Free smart phone apps help get you in shape

January 3, 2013 3:44:01 PM PST
Getting fit for the New Year is always a big New Year's resolution. Most of us can't afford a personal trainer or a nutritionist, but those experts may be available in the palm of your hand.

It's amazing what a smart phone can do, including help you get in shape. Because there are thousands of apps, we found the best of the best that even personal trainers can recommend.

The motto at Home Body Fitness is "relationship, encouragement and results." Clients get that one-on-one attention. While it's nice to have a personal trainer, the experts there say you can get great results using your mobile phone.

Jason Greenhaw said, "The old fashioned days of writing a log down and having to look up in your book, those days are over.

Greenhaw says there are hundreds of health and fitness apps. His personal favorite is a free app called My Fitness Pal.

"It's going to hold you accountable," he said.

The app is like a virtual diet and fitness community with a goal of providing users with the tools and support to reach weight loss goals.

"It gives you encouragement throughout the day," Greenhaw said. "At the end of the day, you can hit summary and it tells you how many of grams of everything had, how many calories you had, if you met your goal, or if you went over or you went under."

The next free app is called Run Keeper. It will track your run using GPS technology. You instantly get detailed stats regarding your pace, distance, time and calories burned.

"You can calculate your cycling, your mountain biking, walking," Greenhaw explained.

If you can't afford a personal trainer, the next two apps can help. The first is called Fitness Builder and works with the equipment you have.

"This gives you different workouts with body weight, if you only have one dumbbell, if you have a stability ball," said personal trainer Justin Wythe.

Personal trainer Donovan Schreiber's favorite app is called Nike Training Club and it has a selection of workouts.

He said, "You can get lean, you can tone, you can get stronger or you can focus certain specific muscle groups."

We tested the Nike training app. It times out each exercise and even offers video instruction, making the process really easy to understand. In 15 minutes I was able to follow all the instructions using my smart phone.

If you have never worked out with weights before, our experts say it's good to work out with a professional to learn proper form and technique when using free weights and machines.

Fitness Builder will offer a free trial with the hopes you will purchase the full version, and the other apps are completely free, although they may have some ads. The Nike app offers a store and of course the models are wearing all Nike apparel.