Brace yourself, the summer is coming and there has never been a better time to get fit. Why not use technology to help you?
We carry our phones around us; we have them in every minute of our life. As these are the most natural companions to our modern lifestyle, we should use their full potential. Install some apps, go running, cycle and feel the calories being burnt! Of course, do not forget to share the results with your friends.
There are numerous applications on the market and it’s hard to select the best one. I’m an avid cyclist so I’ve been using some apps throughout the year – let me present my thoughts.
The most popular app of the bunch and also the most versatile. Trust me, whatever you do, you can register it in Endomondo. Last time I’ve checked, even driving a car was considered an activity on there.
It’s pretty well connected with all social networks, so whenever you feel like sharing you can do it right away. It’s very encouraging that your friends can see your progress and motivate you on the way.
As it’s the most popular it also has a huge user base. Believe me – even if someone is not a registered Endomondo user, they will be in the near future. The user base also helps with motivation: if you see that your friend has trained a lot, you might try to train even more – just to show him how fit you are! What also drives people to run further and train more are the challenges, which are a unique chance to compete with other users for one common goal. It can be the amount of calories burnt or the distance traveled by bike – the goal is simple and the ever visible leader boards help with motivation.
Just let me get one thing straight; you are already a winner when you are joining a challenge – at least you are doing something to be active!
Welcome to the big league – filled with pros and wannabes
Cards on the table, Strava is my all-time favourite application to track my cycling activities. It’s efficient, does not lose GPS signal and has a lot of cool features which always convince you to push a bit more in the next run. Strava works in two modes – cycling and running. That’s it. Both modules are exactly the same but activities differ in a way that splits the application into two.
Let’s start with segments. In Strava every user can set up a segment. This is a fragment of your trip that you can set; you simply choose the start and end of the segment and you’re ready to go. Your segment will then be visible for all cyclists with an attached leader board where you can compete with other cyclists for the title of King of the Mountains (KOM) or Queen of the Mountains (QOM).
If that’s not competitive enough you also have monthly challenges which differ when it comes to the type of activity. As far as cycling is concerned, there are challenges which measure your elevation gain, track length and mileage summary. After you complete a challenge you get a badge and bragging rights. It’s easy to show others that you’re pushing yourself to the limit with the integration of social media – one click and your activity lands on Facebook or Twitter.
The route builder is also a very useful feature. You can plan your route, prior to setting off, with all segments visible. After that you can export your route to gpx format and use it with your favourite GPS device.
Do not be fooled by the name; it can register different kinds of activities, not only running. One of the most interesting parts of this application is its ability to propose a training session based on the goal one wants to achieve. Whether you want to prepare for a race or you are just interested in losing weight, Runkeeper has got you covered.
The application is pretty easy to use as the interface is not cluttered. All of the important information is visible at first glance and the session is easy to start as well. Most importantly of all, the GPS tracking is pretty precise, so there is no risk of misleading data.
RunKeepers also the most integrated solution of them all. It currently has over 100 integration partners and counting. All this is possible due to an amazing API that the RunKeeper developers created – it’s called Health Graph and it is pretty amazing. You can read more about it here.
The whole area of activity tracking does not end with applications; there is also a hardware side, which will be covered in the next part of article.
For now choose your aim and burn those calories! Oh, by the way, if you want to check more than one app at once have a look at tapiriik – it’s an easy tool you can use to synch all of your activities across different platforms.