You downloaded the app to get moving—but it doesn't necessarily come with accountability. Here's how to get started.
As technology evolves, so does the way we approach fitness. We are in an age where you don’t need a gym or personal trainer to get in a good workout. You can stream workouts to your TV or open up an app on your phone and have an entire library of workouts at your fingertips.
Using an app to workout does take discipline and a goal—especially the apps that require you to choose the type of workout and not follow a guided plan. So how do you make it work for you?
Alex Isaly, an elite athlete, author and celebrity fitness trainer is creator of the InFit, which is focused predominantly around nutrition and has features that support fitness. He talked with us about some tips for getting the most out of any workout app.
What are some suggestions of how people can stay accountable when exercising with an app?
Personal accountability is key for any exercise and nutrition program. I like to refer to accountability as the anchor for any program. Without it, the risk for failure is much greater. Here are my top 3 suggestions on how to stay accountable using a health and fitness app:
- The app should be on your home page of your phone or electronic device, not buried somewhere on the second, third or fourth page. Seeing it every time you look at your device subconsciously triggers a reminder to make it happen.
- Most apps have a logging application to them. Immediately after every workout and/or meal, get in the habit of logging it. Typically you can manually input the full meal, workout (cycling, lifting, walking, running and even specific sports), duration or workout and how many calories burned. You should then be able to look at graphs to see your progress and if you’re on track to your goals. A lot of apps now have the functionality of syncing with wearable devices. This is a great feature if you forget or want to record accurate data.
- Apps can act as a virtual personal trainer. In other words, designed workouts are available within them and they are tailored to your fitness level and goals. This takes away the excuse of “not knowing what to do” and therefore skipping your workout. Apps are great for eliminating workout excuses or for if you don’t have time to go the gym. Most workouts can be done ‘virtually’ anywhere.
Do people need to supplement app workouts with cardio of any kind?
Typically most health and fitness apps include both cardio and strength workouts. The fitness industry is definitely evolving into the digital space very quickly. There are some great, very reputable apps that contain a big variety of fitness workouts that cater to any body and fitness level. I see more and more people using health and fitness apps as their go-to resource for training. Apps don’t necessarily have to be a supplement to other workouts, but can be a great resource for alternative workouts versus what you are used to doing all the time.
How many times a day should people use a workout app for success?
I strongly suggest getting in the habit of using a workout (and nutrition) app every day—including logging your rest days. The key to have a successful program is what I mentioned above: accountability. You want to create good habits. I remember reading an article that states 82 percent of fitness app users stop using the app after of the first week due to the fact that they aren’t being used consistently every day. That means that only 18 percent of the users stay committed and on track. That’s a pretty staggering statistic. Apps work only if you use them every day and the right way. In my opinion, an app should be interactive. If you are just looking for ideas, there is more than enough of that on the web.
How can people use your app to round out their fitness goals?
I am a big believer that 80 percent of anyone’s health and fitness results comes from the food they put in their mouth, mostly because people are less educated on what and how to eat based on their health conditions and goals. Overall, fitness is the less complicated part of the equation. Here is why I feel that way—I say it all the time—”You can’t out train a bad diet!” In other words, if you aren’t eating the right amount of healthy foods with the right amount of macro nutrients (proteins, carbs and fats) on a planned schedule throughout the day, you are setting yourself up for failure. You have more times in the day to mess up your eating habits than you do your workout. In my opinion, there is no bad workout. If you are moving you accomplished something good. This applies to 75 percent of the people that are committed to a program; 25 percent are the ones who are training for something specific, or in other words, performance training. So for them, the workouts do count and are very important. Some of the key features of my app include:
- Web and App accessible
- Access to over 60 meals plans prepared by some of the most reputable Registered Dietitians and doctors in the country that are designed for performance, weight loss, chronic diseases, detoxes and more.
- Grocery lists for each meal plan.
- Ability to customize food preferences while staying on plan.
- Ability to log workouts.
- Syncs with any FitBit wearable device.
- Ability to log meals.
In the next 3-4 weeks InFit will have the ability to be integrated with an online Health Risk Assessment that will suggest specific meals plans based on the results of the assessment. This is a first of it’s kind.
Where do you see the future of fitness apps?
I believe in the next 2-3 years the fitness industry will be driven by digital devices and programming. This is the future of fitness. Over the next couple of years technology in this industry will continue to get better and offer features that were never possible 5 years ago. If you aren’t using technology now, even in the smallest form, then I suggest now is the time to jump on the wave. Stay on top of the latest technology and digital services in the health and fitness industry. Start creating good habits now so as the industry evolves so do you and your fitness.