Apps, Other Motivators Can Get You Where You Want to Be
Greene, Teri, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It seems like everyone has a fitness goal for 2013. Some already are prepared to give up.
But wait -- even the laziest among us can access inspiration, motivation and training expertise.
You just have to know where to look. Increasingly, that's on your smartphone or tablet.
In Consumer Reports' just released diet ratings, the top one was MyFitnessPal, a free smartphone app. The app lets users input the foods they've eaten and the exercise they've completed throughout the day.
After that information is in, the app calculates the calories, fat, sugar, carbs, sodium and loads of other health info. Before you begin the program, MFP asks for your current weight, height, age and fitness goals, then constructs a personalized plan. Users learn which bad foods they're loading up on, which nutrients they're missing and how to strike a diet-exercise balance that will help them reach their goals.
MyFitnessPal is not the first app of its kind, but it does seem to be the most meticulous.
Clinton Fitch, owner and editor of AlliOSNews, is a longtime user of the app and was especially excited when it became available for iPad last year.
"I've found MyFitnessPal to be the best solution for me managing my weight and caloric intake," Fitch says. "The integration the app has with other solutions (such as FitBit) makes it simple to use. The biggest benefit I have from MyFitnessPal is the online database of foods. I recently moved to the U.K., and I can scan a barcode on just about any food item here and it will be in the database. It's really impressive!"
FitBit (www.fitbit.com) is a full-scale system, implementing exercise- and sleep-tracking devices, a special weigh-in scale and mobile apps.
There is a seemingly endless list of fitness apps out there. Search on the Android or iTunes app stores and you're likely to find one just for you. Hint: start out with the free programs -- or the free versions of more advanced programs. Seek the advice of friends who use fitness apps. …