I used to be a real skeptic about keeping a food journal or really tracking my exercise in a meaningful way. I’d read all the magazine articles and tips about the benefits, but it just seemed like a hassle to me at best. At its worst, it seemed useless because whenever I had tried it before, I just didn’t write things down if I overindulged. Plus, looking up calorie counts was a pain, and I was always self-conscious about the possibility of someone finding my food journal in my purse.
However, this time around, technology is lending a serious advantage to my food and fitness tracking. By making accountability easy and removing many of the hassles that used to be my excuses, I am making consistent progress. Read on for my favorite (free!) fitness apps.
My Fitness Pal
This was the little app that convinced me once and for all that I could handle a food journal. It has the most extensive inventory of calorie counts on foods from homemade recipes to fast food treats. I have tried other calorie counter apps and My Fitness Pal has a clean layout and is user – friendly. One of my favorite features is that each day when you complete your food journal, the app calculates your anticipated weight for about a month into the future if you keep up the exercise and calorie intake of that day. By connecting my daily habits to a long-term result, My Fitness Pal makes me accountable and aware of my food intake.
Couch to 5K (C25K)
I always wanted to try interval training, but found excuses not to because I didn’t like having to time myself for the different activities. However, in order to work my way up to running a 5k, I knew I could not just start off running because I wasn’t fit enough yet. The free version of C25K is fantastic, because has a walk/run interval plan with audio cues to tell you when to switch it up! I just plug in my earphones and away I go without having to keep track on a stopwatch. What’s more, I can listen to my own music playlists at the same time, and C25K just interjects the cues throughout my workout.
Okay, I know this is not really a fitness app. But hear me out, because there is a huge community of people on Instagram that are supporting and motivating each other towards better habits. At first, I was wary of such groups on Instagram, because I had heard terrible stories about the glorification of unhealthy ideals through the pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia movements. That disturbed me, and those ideals are against my health goals. But when I came across the #cleaneating hashtag, I found a more positive message. I started following users who were posting pictures of amazing meals comprised of simple ingredients with a heavy focus on fruits and vegetables. Seriously, I challenge you to follow userLoveHealthyFood and not be salivating over veggie stir-fries and fruit salads. For positive and motivating fitness posts, I follow the user Fitmotivation for inspirational quotes and pictures.
What are your favorite exercise and eating tools? Who else should I be following on Instagram for motivation?