Over the past couple of years I’ve used a variety of apps to try and lose weight. I would have a running app that I used exclusively for outdoor running, a different running app that I used to track elliptical and treadmill workouts, a couple of gym apps to track weightlifting, and a variety of other apps to track a variety of other things.
Each app worked well but trying to keep track of which app to use in which circumstance became more trouble than it was worth. When I fell off the health wagon some time ago I wiped out most of those apps from my phone. They served as a reminder that I had failed and I didn’t like that.
In May of this year I had enough and needed to do something to climb out of a state of depression. I wanted to get healthy, lose weight, and be active with my family. Instead of diving in head first like I had in previous attempts, I took a little time to come up with a plan.
Once my plan was in place, I needed a way to track progress. I headed back to the Apple App Store and downloaded a couple of apps to streamline the process. Unlike the last time, I kept the list very small. In fact, I only have three dedicated fitness related apps on my list of 5 Apps that helped me lose 25 pounds. The remaining two are apps that aren’t fitness related but have been an immense help in my weight loss journey.
When it comes to weight loss apps, MyFitnessPal has become more or less the gold standard. It is a rather robust app that monitors calories in versus calories out to help individuals create weight loss goals.
It has a very diverse food database which can be searched using text or your phone’s camera to scan barcodes on pre-packaged foods. Not all dietary information is accurate so be mindful of the values as you add them into your food diary.
Another nice feature is the social aspect of the app. You can add friends and support one another along your respective journeys. I’ve found this feature to be especially beneficial in the last couple of months.
Fitbit is a bit different from the other apps on this list because it requires the use of a tracker. I own a Fitbit Charge HR (which I upgraded from a Fitbit Flex) which syncs to the app to monitor steps throughout the day. I have a couple of friends that have the app tied to their iPhones to track steps but I can’t speak for how well it works in that case.
When paired with a Fitbit Activity Tracker, the Fitbit app allows you to get a clear picture of just how active you are on a given day. It was a serious eye opener for me, as someone with a desk job, as to how little I was actually moving during the course of a normal day.
In addition to activity tracking the app also has a social feature which allows you to setup challenges between friends. By using challenges I was able to stoke my competitive drive and increase my step count considerably.
In my case, I also have my Fitbit app synced to my MyFitnessPal account to create a more accurate picture of caloric burn throughout the day. In my opinion this creates a more accurate measurement for calories in versus calories out.
When it comes to strength training, Jefit is my app of choice for tracking gym sessions. With it you can build a custom workout and track your progress along the way. Adding exercises to your routine is easy, just pull up a menu that is sorted by muscle group and select the appropriate exercise from the list.
Not sure how to perform a given exercise? Not a problem, just tap the image from within the app and a new tab opens up where you’ll see an animated image with tips on how to properly perform the movement.
For those of us that aren’t at the point where we are comfortable building out own workout routines, the app has an extensive database. You can choose from a large list of public routines (made by others users) or select featured routines created by Jefit staff.
I know what you’re thinking “What does a selfie / food porn app have to do with weight loss?” Well, let me tell you…
Several weeks ago I created Instagram Account for Slimming Down Dad. It was supposed to be a way for me to connect with users and promote the podcast. As I started playing with hashtags and searching for a variety of things, I found a pretty incredible community out there.
Search the #WeightLossJourney hashtag and you’ll find all kind of photos and videos of people in the process of losing weight and getting healthy. Instagram has become a very useful motivational tool and has allowed me to connect with interesting individuals.
The last spot on my list was actually a tossup between Pandora Internet Radio and the iOS Podcast App. I use both equally and don’t think I could get through a gym session without them.
The bottom line is that I don’t keep much in the way of music on my phone. As a result, I need a streaming service to provide entertainment while I’m churning away on the treadmill or provide driving music when I’m about to lift some heavy weights.
These days streaming music services are interchangeable but I’ve been a Pandora One Subscriber for several years. Whatever service you use, just make sure commercials are limited as they can really kill the moment.