With so many apps on the market, it is often hard to know which ones are worth trying. In today’s world of fast-paced competition, noise, and distraction, it sometimes seems like every app promises life-changing benefits when the reality is that most of them add to life’s everyday clutter. Filling up your phone’s memory with unneeded junk is certainly not the path to enhanced productivity.
Especially when it comes to fitness apps, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the wide array of choices. While many apps promise a fun workout experience or a perfect body in only ten minutes a day, it is easy to get bored and forget about checking in after only a few sessions. In fact, when it comes to working out, a fitness app that is difficult to use or overly persistent with reminders might make working out feel even more like a chore. Here are a few tips for evaluating whether an app will boost your performance before you waste time and bandwidth.
How easy is it to use?
With so many fitness apps on the market, there is a lot of pressure on app developers to continually add more services and features. While those extra features might make an app seem more attractive at first, there is a downside. If an app is clunky or complicated to use, you are more likely to abandon it for something else. Keep in mind that, sometimes, what makes an app inconvenient is not immediately apparent.
For example, a calorie counter built into a fitness app that tracks your running route might seem like a useful tool at first. However, if the calorie counter is constantly reminding you to make updates, or you continually have to navigate past the calorie intake screen to get to the mapping feature (even if it’s a few swipes), then you might be better off without it.
When it comes to choosing a fitness app, start simple. Think about your specific goals and try to imagine what features might help get you there, such as keeping track of gym reps, quick workout routines in your pocket, or audio feedback that provides your splits. Then find an app that provides only those features in an easy to use format. While it’s easy to be tempted away from your first-choice app by extra features offered by a competitor, remember that those extra features might become a burden in the long run, and one of the best ways to boost your performance is to stay focused.
Do you need an extra push?
Most apps today come with an option to receive workout reminders, either as notifications on your phone or in a dedicated email. Just like the extra features discussed above, this might seem like an attractive option at first, but too many reminders can become a distraction. When installing your account, set realistic goals for yourself and then commit to them. You’ll be more likely to stick with an app, and a workout routine, for the long term if your initial experience is a positive one. For those with specific performance goals in mind, choose an app that lets you schedule your workouts exactly as you would on paper. Jetfit is a great option for those logging time at machines in the gym, while Runtastic is ideal for outdoor workouts.
If you think you might need even more motivation to achieve your workout goals, many fitness apps include a social aspect. While some apps only offer an option to share your stats on social media, other apps have entire communities in which you can share goals, get advice, and celebrate successes. Many studies have found that people who publicly declare resolutions, such as weight loss goals and other desired outcomes, are more likely to achieve success. While not a complete replacement for a physical community found through a gym membership or neighborhood workout group, a fitness app with an online support community can be an excellent source of judgement-free motivation.
Make it seamless
Finally, consider purchasing a fitness tracker if you don’t already own one. A smartwatch greatly reduces the burden of logging data and can help keep all your health and fitness statistics in one place with minimal effort. Syncing information from a fitness tracker such as heart rate or steps taken outside of a workout can give you extra insight into the effectiveness of your overall fitness routine.