Category Archives: exercise

Fun iPhone Apps for Fitness Instructors and Trainers

There are loads of health and fitness apps for your mobile device. Calorie counters, workout trackers and routine builders galore. Here are a few more that might make your job a little easier!

For Class or Training Sessions

iNterval Tunes by James A. Brannan – $1.99

If you teach interval classes, you know how hard it is to watch the clock and switch up your music tempos. This handy app allows you to customize an entire interval workout to your own itunes music. You can add intervals (warm up, work, rest, cool down) in any order in intervals of up to one hour. You can choose individual songs for each interval or you can apply an entire itunes playlist. iNterval tunes announces each interval’s duration and intensity, and it gives you countdown warnings to change. How easy is that!

Ambiance by Matt Coneybeare – $.99

A yoga teacher’s dream, this app generates ambient noise to your specifications. There are more than 500 sounds that you can mix to create a playlist of soothing sounds.

To Motivate

Help Me Do by Mobidea – $1.99

Help your clients set a goal each week. After creating a target behavior and due date, you add motivators: treats, forfeits, emails and bets. Most interesting are the email motivators (to create positive peer pressure) and the bets. You could make a friendly wager with your client that if they work out 3x that week that you’ll drop and give them 20 at your next appointment!

BeGOOD! by Cloudlark, LLC – $1.99 & iReward Chart by Gotclues, Inc – $4.99

These apps are actually designed for parents to use with their children, but they are very attractive and fun. Clients can set a goal and mark their daily behaviors with a star chart. Simple, yet effective!

Other interesting apps:

MusicID with Lyrics by Gravity Mobile – $2.99

Have you ever heard a song on the radio or at a club and wondered what the title is? With this app, your mobile device will identify audible music and display the song name, lyrics, artist biographies and related YouTube videos.

Be Happy Now by Mental Workout LLC – $2.99

These guided meditations are great for trainer and client alike. There are meditations for cultivating compassion, gratitude and inner peace. The mindfulness meditations help release negative emotions. In addition to the longer meditations, there are brief ones for what the author calls a “hit” of happiness when you feel down.

Whole Foods Market Recipes by Whole Foods Market, Inc – FREE

If you are a Whole Foods fan, you’ll love this app. There are recipes for all kinds of special diets: dairy free, fat free, gluten free, high fiber and more. Search for recipes or input the ingredients you have on hand. Of course, it may recommend that you run right out to Whole Foods for an ingredient that you don’t have…but there’s an app that can take care of that—Smart Chef Substitutions by Rantek, Inc for $1.99 will help you find an alternative in seconds!

Happy apping!

TIME Out!

TIME magazine’s recent story Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin left me shaking my head in disbelief. At a time when our nation’s health is center stage it frustrates me that any entity, let alone TIME magazine, would put out a story that in any way suggests that exercise can be detrimental to one’s weight loss goals. It defies common sense.

After reading the article, it is clear to me that the author is a victim of some of the “exercise fiction” that circulates among the population. “Exercise fiction” often includes nuggets of research that are misconstrued or misapplied and “conventional wisdom” that is anything but wise. For the author to propagate these myths (and start a few new ones) is very disheartening.

Changing exercise and eating habits is VERY difficult, but to make exercise the scapegoat for weight gain is an ill-conceived version of the blame game. What I WILL take away from this article is a better understanding of the personal demons people fight when they attempt to change their lifestyle habits. The author has afforded us a telling glimpse into his own battles with weight and exercise, and I suggest that we as fitness professionals take advantage of this opportunity to achieve greater insight into the barriers to exercise and weight loss that many people face.

1) Supposition #1: “…fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain.”

The author suggests that vigorous exercise stimulates appetite, and as a result of your increased hunger, you will make food choices that actually lead you to consume more calories than you burn.

It is true that some individuals may not realize how calorie-laden some of their food choices are, but we can hardly fault exercise for the extra calories ingested. Rather, it seems to be a case of “operator error”. This can be corrected with education and increased awareness.

If on the other hand the author is suggesting that it is impossible to turn down greasy or sugary food options after exercising, I suspect that he is caught in the “food as reward” trap. The author obviously does not enjoy his workouts and at the end is trying to find a way to pat himself on the back for his efforts. Rather than entertain the “lip-licking anticipation for perfectly salted, golden-brown French fries after a hard trip to the gym”, he needs to find other ways to reward himself.

Food as comfort is a real issue for many people. The author divulges that he “self-medicated with lots of Italian desserts” during a dark period in his life. We all splurge from time to time, and while our relationship with food should be enjoyable, the driving force for eating really should be sustenance and nourishment.

Another possibility is that he is a victim of “all or nothing” thinking. Perhaps in his eyes, you can either have a slab of cake or you can have none at all. Depriving yourself of foods you enjoy will surely backfire and lead to overeating binges.

2) Supposition #2: “Could pushing people to exercise more actually be contributing to our obesity problem? In some respects, yes.”

The author asserts that vigorous exercise may weaken your will power and cause you to be sedentary for the rest of the day.

We need to help our clients find a happy medium in their workouts. Anyone who is too tired to function the rest of the day following exercise is simply working out too hard. The author admits to exercising “obsessively, a bit grimly—for years” with “Puritan fury”. We don’t want participants to be compulsive about exercise. We want to help them find forms of exercise that they like to do and make sure they know how much, how often and at what intensity they need to work to achieve their goals.

While the TIME article took many of us in the industry aback, it shows just how much people need good advice from health and fitness professionals. People need to know that it is OK to eat all things in moderation, that being active on a regular basis is more beneficial than being a warrior once in a while and that with the right support and information, positive changes ARE possible.

For more reactions to the TIME article:

Response to the Time magazine article Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin (08/09/09) from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association

Experts Debunk Myth About Exercise, Weight Loss from the American College of Sports Medicine

10 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Thin (Or Why Time Magazine Got It Wrong from Fitness Magazine

Hey, Time, ‘Exercise won’t make you thin’? What were you thinking? from the Los Angeles Times

Time Bomb from Tulsa World