Developer: Anywise Enterprise, LLC
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.8

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

There is nothing quite as annoying as walking into a gym with a spiral notebook and a pen. I’ve tried it multiple times, and although competing against your old best lift is motivating, taking the time to write down stats is not. It especially becomes a pain to have to find a place for the notebook when you just want to play a pick up game of basketball or to have a quick racquetball tourney. I recently found Gym Buddy in the app store and decided to give it a shot.

Gym Buddy, in a nutshell, is essentially a pen and paper replacement for the iPhone of iPod Touch. It lets you enter in individual exercises into a list and then distribute the exercises into a complete workout. There is a nice sized list of exercises already imported, but most people will need to spend a small amount of time importing their own list. Once you have your list done, and you’ve created your own workout, its off to the gym.

The program is quite simple to use once you get to the gym. Since most people use their iPhones for music anyway (by the way, music keeps playing while Gym Buddy is open), finding a place to store the device between sets becomes a non-issue. Once you get to the weights all there is to do is enter the weight lifted and the amount of reps completed, and then you are on to the next set or the next exercise in the workout. When you complete a set, the program tells you the one rep max for the workout and spins around a bit if you beat your previous one rep max. There are a few features that the program adds to make your workout a bit more streamlined, such as a timer for you to use between sets… you know, to prevent yourself from becoming lazy, and the previous lift box that lets you see how you are doing compared to previous lifts.

After the workout is completed, Gym Buddy provides all sorts of analysis on the workouts. The feature I use the most is the graph, which graphs my one rep max progression through each workout. There is also a ranker, which gives tells you your lifting ranks by exercise. It’s great to see what you need to beat on your next gym trip, although I guess it could also be discouraging to see that you may never beat your one rep max from that day you drank two pots of coffee. Gym Buddy even lets you enter your workouts into a spreadsheet format for some nice non-iPhone analysis. As of now, the spreadsheet only works in Excel (lame), but in an e-mail, the developer assured me that a Numbers template would come out soon. I’m hoping sooner than later.

The important thing to know about Gym Buddy is that someone who already knows how to properly exercise and already has some sort of exercise plan in mind should use it. Unlike some of the other workout apps, this one doesn’t show you how to perform exercises and it doesn’t give you any workout tips. It is only meant to replace the pen and paper, which for someone like me who just wants to track data, is perfect. I don’t want a bloated app that reminds me how to do a squat, I just want to squat.

Gym Buddy does what it does quite well, but there are still a few tweaks that I would like to see in the next version. First off, I would like to see a better tracking system for exercises that don’t necessarily depend on weight, such as pull-ups and pushups. Instead of making me enter in weight and reps to calculate a 1-rep max, I would rather just enter in how many pull-ups I completed so I can try to beat that amount the next time. There is nothing stopping me from just entering the reps and no weight, but I’ve grown quite fond of seeing the screen spin when I beat my last score. Right now I am just putting in my body weight as the weight, but when I’m doing a pushup, I’m not really sure that I’m lifting an entire 190 pounds. I would also like to see some of the buttons become a bit easier to click on. Nothing major, but occasionally after a lift I have to push some of the buttons a few times to get the button pushed. Also, as previously stated, I would also like to see some Numbers support. I know, I know, it’s coming… I’m just not patient.

I’ve been using Gym Buddy for a few weeks now and I can easily say that it is one of my top 5 most used apps. My workouts have gotten better and I can finally see real workout progress. I would recommend this app to anyone that has any gym experience and already has a workout in mind that they want to track (it’s a gym tracker after all, not a personal trainer). The app looks nice, works well, and is updated often…, which to me is the most that I can expect from any app out there.

Posted in: Health & Fitness, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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