The beginning of a new year is always a time for fitness resolutions. Some people hit the gym on their own. Others turn to personal coaches for motivation, guidance, and accountability.

fitness apps

Motivation, guidance, and accountability are the holy trifecta of fitness success. And nowadays, apps can deliver all these critical success factors, acting as virtual personal trainers. They can help track and manage fitness goals, allowing users to define, set, and achieve their goals while holding them accountable every step of the way.

Most New Year’s fitness resolutions fail. And they do so because they run out of steam. Without structure and accountability, such efforts tend to fizzle out. Fitness apps can provide that framework and structure sustained, long-term fitness efforts need to be successful.

But do fitness apps really work? Research says that the best fitness apps can boost physical activity in the majority of users. They achieve this objective through a mix of exercise tracking and motivational messages.

What makes a fitness app successful? What features do the best fitness apps offer?

Thousands of fitness apps exist, and several new ones appear every day. Some are free. Others feature free versions as well as paid premium ones.

Here’s what you should look for in a fitness app to decide whether it suits your needs or whether it is one you can consider one of the best fitness apps.

Diet Guidance

Diet is an essential part of every fitness journey and program. It matters at least as much as the physical exercises you do. The best fitness apps dedicate significant resources to the diet aspect of fitness. What can or should you expect from your app in this respect?

  • Functions that allow you to track your calories and physical activities and correlate them
  • An exhaustive database of foods and dishes
  • The possibility to log restaurant menus
  •  An exhaustive library of video recipes
  • Tips that cover supplements and specialized sports nutrition

Some of the best fitness apps go well above and beyond these nutrition-oriented functionalities. They may include:

  • The possibility to customize the nutrition-focused segments of the app to reflect the needs of pregnant women, people with food allergies, and those who must observe diet restrictions
  • Healthy food recommendations
  • Diet charts
  • Shopping list organizers

The possibilities in this respect are endless. As a would-be fitness or nutrition app user, you should ensure that the information the app uses is solid, verified by professionals, and high-quality. Here’s what you should consider when you ascertain the quality of a fitness or nutrition app.

  • The information the app uses comes from an expert source, preferably a registered dietician.
  • The app has gone through an expert vetting process. Registered nutritionists often review fitness apps, granting them approval or withholding it.
  • The information is up-to-date and offers value to special user categories, like pregnant women and people with special diet needs.
  • The interface is intuitive and easy to use. The app serves up quality information in an accessible manner.
  • Other users recommend the app. Word of mouth is still the most reliable and honest source of feedback on the efficacy of health-related technology like fitness apps.

User Personalization

The best fitness apps allow a high degree of user personalization. Personalization is extremely important for fitness apps. It may be superfluous for mobile games or some other general-use apps. Not so for fitness.

The more your app knows about your physical condition, the more accurate diet, exercise, and behavioral recommendations it can give you.

If users feel that the app doesn’t just give them generic information available everywhere but addresses their needs, they will keep coming back to it.

Personalization-wise, apps should ensure they don’t cross the line and cause privacy concerns. If their personalization features are capable and well implemented, they don’t even need the name of the user.

Some app makers have resorted to the cutting-edge approach of employing the services of artificial intelligence throughout the personalization process. The best fitness apps may even give their users a personalized AI coach.

Goal Setting

No fitness journey can start without a destination. Fitness app users must be able to set fitness goals for themselves, so they can create a plan and go through the paces to reach their goals.

Goal-setting should be a straightforward process. From it, stem the motivation and accountability users need to improve their lives through physical fitness.

Once users enter a target date and a goal value, the app must help them find the optimal course of action to reach the goal.

Device Integration

The world is awash in wearable and non-wearable mobile devices. The best fitness apps allow their users to synchronize their devices effortlessly.

It is always a plus to be able to use a fitness app on a mobile phone and a smartwatch.

The best fitness apps go further regarding integration. In addition to mobile devices, they also allow users to synchronize their fitness and diet data with laptops and desktop computers.

Quality fitness apps store data in the cloud. To achieve that, the programmers who create the apps must be competent in not only facilitating seamless data transfer but also protecting user data.

Accurate Tracking Metrics

Fitness data is all about metrics. Calories, pounds, miles, and kilograms: everything you can measure, you can change and manipulate. And to measure everything, you need accurate metrics.

Tracking measurable progress is the key to motivation. As people see milestones after milestones fall, they are more motivated to keep pushing past their physical comfort zones.

Although they measure many variables, the best fitness apps organize the resulting data in a way that they only present the relevant information to the user.

Social Integration

People like to brag about their physical fitness feats. Like it or not, bragging rights are among the most powerful fitness motivating factors.

The best fitness apps come with social integration, allowing their users to share their accomplishments with the world through a few clicks.

Apps also use these social features to get users to spend more time using the app. Social engagement can also get people more involved and invested in their fitness efforts.

Video Tutorials and Gamification

Short of having a personal trainer show you the ropes, video tutorials are the best at illustrating how you can perform physical exercises correctly to protect your joints and achieve optimal results.

Through gamification, fitness app developers apply gaming principles to physical fitness. Achieve a goal, and you get a virtual reward. Move past a critical milestone, and you get an achievement you can show off, drawing the envy and admiration of those who haven’t yet progressed as far on their fitness journeys as you have.

Fitness apps are here to stay. Some of them successfully supplant the services of personal trainers. Others have come up with unique ways to keep you engaged and invested in your fitness. As long as they make you get off that couch and hit the gym or the running track, they can consider their missions fulfilled. The best fitness app is the one that helps you get from A to B on your physical fitness journey, improving your confidence and health, and with them, the overall quality of your life.

Having started his online career back in 2005, over the years, James has written for scores of websites, covering online poker, eSports, Forex trading, binary options, and digital ledger technology - among...

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