Pros and cons of fitness apps for the modern lazy lady
By Sharon Miki, Contributor
Life’s cruelest irony: just because you’re now expected to spend all of your waking hours studying, etcetera, doesn’t mean that your body will pause in its bikini-model-level fitness state until next summer. What’s a college girl to do? Can we turn to our most ubiquitous modern method of problem solving—the smartphone app—for help?
Since the ancient days of smartphones, people have been turning to apps to solve their life’s problems—and fitness/weight-loss is one of the heaviest problems for many folks. Whether your goal is to improve your fitness level, track your progress, or drop a few pounds, apps like MyFitnessPal, Endomondo Sports Tracker, and Lose It! can be installed on your phone to help you meet your goals.
While the idea of having a little dumbbell icon invading the otherwise pristine landscape of your iOS may seem uncool, fitness apps have many benefits. Perhaps most obviously, fitness apps are ultra convenient. Because most of us have our phone on hand at all times, you will almost never find yourself without your “personal trainer.” With features like GPS tracking in many apps (for example, Endomondo tracks precisely the distance you run in a session), you can know exactly how far you go in a workout, which can provide some much needed motivation.
Similarly, these apps refuse to let you use your student budget as an excuse to avoid fitness: most health and physical activity apps are free or cost only a few dollars as a one-time investment—you’re not paying hundreds of dollars a month for personal training or weight-loss coaching programs. Coupled with students’ free access (well, free-ish—access is included in your student fees) to Douglas College fitness facilities, having a training app like Nike Training Club, which offers detailed workout routines, on your phone means you can train like a pro for next to no dollars.
So fitness apps seem pretty great—what’s the downside?
Sadly, if you’re a lazy bitch like me, fitness apps might not be the prescription for everlasting fitness and an ass like Beyoncé’s. Just having something on your phone doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to use it if you lack sufficient motivation. Personally, I spent so much time congratulating myself on just downloading these apps that I totally forgot to log into them for weeks. Net calorie burn? Approximately seven, from clicking on the “install now” buttons.
For some, the opposite may become an issue. Obsessively tracking calories in and out (as you do with top fitness apps like Lose It! and Noom Weight Loss Coach) can become a trigger for compulsive and disordered behaviours that may not be healthy in the longterm.
Want to check out some health and fitness apps? Here are my top Health & Fitness app picks for iPhone and Android:
1. Nike Training Club (Free)
2. Couch-to-5K ($1.99 US)
3. Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (MyFitnessPal) (Free)
1. Noom Weight Loss Coach (Free)
2. Endomondo Sports Tracker ($4.99)
3. Lose It! (Free)