Health and fitness has been very important in my life for quite some time now, it became more serious when I trained for my first marathon back in 2009. However, the way I exercise today has changed drastically and the incorporation of rest and recovery has become just as important.
With the development of amazing technology, workouts and rest can be fun and extremely motivational. I want to share with you some apps that I have been using lately, and with the inclusion of the Apple Watch tracking your progress couldn’t be easier.
I have just begun using Gymaholic and I am really enjoying it. You can choose a built-in workout or browse through a catalogue of different exercises and build your own program. You can even add custom exercises if they aren’t on the list. Rest periods and sets can also be adjusted to your preference. If you are using the Apple Watch you can sync up one workout at a time and be free to exercise with your phone in the locker (using bluetooth earphones).
The workout shown above was one that I tried today. This is what it included:
I programmed in a 60 second rest between each set, and each exercise had 8 reps. After each set I would tap the watch and the rest period would begin.
- 8 sets of 4 reps Barbell Squats
- 8 sets of 4 reps Deadlifts
- 8 sets of 4 reps Bent Over Barbell Rows
- 10 sets of 4 reps Overhead Press (with a weight plate)
- 10 sets of 4 reps One Arm Dumbbell rows
- 10 sets of 4 reps Leg Extensions
The workout took me between 30 and 40 minutes, I really enjoyed it and felt revitalised and motivated. The app certainly made me want to create more routines and push my goals in the future. I am excited to see what other app developers do in the future with regards to more strength training workouts as opposed to a lot of steps and cardio orientated work.
Where to buy/download: iTunes
*Available on iPhone but not Android devices. Compatible with Apple Watch.
With the free version of FitStar Yoga you have limited sessions, one per week, which is fine for me as I like to do Yoga when I feel I need a good stretch and have worked hard at the gym and need to give the strength training a rest. With the premium version you need to pay £5.99/month or £29.99/year which is pretty reasonable if you love your yoga. I have been using this app for a while and I can see how you can slowly build up that much needed, important flexibility. After each session the app asks for feedback regarding how easy or difficult you found each movement. This will help with suggestions for your next workout. I found it easier to mirror my iPhone to the TV via Apple TV as opposed to using it on the watch, it’s easier to look at the TV than your wrist for guidance. However having the option on the watch when you are away from home, perhaps in a hotel room would be amazing.
Price: Free for basic, premium version £5.99/month or £29.99/year.
Where to buy/download: iTunes
*Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch but not Android devices. Compatible with Apple Watch.
Finding time to relax and be in the moment is becoming few and far between these days. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people that feels like I should be active and productive all of the time. However, I am aware that we need to take time for ourselves, we need to rest and free our mind of distractions. Stress is a huge problem for some people and learning to disconnect to enable a fresh state of mind is important. I was introduced to Buddhify by a friend and I love the fact you can basically tell it how you are feeling and you will be presented with an appropriate meditation practice. If you are feeling worried or troubled you can choose the “Stress” mediation, and a calming voice will take you through the relevant process. If you can’t fall asleep you can pick a meditation to help you drift off and the app shuts down when you are done. If you don’t have a specific topic in mind you can simple choose the “Just Meditate” options and allow your mind to relax into the spoken words. Some people find it extremely difficult to just switch off all thoughts and concentrate on breathing like a lot of meditation asks of. However with Buddhify it’s a little more focused so it’s a great place to start your mediation journey. I suggest starting your day with one of these practices, it is amazing how much more fresh you feel and better equipped to take on the challenges that the day may have in store for you. You can then work your way through the other options as specific life events come up.
Price: £3.99 on iTunes, £1.99 on Android.
*Available on iOS and Android devices.
I am obviously only touching the surface of all the available apps that you can enjoy – exploring yourself is just half the fun. I encourage you to read reviews and find out what suits your needs, have fun, and most importantly enjoy your workout as well as your rest days!
Do you have a favourite health or fitness app? Why not leave a comment using the comments box below.