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4 apps to help you meet your fitness goals in the new year

4 apps to help you meet your fitness goals in the new year


After all the eating, drinking and merrymaking of your holiday festivities, you may find yourself readier than ever get a jumpstart on a new workout program - what better way to recover from all those rich foods and desserts? And you certainly won't be the only one with the goal of fitness in mind. Shedding pounds and toning muscle are top picks for New Year's resolutions, so you're likely to find the gym bustling with activity come Jan. 2.

If it's been a while since the last time you took to a treadmill, broke out the bicycle or did a sit​-up - and let's face it, you wouldn't be alone in that regard, either - it can be difficult to know where to start once you've made the choice to get fit. But don't worry: There's a wealth of apps for healthy living that you can download to your smartphone, so it's more convenient than ever to develop a fitness plan and track your progress.

1. MyFitnessPal
If you're a beginner, MyFitnessPal is a great choice for your first mobile health app. Its main advantage is that it creates a unified fitness experience. The app features a calorie counter, food journal and weight progress chart, so it's easy to take a look how far you've come. 

In a post for Mashable, tech blogger Tamar Weinberg pointed out that MyFitnessPal also has a social component. While many users find this attractive, it's also one of the app's drawbacks.

"You can find a lot of people whose interests and goals are similar to yours. Assuming they're active, you'll always have a group of friends to motivate you. However, like all online communities, this means it also has its fair share of trolls," Weinberg wrote.

2. RunKeeper
Running is an increasingly popular way to work out, and RunKeeper is an app designed to help you measure your progress by keeping track of your runs and jogs. It uses your phone's built-in GPS location services to record your distances and times. That means as long as you keep your smartphone on your person, you can simply turn the app on and go. In comparison with MyFitnessPal, it's a relatively low-maintenance approach to mobile-powered fitness.

3. Cyclemeter
Of course, some people's bodies are better designed for running than others, and not everyone enjoys the activity equally. Bicycling can be an effective alternative - and it has less impact on the knees and joints, too. Cyclemeter is a biking app that's somewhat reminiscent of RunKeeper in terms of its essential purpose and design, but it's a bit more sophisticated. It collects a wider range of data, including heart rate, bike power and bike cadence. PC Mag noted that because it supports running and jogging as well, Cyclemeter is a good choice for cross-trainers who are more seasoned in the ways of fitness.

4. GAIN Fitness
Muscle training is perhaps the most challenging type of workout for a beginner to get comfortable with - but luckily, there's an app for that, too. According to PC Mag, GAIN Fitness works like a personal trainer in the form of an app. It has an audio component, so it will instruct you in how to perform certain exercises while you're actually in the midst of your workout. That means you can take your strength training with you wherever you are. The app also includes a timer and keeps track of the number of reps you do for each exercise.

In case you accidentally drop your phone during a particularly intense workout, consider protecting your smartphone beyond the coverage offered by Android or iPhone insurance. ProtectCELL's data plans help make sure you can access the information about your fitness progress that's stored on your device.

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