When the Wii Fit was released it was all the rage and for good reason: it made exercise fun by turning it into a game. You earned points while working out and the ability to compete against your friends to better your score motivated you to continue. There have been many additions to the fitness “game” since then, all designed to make you come back for more while keeping it fun. Whether you’re already working out and just need a little extra motivation, or you need a serious shove off the couch, here are a few tools to get you moving.
RunKeeper (www.runkeeper.com, iPhone and Android, free) is used by more than 10 million people to track their fitness activities simply using the GPS in their phone. Not keen on location tracking? Manually enter the data off of a treadmill or stationary bike. Automatic sync with the website tracks your day-to-day progress and allows you to proudly share your accomplishments with friends via Facebook.
MapMyRUN (www.mapmyrun.com, all phone platforms, free) works in a similar fashion. Plan your route in advance using Google Maps to estimate distance, elevation and calories burned. Additionally, they send you “reminder” emails if you haven’t logged in for a few weeks – to help keep your feet moving.
Nike Training Club (iPhone, free) provides over 85 custom-built workouts so you can escape the repetition. Select your workout level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and your fitness goal (lean, toned, strong or focused). Step-by-step instructions and video demonstrations with a professional trainer are included and you can stream tunes from your favorite playlist automatically. When you’re done, you’ll receive a workout summary and rewards content only unlocked as you reach training milestones and earn badges. One word of caution: some users found the file size of this app to be pretty large, so make sure you have enough space for it.
FitBit Ultra (www.fitbit.com, $99) can really power your workout – and even your life – in ways you can’t imagine. FitBit is a small wireless device that fits in a pocket or clips to a bra, then tracks your every step and reports back your activity level for the day. The daily score that appears on your activity graph is ideal for people who compete with themselves by motivating them to take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away for the extra walk. The iPhone app allows you to log your food intake to help you reach your weight loss goal. Engage with the online FitBit community to show off the badges you’ve earned and compete to stay on top of the leader boards.
How about a nice dose of good old-fashioned peer pressure? Fitocracy (www.fitocracy.com, iPhone, free) turns your workouts into an adventure game and helps you “slay the laziness dragon.” Compete against your friends or others in the Fitocracy community to complete “quests” (smaller, more manageable workout goals) to earn funny badges you post on your profile. Level up to become a Fitocracy Hero and you’ll lord it over your friends forever.
Better yet, put your money where your sneakers are with GymPact (www.gym-pact.com, Android and iPhone, free). You commit to the number of days you’re going to visit the gym each week, then set a price that you’re willing to pay if you don’t meet your goal. Prove you made it to the gym by “checking in” on your phone each time you’re there. Miss a workout and you pay up, but make your goal and you earn a portion of the cash collected from people who missed theirs. Their website touts that “people who use GymPact make 90% of the workouts they commit to.” Now that’s motivation!
With all the great tools available to get you moving, you’re sure to find the push (or cattle prod) you’re looking for. Looking for more ways your gadgets can get you in shape? Get in touch with us at Nerd Chick Adventures.