Gaming & Tech: Reviews Of Our Top Fun & Healthy Apps To Get You Fit In 2013
I actually bought one of the “The One” FitBits shortly after Christmas and I haven’t been let down one bit. (pun intended) It’s a small device the size of my thumb that slides onto a silicone clip I slide on my bra (in the front middle so I don’t feel it) and it works silently, measuring my every move. It’s is unnervingly accurate, but that is the point. It knows when you are sleeping; it knows when you’re awake…but doesn’t leave any presents. And it transmits via Bluetooth to both your phone and computer without doing anything on your part. It is compatible with both iPhones and Android and can used simultaneously with the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale.
When I open up the Dashboard on their website I am greeted with all of my data. I can enter in my foods, which has a pretty extensive database, as well as adding in new ones with ease. This helps you know your input/output of calories and where you might need to step it a notch physically or tone it down a little in the kitchen. The standard goal is 10,000 steps per day. You can adjust thing, as well as all of the settings to suit your own physical needs. I like how you can set up a weight management feature to help you maintain or burn the optimal amount of calories depending on your own personal goals.
The FitBit itself has a small button that turns on an LED display where I am greeted with phrases like, “I like you,” or “ Hi There Fatty”. Oh, and before you think the little gadget will call you “Fatty” also, it won’t. During setup it asks you what name you would like to go by and I chose “Fatty”. It is a long standing nickname for everyone in our house anytime someone goes to eat something realllllly fattening; like doughnuts (It’s an inside joke despite any of us being obese.) The display has a flower that grows when you are active and dwindles down to hardly anything when you need to pick up the pace, tells you a base caloric burn, steps taken, miles gone, floors climbed and even has a silent alarm that can set to waken you gently in the morning, while tucked in snuggly into the cloth wrist band for sleeping that comes along with the Fitbit.
Zombies, Run! & Zombies 5k
by Six to Start
While neither of these apps are free (but totally worth it), they are a must have for people like me who need motivation to work out and love to game. If you have ever played a real time strategy (RTS) game and like it, then you will love this app.
Let’s look at the Zombies, Run! App first. This is a RTS game where walking/running is the only way to play the game and save your life. While it says you can run on a treadmill, this game is best left to the great outdoors where you can get a real sense for the hordes of zombies creeping to find you. Here is a description from their website:
[quote style=”2″]You are Runner 5. Hundreds of lives are counting on you. You’ve got to help your base rebuild from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes. Can you save them and learn the truth about the zombie apocalypse?
Even better, you can create your own custom playlists before you start running: the story unfolds in between your tracks through a series of dynamic radio messages and voice recordings.[/quote]
When you are out running you will automatically pick up items needed to help back at “home” such as medical supplies, ammo, and batteries, but then the real strategy comes into play…who gets what? With over 40 stories, you can go long periods in between ever hearing the same story and they have had such success with this app, I bet it won’t be long before even more are added. Bonus: it automatically syncs to the Zombielink online to show you your runs, links, zombies evaded, and recaps your progress.
Zombie 5k training is a new app in their Zombie lineup and like the Zombies, Run!, syncs with your music to help you become a vital member in one of the only last outposts of humanity, Able Township. This is an 8 week training program that can be extended by repeating weeks, is build much like the couch-to-5 k programs and where the person starting out is normally those who get winded just by getting their shoes on. (Don’t laugh, I was like that once.) It shows you how to have proper form while running and each mission is clearly laid out. Example: Week 1 Workout 1 Mission Tasks – 10min Walking, 1 min walking then 15 seconds slow run (repeat 10 times), 10 min free form run. Really, it is so easy anyone of any fitness level can do it. Each workout gives you a part of the story and in between songs tells you what is happening. Once you are finished it will automatically sync with the Zombielink and you can check your status, the story, and share your logs.
Sit Ups/ Squats/ Push Ups/Diet Assistant-Weight Loss
by Alportela Labs
I went through many apps before finding these four separate ones that just happen to all be by the same developer. Why did I choose these specific ones? Because I am the type of person, that even as an adult, I need reminded to do something at least 7 times before doing something because I always have at least a dozen events going on at any given time. (Explains why my blog wasn’t consistent last year!) But I am working on it as part of my 2013 resolution.
These four apps are all on my phone and being used every day. My favorite part of using these apps is I can set reminders for each one and space them out throughout the day so I don’t feel like I have to allot an entire 2 hours of my day to working out. I can set aside 10 minutes before breakfast for some sit ups, 10 minutes before lunch for pushups, and 10 minutes before dinner for some squats. Another nice thing is I don’t have to use each program separately. By hitting the menu I can access all three workouts and the Diet Asst. in the same screen.
The Diet Assistant was phenomenal. I have been using SparkPeople since 2010, but while I like this app, I don’t think I’ll replace my SparkPeople just yet. The first thing I liked about this app when setting it up was the “OMG the Diet Plans” galore! They have them for everything. I’m so used to the typical ones- low carb, vegetarian, Atkins, low-calorie, diabetic. Diet Asst. has over 15 plans ranging from Soup Lover, Pescetarian, Cleansing, and low Glycemic Index and you can add your own(which is what I always do because I have a simple palate), which is only available as an option with the paid app for only $2.99.The shopping list in integrated with your diet plan so as you change your diet plan, so does your shopping list. When used as a package, all four of these apps are great! Again, I have no idea if these apps are in the App Store, as I am not a fan of iAnything.
I have been using Sparkpeople.com and their app since 2010 and after having tried numerous other programs and apps, this one takes the cake. It is aesthetically appealing, easy to use, and an all in one package when it comes to keeping track of your food, workout, and measurements given easy to read reports to help keep you motivated, including a barcode feature for foods.
It is also a program that uses the reward system where you can earn badges for completing tasks and meeting your goals. Another great feature is the food tracker with over 2 million foods already in the database, I rarely ever have to input the data for new foods. Major time saver and plus! Down side is I often forget to add food, workouts, and over all, just log in. If they simply added an alarm feature to remind me to stop being lazy, I’d be a better user. If you have a teenager at home, they have a sparkteens.com site geared for just teens as they have different needs, goals, and stories that don’t usually fit within the adult spectrum of health and weight management. I am unsure if this app is on available for iPhone’s but you can visit the Google Store for screenshots, reviews, and more information.