No matter what your health and fitness goals are, there’s probably an app for that. And that’s sort of a problem. There are so many apps to choose from that it’s hard to make a decision. I’ve tried many, including MyFitnessPal, Runmeter and the Fitbit app, but my most recent experiment has been with BodySpace from bodybuilding.com. And no, it’s not just for bodybuilders. So what can it do? The short answer: a lot. Whether you want to get inspired to work out, track your workouts, design a plan, steal other people’s plans, or find a community to keep you going, BodySpace can help. It’s not going to drive you to the gym, but it does have a “fitboard” designed to help motivate you when you need an extra kick. You can post photos or a status update (it has a similar process as Instagram or any other social sharing app) or check out what other people have been up to. It’s kind of like having all the motivational stuff on Pinterest all in one place. Probably the biggest benefit though is the ability to track your workouts in detail. You can search for plans other people have made, so you never have to worry about what you’re going to do at the gym on any given day. You can find a workout just for that day, or you can choose a whole program designed to meet whatever goals you have set. It even allows you to add your program to a calendar so you can stay organized. While it’s convenient, I think the calendar function could be improved by letting it sync to your existing calendar. And it doesn’t allow you to customize the days beyond what day you start. Example: You want your rest day to be Saturday but the plan has it on Sunday. You can’t change it. You could always design your own plan with the same exercises or track a scheduled workout on a different day, but that definitely takes away from the convenience factor, and I really like convenience. You can, however, change the order of the individual exercises in the workout, add sets, add entire exercises or skip around within the workout. It takes some getting used to, but it’s pretty intuitive. Physically tracking your workout within the app is fairly easy. You can enter the time, place, your starting weight, and energy level before you begin. Then you just follow the moves that it tells you to do. It even counts out your rest time between sets so you know when to start moving again. And a huge plus is that if you don’t know how to do a specific exercise, there’s a written explanation and usually a video that shows you how to do it. The app also tells you how many workouts you’ve tracked and how much total weight you’ve lifted over those workouts. Being told that I’ve lifted 465,000 pounds so far really doesn’t mean much, but it sounds awesome, so I’ll take it. However, being told what weight I’ve previously used on certain moves is a huge benefit. It helps me remember what I lifted before so I can gradually move up in weight without having to guess. Basically, I like this app because you don’t have to think about anything while you’re working out, unless you want to. Another small downfall is that the search function isn’t always great, but it usually does what I need it to. If you’re designing your own plan or adding an exercise to an existing one, it’s sometimes impossible to find basic moves. At first I thought this could be user error, but after reading other reviews in the App Store, I realized other people had the same issue. One more area that could be improved is the process used to save your workouts. Sometimes it will save what you’ve done, but the workout doesn’t actually sync (so your workout history won’t be accurate). It’s annoying, but fixable by checking your workout history. Other than small glitches, like it being a little slow sometimes and not always clearing notifications, the app is pretty awesome. The weekly recap emails are useful and surprisingly encouraging, too. They’re one of the few newsletter emails that I actually take time to read. Plus, it’s free, so you won’t be out anything if it turns out to not be for you.
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