January is here, which means it’s the official start of resolution season. If you need help ridding the holiday bloat and getting back on track with your health and wellness goals, there’s an app for that. Thousands to be exact.
Apps can be helpful in providing accountability and also helping to change your relationship with food and exercise, says Isabelle Libmann, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist, and owner of Evanston-based IzzyFit Personal Training and TruFit Personal Training. “I think apps (specifically food and exercise tracking apps) can be tremendously helpful in creating awareness. Unless you’re writing down or tracking [behaviors], you might not realize the patterns that exist,” she says.
“Sometimes just the simple act of tracking food can help you pause and ask if you really want that second glass of wine or that cookie, so you can make an active decision and not a mindless act.”
Libmann, who also offers a seasonal 28-day Clean Slate nutrition program (beginning January 9), does stress that calorie and activity trackers can often be inaccurate. “I [logged] 50 steps by shaking dry shampoo through my hair this morning,” she jokes and also cautions against attaching any judgment on yourself from data collected in apps in general. “It should really just be used to help you figure out whether or not your actions are moving you closer or further away from your goals,” she says, furthering that, “the best app is going to be the one a client can use the most consistently.” Here are 10 to consider:
Created by Lake Bluff native Thomas Gorczynski with John Hopkins University, this app is a “nutrition coach in your pocket.” Upon registering, you’re connected with a registered dietitian who can help you set goals, look over meal plans and provide feedback, all through instant messaging. The download is free, then choose from a 12-week bootcamp ($199) or the 21-day healthy start ($49). nomful.com
“Personal training, anytime, anywhere” is the idea behind this audio-based program that gives you fitness classes in your ear, led by a personal trainer, so no more needing to watch tiny screens while trying to weightlift. Choose from running, interval training, strength training, indoor cycling, elliptical, Pilates, yoga, and more in unlimited packages. A free trial is available, then it’s $9.99 a month. aaptiv.com
If you have any kind of digestive issue, this app can help you figure out the foods that may be incompatible with your body. Developed by a gastroenterologist, it incorporates a breathalyzer device along with a coordinating app — blowing into it will assess gut comfort, and through regular testing and the process of elimination, suggest foods better suited to your system. It’s $99 for the device, which starts shipping early this year. foodmarble.com
If you’re the type of person that needs a lot of inspiration to hit the gym, consider downloading this app. For every mile you walk, run or bike, a series of corporate sponsors will donate a good chunk of change—the more you do it, the more it adds up. Choose charities you want to support and see overall contributions in real-time. Free to download. charitymiles.org
Motivation is the crux of weight loss, too, which is where DietBet comes in. Pick a challenge listed on the app that fits your personal goals, and “compete” with other users in your group for a chance at a split of the jackpot (everyone who reaches their goal wins a cut). Free to download; each bet costs $25. dietbet.com
Johnson & Johnson’s Official 7-Minute Workout
“No time” is no longer an excuse for not getting your daily workout in — not with this app that provides an effective seven-minute sweat session using only a wall, a chair and your body weight. Moves like jumping jacks, running in place, crunches and wall sits will get your heart pumping without being a slave to the gym. Free. 7minuteworkout.jnj.com
Couch to 5K
If running the Chicago Marathon is on your bucket list, it’s now more attainable thanks to this sidekick app. The nine-week program is for any skill level, and will lead you gradually through the paces to build up endurance and reach the finish line. Free. c25k.com
Have this app ready at the grocery store to help figure out if the items in your cart are actually nutritious. All you have to do is scan the barcode on the package, and Fooducate will give you a full rundown of where it falls on the healthy scale. You can also track meals and activity. Free. fooducate.com
Eat This, Not That!
You might be surprised to know that salads can actually pack a ton more calories than a simple dish of pasta — this app/game tests your knowledge with side-by-side photos of two meals to guess which one is healthier. In the process you’ll gain more perspective on good eating and know how to make food swaps in the future. Free. eatthis.com
Forget the Walking Dead. With this entertaining option, you need to bust a move to escape the zombie apocalypse. Part video game/part app, this interactive platform uses sound effects and audio to narrate your mission, which involves collecting various supplies—and outpacing sure death. It’s one of the most popular apps on the Apple Store with more than 3 million downloads. Free. zombiesrungame.com
Selena Fragassi is a freelance writer.