So far in my journey, I have found a wealth of tools available to those looking to live a healthier life. There is just about an app for everything. After wading through the sea of tools, I found that the tools listed below are my favorites:
#1-Cooking Light: I fell in love with Cooking Light (CL) magazine years ago. As an amateur chef, CL recipes give me my foodie fix without breaking the calorie bank. CL’s website (cookinglight.com) and app makes it easy to find recipes, healthy eating tips, plus get tips from other users. Recipes are rated by users, who often give their reviews, recipe modifications and serving suggestions. The app allows me to also search for, save and share recipes and make shopping list to take on the go. Unfortunately, the app is only available for the iPad and iPhone. It really needs to be offered to Android users as well.
#2-Map My Fitness: Because I started to pretend to run, I wanted something to track my how far I run and how (not) fast I was going. ML suggested Map My Run. It is a great app and site that tracks your runs and allows me to keep a record of my running routes. I actually use its sister site, Map My Fitness, which tracks more than just running. It allows me to track all my fitness efforts. It features a journal where I can track how I feel, how I slept, my weight and my calorie intake. It also has a place to record big events like races. The site allows me to link to Garmin Connect and My Fitness Pal. MapMyFitness also allows me to connect with friends. We can see each others’ fitness activities and comment on them (this to me a big motivator!). What I thought it lacked was a food diary, but I discovered the diary location today (which is crazy since I have been using it for months!). Map My Fitness has tons of great features, I just wish it were organized better to make it easier to find and use them all. Also, I wish the app included a bar code scanner that would allow you to scan food to enter it.
#3-Garmin Connect: I started my journey out with the fitness band, the FitBit Force. After having it for 3 months, the Force was recalled. After the recall, I searched for a new fitness band. During the search, I took up running. Correction: I took up whatever it is you do before you take up running. To help me actually learn to run, I decided I needed a runner’s watch, which is how I landed on the Garmin Forerunner 15. It combines a runner’s watch with a fitness band. (Go here to read more about the Forerunner 15.) Garmin has its own fitness tracking site and app, Garmin Connect. By simply syncing my watch with the site, it will track information on my runs including distance, altitude, pace and heart rate (if you have a heart rate monitor). While Connect is the easiest way to record the data from my watch, I wish this tool offered more of the features that Map My Fitness does, like a food diary.
#4-@ShaunTFitness: When I first started being more active, I started with the Shaun T DVD, Hip Hop Abs. Though its commercial is corny, the workout is not joke. Shaun T makes you move and work but in a much more engaging way than other fitness videos I have tried. After using the DVD for a while, I started to follow Shaun T via Twitter. I love reading his tweets because he is often very motivating. He reminds you that your human and it is okay to stray a little from your plan as long as its in moderation and you return to it.