1. Fitbit One
This activity tracker/step counter/pedometer has helped inspire some mega life changes in the past few months. I went from an average of 5,000 steps a day, literally some days under 2,000, to consistently hitting 10,000+ a day. I wear it on my hip every day and my step count and stats sync with an app on my phone. The Fitbit One specifically measures steps, miles, activity level, floors climbed and more. You can even enter in your daily exercise so it more accurately captures your activity, because sometimes steps alone don't accurately measure that. It also allows you to connect with friends who have a Fitbit so you can compete against each other's 7 day total step count. A couple of my husband's family members had it, quickly convinced me to get one, and since I've traded MANY couch potato days and nights for steps. It truly has been a motivator for me and the accountability factor has been priceless. Not to mention I'm always up for some friendly competition. There is so much I have to say about Fitbit. It literally deserves its own blog post because this summary just doesn't do it justice - one day. Fitbit is now my #1 fitness must-have.
2. Nike Running App
The Nike Running app has been a long time friend of mine. I think it came already installed on my very first iPhone, and thus I've been using it since 2009 or 2010. You used to have to have a separate Nike+ tracker to put in your Nike+ shoes so it could sync your runs to your phone app, but nowadays you don't need any of that jazz - just the app (that has GPS). As I look back on my running history, I've had a tendency to run in the spring every year and then fade off once it got hot and then cold. I'm doing a MUCH better job now. The Nike Running App tracks your distances, speed and route. It also has training options, offers milestone badges, let's you write notes about your runs, can sync with friends (competition!), sends you reminder alerts, has an online community, syncs with the Nike Training app programs, etc. etc. etc. I haven't honestly been super involved in features other than tracking my runs and time. My time matters most to me and then syncing my activity to my Fitbit, but I can definitely see how the other features can be useful. People can use it in so many ways - even non-runners - whatever suits them best. I'm currently working through the Nike Running App 8 week 10K training program. I can handle 3, sometimes 4 and VERY occasionally 5 miles, but a solid 6.2? I definitely need some work. I'm not a super runner, so combining this training with the summer heat is totally kicking my butt, but keeping me active nonetheless.
3. Nike Training App
A friend at work led me on to the Nike Training app a few years ago, and it has since been a work out go-to at the gym, home, park, wherever. You can choose between several 30 or 45 minute "get lean," "get toned," or "get strong" full-body routines, at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels, or 15 minute single area "get focused" routines (and even more). They even have specialty trainings from top athletes. Most routines can be completed with just some simple free weights. Others call for additional equipment, but in the case that I'm not equipped, I just do an alternative exercise or pick a different program. Once you pick the workout you'd like to do and get started, the Nike voice lady narrates and tells you what to do and when to switch to the next move. There's a countdown timer, options to watch a video of the specific move at hand, options to set your music, etc. The app has even more features, like connecting with friends, training programs, badges, on and on. No, I don't use everything, especially some of the new features, but that doesn't mean they're not great. For me, Nike Training is a clutch getting-into-shape tool, especially when you're the kind of person who'd like to just do what someone tells you to do rather than make up workouts on your own. It's super versatile and fun and might just help add that extra element of oomph that you need for your training. Plus, you'll probably end up doing a lot of things you wouldn't think to do or push yourself to do on your own.
4. Just Dance
Oh my guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure. I have become a Just Dance feign, to the point that I've started to bring some of its hilarious moves to the dance floor. And I've even convinced some others to jump on the bandwagon. Just Dance (on the Wii) is my "need more steps" go-to. Basically its a dance video game. You pick a song, watch the avatar and DANCE. It's a ton of fun and way better than stepping in place. I can do it in my living room; I don't feel like I'm working out; I can do as little or as many songs as I'd like; I can do it in whatever clothes I feel like doing it in; and I can do it any time of the day. Sometimes I do songs before work so I can start my day with a couple K steps. Sometimes I do it during breaks if I'm working from home. And sometimes I rely on that sucker to make up for my thousands of steps deficit when I'm home at night. Just Dance may not always be the most efficient means for getting steps, especially if you're dancing to an easy song, but it's a lot of fun and works our your body in a ton of other ways - arms, core, etc. Yes, I've heard a complaint that it's too hard just to get steps, and yes I have actually been legitimately sore from it. I love it, though. I'm currently on just Dance 2, and I have to say, it's a million times better, and more difficult, than Just Dance 1.
Hydracoach is simply a water bottle that measures the amount of water you intake each day. No, Hydracoach doesn't yell at you and tell you to run another mile or do 100 more burpees, but it does tell you how much water you've had to drink for the day. And that, my friends, might as well equate to a trainer some days. Why? Because I DO NOT drink enough water, and when I don't drink enough water, I feel like blah when working out, especially running. I swear it makes life 100 times more difficult. You can Google millions of articles to tell you why you need to meet your daily intake of water or you can just listen to me when I say working out sucks if you're dehydrated, especially in this Texas heat (plus lots of other things, of course). Hydracoach keeps me accountable for my water intake so I don't slip into non-water-drinking land during the day, aka not drinking anything. It's important folks. And if you're a very not-so-good water drinker like me, all you need is about $30 to get you on the right track. Find a Hydracoach water bottle at Target, on Amazon.com or other places like that. And you're welcome for my clearly advanced level of technical expertise on all of this :)