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 â€œgo,â€ and lets the app map his run and track his progress.
â€œIncorporating technology into your workouts can provide a boost. I use an iPhone app called â€˜MapMyRun,' which tells me exactly how far I've run,â€ 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.
â€œJust because you get the latest app or Hollywood celebrity diet doesn't mean it will work for you,â€ 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 â€œinteresting tools.â€
Apps like Lose It, Calorie Counter and Nutrition Genius allow you to log what you eat, set calorie goals and track how many calories and fats you consume. Weight Watchers works similarly and offers recipes and health news.
Oklahoma City nutritionist Karen Funderburg likes the idea of apps or simply keeping track of information on a paper calendar.
â€œWhatever works. Whatever motivates people,â€ she said.
She said it can be tedious and counterproductive to track everything you eat, as some apps allow. She recommends avoiding concentrating on calories burned in favor of tracking how many fruits and vegetables eaten and physical activity undertaken each day.
Funderburg said clients often make a New Year's resolution to lose 20 or 30 pounds. Making the promise makes people feel better instantly, but the tendency to think they've got all year to lose that weight typically dooms them. Instead, she recommends more concrete, visual resolutions such as promising yourself to be active 100 minutes per week.
Resolve to stick with realistic fitness promises to yourself, said Dr. Stephen Prescott, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation president.
â€œMost people don't, which is why the lion's share of resolutions are no more by February. So don't pledge to work out for an hour a day every day â€” that's unrealistic. Instead, try to take small steps forward.â€
And whether your resolutions revolve around quitting smoking, losing weight or getting fit, there's an app for that, too.
The New Year's Buzzer allows app users to place and track their 2011 New Year's resolutions.