Let’s get digital
March 3, 2014
VAIL — These days living without a smartphone is like wearing a one-piece snowsuit on the ski hill. Some will respect your old-school style, while others will tell you that wearing a separate jacket and pants makes it much easier to use the restroom in between runs. There will always be the lone few who refuse to follow the trends of technology, but at this point you have to admit there’s a lot of great benefits to having a smartphone, like being able to send someone a funny Snapchat or posting photos on Instagram of the mountains and calling it your “backyard.”
People don’t just use their smartphones for fun; they also use them to improve their health and fitness. As both the iPhone and Android have become more sophisticated, so have the apps designed for them. We asked local health and fitness enthusiasts to share some of their favorite apps worth downloading. Here are their picks for the best apps to help you look better, feel better and even sleep better:
Fitblok is designed to bring a personal trainer to you, not the other way around. One of the most popular apps for the iPad, Fitblok features workout videos from personal trainers from around the U.S. Some of the videos are free and the most you’ll pay for any video is $2.99. Blake Gould, a performance and rehabilitation specialist at The Vitality Center in Vail, is one of the most top-rated trainers on Fitblok. Gould said Fitblock is great because you can pick a trainer you like and follow along with them as they post new videos.
“(My viewers) love my intensity and they love the intensity of the workout as well,” Gould said. “(Fitblok) is more affordable for people because personal training is expensive.”
Fitblok is now also available through any web browser, so those without an iPad still have access to the videos. To download visit http://www.fitblok.com
Seconds is an interval timer app designed for High Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT, and Tabata full-body training programs and circuit training workouts. Eagle resident and fitness instructor Carrie Geddes likes Seconds because it’s easy to set up timers and it’s versatile for different types of workouts.
“I like that you can play your own music and it cues in the background to either rest or workout,” Geddes said.
Geddes said Seconds assists in keeping your workout focused and more productive. Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Insight Timer is an app for meditation. It allows you to set the duration of your meditation and how many times you want it to chime during your session. Geddes also uses Insight and likes that it guides you through your session.
“(The app) helps keep the focus on clearing the mind rather than allowing the mind to drift,” Geddes said.
The cool thing about Insight is it connects to other mediators around the world, so you can see how many others are getting into the mindfulness groove just like you. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Sleep Time is both an alarm clock and sleep cycle analysis. By setting it on your mattress at bedtime, the app tracks your light sleep, REM sleep and how efficient your snooze pattern is overall. Edwards resident Nichole Kellerman likes Sleep Time because it will wake you up during a lighter sleep pattern so you feel less groggy in the a.m.
“It’s really interesting to see how often you’re in stage three (deep sleep) and if you’re getting a healthy amount of sleep,” Kellerman said. “I wouldn’t say I’m sleeping better; an app doesn’t help you sleep. But it does make you more aware and gives me the desire to sleep better.”
The app’s alarm feature can be set to soothing sounds like water running, crickets calling or birds chirping. Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.
Recovery Record is an app designed for people with eating disorders, but actually works for anyone who deals with emotional issues about food. Kellerman, who is also a weight loss coach, said while calorie counting apps like MyFitnessPal are popular, they aren’t an effective tool for weight loss.
“I don’t believe in (calorie) counting,” Kellerman said. “(Recovery Record) opens up your awareness around food and how you might be abusing food.”
Recovery Record allows you to log your meals along with your mood, as a way to keep track of when you’re stressed, tired or depressed and how that might cause you to overeat. Kellerman said many people know how to eat healthy, but the hard part is understanding how much the emotional component of food influences what we eat. Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.
Strava is a running and cycling GPS tracker. You log on while you’re running or cycling and it records your times, distance and which trails you took. Strava tracks your performance and progress over time. Strava is quickly becoming the Twitter of the running and cycling community. You can follow your friends or compare yourself against local pro athletes like cyclist Jake Wells. Strava might become the Epic Mix of the summer as the snow melts and people get back in their sneakers and foot pedals and hit the trails. Available for iPhone, Android and a few other GPS devices.