Best workout apps to get healthy and stay fit in 2019 (part 1)

So what are the best workout apps to get healthy and stay fit in 2019?

Aaptiv

I’ve talked about the Aaptiv before in my previous post. Let’s dig a little deeper into this app. First of all: I’m not affiliated nor do I get paid to promote this app or any other app I’ll be mentioning in this post. Consider these as a personal review with no monetization in mind. Just saying.

So Aaptiv is actually a little personal trainer that lives in your phone. They have hundreds of workouts you can choose from ranging from beginner to advanced. Workouts are grouped in several categories: outdoor running, treadmill, strength training etc. You can filter by length, trainer and/or intensity. You can even filter by music genre although this will limit the other filters.

What I like about the app

First of all it’s the music. Before I was using Aaptiv I was fiddling around the night before my workout to make THE BEST playlist for my next day workout just to fid out I forgot to sync/download these songs from Spotify. Or the songs that sounded rad the night before just didn’t cut it during my workout. With Aaptiv all of this is history. They already put up a playlist with your current workout so no need to switch between apps. OK, maybe some songs suck but they just work during the routine. No need to think about. And no thinking is always a plus 1 in the gym.

Aaptiv music

Another aspect I love is the vocal feedback you get. Benjamin (my first trainer on an incline treadmill workout) is pumping me up and tells me what buttons to press during the workout (incline, speed etc.). It never felt annoying nor did I get to a point I was screaming to Benjamin to shut up. All is dosed and works pretty well. I think this is what makes Aaptiv successful in the gym. Before I was just bored running a treadmill now I enjoy it. I know, I could go running outside but that could be a post on its own (insert mental note).

Another plus (although I slightly changed my mind about this one) is that it’s possible to directly sync your workout data to Strava.

What I don’t like about the app

You can’t connect a heart rate monitor. And that sucks… I use the suffer score in Stava and in Trainingspeak. The workaround is that I simultaneously run the Wahoo Fitness app and record my heart rate. I’d rather see a direct connection with the Adaptive app…

Strava

I don’t think this app needs an introduction. Undisputed the #1 app when it comes to recording your ride, run or swim. I know, there are several other apps out there were you can record your run/ride but with te integrated social element makes Strava the go-to app for me.

Strava is one of the most popular fitness apps for those with a competitive edge. The app not only records your runs, bicycle rides and swimming sessions, but also creates a competition between you and people who travel the same routes. To get all the benefits of the app and what it promises to deliver, you have to give up a lot of personal data, which has never been handled as well as it should have and quite frankly has put people at risk. Strava syncs with a variety of other fitness trackers and running watches, so you don’t need to carry a phone with you to use it. Although the app (which is available for Android and iOS) offers some privacy settings, you must be willing to make some personal information public, specifically your geolocation data, to get the full Strava experience.

What Does Strava Do?

Like any other app for tracking runs and bicycle rides, Strava clocks your time, distance, speed, and other relevant factors about your activities while you’re doing them. The activities are meant to be done outside. You can record activities with the app and your phone directly (iOS or Android) or by syncing your Strava account with a supported activity tracker, whether it’s a or a bicycle computer.

If you use the Strava app and your phone to record runs and rides, you can see in real time your stats, such as time and distance. At the end of an activity, the data uploads to your Strava account, where analyze it in greater detail. A web app makes it easier to get deep into your data because you can see more detail in the charts and graphs provided.

If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen

The hook for most Strava users is competition. After your activity stats finish computing, they go into a pool of other stats, and you get ranked among others in the Strava community. For example, let’s say your running route goes the entire length of Townline Road, a popular running destination. Strava will likely create segments along Townline Road, such as from mile marker one to two. Then the app will look at how fast other people ran that same segment and create a leaderboard showing who has the best time and is King or Queen of the Mountain, with everyone else ranked in descending order.

Who Uses Strava?

Strava remains the go-to app for competitive types who love running and cycling. The Premium membership is a little pricey, but it adds some elements that many cycling and running enthusiasts will want to track. To get the full experience, you do need to be okay with making your geolocation data visible to other people. I wholly recommend new and existing members exercise abundant caution regarding their privacy and data, as well as use common sense and take safety precautions. Many people don’t have a problem with making their data public, but ultimately that is a personal choice.

Similar apps

If the social element doesn’t appeal to you there are similar apps with the above mentioned feature. Look for MapMyRun, Runtastic, Endomondo or Cyclemeter in the App Store or Google Play Store. For me Strava is the go-to app when it comes to recording my runs and rides. Oh, I forgot to mention this: if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen…

Mindfulness

I know, a buzzword in 2018 but it helped me getting into a morning routine. The reason I’ve been able to do this has something to do with a little app called Calm, the tool that will help you meditate, relax, focus, and sleep better.

One of the features I love about Calm is the overall user experience of the app. As soon as you open it up, you’re greeted with soothing background noises and beautiful imagery. I start to feel more relaxed before I’ve even started meditating.

Types of meditations

You have quite the selection of meditations to choose from such as body scan and walking meditations, plus sessions on topics like loving-kindness and forgiveness. There are also Daily Calm sessions which offer you a sample from the paid programs on the app including choice, resilience, gratitude, impermanence, and letting go. I’ve done a few of their sleep stories too and I definitely think they helped me get to sleep quicker.

Guided meditations

With Calm, you have the option of doing guided or unguided meditations (for those of you who are mega experts at this meditation thing). One thing I’ll mention is that the guided sessions are lead by Tamara Levitt who has a beautiful voice, but obviously everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to the type of voice you want guiding you through meditations. Tamara’s voice is quite sing-songy which might not appeal to everyone. Then again, you might love it like I do.

Conclusion

I just covered three of my most used apps for getting healthy and fit. I decided to split this post in two because I could rant on for hours about these apps. Next time I’ll dive a little deeper in Lifesum, Trainingpeaks and (although not an app) the Wahoo Tickr X.

What are your favourite apps during your workout? Lemme know in the comments!

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