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Is the app the answer to a better you?

Apps for your smart phone or computer are designed to help you meet your 2011 resolutions to get fit and lose weight. But an app can only do so much, Oklahoma experts say.
BY SONYA COLBERG Published: December 29, 2010

You've resolved to lose weight or build killer abs next year? There's an app for that.

Holiday food and festivities help build relationships, but when all that indulging piles up on the waistline, your first inclination may be to go screaming to the running track, gym or personal trainer.

But now apps are bringing some personal workout guidance as close as your smart phone or computer.

Marathoner Adam Cohen straps his smart phone onto his upper arm before he goes for a run, hits “go,” and lets the app map his run and track his progress.

“Incorporating technology into your workouts can provide a boost. I use an iPhone app called ‘MapMyRun,' which tells me exactly how far I've run,” Cohen said.

He said it is especially useful when he runs in the mountains. It measures the altitude.

Apps such as Nike Training Camp and iFitness offer pictures and instructions for workouts and drills to help you lose weight, build strength or reach other fitness levels. Exercise Lab and Denise Austin for iPhones show demonstrations of exercises categorized by which part of the body you want to work out. Couch to 5K has a schedule for people to progress from no exercise to running a 5,000-meter race in nine weeks.

But Edmond personal trainer Brian Attebery said people trying to lose weight need to be cautious.

“Just because you get the latest app or Hollywood celebrity diet doesn't mean it will work for you,” Attebery said.

He said each body and everyone's metabolism is a little different. Trying to copy the demonstrated exercise isn't always easy because of those differences and because the person exercising isn't usually able to see that the attempted exercise looks different from the exercise in the demonstration, he said. The app user may be straining muscles, for example, because the back is unknowingly rounded during the exercise rather than straight.

Attebery recommends steering clear of the exercise apps but calls those that keep track of calories consumed “interesting tools.”

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