Need Motivation?—There’s an App for That

July 2013 View more


I’ve been exercising for more than 30 years. Back then, the only motivation I had was the Nike voice inside my head telling me to, “Just do it!” The idea of tracking walks or runs, and downloading new and interesting exercise programs, hadn’t yet been developed.

Today, the number of motivational tools and apps has exploded. Trying to find the perfect motivational tool can be dizzying. But if you find the right one, it can be the secret to sustaining a solid fitness routine.

However, what works for one may not necessarily be motivation for another. So, check out what some fitness pros are using and why they love it. In the world of apps and fitness gadgets, there is definitely something for everyone.


For me, I’m a diehard Nike+ user. I started using the wristband, which tracked miles, calories, pace and time. It was perfect. But I recently upgraded to the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS and love it. It’s incredibly easy to use. It gives me similar information, but the GPS helps save my route to use at a later date. The watch also includes history information, a stopwatch, and tells me my longest runs and accumulated miles. When I download it on my computer, my motivation comes in the form of personal congratulations by athletes, or simply the ability to see how I fare against other runners. This is a great tool for walkers as well.

Smartphone Apps

Sarah Briggs of Victor, New York, has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for the past four years with her favorite fit tool, the iPhone.

“I use my Run Coach app for my training plans, RunMeter to track my distance and routes, and Weight Watchers for my food intake. Between this and my music, my iphone rarely gets left behind!”

Fitness Enthusiast Axel Kussmann uses an app called Endomondo. It’s used on his Android. “The fact that I share my workouts on twitter ,as well as sometimes on my blog and Facebook, helps me stay consistent. It also links to something called Earndit, which gets me points for working out which I can spend on discounts for sports and clothing, or for charity donations. For me, it’s a great source of motivation,” said Kussmann.

Certified Trainer and Zumba Instructor Sara Jane Parker, uses the Polar FT40. “I like it because it has a nice looking watch with a detachable strap that I can wash. I can see how hard I am working out by checking my training zones.”

Something for Everyone

Here’s a breakdown of other popular motivational and tracking tools:
FitBit One: According to their website, “If you want to turn fitness into a lifestyle, the One™ is for you. For starters, it never rests. It tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep cycle, which helps you learn how to sleep better. The One™ motivates you to reach your goals by bringing greater fitness into your life 24 hours a day.” Sounds like a great tool for all levels of fitness.

Garmin Forerunner 10: Similar to the Nike+ GPS Sportswatch. The Garmin Forerunner 10 is a GPS running watch that’s very simple to use. As you run, you can see how far and how fast you’ve gone. Though it’s not nearly as detailed with information as the Nike+, it’s a great way to get basic feedback on distance and pace.

Fitbug: A pocket-sized device combined with an online program to manage your nutrition, activity, and personal goals. Users receive personalized weekly goals, healthy eating targets and more. For those that struggle with staying consistent, it’s a great source of encouragement. Choose between a wireless Fitbug Air or USB-connected Fitbug Go.