Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Are you Team Android, Team iPhone, Team Flip Phone or Team I Only Need A House Phone? If you have a phone, I’m sure your mobile phone does everything now aside from its original purpose of only calling people. They now do everything from video calling, streaming live TV to your flat screen and even show you real time video surveillance the second someone rings your doorbell.
Technology companies are stepping into just about every area that you can imagine including the health and fitness industry. These companies are now making watches that can monitor our heart rates, count calories, steps taken and much more. Some apps are even attempting to replace the use for personal trainers and gyms altogether. I enjoyed the mobile app “Lose It! – Calorie Counter” for 1 month after experimenting with several other apps. It’s free to download, but if you want access to the premium features, you must pay to play. Let’s talk about the app a little.
You will need to create a login with an email or sign in using your Facebook account after downloading. At that point you’ll input your profile and goal details then, configure your beginning, current and goal weight. You’ll get a daily calorie budget along with your expected date to reach that weight once you do the basic stuff. Here’s the neat thing: you’re able to log your weight, meals/snacks and even your exercise activities at any time. It’ll break down each meal/snack by maximum calories allowed after knowing your daily calorie budget. The point of that is to track what and how much you’re eating which is just as, if not more, important than exercising. When you log in a food item, you can search for it by name brand, input the information yourself, scan the bar-code or snap a photo. This is very beneficial since it can populate the information automatically once it recognizes the item. From that point it will track your macro-nutrients in grams (protein, carbohydrates and fat) then tell you how many more calories you’re allowed to have for each meal/snack afterwards. If you want to log a box of Cheez-It’s, it’ll populate it for you. Just don’t expect it to tell you whether it’s healthy or not healthy. You can select the serving amount of what you’ve consumed too. Don’t worry if you hate math. Lose it does most calculations for you!
Daily activity is very important, and there are many to choose from. If an activity isn’t there, you can add it and pick the best exercise icon. You’ll have to figure out how many calories you’ve burned while you’re creating the new exercise though. Lose It is not 100% accurate when it comes to how many calories are burned but isn’t too far off. Once you log in the exercise, it’ll automatically subtract the calories lost from your daily budget. The premium features look interesting, but I decided not to subscribe.
Sadly, there are a few downsides to this app and similar ones. You can’t get the motivation you need to work toward your goals. Being that you’ll get stronger as your daily habits change, no application can adjust the intensity for a workout based on the individual. The biggest downside is for those who have previous or current injuries and/or limitations. A great portion of applications out there cannot adjust your workouts or daily calorie requirements based on that. A great portion of them also can’t do what a personal trainer can when it comes to adjusting your meal plans, daily calorie intake or workouts even if you have a disease like Diabetes. The greatest thing about most of these apps is the low cost and convenience. I mean who likes spending a lot of money anyway?
Before smart devices and mobile phones, you had personal trainers who are also called fitness trainers by some associations. As a fitness trainer my job is to make you comfortably uncomfortable. We want you to be comfortable enough to trust our expertise. Most of the time doing something different to better yourself will make you uncomfortable being that you don’t do it daily. When finding a good personal or fitness trainer, you should ask about their certifications, qualifications, and expertise.
There are downsides to hiring a personal or fitness trainer too (yes, I’m going to tell you the downside to hiring me Lol). The downside is cost, convenience and expertise. Let’s face it - some trainers charge as low as $20 per hour or session or as much as $100 per hour or session depending on education, certifications, years certified, and other varying factors.
The good thing about hiring some trainers would be the accountability, customization, specialization and affordability. As trainers, we give you 100% to help you reach your goals, but you need to be 100% with your consistency and effort to see and make progress. I hold the Fitness Trainer, Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and Youth Fitness Trainer certifications. My specialty is weight management and strength training for adults. I also specialize in helping kids improve and develop their motor skills for sports and activities. In short, I don’t waste my time as well as someone else’s along with stealing people’s money if I know a person will do better with another trainer. Each client I’ve trained that has seen improvements in strength overall and has been successful in managing their weight by giving 100%. In other words, you will feel a true sense of accomplishment working with the right trainer rather than you would with an app.
There are pros and cons to using fitness and health apps as there are for hiring a personal or fitness trainer too. You just need to decide what’s best for you. When you follow a meal plan, counting calories will be your best friend! Why you ask? Apps like Lose It will do the math for you when it comes to logging food and drinks you consume. One thing I can tell you is this: whether you choose a personal or fitness trainer, a fitness and health app or even both, it’s much better than sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips! I recommend both hiring a good trainer and using an app. A personalized meal and workout plan from a trainer will give you accurate numbers based on several factors. Once you get those numbers, an app can usually tell you how much of something you should have to meet your daily requirements. Be careful though. Each app that I’ve used has populated the incorrect amount of an ingredient instead of what’s listed on the label at least once.
*The photos of the “Lose It! – Calorie Counter” application are screenshot examples of my experimental account. I do not own the application and its content nor am I promoting the application. The information from the screenshots are actual numbers from my results.