[Image Source: Wikipedia]
The gym can be an intimidating place at times. I’m now at a point where I’m pretty comfortable with my gym and my fitness levels (although they could always be improved!), but it’s taken a little while to get there. While I’ve had one personal training session with an expert who set me up with a good plan, much of it has come down to me figuring out what works best for me. That’s where a selection of iOS apps have really helped, both by providing me with useful advice and somewhere to store my workouts, and by giving me something to distract myself with between exercises. Here’s a look at a few of my recommendations.
It gets confusing describing workouts as "70x15x3 Leg Press." I started out by entering this all in on my Notes app, but there are better ways.
One such option is Fitness Intervals, recently updated with Apple Watch connectivity. It’s not much to look at, which might seem a little intimidating at first, but it’s useful. You can use it as a timer for lifts, set up a stopwatch for a sufficiently long break, and you can set up tabata intervals. Alterntively, you can always arrange a custom workout or set up the round/rep counter, which is more useful while you’re starting out.
Gym Hero Pro follows a similar structure but it looks more appealing. You can easily use it to track sets, weights, and repetitions, all in a matter of seconds. It’ll track your progress too, and nothing can motivate you more than seeing things improve. Plus there’s a stretch and rest timer. You really can’t underestimate the importance of stretching and resting properly. It can make all the difference.
The Workouts Themselves
We’re focusing on indoor activities here, but that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to using machines all the time. Gorilla Workout is the ideal app for when you’re at home and want to exercise, or when you want to use the stretch mats and pull-up bars at the gym. It’ll target specific muscle groups, and you can easily use it to perform more pushups or burpees. You can adjust it to your ability level, too.
Alternatively, if you’re keen to do some cardio instead, Run 5k is a good starting point. There’s no shortage of Couch-to-5k style apps out there, but I found Run 5k works particularly well with treadmills thanks to using the pedometer of the iPhone 5s and above. It’s clear to see too, even when you’re moving, and it’ll give you regular encouragement. Plan to move onto RunKeeper when you make the big step outdoors.
Tracking It All
There’s one app that beats all the rest, though. Not because it offers timers or suggestions, but because it turns exercise into a game. That app is Fitocracy. It turns exercises into points that then enable you to level-up. It turns out those little things can make all the difference in making you try that bit harder. You’ll be surprised how frequently you find yourself doing just a few more push-ups because you know you’re only 25 points from levelling. Start competing with friends through the service and it’s all the more appealing.