is important too. No one likes counting calories and it’s difficult for people that don’t have tracking watches/straps to know how much effort their workout was.
  3. Education in Fitness: If the app is trying to educate you on why you’re doing what you’re doing or what you’ll improve with exercise, it definitely gets value points. Telling you the difference between the macronutrients, what muscles get worked with a particular exercise, the basics of the cardiovascular system and other similar topics will build you a knowledge base that will enable you to motivate yourself and make the right decisions without support.
  4. Too Pushy/Paywall blocked: Seems obvious. No one wants their phone buzzing constantly or to have all the “good” features be held behind a Platinum Premium VIP Super Special Sub Tier. You’ll need to exchange for a fair value of course. Don’t let the company take you for a ride though.
  5. Pushing Supplements: The overwhelming majority of the population has no need to take a supplement of any kind. The only ones you should be taking are if they’ve been suggested by a trusted/licensed/medical professional. Any organization that is pushing you on getting their supplements is trying to get money from you at a high profit margin. Don’t fall for it.

Since fitness apps do have their uses, watching out for these simple things will help you make the proper decision. Banning foods, pushing supplements and high tier wall apps are ones to avoid. Any app that teaches you about fitness, lets you track your food/exercise, and fits your needs will help you foster proper health and habits. You’re worth the investment of time and effort. Find a program/app that works for you.

By Josh Grant, UVAC Personal Trainer

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