Your iPhone is like a personal fitness trainer in your pocket, and with winter looming there's no better time to unleash its full potential...
Your iPhone is a personal trainer in disguise. With apps, wearables and its own inbuilt technology, Apple’s flagship is desperate to help you shed the pounds and tone up. And to help you let it do just that, we’ve enlisted the help of Btekt.com’s tech and fitness expert Basil Kronfli. Over to you, Basil…
With September drawing to a close and the festive season around the corner, it’s definitely a good time to start thinking about counter-measures to prevent the annual Christmas pud-pudge. What better tool to help you on your way than your smartphone, specifically your shiny new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus?
To coincide with the launch of Apple’s latest, I’ve been pooling together a few ways iOS can keep you trim, highlighting some apps to help you on your journey and a few gadgets you can connect to your iPhone to help you monitor your activity. Ready to get in shape?
iOS 9 and Health
Standalone, iOS 9 is rooting for your success on the fitness-front. Whether you want to lose weight or bulk up, without installing a single app, you still have access to iOS’s inbuilt Health app. The phone itself will count your daily steps thanks to its M9 coprocessor, and if you want to manually enter your weight, height, body fat percentage, sleep times as well as workout information, you can keep tabs on all of them.
If manually entering numbers sounds too much like hard work though, you can always automate the process with apps…
iPhone cardio apps
Most cardio apps track distance covered using the iPhone’s GPS. Off the bat, they will all work out your average pace. After inputting your age, height and weight though, they can accurately work out calorie consumption as well.
Cyclists have a similar range of choices, from Map My Ride through to Strava. The prior ties in with Map My Run and My Fitness Pal seamlessly, while Strava is awesome for competitive cyclists who want to race against ghost profiles.
For indoor runners or cyclists, you can either manually input your workout details, or use a connected treadmill or bike. Login to TechnoGym’s MyWellness cloud or LifeFitness Connect for example, and provided your gym equipment is supported, it will auto-update your iPhone’s Health app.
iPhone weightlifting apps
If you’re more concerned with bulking up than trimming down, Apple’s health suite will have a harder time tracking your progress, making third party apps your go to option.
“JEFIT has a huge community and countless sample workouts to choose from…”
As for which apps, I use JEFIT and Strong. JEFIT has a huge community and countless sample workouts to choose from over at https://www.jefit.com/routines. Once you’ve created a profile, your chosen workout syncs to it across devices making it easy to get up and running. If you have a workout you do already and want a no-fuss logger, that’s where Strong comes in. It’s clean, easy to get your head around and will track your progress in a simple-but-effective way.
iPhone diet apps
Whatever diet you follow, MyFitnessPal is always my go-to resource for staying on top of food intake. Not only does it break down the nutritional properties of the food you eat (with a huge library of dishes and drinks to choose from), it also syncs your calorie intake with the Apple Health app and uses your iPhone step counter to balance out the calories consumed with those expended.
Adding some real tech-factor to the mix, it will even scan barcodes of almost all packaged foods to save you time logging your intake.
iPhone fitness gadgets and peripherals
As great as the iPhone’s aforementioned step counter is, it isn’t practical for anyone who doesn’t carry their iPhone in their pocket all the time. If that’s you, there are a few top notch iOS accessories that will help round-off your fitness tracking experience…
For runners who want to leave their smartphone at home, the Garmin Forerunner 225 is a great choice. Loaded up with a GPS, it can accurately track your runs and has a heart rate monitor on-board too. When the run is done, data is synced wirelessly to the Garmin Connect app on your iPhone, making monitoring results a doddle.
If you’re set on having a smartwatch first and a fitness tracker second, you could always opt for the Apple Watch. It forgoes the inbuilt GPS in favour of beautiful colour screen, though it will still count your steps. It also supports a range of fitness apps, and it plays back music when paired with Bluetooth headphones.
For a more classical look, there isn’t a smartwatch around that looks as refined as the Withings Activité. Classical design paired with subtle smarts, it tracks steps, sleep and syncs with your smartphone without a digital screen in sight.
“For a more classical look, there isn’t a smartwatch around that looks as refined as the Withings Activité.”
Moving away from smartwatches and finishing up with fitness bands, the Sony Smartband 2 is my current favourite. It has a heart rate monitor for workout tracking, logs sleep and counts steps too, all the while, sporting a waterproof body and still coming in at under £100. For a simpler, cheaper alternative, forgo the heart rate monitor and pick up either a Misfit Flash or a Xiaomi Mi Band for some dependable step counting, Apple Health-integrating goodness.
And with that, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals, in spite of the changing seasons, all thanks to your iPhone and its plethora of sporting support. What’s your app and peripheral of choice? Let me know in the comments section below!
What do the experts think of Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus? We’ve scoured the web so you don’t have to – check out their first impressions right here.