Top 5 apps and services to help you lose weight and track your life

my-fitness-pal-screenshotWell happy new year readers and welcome to 2013! As much as January is dark, dreary and – let’s face it – pretty darn depressing, it’s the best time to make a fresh start and begin implementing some changes into your daily routine.

We’re not big believers in unrealistic resolutions that involve crash diets or daily gruelling gym sessions, but many of us probably need to be more mindful when it comes to what we put into our bodies and how often we workout – especially after a few weeks of one thousand mince pies and lots of over-indulgence!

The great news is there are all kinds of apps and services available to help you do just that. The main problem with keeping up with apps that help you exercise more or monitor your eating are that they’re sometimes too confusing and after 24 hours of tracking what you’re up to you’re already so sick of it and have scrapped all of your best intentions. So here are our pick of five apps that are easy to use, easy to introduce into your day-to-day life and have every area covered, including being more active, shaking up your exercise routine and watching what you eat.

1. Nike+ Running

It’s been a firm favourite app here among the Envirofone team for some time now, but if you’re looking for a super simple way to get moving, tracking your runs and share your progress then we really can’t think of a better application.

The Nike+ Running app requires you to take your phone out running with you – buy yourself a decent armband first, obviously! – and it’ll then track your distance and time. You can then log-on to the Nike+ dashboard and track your progress, set goals and compete with your friends if you wish.

The great thing about this app is it can be a great option for beginners who only want to utilise a few of the features or it can be an all-singing, all-dancing app for those dedicated to running already who want to delve deeper into what it can really offer them.

Available from iTunes and Google Play for free.

2. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a really comprehensive app, which allows you to track what you eat and your workouts each day.

It’s probably best known for having a really detailed food library, allowing you to sign in and track exactly what you’ve eaten and how much calories you’ve consumed. However, it’s also packed with exercises to give you inspiration and serves up detailed reports about how you’re doing and whether you’re sticking to your goals.

Available for most mobile devices from the MyFitnessPal website.

3. Thryve

When it comes to watching what you eat and being more mindful about all of the cakes and cookies you stuff into your mouth, sometimes calorie counting just doesn’t work and takes far too long. So instead Thryve allows you to take photos of what you eat. If you feel like you know nothing at all about nutrition this probably won’t help you, but if you’re well aware of what you should be eaten but just never put enough thought into it, then Thryve could help you get on track.

Available from iTunes for free.

4. iFitness Pro

There are lots of apps on the market at the moment that have been created to give beginners – and plenty for advanced workout fanatics too – a better understanding of exercise and the best workouts for them, but we like iFitness because it breaks everything down into understandable chunks, allowing you to search by parts of the body then watch and read detailed tutorials about each. Think of it as a much cheaper personal trainer for your pocket.

Available from iTunes for 69p.

5. Notch

Notch is less an app and more just a tool to help other fitness and self-tracking gadgets more valuable. Basically it connects up to health tracking devices and apps, like Runkeeper and Fitbit, then serves the data back to you in a fun and really easy-to-understand way.

Check out Notch.com to find out more.

About Becca Caddy

Becca is freelance writer specialising in all things tech, web culture and social media. She works as the Editor of Shiny Shiny and the UK Editor of Popgadget and has written for various print and online publications, including The Sunday Times, BitchBuzz and New Media Age’s spin-off publication, Reputation Online. Follow Becca on Twitter: @beccacaddy