30-Day Android Fitness Challenge (post your favorite apps!)

I’m terribly out of shape. The weather is about to get warm. New Year Resolutions have crumbled into dust. But it’s time to change all that with the 30-Day Android Fitness Challenge, where Hershey’s KitKat and Android’s KitKat face off in an epic angel meets devil battle for our conscience.

android-fitness

This challenge initially started (and failed) about a month ago, when I couldn’t decide between getting a Jawbone UP or Fitbit Force. Since then a lot has happened in wearable tech including the announcement of Android Wear, Moto 360, and the LG G Watch. Along with Google Glass, Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear Neo, and other breaking-the-mold devices, developers continue creating rich experiences in the health and fitness space.

It seemed like the perfect time to turn my quickly declining nimbleness into an exploration of Android as it relates to the possibilities and opportunities in fitness and health. I hope you’ll join me.

This is your time!

Participating takes absolutely nothing except a willingness to try some cool stuff and see how it goes. Membership to this exclusive club is free and so anonymous that you’re the only person that will know you’re in it. It’s hard to get the ball rolling, but once you find that reason to start, you can’t be stopped!

What you can do:

  • Leave a comment on this article suggesting and requesting apps, games, devices, comparisons, etc… related to health and fitness that you’d like to see discussed and reviewed in this series.
  • Follow along in our Android Fitness & Health Forum – we’ve just created this community to help people share their challenges, goals, and progress while staying motivated and informed. Help us shape the community while shaping up yourself!

What I plan on doing:

  • Wearing both a Jawbone UP and Fitbit Force for 30-straight days (different wrists), using them to their full ability, and reporting back the results with full reviews.
  • Using various apps and devices (suggested by readers in the comments) to plan and track my daily activity and reporting back in organized/themed posts
  • Using both our Android Fitness & Health Forum and my Google+ profile to share daily challenge results and random insights
  • Making a concerted effort to increase my activity, exercise daily, eat more healthfully, and do (or don’t do) the small things that add up over the course of the month and year.

Don’t forget to join in on the challenge in our Android Fitness & Health Forum, follow me on Google+, and leave a comment with suggestions and requests for this series!

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  • DavidB23

    Well; the FitBit Force was recalled because it causes a rash on a high percentage of people who wear it. Plus the clasp is ill-designed making it fall off quite frequently. So; skip the Force.

    • robjackson81

      Hmmm my sister mentioned this too. It hasn’t bothered me at all. Maybe I’ll exchange it for a Flex although I kind of like the display on the Force.

      “That’s a bummer dude…. That’s a bummer.” ~ Big Lebowski

    • danix180

      1.7% more exactly. Force is a great product. I like the one I have. Much better that other available on the market.

  • Lauren Berns

    Reasonable goals produce results, pie in the sky goals produce fat; here’s an app to keep you meeting the former: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.minhphan.android.seven

    Oh, and you already have all the equipment you need.

    • robjackson81

      Totally agree on reasonable goals. Also: sustainable habits. In the past I’ve gone overboard in a 30 day period, burn out, and go back to my former ways.

  • Sharky

    I just started using Endomondo for tracking my running, it has some pretty nice features like suggesting local running routes and comparing times with other people using the app.

    How to use it while running though? Picked up one of these belt pouches which fit the Nexus 5 nicely – http://www.spibelt.com/, though I’m going to try an arm-pouches too & see which works best.

    • robjackson81

      I’ve got a Note 3 which would be awful huge to lug while running. That’s my main reason for liking Fitbit/Jawbone- just wear it and sync with your Android afterwards. Something that clips to your shoe would be good too (and perhaps more accurate).

      But thanks… I’ll give that a look!

      • Sharky

        The belt’s less noticeable than you’d think, but the N5 is a pretty snug fit so Note might be pushing it. I’d still like a Jawbone, this is the cheap method though : )

      • guitarist5122

        It’s not bad at all to run with the Note. I run just fine with my Note 2 in an armband. I don’t have to keep sliding it back up my arm or anything. I think it’s the light plastic that doesn’t make the phone’s size much of a factor.

  • wnemay

    While not quite a fitness app, this app helps you to keep track of your body fat percentage and weight, using various measuring methods. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.omskep.shapedme.bodyfatcalculator

  • http://munkimatt.com Matt Jones

    I use Fitocracy to track my weights and runs. There’s a video game style ‘levelling up’ concept which spurs me on. The social aspect really helps to motivate too, it’s great to have comments from other users and many are a useful source for advice. Here’s a video that explains the site better than I ever could https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhdrYVsmpHs. Here’s a referral link for signing up (which could earn me some free Hero time, so please use!) http://ftcy.me/dTSEi8 and here’s the link to the application https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fitocracy.app.

    Hope to see you there!

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    Rob, this is an excellent idea. I’ve been meaning to start an exercise program. I’d like to geek out and use tech as much as possible, but I really have no clue where to begin. Thanks. I’ll be paying attention closely.

  • http://www.coachracer.com/ gokartracer5

    P90X, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, MyTracks,Fooducate

    • guitarist5122

      Insanity and MapMyRun is all I need.I personality don’t understand fitness wearables. Unless you are the type of person who loves stats and more stats, just seems pointless to me. Using my phone’s GPS is good enough for tracking my runs.

  • samagon

    Polar Beat, the HRM and watch are expensive, but the feedback you get from your workout is pretty great.

  • shooter50

    The Fitbit Force has been recalled and no longer sold. Not a good choice for a review.

  • Pete Kilburn

    I started working out with a trainer about a month ago twice a week. I also use the “my fitness pal” app from my fitness pal , Inc.
    The app lets me keep track of my food intake easily, it has a barcode scanner for packaged meals and also has quite the library of foods from restaurants and stores… quite handy for the constant traveler.
    In the last 2 months I’ve gone from 303 lbs. to 279 lbs very easily and my goal is to be at 240 by mid October…. quite obtainable.
    Good luck to all involved and please check out the app…. it works very well!!!!

    • FlamingoAttack

      Hey congrats man! Don’t give up, keep that diet clean and your exercise consistent. That’s really awesome progress!

      • Pete Kilburn

        Thanks!!!

  • Delmar

    Just “intermediate fast” and go for a walk, cavemen didnt have apps

    • robjackson81

      Cavemen also didn’t have grocery stores and spent all day running around trying to kill or grow their dinner.

      • Delmar

        Cavemen also didnt have processed foods ….it was work for your food or die

        • robjackson81

          So then we agree that times have changed. I blame it all on video games. And funyuns.

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    I do a ton of walking in NYC, but I imagine a LOT of people (like me) aren’t exactly into the whole fitness “fad”. About the only fitness app I’d tolerate (on my Note3) is one that’s basically a SEDENTARY ALARM which goes off when you haven’t gotten off your butt enough.

    • robjackson81

      Especially for people with office jobs I’ve heard this is good… even to stand up and walk a lap for a minute or two. I’m sitting all day so I like this idea. Will definitely search for this type of solution.

  • Cory Smith

    I’ve been using the app Noom to track my food intake. It does this cool thing where it tells which foods you should be eating based on red, yellow, and green color indicators. It’s all based on caloric density (the amount of calories/gram of a serving of that food) and helps keep you full while not going overboard on calorie intake.

    I’ve lost 23 lbs since the middle of January just by following Noom and running at least 3 times a week. Noom also sends you articles if you pay for the “Noom coach” that help give you tips and ideas for maintaining your diet and exercise program.

    Sorry if I sound like a giant advertisement, it’s just that this app has really helped me get healthier again, I can’t recommend it enough!

  • steveb944

    I use the Life Fitness app because my gym utilizes QR codes for the equipment there, that way I can track my calorie and workout regimen. The other I used to use was Nike + Running, but that’s only got outside running and nothing more. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lf.lfvtandroid

    • robjackson81

      QR codes on the equipment? That’s an awesome freaking idea… never thought of that! What exactly happens when you scan the QR code?

      • steveb944

        When I scan the code the app recognizes the machine I’m using. From that it pulls up recommended seat height, as well as the previous time, weight, and how rigorous the workout was from my profile data. It helps you in not only remembering what you last did but also increasing your previous workout little by little.

        Some of the cardio machines can even mimic a run you’ve done outside onto the treadmill you’re using, but I haven’t seen those in my gym. Planet Fitness is the gym I go to, but as long as any location has Life Fitness equipment, it should work.

  • Dan

    I’ve never been able to stick with an exercise app. I prefer to do it old school, make a training program, print it out and take notes as I go. As long as you work out enough (I go to the gym 5 times a week during my lunch hour), stop eating junk food and get enough protein you should see results.

    • ari_free

      It’s not hard to get enough protein in the Western world. The problem is cutting all of the tasty empty calories that tend to go with it.

      • Dan

        Yeah that’s true, I opt for a whey protein isolate shake with some fruit as my breakfast and ‘before bed’ snack. I try to eat a balanced healthy lunch and supper, can’t help going to restaurant sometimes but it’s all about self control.

  • Jansen Wendlandt

    I’ve got a few apps I use, but wish there were more that did everything. Instead I need one for running/gps workouts, and a different one for tracking weight workouts.
    VidaOne comes close, but they don’t seem to be developing updates. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vidaone.lifestyle.pro
    Look forward to your reviews.

    • robjackson81

      Thanks for the comment… I’ll check that out!

  • gtg5017

    Hey Rob, been there my man. I’m only 24 but dealt with pretty terrible back issues for about 3 years prior and was only able to get back into the gym fulltime (without limitations) for the first time last summer. As physical progress takes much longer to see than simply upping your cardio time or going up a couple extra pounds on the bench, I am firm believer and user of Google Drive Spreadsheets on my phone! I setup the sheet in order to truly track my reps, weights, and times over time, so that even though you might not be able to tell you’ve made progress, the spreadsheet doesn’t lie.

    Going on 9 months now, it’s really amazing to see where I was at and where i am now. Obviously Google Drive Spreadsheets isn’t new, but figured it was at least related and maybe even helpful!

    PS-You and Chavez should go head to head in the gym to see who makes more progress. Loser does something humiliating.

  • ellett

    This is a great idea. I got my daughter a Fitbit Force before it was taken off the shelves and she wouldn’t part with it for love nor money. I’m holding out for the Angel, which will be out a little later this year, since it has heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen and physical activity (such as calories, steps, sleep and activity modes) sensors. I think it will be a big step in wearable monitoring. Meanwhile I’ll be closely watching your evaluation of the two industry leaders and the many software products that use their data.

  • Rootko

    This one – HIIT Interval Training Timer;)
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sk.halmi.itimerad

  • nomar
  • Jon James

    @robjackson81:disqus you should probably wear them on the same wrist to reduce variances created by dominant/non-dominant hand activity. This way you can compare apples to apples on how it tracks the same activity!