These days everyone is on their phone 24 hours a day (myself included) texting, gaming, socialising etc. (my biggest problem, browsing Pinterest for hours on end looking for delicious recipes) but what if we put them to good use and used these high tech tools to improve our health and put years back on our life rather than take hours off it. Can a phone really be used as a tool to improve ones physical and mental state? Well of course it can! There are some wonderful apps currently on the market designed to do just that, from fitness trackers to calorie counters, what ever you need there is an app for that. Here is a list of some of my favourites.
Best for meditation: Headspace. Not something I do a whole lot of, I drop in and out, really I only meditate when I start feeling really stressed. When I start meditating I know I am in trouble, it is my call for help. That said I found Headspace really helpful, I only downloaded the free version but that still had about 10 sessions that you could do to relax yourself. It is really versatile and can be used anytime at all, I know some people that use it during their lunch break at work when they want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, but when I get stressed it tends to affect my sleep the most so I listen to the gentlemen’s very soothing voice as I try to fall asleep. Is it weird that I find a guys voice calming? Anyway moving swiftly on.
Best for nutrition: My Fitness Pal. I used this app for a little over a year so I can tell you if you are someone that is meticulous about their fitness and needs to track their calorie or macro consumption everyday then you need this app in your life. I no longer use it because I realised that I don’t need to monitor my calorie intake to that level of detail in order to achieve the healthy body and lifestyle that I want. But if you are looking to track that sort of info it has a huge database of nutritional information covering pretty much every food under the sun. You can maintain a food diary, monitor trends, input goals etc. All round a cracking app!
Best for cooking: Pinterest. When it comes to finding healthy recipes if my blog isn’t satisfying you (careful) then Pinterest is the next best thing, honestly I spend more time on Pinterest than any other social media, far more time than I should, probably more time than I spend talking to my family (alright I am exaggerating but it is amazing). The trick to having a kick ass Pinterest feed is finding pinners that you can trust to post quality content, so many people post saying “healthy berry porridge recipe” and it turns out it is just a link to a picture of healthy berry porridge and not a link to a recipe for healthy berry porridge (drives me mad!). Take a look at who I follow (or follow me), I am very particular about who is on my feed, you post one link to a picture and not a recipe and you are outta here son! Alternatively the Whole Foods Market and Green Monster apps are really good for healthy recipes.
Best for workouts: Freeletics. I loved using Freeletics simply because it gives you a lot of bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere. It has workout programs and trackers etc. but I simply used it as inspiration to keep my workouts interesting by throwing in some new moves. Very helpful.
Best for staying up to date: Alpha Man Mag. As a monthly subscriber to Men’s Health I can honestly say that the best thing about Alpha Man (they have an Alpha Women section to girls) is that it is free and you don’t have to tear out a page and file it in a big binder when you find something interesting. Seriously I still file every magazine/newspaper page with something interesting about health/fitness/nutrition into a folder. I have titled it, fitness archives, it is over 300 pages long, it is an outdated method and I hate it! This app is my Alpha Man in shining armour.
Best for motivation: Spotify for in the gym motivation. Instagram for outside the gym motivation. Follow me @Healthyjon for plenty of healthy recipes, nutrition and training tips. @dickersonross @stevecook @shaunstafford for male fitness inspo. @shona_vertue @clean_eating_alice @zannavandijk for female fitness inspo and @thegoodquote for everyday motivational quotes.
Best for tracking workouts: This really depends on what fitness tracker you are sporting, unfortunately few are cross compatible. I use a Fitbit and find their app really easy to use, but I have heard that Strava works with lots of fitness trackers and is particularly good at tracking runs and has a really easy to use interface. The one thing I would say about the Fitbit is it is dreadful at giving you stats when you are doing short distance sprints (something I do a lot of) because the GPS is either not accurate enough or can’t keep up.
Best for rewards: Earthmiles. Connect your fitness tracker of choice and it gives you discounts on loads of healthy products, fitness classes etc when you do exercise.
Not that I am trying to make you spend more time on your phone but I hope this has helped and wish you all the best of luck with your health and fitness pursuits. Jon.