After doing the City Challenge OCR last fall, I was forced to face a fact that ‘Id known but had ignored for so long: my legs are strong, every other part of me is not. Super not. The penalty at that race for skipping an obstacle was jump squats and I was like, “Monkey bars?! Nope! Jump squats? Sure, all day!” The monkey bar obstacle was so sad, guys. My boyfriend basically carried me (which one could argue is totally cheating), and I still couldn’t hold on cause my grip was so weak. Sad. So, finally facing reality, I realized it was time to start strength training. Luckily, my BF likes to lift and happily became my strength coach.
When I started, I was keeping track of my workouts in the notes app on my iPhone. After a few months though I was finding it harder to keep track of everything because we’d done enough different exercises that the list was long and unwieldy. I asked Facebook for app suggestions and what I learned is that there are way more free apps for Android than for iPhone. I ended up downloading Firocracy and Fitness Point.
Right away Fitness Point was hard for me figure out. I’m pretty impatient and after spending a few minutes trying to figure out how to make a log and failing, I moved on.
I’ve been using Fitocracy for a few months now and while it’s not perfect, for a free app I think it’s pretty great. The app offers free and paid workouts and fitness articles as well as having a social media component all of which is way more than I was looking for. It is easy to navigate around though to get to the useful log part of the app. They also started sending me emails when I signed up with training and work out articles and ads for paid parts of the app like coaching and training plans. Some people might like these things – it isn’t like they’re sending unrelated emails or trying to sell something weird so I wasn’t mad about it, but I only wanted a log so I unsubscribed.
The log gets easier to use the more you use it because you can easily pull up your recent exercises. At first I had to spend some time searching for my exercises because as a novice I had no idea what anything was called. In my old log I’d called my exercises things like, “wing thing” and “rope pulley thing machine” (for real). It helped that generally my boyfriend could tell me the real names and the app has an easy search function.
Something I love about the app is that most of the exercises have descriptions and videos of how to do them. This is a great feature for folks like me who are new to the grunty part of the gym. One of the things that always kept me from the weights area was a fear of looking dumb cause I didn’t know what I was doing. This app clearly has people like me in mind so we can walk around with confidence that we’re picking stuff up and putting it down correctly.
When you select and exercise there is a history tab so you can see your past sets and PRs are highlighted.
I really like using an app for recording my progress because I’m very motivated by logging and data. I love being able to easily see my gains over the past months. On days when my workout seems hard and unproductive it helps to be able to look back to see my overall progress. Also I have a terrible memory so I need some log to know what weight to use.
Conclusion: good strength training app once you get past the unnecessary bells and whistles.