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App-ly yourself: Meet fitness goals via smartphone

Sarah Rufc, Houston Chronicle
Updated 1:37 pm, Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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  • Fitness app Zombies, Run! turns jogging into a quest for survival.
    Fitness app Zombies, Run! turns jogging into a quest for survival.

 

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Forget the treadmill or the Thigh Master, your best workout tool in 2013 is a smartphone. Hundreds of new fitness apps are designed to help users get motivated, compete with others, find new workouts and do it all with a great list of tunes.

1Zombies, Run!: If running around Memorial Park isn't exciting enough, Zombies, Run! turns a jog into a post-apocalyptic adventure. Assignments to rebuild civilization - and the groans of approaching zombie hordes - sound in your headphones between tracks in your playlist, with 30 missions to complete. Now on sale for $3.99 - Apple Store, Google Play, Windows Phone

 

2Strava Cycling: Cycling, like running, can be a solitary pursuit. So to fuel competitive fires, there's Strava. Turn on the app and Strava will monitor your ride, including distance, speed, elevation, calories burned and your heart rate. Post your stats online to track your progress. Strava has a database of local trails and segments, and if you ride one faster than anyone else, the app will declare you king (or queen) of the mountain. Free - Apple Store, Google Play

 

3. Hundred Pushups: If push-ups have been the bane of your existence since grade school, fear not. This exercise has stood the test of time because one simple move works your chest, abs, triceps and shoulders, and developer SoftwareX says anyone can do 100 of them in one sitting with 30 minutes of training per week. Strap your smartphone to your arm as you complete the workout, and the app will use motion detection to determine if your push-up was real or pansy style - and, if it was the latter, make you do it again. 99 cents - Apple Store, Google Play

 

4. Nike Training Club: This app is full of features but is as simple to understand as "Just Do It." Pick a fitness goal and a training level, and all you need is your iPhone and some space to move around to get a complete workout. Follow the videos of workout moves explained by Nike trainers and rack up workout minutes to unlock bonus workouts from fitness celebs, including soccer star Alex Morgan and personal trainer Ary Nuñez. Free - Apple Store

5. Gympact: When getting healthier fails as motivation, there's always cold, hard cash. Keep resolutions on track with Gympact. Set a pact for how many days you plan to hit the gym, and the app will take a cash stake. Check into your workouts via GPS or risk losing money. If you complete your weekly pact, you're rewarded with money from those who didn't. Free - Apple Store, Google Play

 

6. Vitogo: Vitogo is like bringing your own personal trainer into an actual gym, designing detailed workouts using equipment from the shoulder-press machine to a workout ball. Vitogo will store your exercise data, from reps completed to calories burned, and updates your workout program every four to six weeks to keep you challenged. 99 cents - Apple Store

 

7. Fitocracy: Need a gym buddy? How about hundreds of them? Fitocracy has been dubbed the Facebook of fitness apps, with a simple interface encouraging users to join challenges and log their workouts to earn points and unlock achievements. Free - Apple Store

 

8. Pocket Yoga: This app offers users 27 customized sessions at different durations and difficulty levels. Moves are culled from Gaia Flow yoga, and detailed voice and visual guides help users master 150-plus poses. $2.99 - Google Play, Apple Store

 

9. Lift: Those who know the rewarding feeling of crossing something off a to-do list will understand the appeal of Lift. This app helps people change their life one step at a time by setting simple daily goals, such as "floss," "drink more water" or "jog at least two miles." Complete a task, then check in to your goal so Lift can measure your momentum in the hopes of making each action into a habit. Free - Apple Store

 

10. Songza: If your workout playlists are getting stale, check out Songza's playlists. Categorized by activities such as "energy boost," "yoga" and "working out: weight training" there are many lists from which to choose. Best of all, there are no audio ads between songs and virtually unlimited song skipping. Free, - Apple Store, Google Play