Five apps to get you fit and healthy for summer


You can use a fitness app to help get you off the couch and out running. Picture: Mike Keating Source: Herald Sun

WITH summer just weeks away, the countdown for that beach-ready body has begun.

But many of us can't afford a personal trainer and, with life increasingly busy, we struggle to get to the gym. But don't worry, there's an app for that.

If you are new to exercise and find it difficult to get started, or simply need help counting the calories, developers have come up with ways to help.

Here?s our guide to the best technology to help get you moving, fit and healthy.

1. C25k - Couch to 5km
Price: Free
Available: iPhone and android
Star rating: ****

Struggling to get off the couch? The C25k app may be just what you need to kick start your exercise routine. It's a really simple running app which helps you slowly build up from not running at all to 5km. You have the option of building up to 5km over eight weeks (30 mins a day, three days a week) or you can go hard and skip straight to the 5km. Voice prompts tell you when to warm up, walk and run. Great if you haven?t done any exercise in a while. Although the user interface is friendly and simple, the app itself is a bit ugly - but that shouldn?t stop you from getting off the couch.

Cool features: C25K supports The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

2. Calorie Counter and Diet tracker by myfitnesspal
Price: Free
Available: iPhone, android, windows phones, blackberry
Star rating: ****

Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker is one of the best in its class. The sign up process is cumbersome, but it is worth it as this app claims to have the largest food database of any calorie counter. The food diary lets you record your food intake, track your weight loss and provides a daily progress report. With more than 30 million users it is one of the few apps that is available and works seamlessly across IOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle and Windows. It also syncs with the web. It has been cleverly created with an application programming interface (API) so that it can integrate with fitness apps ? automating the process of inputting your exercise. It integrates with popular apps such as runkeeper, fitbit tracker and Endomondo sports, and is leading the way for super apps.

Cool features: Diet with friends and a barcode scanner to add food items to your diary

3. Workout Trainer
Price: Free
Available: iPhone, android, windows phones
My star rating: ***

Now you're up and moving, it is time to get serious. Workout Trainer is a pretty cool all-round training app. It?s essentially a virtual personal trainer with step-by-step audio and visual guides. It?s a pretty busy app, and has some slightly annoying features, such as the cheesy photographs, the professional trainers? voice and the constant ?upgrade now ... buy this?. But, that said, the exercises, instructions and technique tips are really good. It also integrates with Apple TV.

Cool features: Half way through my workout, it tells me to "stay focused". I feel like it knows me.

4. Pocket Yoga
Price: ($2.99)
Available: iPhone and android
My star rating: ***

There are a number of apps for practicing yoga, both free and for pay, but Pocket Yoga is the best as it seems to do it all. It guides you through your yoga practice with visual instructions and relaxing yoga music. It has three different practices, three difficulty levels and three durations. You can play music from your iPod library in place of the default music, and it allows you to log your yoga practices to track progress. Not being able to easily fast forward through a practice is frustrating, but then that is probably the whole point.

Cool feature: The most appealing of the yoga apps, with 27 different sessions

5. Waterlogged
Price: Free
Available: IPhone
My star rating: ****

After all that working out make sure you hydrate. Waterlogged is an alerts and tracking app that reminds you to drink water and tracks your water intact. It really does do exactly what it says on the tin. Just be aware that the alert sounds like someone going to the toilet, which can be slightly embarrassing when sitting in a quiet office.

Cool features: It always gets an awkward giggle when the alert goes off in a meeting

Kelly Slessor is a mobile marketing specialist and director of BanterMob (Mobile Marketing Strategy and Implementation)


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