Thanks to the close proximity of last year’s Christmas and Thanksgiving and this year’s Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, all of us had plenty of opportunities to stuff our faces.
But now there are no more excuses to put off that much-needed work out! Fortunately, getting a trainer these days doesn’t mean spending a bomb at your local gym. Just whip up your Windows Phone and download these apps!
(Note: all apps were tested on the Nokia Lumia 800)
Let’s start with something easy: walking! We do this every day, and shouldn’t be too difficult to kick off. Steve Jobs himself loved long walks and said that it helped him think.
MyWalk basically tracks your walking behaviour, and gives you encouragement to keep you going. It does that by tracking how far and fast you walk with your Windows Phone’s GPS, and how fast and intensively you walk through the accelerometer.
The former mode is good for long outdoor walks, and the latter for indoor walks such as stair climbing, as GPS don’t really work well indoors. But for the indoor mode to work, your screen has to be kept on, and battery life will take a toll.
Your walking efforts will then be presented accumulatively day by day so you can track your progress. Use the results to either motivate you to walk more, or self-satisfactorily proclaim that you’re now fit enough to take on the next feast.
Runkeeper is a free app similar to Nike+ which tracks your distanced-based activity such as running or biking. It is complemented by a web interface which lets you view and track your progress.
The app is incredibly easy to use. Just log in to your Runkeeper account (or sign up if you don’t have one), tap “start activity” and start running/biking/skating/etc.! The app will run in the background and track your route through your phone’s GPS
There’s even a handy indicator on the top which tells you how strong the GPS signal is currently. But bear in mind that GPS can strain the battery, so be sure to leave home with a fully-charged phone.
If you need a guide, you can sign up with any “FitnessClasses” created by real sportsmen, including Olympians. Follow the class schedule – such as run 1.5 miles today, rest tomorrow, do circuits the day after, etc. – and you should be hopping fit in no time.
Once you’re done with your work-out, the app will sync your progress with Runkeeper’s servers. There’s even a social element, as Runkeeper can be linked up to Facebook and Twitter, which lets you plan workouts with your friends and show off your progress.
Another excellent app for distance-based sports is Endomondo, which tracks duration, distance, speed and calories. But it offers one additional feature over Runkeeper: audio feedback.
You can get Endomondo to give you feedback for every mile or kilometer while exercising, and have an audio coach motivate you while you run. Your friends can even egg you on by visiting Endomondo’s website and write a short chunk of text, which will be sent to your phone and read out loud by the app.
Otherwise, the app is similar to Runkeeper, but somewhat more visually appealing and user-friendly. You can see your workout on a map, time it, and complete challenges. The web interface lets you keep a personal training diary so you can analyse your progress, compete against your friends and link up with other active people around the world.
6 Week Training (free)
Now that we’ve got distance-based sports covered, let’s work those muscles! 6 Week Training offers several 6-week training programmes designed to help you achieve the following targets: 100 push-ups, 200 site-ups, 200 squats, 150 dips, and 20 pull-ups. IPPT should be a breeze after this!
The app will first take stock of your current fitness level by asking you to do some trial exercises. After that, it will automatically design an appropriate workout level for your standard and keep track of your progress.
Every week two, four and five, and app will make you do another test to see if you’re ready for more intensive training. If you’ve been slacking off, it’ll know! And you can always monitor your progress by reviewing the logs and charts available in-app.
The app has a pleasant interface and nice colours, so no excuses there! Follow this app strictly and you could be a hulk in just 6 weeks.
ESPN ScoreCenter (free)
Now that you’re done with all the tough training, it’s time to kick back and check out the scores of your favourite games. ESPN’s official ScoreCenter app brings you scores, news and standings from every major sport league on earth, including the NFL, Premier League and FormulaOne.
The app packs a shedload of features. Once you fire up the app, you can choose your favourite teams from your favourite sports to follow, and their latest match info will show up in one place. Tap on a match to see news and analyses, and a live ticker at the bottom keeps you up to date.
The only downside is that all ESPN articles will open in the ESPN mobile site, which doesn’t look very pretty. If you can live with that, this fast and sleek app is a must-download for all sports fans.