Look, we get it. Taking care of your health can be a real drag sometimes. It’s a full-time job, really, and it can take forever to see results.
But you dont have to do this alone. And no, we’re not saying you need to go out and hire a personal trainer or diet coach. With the help of just a handful apps, you can use your iPhone and/or Apple Watch to launch your own personal campaign of better fitness habits, starting today, right now.
MyFitnessPal and Lose It!
Two great calorie-counting apps
These days it can be difficult to stave off the culinary temptations (and straight up no-nos) of the world. Sometimes you just need a little accountability to keep yourself in check, and tracking your caloric intake — while not the be-all and end-all of nutrition — is a good first step to getting a better understanding of what’s going into your body every day.
For a long time, the two top contenders in this space have been Lose It! and MyFitnessPal. They both have large databases of foods — including restaurant menu items alongside common things you get at the grocery store — that make it easy to input everything you eat and drink. Each app lets you input your current weight, goals, et al to generate a daily caloric goal.
In our experience over the years, the easiest summary between the two is that MyFitnessPal has the better, more comprehensive database, while Lose It! has a more pleasant interface. You can’t go wrong either way — it’s seeing yourself coming in over or under that daily limit that truly makes you more mindful about what you eat.
The best stand-alone fitness app for Apple Watch
For instance, you could set up a “speed run” workout display that focuses on current pace versus overall distance, side by side. Then you could have a “distance run” workout that has the distance shown in a big box up top, with smaller sections below for your current pace, average pace, total duration, and the current time. It’s all up to you.
Another of Workout++’s best features is the ability to download podcasts directly to your Apple Watch. If you have the LTE watch, you can even download directly to the Watch and bypass the iPhone app.
+ Read our full review of Workouts++ here.
Our favorite run tracking app for iPhone
(Free to download, with an optional RunKeeper Go upgrade subscription)
If you own an iPhone but not an Apple Watch, that’s okay because you can still accurately track your runs with its built-in GPS, then get a bunch of useful statistics out of the deal, including real-time ones like current pace, distance, etc.
There are a lot of run-tracking apps, but RunKeeper is the classic choice that still stands apart from the crowd thanks to its deep feature set, vibrant community, and strong integration with other services. It provides the best overall experience in regards to design, user experience, and beyond.
As if run tracking weren’t enough, RunKeeper also offers a variety of training classes created by real running coaches. Some of them are free, and others require a subscription to their RunKeeper Go service, which is $10/mo or $40/year and includes a bunch of other perks worth checking out.
+ Read our full review of RunKeeper here.
Our favorite Couch to 5K running app (sort of)
Okay, so what if you’re not already a runner — or in any shape at all — and need help getting…er, on your feet? That’s what the Couch to 5k (C25K) program is designed to help with. We had a top app pick for this purpose, Run 5k, but it no longer seems to be on the App Store (at least in the US).
With that said, we feel comfortable recommending our runner-up pick, 5K Runner. It sports a more playful UI than Run 5k (with photos of scenery shown in the background rather than solid colors) and it has achievements and badges you can earn as you progress. Don’t let the fact that it was our runner-up pick deter you — this is a great way to get started and we doubt you’ll regret the purchase.
+ Read our overview of 5K Runner here.
The best Apple Watch app for tracking sleep
Sleep is one of the most important and yet underrated components to a healthy life. It affects just about everything, so tracking it is just as important as staying on top of your calorie intake and workout habits, if not more so.
AutoSleep’s combination of convenience, accuracy, and analytics set itself apart from competitors. With minimal effort, you can get meaningful data on your sleeping habits after an initial well done on-boarding. All you have to do is wear your Apple Watch to bed and AutoSleep does the rest, taking advantage of incoming data from the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
But being able to accurately monitor your sleep is only half of what makes a sleep tracker great. Taking that data and displaying it in an understandable, relevant way is just as important, and this is where AutoSleep excels.
+ Read our full review of AutoSleep here.
With these apps on your side, you’re sure to get on the path to a fitter you, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve fallen off the wagon. This kind of thing is why we have technology in the first place — take advantage of it!
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