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10 Fitness Tracking Apps You Need

10 Fitness Tracking Apps You Need

We’re well into 2014, which means most of us have long given up on the New Year resolutions we created. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start now in our desire to get fit and healthy. Sometimes all you need is a little help from a friend, or a bar chart showing you just how out of shape you are, to spur you into action. Then, when you see how far you ran and how many calories you burned, it provides that additional motivation to do it again. So, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or looking to become one, check out some of the best fitness apps available.

1. RunKeeper

RunKeeper

    RunKeeper currently has 28 million users. As the name suggests, it is an app that will track workouts and keep track of pace, distance and time. It is particularly popular with athletes who are training for races who want an easy way to track their progress.

    Download

    2. Cyclemeter

    Cyclemeter

      With a five star rating, Cyclemeter provides a perfect alternative to RunKeeper for cyclists. The app is highly comprehensive and customizable, allowing the user to select which stats he or she wants to see. The app will track, map, and record a bicycle ride and compile the data into graphs and tables. In addition, if you like to add a little variety to your workout, the app can also be used for other sports, such as skiing.

      Download

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      3. Fitness Buddy

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        The Fitness Buddy App acts as your personal trainer and comes with more than 1,700 exercises and 1,000 HD videos. It offers comprehensive exercises for all of the typical gym equipment, from barbells to resistance and stability balls. The app also categorizes workouts based on what you want to work out, such as your lower body or cardio.

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        4. Endomondo Sports Tracker

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          Endomondo is an all-purpose tracker, whether you’re cycling, hiking or even kayaking. The app gives you audio feedback for every mile you go and will give you live pep talks from friends. Your friends can write a short text online that will then be read aloud to you. The app also lets you compare your performance to your friends and see their workouts in real time.

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          5. MyFitnessPal

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            This all-inclusive app helps you lose weight by tracking what you eat, as well as your activity level. The app will make personal recommendations based on how much weight you want to lose and your current activity level. You can then selects the food you eat throughout the day from the database and can sync the app with Fitbit or Jawbone in order to track activity.

            Download

            6. Fitocracy

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              Fitocracy is a fitness social network. While it’s lower on the list due to complaints about bugs, many users stick with Fitocracy because the game-like setup keeps them going. The app offers challenges to beat, much like you would beat a level on a video game.

              Download

              7. MapMyFitness

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                MapMyFitness offers tracking of more than 600 activities. It will map the route you take and keep track of time, distance and several other statistics. Be aware that some of the features of this otherwise free app are kept behind a subscription wall.

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                Download

                8. Fitsby

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                  This app is currently only available for Android, but it provides a unique form of motivation. The app has you put your money where your mouth is by having you and your friends place a wager, and the friend who checks in at the gym the most wins the pot. Using real money is optional.

                  Download

                  9. Lose It!

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                    Lose It is a website and app that is compatible with a number of fitness devices. The app helps you to count calories, log exercise and reach those weight loss goals.

                    Download

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                    10. Pear Training-Intelligence

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                      If you’re willing to pay for the pricey heart rate monitor that goes with it, Pear Training-Intelligence is a great option for those who like to focus on heart rate during their workout. The app coaches you through your workout as it uses your heart rate to determine if you need to speed up or slow down.

                      Download

                      While these are some of the most highly rated and popular apps, the hipster in you may be looking for something a little less well-known. If this is the case, consider checking out Moves, a newer app that turns your phone into an activity tracker. The Nike+ app provides a nice alternative for those Nike fans out there looking for a fitness and calorie tracker, as does the TR90 app, which tracks food intake and exercise.

                      Featured photo credit: Joggers via farm3.staticflickr.com

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                      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                      2. No Motivation

                      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                      5. Upward Comparisons

                      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                      6. No Alternative

                      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                      7. Stress

                      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                      8. Sense of Failure

                      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                      9. The Need to Be All-New

                      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                      10. Force of Habit

                      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                      Final Thoughts

                      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                      More on Breaking Bad Habits

                      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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