As the title clearly states, I don’t use any fitness apps. I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss for three main reasons:
- Our society today is extremely smart phone dependent. We use them for everything these days, including it seems getting in shape.
- Over the last few years there have been a proliferation of fitness apps for your smart phone, and a ton of discussion around the best ones to use.
- There seems to be a growing belief that if you’re not using an app, or something like a FitBit, you are not going to be able to get the results you want.
To note, I’m not necessarily against using them – I’ve seen people use some quite successfully, such as MyFitnessPal. However, I will say that contrary to some, I don’t believe that they are a requirement for success. Why? Simply put, they are just a tool, like a dumbbell or a curl bar. In themselves, they will not magically make you in shape. It still requires your mental commitment to use them to your advantage, just like any other tool. People have been getting in great shape for years before the term “app” was coined, it’s not suddenly a make or break condition now that you must use one.
In fact, without the correct mental attitude, I see several downsides to using them. Here are my thoughts on this:Possible App Downsides
- Too Much Workout-Phone Interaction – Using an app on your phone when working out can require a fair bit of interaction with your phone. This opens you up to other distractions such as checking text messages. It also slows down your workout thus lowering your intensity. If you want to use one, I recommend keeping it open while you workout so when you go back to it, it is automatically up and you don’t have to navigate to it, lessening the chance of distraction.
- Not Thinking For Yourself – This applies to other things as well, but an app shouldn’t dominate your workout planning. Especially when you’re just starting out, you want to make sure you are learning why you are doing certain exercises and the reasons why you should eat certain foods, etc. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to create a workout and nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs that will also give you the results you desire. How are you supposed to make an efficient 30 minute workout that fits between your kids soccer practice and dinner if you don’t understand what your exercises specifically do for you?
- Getting Overwhelmed – This is especially true when you’re new to fitness, but some of these apps can be very complicated. You need to be careful or you may end up spending more time figuring out how the app works and trying to customize then you do in the actual gym. Do you really need to make sure your friends on Facebook know that you just ate 8oz of chicken breast, right on schedule? Probably not – at the very least, I don’t care.
Overall, if you’re going to use one, I recommend that you do so keeping the above pitfalls in mind. In addition, I would suggest that you try your workout and nutrition program without one first – see how it goes, see where it might make sense to bolster your routine with a new tool. This way, an app is supplementing your plan, not completely driving it. For example, I think the apps focused on your nutrition can be helpful, as long as you understand that they shouldn’t be taken as gospel as far as what you can and cannot eat. They may even help in a situation where you don’t know what to eat at a restaurant, and are trying to figure out at least a semi-healthy option.