get sweaty with these five training apps
posted: July 25, 2014
You want to sweat. We get it. And it has never been easier to establish a community—a digital one, that is—to inspire you to keep running, cycling or pumping out those reps. Our App Product Manager Jeff test drove a few apps that caught his eye, and here he provides some pros, cons and tongue-in-cheek commentary about them.
(premium service $5.99/monthly or $59.99/yearly)
Description: Used for running or cycling, this app enables users to track their distance with GPS, then share the results amongst Strava community users.
Pros: Routes are broken down into segments, then data is fed into an overall leaderboard within the user community. From there you can show off to your friends how rad and fast your route was, or they can ridicule you on how short and slow your route was. Premium service includes the ability to see active friends while actually on their route. It has sharing capabilities via Facebook, SMS, email and Twitter.
Cons: After a 100k run/ride you want to share it right? I’d like to be able to share my kick-ass long route on Instagram (Cheat it: take a screenshot to share).
Verdict: This is my favourite fitness app, period. It’s got a simple, easy interface, and I love how it tracks my routes and gives me accurate data on where I went and how long it took me. Plus, I like to see how I measure up against others in the Strava digital community.
Description: Super, easy, simple way to encourage you to get 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Pros: This app will run in the background and notify you when you achieve over 30 minutes of exercise. It’s aware when you are walking, running, biking or just ‘being active,’ no data entry required. Just move however you want and the app knows. The user can see their daily active readings for each activity and build active streaks.
Cons: Unfortunately it lacks any features to enhance your training/performance.
Verdict: This app is a simple way to gauge if I’ve been lazy, or if I actually was pretty active during my day. I appreciate that if I keep it running, it (usually) reinforces that even on my rest days I maintain somewhat of an active lifestyle, even if that only means taking the stairs over the elevator.
(premium service for $3.99)
Description: This is an ultra super sport trainer app deluxe edition. Seriously, it can do it all, so much that in my trials I don’t think I even scratched the surface on what it can do. Get the premium service in order to analyze your performance, and set goals, and share with your friends.
Pros: Name a sport and you can track it with this app—even badminton and some options I wasn’t familiar with (what’s orienteering?!). It’s kind of cool to show off to your friends that you are like Bo Jackson and can play every sport possible.
Cons: This app is huge, and requires some serious navigation. It also lacks a proper tutorial for newbies, who could be quickly overwhelmed. It would be even cooler if you had the option to add a custom activity the list (i.e. extreme croquet; mastering kung fu).
Verdict: I appreciate this app’s ambition, and its lack of boundaries. But I would have liked more of a tutorial to show me what I can do with all of the tools at my disposal.
Description: A game that makes you run in real-life! This is an immersive audio experience. Headphones are required so that you can hear a story unfold as you take on the role of Runner 5, gathering supplies for your base while avoiding zombies.
Pros: A nice change from the usual motivational repartee, the radio transmissions update you, and at various moments alert you of zombies approaching. I loved the fresh take on interval training with the gradual intensity of the groaning audio cues from an approaching zombie (as they get closer you have to sprint faster to avoid them). It’s also cool that you can add your own playlist for in-between radio transmissions.
Cons: The gaming aspect of the app could deter die-hard runners. Plus, though you can track your routes online, you can’t on your mobile phone.
Verdict: This is a really cool way to incorporate video games with real-time fitness. I’m pretty stoked on seeing more of these game-ified fitness apps and their evolution in the future.
Description: A meditation app that allows you to clear your headspace wherever you are.
Pros: This app is super intuitive. The user is able to enter how they feel and think; from there the app will doles a few meditation options to choose from. The best part is that whenever a user needs to settle their headspace, they can use this app anywhere.
Cons: Whenever a user needs to settle their headspace, they can use this app anywhere. Ie.:
1.) Without headphones, which may cause others within earshot to meditate as well, or just throw you weird looks.
2.) With headphones, at which point the user might appear to be sleeping, or are really, really, really into that Enya track they are listening to.
Verdict: This app is pretty awesome. I never previously had access to a personal meditation guide, but with this one I can clear my headspace whenever I need it, which I find especially useful right before a run.
Getting started with run training? Check out these couch-to-5k running apps.
Jeff is our app product manager, and former playground and video game designer. When he isn’t coming up with the latest and greatest app to go alongside our stretchy pants, he’s probably on his bike or drinking local craft beer. Follow him on Instagram.