Train with tireless virtual coaches
GETTING from flabby to fit need not cost hundreds of dollars in gym membership fees. With fitness apps, the mobile device in your hand can double as a personal fitness trainer.
Many fitness apps are little more than digital workout diaries, but the five offered here work like tireless virtual coaches. They are ideal if you need an exercise companion or a helping hand.
THE STRAITS TIMES
JOHNSON & JOHNSON 7 MINUTE WORKOUT
(Android and iOS)
It is great for people who find visits to the gym time consuming. It promises to help you burn calories in as little as seven minutes.
Packed with 13 workouts of varying difficulty levels, it suits everyone - from beginner to athlete.
Besides the seven-minute workout, you will find programmes for core training, strength-building and sports conditioning.
You can even design your own programme by compiling a combo of the app's 36 exercises.
Beautifully designed, the app has a Smart Workout mode that automatically generates an exercise programme tailored to your fitness level.
The exercises do not require special equipment, just empty floor space, a wall and a chair.
Each routine has a professional demo video and voice instructions so you can watch and perform each move correctly.
If you are thinking of training for your first marathon, check out this app.
Marathon Coach has a training plan creator that automatically generates a running schedule according to your goals and fitness level.
There are two kinds of training plans. The exercises in the Get Fit category are designed to improve your fitness.
Premium Event plans help you train for a competition or marathon. The app even includes a Couch To Marathon plan so couch potatoes have no excuse to chicken out.
Training plans are automatically written into your iCalendar. They can be easily viewed or edited within the app, which also sends timely reminders so you will not forget your daily training routines.
The app has a simple data log page to enter the details of each run, while the reports page keeps you up to date on your progress.
If a boring workout is simply not your thing, try this dancing game.
While it is not designed specifically as a fitness app, all the dancing in front of your iPhone or iPad can work up a sweat.
The app uses the front-facing camera on your device to detect your movements.
To play, you stand about 2m away from it and calibrate your body to the motion detection system.
Once calibrated, the game does a good job of judging how well you follow the on-screen moves.
Expect lots of cool arm swings and fun body shimmies.
The game includes three free dance tunes, with add-on songs such as Applause by Lady Gaga and Rihanna's Only Girl going for $1.28 a pop.
Players have to purchase Star credits from the in-game store to access extra features such as new tunes, two-player battle match-ups and extra lives.
LADIES' LEG WORKOUT
Designed for women, this simple app promises to help you work your way to slimmer legs.
Its easy-to-navigate interface includes four sets of workouts with a total of 26 leg exercises.
Each set comes with four duration options (three, five, eight and 10 minutes).
I like these presets because they make it easy to integrate a workout set into my existing exercise routine.
If you want to plan your workout, select individual exercises from the Free-Style library.
Just like the 7 Minute Workout app, every exercise in this app comes with a demo video.
While the videos were well shot, I thought that voice-overs would give the workouts a whole lot more energy.
To get around this, try playing some music as you do your reps.
Besides the guided exercises, this app includes a simple workout history log that tracks how many calories you have burned.
REPS & SETS - GYM LOGGING
If you have a gym membership, use this app to replace your personal trainer.
A complete gym companion app, Reps & Sets includes a beautifully illustrated exercise manual that teaches you mat exercises, as well as how to use free weights and exercise machines.
If you are angling to get more toned and buffed, you will like the detailed diagrams in the exercise manual that illustrate which muscles are used in each exercise.
The app includes about two dozen workout programmes, from a beginner's whole-body programme to a Great Guns Made Easy set, that is likely to be a bodybuilding favourite.
Like the other workout apps, Reps & Sets lets you create your workout lists, that you can check off as you complete each exercise.
There is even a handy rest function, that lets you set timed breaks in between each exercise or set.
Jasmine Osada is a freelance writer