My Favorite Health-Related Apps

I like to apply myself.

 

My grade school teachers would laugh… they always wrote on my report cards “if Laura would only apply herself…”

With age came discipline.  And the iPhone, which I use to keep me on track with my fitness.  Every day I use my top apps.  It may be a little OCD, but it works for me.

 

1. Sleep Cycle

I will never be a morning person, but this gem makes waking up a little easier.  Sleep Cycle uses the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement throughout the night an determine which sleep phase you are in.  It wakes you up in a 30 minute alarm window that ends at your set alarm time, depending on when you are in your lightest sleep phase.

Sleep Cycle App

I need more hours of sleep…

 

2. Social Apps

I’m lumping these together since I’m sure most of you are already familiar.  I love social media.  Maybe too much.  HootSuite is a big time saver because it allows me to manage Facebook and Twitter in one place.  I also use the Facebook app to interact with friends and post random quotes and resources on my page (click to “like” Sprint 2 the Table!).

And my beloved Instagram.  What did we do before this?  When I can’t decide what to eat, it’s my first stop for inspiration!  That first pic was for a recipe I was going to post today… but the pics were SO bad in the night lighting.

Instagram

 

3. FitBit

The app is great for tracking my water throughout the day.  I drink 120 ounces… it’s hard to keep up with that in my head!  There are a lot of apps that will do this for you; I use FitBit because I already use the pedometer.

I use my actual FitBit One device daily to track steps, distance, and stairs.  It also give you a calories burned number… but I don’t think it’s accurate.  It’s value – to me – is that it motivates me to keep moving.  When you have a desk job, it can easily lead to a sedentary state.  Yes, I work out regularly… but in reality it’s only about 1.5 hours a day.  The rest of the time I am at a desk.

FitBit

I drink 120 oz a day… yes, I pee a LOT.

 

4. Full Fitness

I just started using this app to track my progress in the gym.  I can record workouts, reps, and the weights I use easily and in real-time at the gym.  A pen and paper will do the trick… but I hate carrying that stuff around, and I can never remember exactly what I did by the time I get home.

Full Fitness App

This app also track progress graphically, making it easy to see improvements over time.  Heather just wrote a great post about the importance of measuring your progress.  I love her point about setting benchmarks – it is SO important to keep challenging yourself so as not to stagnate.  We don’t work this hard to stay the same, right?

I haven’t used the following features but… if you don’t already have a routine, the app offers 25 pre-defined workouts (with pictures and instructions), cardio exercises, and stretches.  It also offers a calorie counter.

 

5. Lose It

This is both an app and an online service.  While the name is Lose It, I use it to gain.  This service allows me to track the foods I eat, complete with macros!  Their catalog of foods is pretty extensive, but if you can’t find something you can scan the bar code or enter it manually.

One of my favorite features is the ability to enter recipes.  You can choose the number of servings and enter all of the ingredients into dishes you make, then save it for future use.  I use this to calculate the recipes I post on this site.  Like that recipe on Instagram last night… this is coming soon!

Lose It

 

Another cool feature is that you can enter exercise… and the calories burn is pretty accurate.  Lose It! asks your age, weight, and height when you sign up, which I supposed really can give a good idea of the calories you burn.  I was skeptical.

To confirm its accuracy, I used my heart rate monitor.  Most of the time the calories burned match, give or take 20-40 cals.  I will never understand how this is possible.

Lose It

The Lose It! review is part of a sponsored campaign with Lose It! and FitFluential, LLC. All opinions are my own (and I was already using the app). Learn more about Lose It! on Twitter.

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 That chili recipe is coming as soon as I get some good picture-taking daylight… it was GOOD!

What are your favorite apps?

How much water do you drink in a day?

 

Gift Guide for Food and Fitness Lovers + Giveaway

Gift giving is a big part of the holiday fun.

 

Almost as fun as gift-getting.

It is December 3rd whether the weather got the memo or not.  I went on a jog yesterday in shorts and a tank top and was sweating while passing houses decked out for Christmas.   Bizarre.  My iPhone said it was 66 degrees, but I think it cleared 70.

 

Since it is the month of giving, I wanted to share some of my favorite things (aside from whiskers on kittens – that goes without saying).  These are tried-and-true items – I already own most of them!

Whether you are brainstorming something for your favorite food-lover or for someone whose idea of fun is working out, I hope this will give you some ideas.

 

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

 

1. Shun Knife

This is my favorite knife.  It’s a fantastic tool, but what makes it even better is that they make a left-handed version!  Santa brought me one last year and it’s basically the only knife I use.  Speaking of… I need to get mine sharpened for Christmas!

2. Magic Bullet

I used this thing religiously before I got my Vitamix.  It can take some abuse, and you can blend smoothies right in the cup for a quick breakfast or post-workout refuel.  I still use mine for small tasks like whipping cottage cheese for Apple Cupcakes or single-serving dips.  But if you really loved the giftee… you’d buy them the $450 Vitamix.

3. FitBit

My FitBit inspires me to walk 10,000 steps and 20 flights of stairs a day, something I need since I am a cube monkey.  I don’t use all the features, but it also can track sleep and calories (though it’s not entirely accurate as it can’t tell when you’re lifting weights or at a standing desk).  Warning: If you are a little OCD, this may not be the best thing for you.

4. Handful

Greatest sports bra ever… if you’re a member of the itty bitty titty committee.  It’s not a super-support bra, but if your pecs are biggest part of your chest (like mine) it’s perfect.  There’s even a little layer of padding so you don’t like like a flat-chested 12-year old when you’re at the gym.  AND they are having a $12 closeout sale on the size large.

5. Peanut Flour

I talk about it all the time.  If I were to find peanut flour in my stocking, I’d be one happy girl.  Better yet, if I could just get a year’s supply… Mom, are you reading this?  If you order through iHerb.com, use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your order!

6. Grow Your Own Wheatgrass Kit

Wheatgrass is awesome stuff.  It’s full of amino acids, chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.  It’s also expensive.  I want to grow my own!  You don’t even need a juicer to use it if you have a Vitamix!  It will blend up the grass like a champ.  The Wheatgrass Kit can be found on OpenSky at Robin McGraw‘s new Insider page (yes, it’s Dr. Phil’s wife).

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Here’s the giveaway part….

To celebrate Robin’s new healthy living collection, OpenSky has offered to give one reader a $25 credit to use anywhere on the site!

 

OpenSky is a “social shopping site that helps people discover, buy and share unique goods that match their individual taste. Users can connect to friends and industry insiders in Food, Style, Beauty, Healthy Living, Electronics and Home Décor for exclusive information, advice and insider product recommendations.”

I’ve been a member for over a year now and have found lots of great products.  They will often have sales on my favorite vegan protein powder (Sun Warrior), and its where I found my Kombucha homebrew kit (I’m on batch 8!).   My favorite Insiders include: Robin McGraw, Bobby Flay, Dorie Greenspan, Tracy Anderson and Jackie Warner.

 

 Receive up to 4 entries by:

  1. Join OpenSky
  2. Tweet: You could say something like: I entered to win a $25 @OpenSky gift certificate in the @sprint2thetable #giveaway http://wp.me/p16jDn-1OI
  3. Be Social: Pinterest Follow Me and/or Pin Something of MineInstagram Follow Me, Follow Me and Open Sky on Twitter
  4. Comment: What is on your wishlist this year?

 

Please leave a *separate comment* for each entry!

Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, December 6th.  The winner will be announced on Friday, December 7th.

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I quit posting a workout recap on Mondays… it seems like it was getting too repetitive/boring to read.  If anyone has thoughts on that… feel free to share.  For now I’m going to do away with it. 

Is it still warm where you live?

Have you ever tried any of the things on my gift guide?