Getting in shape is hard, and getting motivated to work out is even harder. When it comes to sticking with an exercise regimen, we could all use a little extra help. Not ready for fork over the cash for a personal trainer and nutritionist? No problem. While technology may get a bad rep for discouraging an active lifestyle (Netlix, here’s looking at you), it’s a tool that you can use to your advantage—for free.
Download these five smartphone apps to kick-start your new healthy lifestyle:
Nike+ Training Club
Whether you’re new to this whole fitness thing or you’ve already got a regular workout routine, the team of trainers at Nike has something for you. With over 100 workouts from which to choose, the Nike+ Training Club app lets you focus on your specific fitness goals.
Whether you’re looking for a quick, 10-minute high-intensity workout or a full-blown 90-minute sweat session, Runtastic’s line of apps offer results-driven programs with coinciding slow-motion videos that make sure your technique is spot-on.
You already know not to grocery shop when you’re hungry. Take it a step further with this app that scans an item’s bar code and compares items against your personal needs as stipulated in your profile, including goals (like weight loss or heart health) and restrictions (allergies, vegan/vegetarian, etc.).
My Fitness Pal
A good exercise regimen is nothing without a healthy diet, and My Fitness Pal’s calorie counter is a user-friendly way to track your food intake versus how many calories you’re burning. The app’s database includes two million (and counting) foods, as well as major chains and brand names so you don’t undo the hours you logged on the treadmill.
Zombies, Run! 3
While this ultra-popular app isn’t free (it carries a price tag of $3.99), it certainly won’t break the bank, and it makes workouts a lot more fun. Your real-life workout progress is rewarded with tools and supplies that can be used to defend what’s left of humanity from an imminent zombie attack within the game. What could be more motivating than that?
When it comes to weight loss, technology can either work for you or against you. So turn off the TV, download a quick app and get moving on the path to your health goals.