When you’re looking to track the calories you burned working out, technology is your friend.
Working out in the 21st century means having access to a wide variety of forms of fitness-enhancing technology. From the programmable workout machines you’ll find at your local gym to wearable movement trackers to smart devices that scan your body composition, there’s a plethora of helpful tools and gadgets that make working out easier and more rewarding.
If you’re looking for a way to implement fitness-tracking technology into your workouts, one great option is to make use of a calorie-tracking app. There are numerous apps out there with different primary focuses and specialties. Finding one that meets your specific fitness-related needs may take some trial and error. To make the job easier, this helpful article will give you five great calorie-tracking apps to try.
1. Apple’s Activity App
If you’re an Apple Watch wearer looking for a new way to make the most out of your smartwatch, you’re in luck. Apple offers a number of helpful fitness resources to Apple Watch users, one of which is the heavily customizable and very helpful Activity app.
When you first set up your Apple Watch, you’ll be prompted to set up the Activity feature with your personal fitness goals. If you have a certain number of steps you want to get in every day, this handy tool has you covered. You can set up a daily step goal and use your watch’s built-in pedometer. In addition, your watch will tell you how many calories your daily walking is burning.
The Apple Watch’s fitness-tracking abilities don’t end with its useful pedometer. In addition to step tracking, the watch’s Activity feature will let you know when you need to stand up after you’ve been sitting for a while. The Activity app will also help you to work towards daily calorie-burning and exercise goals.
The Apple Watch uses its activity-tracking features to monitor your workouts and the incidental activity you engage in throughout the day. The watch will let you know when you’ve reached your daily goal for calories burned. However, if you want to track a workout, you’ll need to let the watch know when you’ve started exercising, and what form of exercise you’re doing.
The Apple Watch’s Activity feature provides you with a helpful list of exercise options. When you’re doing a certain workout, you can select it in the Activity app’s menu. This allows the watch to give you a summary of the calories you burned during your workout.
The Activity app allows you to set a daily goal for exercise on top of your step and calorie goals. These three goals (steps, calories and exercise) are all represented in the app by multicolored rings. This setup adds a highly motivating visual element to the app; if you meet all your goals, you’ll see all three rings fully formed at the end of the day.
This trusty app designed by Under Armour is useful for a number of purposes. First, it can keep you on track with your nutrition goals by providing a massive database of foods and their calorie and macronutrient counts. If you have a specific number of grams of each macronutrient that you are trying to reach every day, MyFitnessPal is your new best friend.
Second, the app gives you an opportunity to track your workouts by inputting the exercise you did and the time you spent exercising. Instead of using a pedometer or heart rate monitor to tell you how many calories you burned working out, the app presents you with the average amount of calories burned performing a specific exercise.
Third, MyFitnessPal is a helpful resource for tracking weight loss. By entering your information into the app with your activity level, the app will tell you approximately how many calories to eat per day for steady weight loss.
While MyFitnessPal is a powerful tool for workout tracking and weight loss, the app is lacking in a few areas. The primary con of using MyFitnessPal for tracking calories burned while working out is its data is based on averages and approximations. This means that using the app to track your workouts may not leave you with the most accurate data. However, if your main goal in calorie tracking is to get a ballpark number of calories burned rather than a more precise reading, MyFitnessPal will meet your needs.
While the Apple Watch’s activity app is, of course, only compatible with iPhones and their wrist-worn companions, a major perk of MyFitnessPal is its availability on both iOS and Android devices. If you’re looking for a calorie-tracking app that doesn’t require use of Apple devices or a smart watch, MyFitnessPal is a great option.
3. Samsung Health
For Android users, Samsung Health is a great alternative to Apple’s Health and Activity apps. Paired with an Android smart watch like the Samsung Gear, the Samsung Health app can serve the same useful purposes that its Apple counterpart does.
Both Apple’s Activity feature and Samsung Health have comparable capabilities. One app doesn’t necessarily win over the other, so neither Apple nor Android have a clear-cut advantage here. If you want to get serious about tracking calories burned during your workouts, a fitness-tracking device worn on your wrist is a great place to start. Speaking of fitness-tracking devices…
4. The Fitbit App
Another app used in tandem with a fitness-tracking device, the Fitbit app pairs with its namesake, the Fitbit, to make for a powerful calorie-tracking tool. Similar to the Apple Watch or Samsung Gear, the Fitbit is designed to track calorie intake and exercise while on your wrist. If you don’t feel the need to wear a smartwatch and just want a great calorie-tracking tool, the Fitbit is a great choice.
Offering many of the same features as the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear but without as high of a price tag, the Fitbit uses an app available on iOS and Android devices to manage and track data. The Fitbit app also lets you monitor your sleep, hydration and food.
Tracking food intake can often be just as important and helpful as tracking calories burned while exercising. Pairing both up makes for a powerful combination. Using the Fitbit and its companion app, you can easily get an accurate reading of your calorie intake and output. Whether you primarily focus on cardio, strength training or a little bit of both, the Fitbit app has resources for you.
If you don’t feel the need for a smart watch, the Fitbit is a useful alternative because it offers all the fitness-related utilities you’d get with a smart watch but without the other functions and tools. You may end up missing the ability to pair the device with your phone to receive texts and calls, but it’s worth considering the Fitbit as an option when choosing a fitness-tracking device, especially if you are on a budget.
Another app that does not require a smartwatch or other wrist-worn device to use, Cronometer is useful for tracking calories consumed and calories burned while exercising. Cronometer is particularly helpful if you are looking for a simple, streamlined way to log food and exercise data. In addition, Cronometer is great for anyone following a specific diet or with health-related dietary restrictions. In the realm of calorie tracking, Cronometer can give you specific recommendations for calorie and macronutrient intake based on your diet.
Cronometer can be accessed through a website or an app. However, there are some differences between the features offered for free on the website and those available on the app. To access the app’s full potential, you need to pay a small monthly fee. This may still save you money in the short-term in comparison to purchasing a smart watch or Fitbit. Sometimes, a small financial investment like an app is well worth it for the benefits it offers in the realm of health and fitness.
Paying the full price for the Cronometer app gets rid of the ads displayed in the free version, and gives you access to a few extra gadgets that can be helpful in the realm of meal logging. However, you can get by with the free version, especially by making use of the web-based version.
What’s Best For You?
The best calorie-tracking app for you depends on your specific goals, budget, and what devices you have at your disposal. There is no clear-cut, black and white best pick among the apps listed above. However, some may be more easily accessible or convenient for depending on your current relationship with fitness technology.
The Samsung Health, Apple Activity and Fitbit apps all require a companion device to be used. In contrast, Cronometer and MyFitnessPal can be used online or on your smartphone. Investing in a smart watch or Fitbit can be a major expense, but you end up with a useful tool that can serve multiple purposes in your life.