Technology can be a huge boost for your workout routine. From heart-rate monitors and calorie trackers to bracelets and socks that can monitor and gauge your performance, tech and gadgets can really change the way you work out.
Some of my favorite gadgets, though, are really just software—apps that you fire up on your phone to get quick and useful help with your routine. I primarily workout from home with my dumbbells, and I’ve found these five to be my favorite dumbbells workout apps.
The Fitness Buddy app is a massive library of exercises and workouts. It boasts over 1,700 exercise moves, complete with step-by-step photos and video and audio instruction cues to help ensure you’re performing them properly. If you’re ever tired of doing the same old exercise over and over, Fitness Buddy can help you find a replacement that works the same muscle groups to add some variety. It also allows you to track your sets and reps, so you can see how you improve over time.
The premium plan also includes workouts that are tailored to your equipment, experience, and fitness goals—so, if you’re a beginner looking to lose weight with just dumbbells, it can whip up a routine for you, and it will be different than one for an expert looking to gain muscle mass with access to a full gym. It’s an exceptionally useful database; I use it to determine when I should go up in weight or reps based on my past performance.
JEFIT is a similar program to the Fitness Buddy. Its exercise library is a little smaller, but still bulky at over 1,300 exercises with images, animations and descriptions to help ensure you’re doing them right. You can create your own personalized dumbbell workout routines, and share them with JEFIT’s community—or grab one of JEFIT’s pre-made routines, or one from the community itself.
JEFIT allows you to record your weight and reps and will count down your rest periods as well, allowing you to stay on track. That data can help you track your progress—you can see if you’re over-working one part of your body, how close you are to your goal weights, and how you’ve progressed from one point to another with its record of your workout data. I’m a big fan of data-driven decision making, and JEFIT allows me to see which dumbbell workouts are doing the most to achieve all my workout goals.
Fitocracy has a major selling point over Fitness Buddy and JEFIT—the app itself is completely free, making it a good choice for someone who’s not quite sure about this whole app thing quite yet. If you’re one of those kinds of people who need little rewards to help get through your workout, I find Fitocracy’s point-based levelling up system to be an interesting gamification—you’re always motivated to beat your high score on an exercise, get more points and level up—it’s like an RPG, but for fitness.
It tracks how much weight you have lifted, lets you create, rearrange and save your own workout routines, and lets you compete with other users—it’s kind of like a Facebook-type thing, all things considered. There’s also an optional (paid) add-on where you get direct coaching, with customized workout and nutrition plans made just for you. It doesn’t have quite the same amount of bells and whistles as Fitness Buddy or JEFIT, but it’s simple, easy to use and gives you an expanded social experience.
MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter—remember, nutrition is an important part of any workout routine! Many online calorie counters end up with gaps; there are so many different types of food out there that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. MyFitnessPal has a database of over five million foods, making it highly unlikely you’ll not find your recent late-night snack on it.
You can select a specific diet based on your final goal—it can either be based on the individual diet profiled you enter into the app, or you can set specific goals based on the advice of your nutritionist. It keeps track of your calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar, fiber, cholesterol and so forth, and provides helpful data of your progress over time. You can see just where your calories and nutrients are coming from, and make smart choices to improve your diet. It’s a must-add to any fitness routine, no matter if it’s a dumbbell-only workout at home or a full gym workout. Your workout won’t help if you put junk into your body!
A key part of living a healthy lifestyle is sleeping well. Sleep is when your body rebuilds your muscle and nervous system from the strains you’re putting on it during your workout. Proper recovery is one of the three key elements for building a healthy lifestyle, right next to proper training and proper nutrition. You’ve got your dumbbell workout set with one of the three workout trackers we’ve mentioned, you have your diet set with MyFitnessPal—now you need to get your sleep cycle set.
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock app monitors how you’re sleeping, using the accelerometer and microphone in your iPhone to analyze your sleeping patterns—how often you’re tossing and turning, and when you enter deeper REM sleep. You set an alarm, and it will find the best time to wake you in a 30-minute window before it—the point where you’re sleeping the lightest anyway, and are ready to be awoken. By not being woken up from a deep sleep, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized throughout the day—Sleep Cycle’s a great little app for giving you that extra energy to tackle the work week.
Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!
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