Appiphilia: Apps fit for an iPhone exercise enthusiast
Why wait for the New Year to jump on into that resolution? Weight loss and maintenance can -- and probably should -- be a year-round venture.
There is a ridiculous number of iPhone applications dedicated to weight loss and tracking. We'll be looking at many of them between now and the new year to help you figure out which fits you best.
What it is: Weightbot helps you keep track of your progress toward your weight goals. It will also give your body mass index (BMI).
What sizzles: Reduction can be a good thing whether it's in weight or in price. Loving the lower price. Typically, for many of us who strip off every little bit of extraneous potential weight and maybe even fully exhale to get a good reading, there's a love-hate relationship with scales. Weightbot is kind of cute and cuddly -- well, as cuddly as ...
... digital virtual scales can be.
You can shake it like an Etch-a-Sketch (or Polaroid picture) to make the specter of your weight disappear from the screen. Wouldn't you love to be able to do that with extra pounds?
So, you launch the app, it shows you a weight readout, and you can go through weights by date. Turn the iPhone sideways and the image parts, giving way to a graph that tracks your progress -- or stagnation. Double tap and get a different view of the same information, aggregating stats by week, month or year.
As someone who prefers to not have her iPhone contradict what's on her driver's license, I'm thrilled there's password protection on the app.
What fizzles: While it makes weight tracking easy, the app doesn't do anything to make weight loss any easier. Also, the ability to export the data would be welcome. One of the things that can make losing weight a little easier is doing it with the help of others. If there were a way to share pounds lost or percentage of weight lost with others on the same journey, that might make it an even more useful app. (As long as you have the choice of keeping your overall weight under wraps.)
Bottom line: Cute and functional weight tracker.
What it is: A workout buddy for training and tracking.
This app has been around for a bit, but the 2.0 upgrade was just released with some decent changes, including more sensible navigation and additional workout options.
What sizzles: Whether you are a gym virgin or a gym rat, this app can help you stack and track. Newbies can use prefabbed routines provided for everything from shoulders to calves.
If you don't quite know what you're supposed to do, tap the app. The exercises listed have pictures and animation to remind you of the proper motion. Also included are pictures and names of which muscle groups are being worked.
If you are more experienced, you can build your own workout plan, either using the exercises included or adding your own.
You can now select workouts for cardio, strength training and stretching (this one's new). In this version, there's only one stretching exercise pre-made. Developers say the 2.1 upgrade will provide more. Of course, you can easily add more yourself.
The workout begins with you tapping the huge start button on the app's home screen. Although the pre-made workouts track three sets of each exercise, you can increase that up to 30 sets.
While your workout is in progress, you just scroll on through how many reps and how much weight you've lifted (in either pounds or kilograms). The image at the top of the tracker, which is a new feature, has a play button to trigger the animation in case you forget what you're supposed to do.
If you want to add notes about your set or an exercise during the workout, you have that option.
Some recent changes include navigation methods on the bottom of the screen, so you can add exercises and workouts a little more intuitively. That's much better.
Even when my workout was interrupted by a phone call, which took me out of the app, I was able to relaunch the app and pick up my workout tracking where I left off.
And a must: It's nice that you can hear your tunes while using this.
What fizzles: Since you can add exercises, it'd be nice to be able to add photos of the equipment used. And at this point, you can't e-mail your workout log. Developers promise those features are coming in later versions.
Bottom line: This app makes tracking your workout no sweat.
What it is: This app is a basic personal trainer and workout tracker. IPump offers a number of different paid apps (16, to be exact). This one is a 60-minute prepared exercise program. You're supposed to do three sets of 10 repetitions at a challenging weight with a 60-second rest between sets.
What sizzles: It's very easy to use. The pictures and instructions are simple to follow. And there are videos for further instruction.
It's as easy as tap, tap, tap. Tap the screen to trigger the videos. Tap the screen to track the reps and weight lifted for each set. Tap and swipe to move on to the next exercise. And, if you tap out of the application for whatever reason, you tap right back in to the place you left off.
Filled with pride and perspiration, you then can quickly tap out an e-mail to a friend showing off a log of your workout feat.
You can also listen to your own music while banging this out.
What fizzles: It's a basic workout that doesn't really allow for modifications. It's definitely intended for beginners -- or for those who are content to follow someone else's regime. I got bored and frustrated during the first exercise.
The videos are a nice inclusion, although they require an Edge, 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Sometimes, access in the gym is a tad spotty if even present.
Bottom line: A gentle start for beginners or those who are content to follow someone else's plan.
-- Michelle Maltais
We'll work our way through other exercise and weight-related apps before you try to implement your New Year's resolution. Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts.