• New Yearís Resolutions App Round-Up: Part 1 - Lose Weight and Get Fit

    2012 is over and a lot of you will be thinking about the year thatís passed. Did you keep any of the resolutions you made this same time last year? No? Well, worry not. Here are some apps thatíll make sure you donít skip out on your 2013 resolutions.

    For our first set of apps, we're going to look at a very common New Year's resolution:

    Lose weight and get fit

    We all want to get the best start to the year and most of us think that, in order to have the best year, we need to be the best possible version of ourselves. But then youíll get to thinking about what exactly that entails: calorie counting, exercise regime planning, working off all that food from the holidays Ö you might need some help with this resolution. Enter the apps.

    Eat this not that

    With most of the apps on this list, those that are American based have been cut (it would be a near endless list otherwise). This is one of the few exceptions, and for good reason. Eat This Not That takes a novel approach to informing people about what they should and shouldnít be eating.

    Youíll be given two options between two meals from fast-food restaurants, most of which are US-only, although youíll find a few that have made their way across the Pacific to our shores. Donít fret about that too much though, as the basic knowledge that you get from the app transcends national borders.

    In casual gameplay, each answer will be greeted with a short explanation about why one meal is healthier than the other. If you read these youíll learn about what to avoid when you go out to eat, even if youíre not going to a Dairy Queen or Quiznos. If you want to test out your knowledge, you can try your hand at the speed mode, with or without hints.

    Itís a simple app with very straightforward game mechanics but the lessons are useful and deal with real-world eating habits; a lot of weight gain can be attributed to fast-food. You donít have to cut it out entirely if youíre trying to lose weight, you just have to be smart about how much and which kinds of it you let yourself eat. This app can help you learn that to make sure that you can still enjoy take-out without having to worry too much about your waistline.

    While the idea of the app is innovative and works well, the execution leaves a little to be desired. My biggest fault with the app was on the choose mode screen - the display shrinks down to half vertically and you canít read the description of each mode. Other than that though, I quite liked the quirky colour scheme and the authentic food pictures made a pleasant change from the picture-perfect ad versions.


    As with any of these apps, theyíre only as good as your own will and determination. If youíre not fully committed to this goal, then no app will be able to help you. Having said that, some apps do make losing weight, and keeping it off, easier than others.

    MyFitnessPal offers a comprehensive database of foodstuffs that is compiled by users. Itíll tell you a whole bunch of nutritional info about the food you eat, including the amount of calories it contains.

    Thereís even a handy barcode scanner thatíll let you know what exactly it is youíre putting in your mouth without you having to do too much work to find out. MyFitnessPal works quite dependably and reliably. The database is impressive and you can always input your own options for items you frequently consume or meals that you make regularly.

    Even if youíre not the type to count calories, MyFitnessPal can offer you tracking for your weight gains/loses, allowing you to measure and store your weight over time. You can even measure waist, neck and hip size to really keep track of how your body is changing.

    To top it off, the app can also track your exercise, although not as reliably as it can your caloric intake. Input the duration and type of physical activity and the app will not only store that, but minus it from your calorie count too. You can then view your physical activity and dietary logs for the week or month and thus measure your progress.

    What can keep you from succeeding in this endeavour is ignoring MyFitnessPalís social aspects - American studies have found that those who lose weight in group conditions lose more weight and keep it off longer. Invite your friends to try the app and connect with them. Having someone to keep you accountable other than just to yourself can make all the difference.

    Nike Training Club

    So youíve learnt about what to eat and what not to, youíve got an app to track your calories and now you just need to know how to maximise your exercise time with a routine that both fits into your schedule and helps you lose those crummy kilos. Enter Nike Training Club.

    Neither of the apps above are specifically designed for men or women alone, but Nikeís Training Club is a girls-only affair. Sorry guys. While I assume that some of the workouts included could be beneficial for males as well, the exercises are mostly engineered with women in mind.

    You can choose what sort of workout you want to do (lean, toned, strong, focused) and if youíre a beginner, intermediate or advanced worker-outer. You can even choose if you want to focus on a particular part of your body (in the ĎGet Focusedí section). Then you can pick from a sizable list of individual workout routines. Each maneuver will even have a time listed so you know how long your workout will take, complete with allocated rest periods.

    Each workout will tell you how long you should be doing it for and will give you step by step instructions with pictures to help you out. If you really canít get your head around what to do, thereís a video in there too.

    Itís simple, itís easy to use and itís free. Even if youíre not trying to lose weight and you just want to stay fit, you canít go wrong with a 30 minute workout to help you tone up your muscles.

    The only gripe I had with this app is that it hasnít been updated to the new iPhone 5 screen size, but then again, only MyFitnessPal has been. Other than that, itís a stellar app that could really help you out.

    There are plenty more in the App Store than just these but if you're looking for a place to start you should definitely check out these three. As with any major undertaking, you're going to have to undergo a bit of trial and error until you find an app, or set of apps, that'll work best for you.

    Kelly Vieira is currently undertaking her Masters at UTS (well, not currently since classes are on break, but you get the idea) and working at MobilePhonefinder.com.au, writing all about the iPhone 5 and other exciting mobile handsets. She also writes about mobile plans - in fact, she's written about them on Lifehacker! Catch her on her Twitter @_kellycvieria.
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