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October 8, 2013 at 12:22 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

5 Free Fitness Apps (In Varying Degrees of Awesomeness)

By Dayton from SLN More Blogs by This Author

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Achieving optimal fitness isn't free. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Luckily, there are some free apps to help you along the way.

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#1. Fitness Buddy:

Available Here: http://fitnessbuddyapp.com/

Fitness Buddy is an exercise-centric app that gives the user a vast array of workouts that can be used in a gym or in the comforts of your own home. It packs an insane amount of information into a highly user-friendly package and is incredibly well-rounded as weight-lifting is concerned. The target audience isn’t just body builders either; Fitness Buddy has a plethora of exercises that are based solely on body weight and others that are aimed at heavier lifting. Altogether, the free version of this app has just over 300 different exercises to choose from, while the paid version offer mores than 1,700! Each exercise has a basic description of the form that should be used and a brief 2-frame animation that shows how a specific exercise should be executed - a huge plus for novices. Along with the workouts, the app includes 9 tailored routines for specific needs and the ability to create custom routines.

Unfortunately, it limits the user to creating only 2 custom routines, which sucks pretty hard because it doesn’t let you group specific workouts any other way. The long-term usability is slightly hindered by the lack of keeping a history (unless you upgrade to pro), and the free version only allows 5 past exercises to be posted on the calendar/timeline. Fitness Buddy also has no diet function, something that is essential for fitness goals.

Pros:

  • Huge library of high-quality exercises

  • Easy-to-follow exercise instructions

  • User friendly

  • Separates exercises by workout apparatus (barbell, machine, bodyweight etc.)

Cons:

  • Can only create 2 custom workouts

  • Can’t track history

  • No diet function

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#2. Livestrong:

Available Here: http://www.livestrong.com/mobile-apps/

Livestrong is the polar opposite of Fitness Buddy. There are absolutely no exercises that are included; it’s strictly a tracker of weight gain or loss. Though this function is necessary, I almost felt that this app should be an add-on to Fitness Buddy. There just isn’t a lot of information to enrich your fitness.

That said, the tracking function looks immaculate. Everyday, there is a calorie goal, and every meal, every glass of water, and every calorie torched should be entered on a daily basis. This can be done by manually inserting the calorie/protein/fat/carbs or simply by scanning the label of whatever you’re eating - assuming it has one. Also, custom meals can be created with the items you tend to eat on a regular basis, which is extremely convenient. Re-entering every fact about the breakfast you eat every morning would get tedious if not for this functionality.

Pros:

  • Great tracking functions

  • Easy-to-read graphs that show progress/regression

  • Cool scanning features

Cons:

  • No real exercise functionality

  • No diet guidelines other than number of calories to consume

  • Lacking versatility

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#3. Runtastic: 

Available Here: https://www.runtastic.com/en/apps

I was a bit disappointed by this app. The free version is basically just a stopwatch attached to a janky GPS interface. While sitting at my desk over the course of about 3 minutes, the app told me that I had traveled around .03 miles, or 154 feet. So I think it’s safe to say that the GPS tracking functionality is a little off. Also, I don’t get why there are exercises like “strength training” in here when it measures the calories burned based on distance and time?

Pro:

  • Good running function to track distance and calories

Cons:

  • Too much work to operate

  • Most features are locked in the free version

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#4. Workout Trainer:

Available Here: https://www.skimble.com/

I had mixed emotions about this app. When I opened it the first time, I got a log in screen, much like most exercise apps, but unlike the others, I didn’t have the option to decline registration while retaining use of the app. I hate feeling like I'm setting myself up for junk mail for the next year of my life.

After I bit the bullet and registered, though, I immediately fell in love with it. The app is easier to use than a brick during a break-in, and the content is quality. Workout Trainer focuses more on workouts as a whole, but at the same time, doesn’t lack high-quality exercises to incorporate in said workout. After picking a workout from their large library, it takes you through it in real-time. A timer is started, and a “trainer” is there to guide and encourage you as you go through the entire workout. Much like Fitness Buddy, it also provides animations of how an exercise should be performed.

There are a few pitfalls, though. Cruising through the expanse of the app shows tons of recommended programs; the only problem is that they all cost - like $10 for a workout plan. Why would anyone pay such an absurd amount when all of this information (and MORE) is available on the Internet? Furthermore, the real-time coaching just isn’t enough for me, there's no way of tracking progress, which I feel like should be included.

Pros:

  • Great exercises,

  • User-friendly

  • Easy-to-follow instructions

  • Awesome workout filtering system

  • Large library of things to do

Cons:

  • I’m not paying 10 freaking dollars for a workout plan... Stop asking

  • No way to track my awesomeness or failures

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#5. Fitocracy:

Available Here: https://www.fitocracy.com

Fitocracy is a completely different animal than any of the other apps. It doesn’t really outline specific exercises but awards you points for achievements and completing “quests.” The achievements include things like “Beast Mode Bench” (performing a barbell bench press for at least 1.1 x bodyweight). Quests include things like “a weekend with nature” (hiking 6 miles on some light hills).

The thing I hate about it is the social aspect! Again, I am REQUIRED to sign up and make a profile. There are tabs to chat with other people that have the same app, as well as the functionality to make “friends.” Hate.

Pros:

  • Innovative concept

  • Tons of positive reinforcement

  • Works well for casual exercising

  • User-friendly.

Cons:

  • Required registration

  • Social weirdness

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2 Comments

  • I love Fitocracy, but the points are worthless. It would be much more awesome if I could put those points to use. Say buying whey protein or new running shoes.

    One that you should checkout is gympact. It's purely for motivational purposes, but it pays you for completing your weekly pact and charges you when you miss a day. I use it and I haven't missed a workout since. Also sometime I forget to log my workout so I have to do an extra one. hahaha

  • How do they pay out that money, Garchow? Do members have to pay in a certain amount first to create some sort of escrow account for Gympact?

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