The world we live in is a modern one – there’s no question about it. Numerous technological advances have made our lives easier in recent years. In fact, the way we do certain things has changed beyond imaginable.
In the past, exercising meant playing a sport or going to the gym; nowadays, we don’t have to go anywhere – exercise comes to us. To make things convenient, we have developed countless fitness apps that allow us to experience effective exercise methods from the comfort of our home.
It doesn’t matter if you want to lose a few pounds, get a toned body, build some muscles, or simply stay active – there is a suitable fitness app for you. Apart from being convenient, these apps provide high-quality programs free of charge or at prices much lower than those you would pay for a personal trainer. Some apps can even connect to the scales in our Most Accurate Bathroom Scale guide.
To learn about the top 5 fitness apps of 2018, keep reading.
1. JEFIT (Android, iOS)
If you enjoy bodybuilding and strength training, you will love this app.
Loaded with thousands of exercise routines that target specific body parts, this app is an incredible resource for anyone who wants to become strong and muscular. JEFIT comes with instructions, a workout planner, progress tracker, exercise log, and multiple timers that will help you stay in control of your fitness journey. The app itself is simple to use, and it allows you to keep track of your routines as well as to customize them.
The downside is that you will have to push the “Next” button a lot, which can be annoying. Also, the app lacks audio coaching and feedback, and the free version is ad-supported. One more thing, if you are a beginner, this app probably won’t be a good fit.
2. Yoga Studio (Android, iOS)
Yoga Studio is great for you if you enjoy doing yoga, but you don’t like wasting time going to classes every week.
The Yoga Studio app contains more than 70 meditation and yoga classes that range from 10 minutes to a full hour. Classes are suitable for all levels, and you can even make your own classes by customizing. Since the app offers exercises for various levels, both beginners and advanced yoga lovers can make the most of it.
The one-time purchase for the app was $3.99 at first. However, Yoga Studio requires a monthly subscription now, which has enraged many loyal users who have been locked out of their accounts, and they cannot access them without agreeing to pay more.
3. 7 Minute Workout for Kids (iOS)
If you want to help your kids develop healthy fitness habits from early on, you will love this free iOS app.
In only seven minutes, this app will focus on your kid’s entire body, using only their body weight. All exercises have been developed with the aim of building endurance, flexibility, and strength. In order to keep the little ones entertained, the app comes with detailed instructions, timer, as well as some music.
The app is designed for iOS users only, and it requires iOS 8.1 or later, so some users with older versions won’t be able to use it. Also, the only language available is English, which isn’t very convenient.
4. Sworkit (Android, iOS)
Short for Simply Work It, this free app has it all; moreover, it allows you to create targeted workout routines.
With Sworkit, you can customize as much as you want. Select the duration of your workout (5 to 60 minutes), choose pilates, yoga, cardio, stretching, strength-focused exercises, or make a unique combination to meet your exercise goals. Another good thing is that each routine is different, so you won’t get bored easily. Also, Sworkit comes in 13 languages!
Sworkit is a big app (139.6 MB), so those with a full phone memory might find it hard to “accommodate” the app. Also, if you want premium access and additional features, you will have to pay for those.
5. Strava Running & Cycling (Android, iOS)
This high-quality running and cycling tracker app that supports running trackers will push you to set new records and reach your fitness goals easily.
Just like any other app, Strava Running & Cycling records your speed, distance, time, and course. However, it also combines all of those features with challenges, achievements, and leaderboards, which makes it stand out from other similar apps on the market.
Strava also offers a premium subscription, which allows you to use filtered leaderboards and create unique exercise goals. However, at $7.99 per month, it is a bit pricey.…
Not so long ago, I started using an exercise bike at home. I’d had it for some time, but somehow it was just sitting in my room. What a pity, right?!
So, one day I figured, why would I spend so much money on a gym membership when an exercise bike is so much cheaper in the long run? I tried it, and I was happy that I discovered it. It’s a time-saver, and it’s a great way to shed those extra few pounds at home!
I’ve prepared a short and simple guide for you guys, from which you’ll learn how to easily set it up in order to avoid potential injuries. It’s very important to adjust the bike into the correct position for your own body.
It took me some time to figure it out, but it will certainly improve the quality of your workouts. So, keep on reading to find out more about how to set it up and and enjoy it daily!
Step #1 – Pay Attention to the Saddle Height!
According to my experience, the saddle height is the first thing you want to adjust properly. In order to do so, you should consider your height and the length of your legs. As you stand next to the bike, the saddle height should be exactly the same as the height of your hip bone.
After you adjust this, climb onto the bike and place the heels on the bike pedals. Additionally, extend one foot to the bottom of your pedal stroke. With your heel on the pedal, your knee should bend slightly. If this is the case, your saddle height is perfect!
Now I’ll explain why it is important to have a proper saddle height. If the saddle is low, it will strain your knees. On the other hand, having a saddle that is set too high will lead to straining in the feet, ankles and hips.
Bottomline – don’t neglect the saddle height!
Step #2 – It’s Not Just the Saddle Height…
After adjusting the saddle height, I hopped on the bike and realized that I was not done yet. The next thing to take into consideration is the saddle position.
The position can be altered by moving it forward or backward. The optimal position depends on your height and flexibility. However, you shouldn’t forget your riding style, as it will have some impact on the saddle position, too.
You will reach the perfect position when you sit on the bike, and your knees come slightly over the center of your foot. However, the knees shouldn’t go past the middle of your shoelaces.
What might happen if you don’t position the saddle correctly is that you strain your knees and lower back, if the saddle is too far back. On the other hand, if it’s too far forward, it could lead to an uncomfortable torso position and the loss of riding efficiency.
Step #3 – Next Stop: Handlebars!
This one will be tricky, guys. The reason for this is because it will depend on your preferred riding style. Also, your style might evolve in time, so positioning your handlebars might vary.
What you shouldn’t forget, though, is the fact that handlebars that are positioned too low might lead to discomfort in your lower back and/or tension in the neck and shoulder area.
As I mentioned earlier, you might need to play around a little in order to discover the optimal handlebar position. However, the ideal position should allow you to ride comfortably, without tension or discomfort in any way.
My tip here would be to keep a slight bend in your elbows. Also, as you ride, try to keep the weight off of the handlebars and instead push through your legs and heels.
Step #4 – Don’t Worry, We’re Almost Done – the Pedal Position!
At last, we’ve come to the pedals. This is the last thing that needs adjustment before starting to enjoy your exercise bike to the fullest. When it comes to the pedals, it’s extremely important to maintain a healthy foot position at all times.
You should always ride with the ball of your foot placed over the center of the pedal. Also, try to keep your toes light and even your heel with the ball of your foot.
It’s important not to point the toes down during the pedal stroke in order to avoid the numbness and discomfort in the ankles and knees. I would recommend wiggling your toes from time to time as you ride, to make sure you’re not pointing them down.
Hopefully, you’ll find my tips helpful, and you’ll install and adjust your home exercise bike easily. Now you know that “one size fits all” is not something that works with these bikes. You’ll see how the right adjustments will lead to improvement in your riding efficiency and greater results!…
If you are like me and hate the thought of heading to the gym after work when you know it is going to be packed, then it may be time for you to start thinking about building a home gym like I did. This way you don’t get stuck sat on a shoulder press your entire “upper” workout.
My brothers and I worked out that building a home gym would save us money in the long run. Instead of spending $50 a month each we all chipped in and have now accumulated enough equipment that I have friends that ask if they can come workout in my gym instead of going to their commercial gyms.
We started off with a little bench press with a spinlock barbell and dumbbells that were positioned in the back of the living room. My mum got sick of us making a noise while she was trying to watch tv. So, after constant moaning we decided to upgrade the kit and move to another place.
I am fortunate enough to live on a farm and finding space wasn’t too much of an issue and there was an old beaten up portacabin that only needed a lick of paint and a bit of work to the floor then we had the perfect place.
It may not have the air conditioning like most commercial gyms and was a sweat box in the summer and you needed three hoodies on in the winter, but it was now home.
Now that we had plenty of free space we decided it was time to get serious and get some extra equipment. Firstly, we bought a power rack, new weight bench, Olympic Barbell set and Olympic dumbbells.
We also had a multi gym that my parents bought us one Christmas and it had all the standard features such as lat pulldown, chest press, chest fly, leg extension, shoulder press and leg raise attachment. It has served us well, but we accidentally broke it by adding too much extra weight.
After a few years of training away we reached a stage where our lifts were beginning to take their toll on the floor in the gym. So, we had to think of a way to make sure the bar wasn’t going to smash through the floor while deadlifting and take our feet with it.
The current setup
We decided that we needed a solid floor under our feet and converted an old horse stable into the new and improved gym. I work in construction and converting it was no problem. We just had to level up the floor and slap some plasterboard on the walls and give it a lick of paint.
As this new gym was even bigger and we had broken the multi gym we decided to splash out and invest in a cable crossover in form the of a Bodymax CF820. This is piece of kit is what has really taken our workouts to the next level.
Our complete collection of Home Gym Equipment
- Bodymax cf375 power rack, recently upgraded to Bodymax CF475
- Dips attachment for the Bodymax CF475
- Bodymax CF510 Adjustable bench
- 2 x Olympic bar bells
- Over 250 kg Olympic weight plates
- 2 x Olympic dumbells
- E-z Olympic barbell
- York multi gym (now broken, our fault)
- Bodymax CF820 cable crossover
- Calf raise step (I made from old scaffold planks)
- Preacher curl (addon for bench)
- Leg extension (addon for bench)
- Rowing machine
- Spinlock E-Z and dumbbells (I used to take to uni)
- Sound system (essential)
With all this kit we can do the majority of exercises you would do in any commercial gym.
You can definitely build a good home gym for under $1500, which may still seem like quite a lot compared to the $50 a month membership you may be currently paying but just remember you still have the value of the gym kit if you decided to sell it.
If you are now considering building your own home gym here are my top tips to bear in mind.
What exercises do you want to do?
Depending on what exercises you plan to do will have an impact on what you actually need instead of what you want.
This may seem very obvious, but it is something that can often become forgotten about when you are watching the world’s strongest man and decide to buy a truck tire when all you actually want to do is lose a bit of your muffin top.
How much do you plan on lifting?
There is a huge range of gym equipment out there with different maximum capacities. If you plan on squatting very light then there is no need for a power rack capable of withstanding a world record lift.
However, if you are like me and your goal is to increase your strength that you may wish to spend a little more to save money in the long run. If I had thought about this from the beginning I wouldn’t have needed to buy a second power rack.
Where will you put the equipment? How much room do you have?
Obviously if you don’t have the free space from a cable crossover there isn’t much point in buying one. So, you need to think about how the layout of your gym will work with the kit you intend on filling it with.
What is the floor like in this space?
Firstly no matter what lifts you plan on doing your floor should be level.
Secondly it needs to be strong enough to take the kind of abuse it is likely to receive. If you plan on doing some heavy Olympic lifts it needs to be able to take some serious punishment.…