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Fitness: Is there really an app for that?

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 8:40 AM

 For many moons, fitness experts have been saying that self-motivation is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Now, in our digitally connected age, our smartphones can act as a personal trainer and motivational speaker. Having trouble staying motivated? How about a text telling you what a great job you're doing, or a calorie counter reminding you of the progress you've made since you began? For a small monthly fee, you can get a personalized workout regimen complete with dietary guidelines, calorie meter, and even positive feedback or firm directives to keep you from slacking.


  But how effective is it, really? That depends on who you ask, and there isn't enough long-term data due to the newness of the trend to really know for sure. Speaking personally as one who goes to the gym regularly and only had advice from magazines to learn from and being bold enough to ask people who looked like they know what they're doing what they do to train a certain muscle group, I'm skeptical. I can certainly understand why people turn to their smartphones for help. There's too much information online to narrow down what your needs are if you're just beginning. Joining a gym can be intimidating enough without the added humiliation of feeling like you're the only one there who has no clue as to what you are doing. Trust me, I was there once.


 That being said, let me explain the reason for my skepticism. I go to the gym for a number of reasons, but the most important one aside from staying fit is the decompression time. It is a time during the day, perhaps the only time, when I can truly disconnect and focus on something without interruption, without other obligations demanding my attention.  A phone with helpful information on it in the gym is still a phone. A text message saying "great job!" is still a text message.

 This does not mean that I'm totally against it. What doesn't work for me may be great for another. When it comes to getting in shape, losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. it sometimes doesn't matter as much how you got there as long as you've arrived. So what are your thoughts? Are you someone who uses an app to assist with your workouts? How has it worked? Are you someone who exercised for a long time and recently started using a fitness app. How has it helped improve your routine?

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