Trying to get fit? Look no further than your smartphone to help you set some proper goals, track your progress and share your results online with your friends or app community.
Here are 10 popular and totally free diet and fitness apps that will teach you how to get started with a healthy lifestyle and keep you motivated along the way.
1. Lose It!
Lose It! is a personal favorite of mine. If you want a web-based fitness community to kick your butt and get you motivated, this one is a must to try. You can join groups, add friends, comment on other users' profiles or logged activities, participate in events and so much more. Lose It! is a calorie tracking app that calculates a daily calorie budget to you based on your personal stats and goals, and provides you with a built-in library of foods and exercise activities to use for daily logging. Lose It! is available on the web and also for iOS and Android devices.
Similar to Lose It!, MyFitnessPal is another hugely popular app and online community that can track your calories and activity so you can reach your fitness goals. You can interact with other users, set your goals based on your personal information and choose from its library of over 3 million food items for your all your daily tracking needs. MyFitnessPal is available on the web, for iOS and for Android.
Have you checked out About.com's very own calorie tracking app? Calorie Count has offered an incredible wealth of nutritional information and online community for years on the web, and now, you can get it on your mobile device too. You can log your food by voice, use the barcode scanner on food products, get a closer look at nutrition with food grades and pros/cons and so much more. Calorie Count is available on the web as it's always been, and now there are apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
4. FitocracyFitocracy is a complete fitness social network that acts as your very own daily workout tracker and coach, with over 900 different exercises you can follow for strength, cardio and ab training. Users are called "Fitocrats" who can help motivate you through your own journey. You can follow other Fitocrats for daily inspiration, join challenges, get help from those how are experienced or even launch a one-on-one duel if you're feeling super competitive. You can get Fitocracy on the web, and on both iOS and Android.
Next time you go grocery shopping, get ready to use the Fooducate app. This nifty app uses your device's camera to scan the barcodes of food products and returns grades based on the product’s ingredients and nutritional components. For example, one brand of bread may be graded with a C- due to refined flour, while another type of bread may be graded at an A- for including whole wheat flour. You can also search for food products by name or category within the app, see product highlights (good and bad) or compare products so you can choose healthier alternatives. You can get it for both iPhone and Android as well as on the regular web.
If you have a hard time getting to the gym, Pact may bring all the motivation you may need to get yourself off the couch and on the treadmill. With Pact, you are required to pledge working out for a certain number of times per week. The app tracks your workouts by location-based software, requiring you to check-in at your gym when you get there. If you fulfill all your workouts, you can earn money. If you don’t, you lose money, costing you whatever the amount you pledged when you first signed up. (Pact requires you to enter your credit card information upon sign-up, which charges you the amount you pledge if you miss a gym workout.)
Don’t even think about cheating with a drive-by check-in! Pact tracks your location for at least 30 minutes after you check-in. So if you’re motivated by the thought earning a little extra money to help pay for your gym membership, GymPact would be a stellar app choice for you. Available for iOS and Android.
If you have any one of the Fitbit activity tracker gadgets, you're going to want to get the mobile app that goes with it. In addition to tracking activity, you can set your daily calorie target, which updates itself automatically as you log meals and snacks in the app. Log all of your food, water, workouts, and extra activities on the go, even if you’re offline. Choose from foods and activities stored in the database or add your own custom entries, and compete with your friends on the app leaderboard. There's an Android app and an iOS app, and you can also access your account from the web.
If running is your thing, you might be surprised by what the RunKeeper app can really do in terms of tracking your runs while creating a complete health and wellness plan for you. Instead of purchasing an expensive GPS watch, RunKeeper gives you comparable results completely free of charge. The Health Graph integrates a variety of health factors like GPS tracking, Wi-Fi body scales, heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring devices, eating habits, workout activities and even social interaction with other users to help you track and better understand how your health and fitness choices can impact your goals. Available for iOS and Android.
9. GAIN Fitness
The GAIN Fitness app creates a totally personalized workout plan for you based on the expertise of real, certified trainers. People who don’t have the money to hire actual personal trainers, work demanding jobs, travel a lot or have irregular schedules could really benefit from an app like this. The app comes with over 700 workout activities including strength training, plyometrics, calisthenics, yoga and custom-tailored workouts. In addition, the app looks great on the iPhone and the user interface is relatively easy to use for almost anybody wanting to get started right away with it. Unfortunately, there is only an iOS app for this one at this time and no version for Android yet.
The Nike Training Club app creates a personalized workout for you and teaches you different exercises using a combination of photos, videos and print instructions. The app requires you to choose your workout goals and then selects an appropriate workout regime for you. For example, you may want to focus on particular muscle groups in terms of strength and toning. The app will then select the best exercises that target those areas. As you persist through your workout regime with the help of the Nike Training Club app, you can earn points to gain access to additional workouts as well as recipes. You can also configure your workouts to run with your music library and create a log to track your progress. It's available for iOS and Android.