Gear: Four apps that can keep fitness on track
Do you need to be coerced into working out by paying a non-compliance fine? Would you like to find a cool mountain-bike route on your business trip to Milwaukee next week? Or how about running with a music mix automatically synchronized to your pace, or having a yoga instructor come to your house on Tuesday and a running coach come the following Thursday? Here are the apps for that.
Miss it and pay
Fit Acc: This free app tries to build “fitness accountability” (Fit Acc, for short) by fining you every time you do not complete a scheduled workout.
Likes: A diabolical but effective concept: Pay a fine if you skip out. Every time you miss a workout, you pay a fine, a minimum of $5. You input a predesignated time and place to work out, a Fit Acc-registered trainer and your credit card info, then you set up a workout schedule. The app can tell, via your phone’s GPS, if you’ve showed up to work out; if not, it will automatically deduct your penalty and send it to your trainer. To keep the money in the family, you can set up your spouse or a friend as your trainer. If you don’t designate anyone, the money is sent to the inventor, Billy Tilk. “Half the battle is getting there,” he says — and he’s right. Choosing between slimming your wallet or your waistline may be the kick some people need.
Dislikes: I personally don’t like having electronic hands in my pocket. And if you work out at all different times and places, you could be be paying fines even though you did the work. Not available yet for Android.
Price: The app is free. The penalties are self-determined. Search for “fitacc” in the App Store. Not available for Android.
Instant city bike routes
My City Bikes: Instant information about bike routes in selected cities. Road, mountain, group rides and family/kid-friendly routes are included.
Likes: Handy info for visitors or locals who want some good cycling routes in a growing list of cities from Boston to Honolulu. The MyCityBikes.org and the App Store home page show all cities in the system so far. In the East Bay and like mountain biking? Among numerous well-described and mapped routes on East Bay Bikes app are the Big Trees trail (0.9 mile, with a 6%, 113-foot climb to 1,437 feet). Road routes and group ride calendars are also provided, some with good detail, such as a route from Massachusetts’ Boston Common to Cambridge Common (4.1 miles, elevation rise of 13 feet, estimated 24 to 32 minutes, with turn-by-turn directions, about half of it on bike paths).
Dislikes: There is no app for Los Angeles or Orange County yet. The road ride info on the two city apps I checked out, Boston and East Bay, are helpful, but works-in-progress not up to the mountain-bike route standards. The East Bay Bikes app offers four popular road rides ranging from 28 to 40 miles, with directions yet no mileage markers. The superb There Bears road ride has written paragraphs, but not turn-by-turn directions.
Price: Free. Mycitybikes.org. For iPhone and Android.
Music tailored to you
Rock My Run: The 30-minute to 2-hour-plus music mixes can be personalized to your tastes, heart rate or foot strike.
Likes: Great variety; it’s easy to find something to your tastes. Choose from oldies, dub step, hip-hop, country and a dozen other genres, then personalize it via preferred beats per minute, or clean or explicit lyrics. The innovative MatchMe will even sync the tempo of the music to your walking or running steps. Numerous free mixes include Turnt Up, 45 minutes of hip-hop; the pop music Active Half-Hour of Power; Fast Times (45 minutes of ‘80s); the 45-minute Country Kick; and, my favorite, the 30-minute Adventure Run 2C14 pop house collection by DJ Mark Thrasher.
Price: Free or $3 to $5 a month for a premium membership. (Mixes of less than 45 minutes are free.) Find “rockmyrun” in the App Store or go to www.rockmyrun.com. For iPhone and Android.
Trainer at your door
Handstand: This personal trainer delivery service is like Uber for workouts.
Likes: Convenient and versatile. Go to the app, choose your neighborhood (Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Westwood, Brentwood or downtown L.A.), select a personal trainer (dozens are listed, with brief descriptions of their background and speciality) and schedule a home visit. Example: If you want a yoga session, you might choose Nikka, a dancer, therapist and seven-year yoga instructor; she’s $60 an hour, at your door. You request a time, your trainer confirms and you pay electronically after the workout. She sends a confirmation-of-arrival message an hour before the appointed time. Trainers run from $20 to $95 an hour.
Dislikes: None, if you can afford it.
Price: $20 to $95. www.handstandapp.com. For iPhone and Android.
Wallack is a coauthor of “Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100.” email@example.com