There’s an App for That!?!

There are more than 17,632 apps available from Apple’s iTunes store that can motivate, inspire or track your health and fitness goals.

Whether you are a fitness pro or looking to run your first 5k, your phone can offer you accountability, fitness programs, nutrition advice and stats on all that you do, for five dollars or less and, in some cases, for free. Last month, the Wall Street Journal dedicated an entire section to all the fabulous and fantastic apps available to truly offer you the world at your fingertips.

I just joined the millions of iPhone users late in 2011 and have since decided that I will never be able to live without this technology again, an exaggeration, but much like the internet, I wonder how we ever all got along without these technologies. I have downloaded apps to count my calories, track how often I exercise and tally my weight losses and gains. I have an app that allows me to determine the title and artist of radio songs, game apps to keep me from boredom and apps to help me find my way. I even have an app that helps me keep track of my closet, from what I own to what I wore this week (no outfit repeats this month!)

Of course, perusing the iTunes app store and know which apps are worth and which ones aren’t, well, that can be a daunting task. Check out the best health and fitness apps, as recommended by the Wall Street Journal, by clicking here: Get Fit – and Stay Fit by Molly Williams. Below are the apps I would recommend – health and fitness – and a few just for fun.

Health & Fitness

  • Nike+ Running. Nike has taken the Nike+ app to the next level with an iPhone app designed just for runners – and it’s free. I don’t have the cool new shoes or new high-tech sensors to accompany the app, but the features it offers are still phenomenal. Unlike the Nike+ app that is useful with iPods and Nike+ SportBand, the Nike+ Running app connects to your Facebook page and tells your friends and followers when you have started running. When they like or comment on your run, you hear cheers through your earbuds. This is my favorite feature of the app because those cheers can give you a boost when you need it most. The app also links to your Nike+ account and tracks your distance, speed, frequency and makes goal recommendations. These features are available through the original Nike+ app as well. Apparently if you have the shoes and the sensor, you can track your vertical and get more details on all aspects of your workout.
  • Lose it! I like this app best of all the free apps I have tried for tracking what I eat, counting calories and inputting my daily exercise. I can’t say that I use Lose it! often because like most apps, it takes forever to type in the amount of each ingredient when you eat fresh foods, but unlike other apps I have tried, you can save time by scanning barcodes and entering fruit and vegetables PLUs. Plus, this app offers a more extensive list of exercises than others I have tried. You can also connect through social media and rally friends and followers to join or support you toward weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. And, this app is free!
  • The Eatery.I talked about this app when it was covered by Time HealthLand. It really doesn’t do that much for your eating habits, but call me dorky, but when using this app, you are participating in a worldwide research project. You take a picture of what you are eating or about to eat and then people rate it on a scale of “fit,” or healthiest to “fat,” or unhealthy. The people rating your food are regular individuals from around the world, who have also snapped their food for opinions on the health rating. It is really interesting to see what people say. For example, I snapped a picture of 30 almonds and that got rated as “fat” compared to an over-sized salad with fatty ranch dressing that got rated “fit.” The company that created the app calls it a “Massive Health Experiment.” I think it’s fun to jump in and see what people are eating and rating food, and since it is worldwide, you will come across some foods you have never seen (don’t worry, there’s a “pass” button for those moments.) This app is free!

Music

  • Shazam. I will never forget how I discovered this can’t-live-without-it app. I was at a bar with a group of girlfriends and we are all chatting over martinis when she takes her iPhone and begins holding up at the ceiling in an attempt to point the microphone at the nearest speaker. “I love this song!” She exclaims as we all stared bewildered at her flailing arm. I said, “Well, it’s Usher, but what on earth are you doing?” And that was when she told us about Shazam. Shazam will listen to the song playing in a restaurant, bar or on the radio and then tell you the title and artist, so you can buy it on iTunes. The best part, if you aren’t sure you want to buy the song right away, it saves all your songs, so you can keep a running list. Totally free and oh so useful!

Fashion

  • Cloth. This app is free and allows you to take photos of yourself wearing outfits from your closet and sort them by style, keywords and, for $1.99, the weather. I tried the free version of this app, which does not include the weather feature. I didn’t love it. My husband was less than entertained taking pictures of me in all my outfits on a Saturday afternoon, although he graciously obliged my request. I called off the photo shoot about five outfits in because it was an exhausting venture. I opted for photographing just my shoes and loading them, but the app cuts off the pictures, so when you thumb through them in Cloth, they are worthless. I made mention of this wardrobe tracker because it’s free, it will suffice, but carefully plan the angle of your photos.
  • Stylebook. This app I just downloaded yesterday. I can’t wait to try it because I live in an apartment with no closet space. I often forget about outfits because everything is so squished. I read about Stylebook in InStyle magazine and perused the reviews before plunking down $3.99 for the app (I rarely pay more than $0.99 for apps, but I have been seeking an app like this!) You take pictures of each piece of clothing in your closet on a solid background and then use the editor feature to white out the background, so it resembles what you see in magazine photo spreads, without the models. It will then allow you to piece together outfits (so you don’t have to try on every. single. outfit in your closet. I have tons of clothes; imagine how many outfits that is? That is why the Cloth app is so unreasonable.) It also has a feature that allows you to track what you have worn and snap photos while shopping to determine if a piece will make a nice addition to your collection. This is the perfect pocket personal shopper. The reviews raved about this app, but the comments that made me unafraid to purchase were the ones that said their support desk is phenomenal – they answer questions and take suggestions.

Work/Life Balance

  • Evernote. As a writer, researcher and marketer this is another app that is a real lifesaver. I use it on my computer more than my phone, but it has saved me in several incidences. Download Evernote on your laptop or phone – it’s got a fabulously functioning free version – and then download it to all your other devices. You can quickly clip articles, make notes, save pictures or recipes and tons of other great stuff with the click of a button. I use it in my research – I find a great article, but I have to run to a meeting, I just click the clip article button and it saves to my Evernote notebook. Later, I can access it on any of my devices: laptops, PC, iPad or iPhone and once it is stored in your Evernote notebook, you don’t have to have internet access to view the article. I used to email myself links to articles – clogging my email box with research. No more! This app keeps everything organized and accessible for home and work, including meeting notes, recipe tips and to-do lists.

What are your favorite apps? Share in the comments below because everyone loves a good app.

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2 comments

  1. Katrina McGuire · · Reply

    You have listed some of my top favorite apps. I also enjoy Trulia, road ninja, score mobile, instagram, grocery IQ, and Pandora.
    *Trulia-house hunting, real-estate comparisons
    *Road Ninja/ Trip advisor – hotel deals when traveling
    *Score mobile- summary of football games so that I can keep up with the “guy” conversations during work
    *instagram- addicted! Photo editing and sharing
    * grocery IQ- electronic grocery list I can share with my husband
    *pandora/spirit- I use these to listen to music that matches my mood.
    *all recipes- for those nights when I do not know what to cook for dinner.
    *scan pages- for when I am sitting in the doctor’s office and I run across a magazine article that I want to keep.

    1. Awesome apps – Thanks for sharing!! Grocery IQ is definitely one I’m going to try!

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