OK, so nearly 3 weeks in, and we wondered how many of you have already given up on your new years resolution (I have)?
We all enjoy the elusive fantasy that this year will be different, a year where you set everything right in your life. But the harsh reality is it only usually last until the 2nd of January. High on my list and the oldest new years cliche in the book was that I wanted to run more! (Or at least jog until my cheeks are rosy). But how do I avoid the constant pit falls that could submit me to becoming like every other New Year failings.
Lets be honest it is really easy to find an excuse! Like "The weathers not great, I will wait until the summer" or "well, I am in work all the time, so I just can't fit it in!" or the less popular and perhaps more accurate to most "I did it for a while, but I couldn't be bothered."
So to avoid becoming one of my own cliches I looked to the Internet for help. The web, like a trusted old dog had most of the answers, it opened a world to me that could unlock a door to fitness bliss; the App store definitely seems to be the cheaper and more convenient alternative to those pesky gym bills (You know the ones that tie you in for 12 months at a premium price after a free 2 month trial). So I am going to take you through some apps and webpages I have used to help maintain my fitness journey.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation¦
I figured the best place to start is plan my route. When I say my route, I didn't have one, but this fitness malarkey is actually a hobby and a very popular sporting event (There is a rumour all the countries in world may one day compete in such sports every four years) for many people. So I came across a very brilliant webpage that is definitely worth investment in time to any fitness plan.
Map My Run: (www.mapmyrun.com)
This does exactly what is says on the tin. It is a site that maps your run, but not just your run - your bike ride, your jog etc. It mixes map technology with community spirit to create quite a comprehensive guide to running and keeping fit in your local area. And if your local area is not planned out yet, why not pioneer it! It gets better this little gem doubles up as an app for your phone, which is brilliant as it will track your run on the map automatically! All you need to do is sync it up when you get home, simple.
When you enter the site you have many options available to you. You can enter your own profile and create a route, adding settings like how hard it is, what weather you faced and others are likely to face and then a description. This is not what perhaps makes this website great, though it does make it very useful for self-fulfilment; the sites best element is the Community at your feet (or fingertips).
Generated by a live Tweet feed, you get an incite to how peoples runs went, runs people are going on and if you want to join them! As well as Tweets you get stats on the amount of people out on exercises, the calories they are burning, the amount they are travelling and where. If that is not enough you can find out were runs are happening in your area. On that note here is a great tip for people who like to run in a group apposed to alone, if you live near a Nike Run store (such as Cardiff or London) they do FREE group runs were some one plans the route for you, all you have to do is turn up and they will sort you out. (For information contact either Nike branch which is found on there websites). But if organisation (like me) is not your thing and you just want to fit in around your life the community is a definite for any one trying to be inspired. The page is also linked with Facebook so you can update your mates on your active antics and maybe a few will join you, making your own group run in no time!
Gear to Go
So you are prepared yourself and ready to go¦. Well not really! What kit should you take with you! Here a few items that could set you in a good rhythm.
Now for me, the whole thing that sparked this whole fitness buzz was the Nike+ range, especially the Nike+ wristband I got from someone very special this year! The band is fantastic and it comes alive with the use of the web.
The Nike+ band along with the sensor goes with you on the run. The band registers how far your running in miles or km, how many times you have been out on a run and based on your stats, how many calories you will burn and your speed. Sounds good? It is! It does cost but the cost of this band will far out way and get more use than any feeble gym membership. (£42 for the band apposed to £40 a month for a gym)
When you have registered online like Map My Run, you are linked into a community. The community here is a sharing community but ever the athlete driven company Nike is, it offers the option to challenge. A feature I aim to take FULL advantage from! You can use Twitter, Facebook or just plain old email to lay down a gauntlet to your friends and loved ones. There are also professional training routines available with tips and tricks on suiting the best work out for what you want to achieve! I fancy myself as a bit of a football player (Though I am more Blue Square conference than Premier League) but there is a run routine for that. When selected it sets a time frame out for you to complete it and how well you are doing. There are plenty of other workout plans from professionals so go take a look. When you upload your work outs they mirror the workout with that of the workout plan on the calender, instantly showing if the effort achieved what your daily plan was, the visuals a simple and easy to get used to, making tracking personal achievements easier than ever making you want to push yourself further. It crunches these numbers and works out averages, days you best train and there is a nice graph of your run created, showing you your peeks and the time it took you to achieve distances!
The other neat thing about this online profile is the ability to create an avatar, making the online community lively and entertaining. The avatar has his own little personality one that some what mirrors everyones inner athlete. After syncing my first run to the site he became very happy and animated, however after 10 minutes he will grow restless and play video games, throwing tantrums about the lack of exercise and is a constant reminder - you should be running! Oh and he WILL put on weight. And before I run out on the Nike+ scheme the final honourable mention is its compatibility with the iPhone. Activate the iPhone app and let the rest speak for itself, it will log where you ran and show you later on when you did and the inclusion of the "PowerSong" is genius. It waits until you think you can't go on and the iPhone will pump a tune into you to keep you going. So I believe a must for anyone who is prone to fall off the fitness wagon in the New Year.
Bill Bowerman said it himself "if you have a body, you are an athlete" (though most athletes will definitely dispute my classification within their ranks).
However if Nike+ or running isn't your thing check these apps out that are similar.
Fitness Free (App store)
This is a great free app that provides photographs and detailed steps for each of its more than 320 exercises. Essentially every major muscle group is reflected and you can use this app to get good ideas for triceps, quads or any other body part that you want to improve. There is also a section offering a small selection of pre-bundled, three-day workouts, or you can select exercises of your choosing and create your own customized workout. And it is free, which is always good.
iPersonal Trainer (App Store)
iPersonalTrainer prompts users to create a workout and select which muscle groups they want to work by pointing to them on a (very buff) illustrated man. The app then takes you to a page with instructional videos for each exercise along with tips for good technique. The app also includes a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, weight tracker and progress log so you can keep track of your workouts while you get that hard body. Its about 59p, not a bad price, but I would stick with the Nike+ band just because of all the added goodness you get with it!
Daily Burn (App Store)
This takes some time to set up, but when it is done it is worth it! It keeps track of what you are eating, whether you should be eating it and can link in to your exercise.
The app is great, it links in with the camera on the iPhone so you can photograph bar codes and link it directly to the food you are eating. Giving you a calorie target for the day and a graph showing your progress to losing weight and staying fit! The tracker shows you the weight you are and the weight you want to be, so prompting regular checks to keep you going. Also it will give you a daily break down of the foods value, such as fats, proteins etc. When all is said and done you are able to review your day and stay as healthy as possible!
Hopefully this list of apps, webpages and gadgets will keep your fitness life going whether it be all year, the rest of your life or until you decide enough is enough - here is to all those who will try this year and I know I owe a lot to the internet keep me going. Lets get you tweeting and updating those Facebooks to see who will take the electronical plunge and stick to their fitness routines!