Finding a Great Fitness App

Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor, Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM, AFAA gives the scoop on fitness apps that really make a difference.

It’s amazing. Deep within the sea of endless knickknack apps, your new personal trainer is waiting for you to invest just $4.99—in your health. For the mere price of a “combo meal”, you can lose weight, find the motivation to get moving, and become a healthier, happier person.

The app store has revolutionized many areas of our lives, but one of the most important may be the revolution of our health. Sure, there are a few fitness app duds, but there are also some extraordinary apps—that can literally change your life. With the touch of a finger, you can be motivated, receive expert instruction, and utilize tracking tools to help you achieve your health and fitness goals—once and for all!

The only problem with health and fitness apps is finding the right one! However, I’ve done some searching for you, and here are my favorites:

lolo Burn

Lolo Burn is truly the first useful, enjoyable fitness app I’ve seen! It’s focused on something we can all do: walking, jogging or running. This app will help you maximize your next cardio workout, whether on a treadmill or in the great outdoors. It’s clearly made by a group of people who understand how to use current technology to create an interactive workout experience verses rehashing old fitness videos and cramming them into an “app”.

What you’ll love:

1) Easy to personalize your program and GO!
Lolo Burn has simplified the process of customization. The start-up process literally takes seconds… yet it’s still personalized for your personal preferences and fitness goals.

2) Interactive Personal Training
Lolo Burn’s interactive trainer talks to you and responds/adapts the workout on the fly. With the simple touch of a finger, you can make the workout harder or easier, skip ahead, go back, change the music and more. The trainer (who is fun and witty) responds, coaches, and motivates every step the way.

3) Tempo Shifting Music
The app adjusts the bpm of the music to match your training pace, so every step you take (run, walk, jog…) is spot-on the beat. It’s so cool! I’ll never run with my disconnected, mismatched music again.

4) Workouts change everyday so you progress… on every workout!
Enough said. This app is a killer deal for $4.99.

Tempo Magic
Tempo Magic info

This app is revolutionizing fitness in a completely new way. This is an app that allows you to change the beat of any song in your personal music library. That means whatever you do to workout—bike, run, walk, row, weights, pilates, yoga… whatever—can be done to your music at your pace.

A recent article in the New York Times perfectly summed up the impact of music on our workout potential:

“Humans and songbirds” are the only creatures “that automatically feel the beat” of a song. The human heart wants to synchronize to music, the legs want to swing, metronomically, to a beat. So the next time you go for a moderate run or bike ride, first increase the tempo of some insidiously catchy Lady Gaga downloads (or Justin Bieber or Katy Perry or whatever reflects the current popular taste in your household), and load them on your iPod. “Our bodies,” Dr. Kraus concluded, “are made to be moved by music and move to it.”

— Nina Kraus, Northwestern University

What you’ll love:

1) This is a tool that drives every type of workout to be more efficient, powerful and motivational.

2) Super easy to add your songs and starting changing up your usual pace!

3) Very cool for interval training. You can hike up your speed to 140 for a fast run and then drop it down to 125 for a quick walk. All within in the same song and within seconds.

4) BPM Lock feature allows you to add all types of songs—fast, slow, moderate—into one playlist and then shifts the bpms into one, constant steady pace all workout long.

*Note: Effective workout music should fast—in the 130 to 150 bpm range. In general, there are three ranges for working out. (But play around with different options and find what works for you.)

   • 125 – 135 bpm
      o great for walking, moderate cycling or elliptical, and strength       training (4 beats per move; i.e. 2 counts up, 2 counts down for       a bicep curl)

   • 150 – 160 bpm
      o great for running, jump roping, or strenuous elliptical, cycling       or climbing
   • 90 – 110 bpm
      o great for pilates, yoga, mat work and light toning and       stretching

Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal

This is a basic necessity for everyone. It tracks your food, exercise and progress in handy location. This app is very easy to use and extremely helpful for better eating habits and creating consistent exercise routines.

What you’ll love:

1) Allows you to track weight, exercise and food intake in one handy, free app.

2) Has a “budget” screen… so at any moment you can check your budget to see how many calories you have left to eat for the day, depending on what you’ve already eaten and how much activity you’ve had during the day. I love this feature!

3) Easy to use and find foods for logging.

4) Keeps a combined diary for both food and exercise.

5) Tracks your progress!

For comments, questions or more info, email Melanie at

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