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Health and fitness apps

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Remember back in the dim, distant past, when you had a training journal and a pen and went to the gym with the latest workout book, rather than a phone? Well technology has moved on and there are now a whole range of phone apps to help out and make your workouts more interesting and motivating.

The handy thing is that most of us these days are never without our mobiles, which is perfect, because there are a whole host of diet and fitness apps that will help you stay on track and give you the best ideas for your workout and beyond. So there's really no excuse not to stay on track and reach your goals.

One of the UK's leading personal trainers, Jonathan Lomax, from LOMAX, Chelsea in London, says: "I think what's really great about the whole concept of phone diet and fitness apps is that they are really convenient for those with busy lives who are looking for instant knowledge, guidance and motivation from personal trainers and nutritionists for a fraction of the cost.

"They are also incredibly motivating," he says, "and can help people gauge progress and measure success in their quests for improved health and body composition. Whether it's using GPS to track your routes and record your time or distance for running, or sending motivational push notifications that chime like an alarm when you have scheduled a workout, they can give you that extra push in the right direction and make working out more fun and exciting."

So with an avalanche of fitness apps out there, how do you choose the right one for you? Fitness expert and writer Lucy Miller finds out.

Are you a running fan? Strava Run

According to Triathlete Magazine: "The Strava Run phone app lets you get competitive any time you want. It ranks a user's performance and compares it over specific courses to thousands of other athletes, with a worldwide leader board."

But how does it work? The app is designed around a leader board system, which then connects with your phone's mapping app, to not only keep track of your run but also keep track of others using the app on the same run. It kept me really motivated during my workouts as I constantly worked my hardest to try to beat the time of someone who I'd never met but was running the same route.

On top of the leader boards and the mapping, Strava Run also provided me with full statistical readouts of my run, like how many calories I burnt, my average speed and other elements such as elevation and total runs to date, which was all mapped out in easy-to-read graphs. I found this to be a really motivating app, especially as the winter is setting in and my workouts tend to suffer.

How much? Free or you can purchase a Strava membership, from £3.99 a month, which includes an intelligent pace zone map, to help you figure out how much effort you put in during a run and a heart rate analyser - using biometric sensors (if you have them) - which will create a special suffer score showing how much stress you put your body under. If you want to be ultra competitive, you can also filter leaderboards by weight and age.

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