Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My Top 5 Fitness Apps

My iPhone goes with me everywhere- it sits on my desk at work, on my bedside table when I sleep, in my bra when I run, and in my hand for a great deal of the rest of the time. The ability to download a variation of different apps keeps me entertained, informed and connected, and can be a great source for workout inspiration and motivation. These are my top 5 fitness apps that I use on my phone, although having had a nose around other people's favourite apps, I'm sure I'll be adding to this list in no time (already looking at downloading Charity Miles and Headache Diary!).

Nike Training Club

With workouts for beginners, intermediates and advanced fitness levels, celebrity trainers and a variety of workout lengths, this app is awesome. I have a feeling it's going to get a lot more use from me in the following months as I try to make interval and weight training a priority again. Workouts start with a warm up and finish with stretches, plus they include video demonstrations of exercises, tips for proper form and encouraging comments. There are so many options to choose from in the various 'Get Lean', 'Get Toned' 'Get Strong' and 'Get Focused' sections.



RunKeeper 

I downloaded this app a few years ago and use it whenever I run without my Garmin watch and for bike rides. I'm don't think it is as accurate as my watch having recorded more than a few 7min miles, but it's perfect to switch on to keep track of distance, especially when I'm trying not to focus too much on pace. I love that it creates a map of your route, and sends you certificates when you achieve a personal record, such as longest run, fastest mile or average pace. Great for tracking all sorts of activities, from running, cycling and walking, to skiing, rowing, barre and crossfit. It also has training plans available to download (complete with rest day tips) and countdowns to your next challenge- nothing like a daily reminder how close that next marathon is!

Swim Planner

I only downloaded this last week as I was turning up at the pool with no real idea of what to do. This app lets you change your required workout distance as well as the length of the pool. You're able to email yourself the workout or paste it into another app. It is probably not the easiest workouts for beginners, although there's the option to click on the set for more information. Great for inspiration, and keeping swim workouts interesting.


Spotify

Not really a fitness app (at all) but being able to download and listen to new songs for long runs, create fast paced playlists for speed workouts and generally have access to a host of different genres of music really helps when a workout gets tough or I need some inspiration to lace up my trainers. I listened to custom made Spotify playlists during the New York and Paris marathons, as well as throughout much of my training. I definitely appreciated the ad free music as well as the ability to download playlists to listen to offline- ideal for international or remote runs when you don't have 4G!



Another one that's not necessarily a 'fitness' app, but a brilliant app for adding your workout stats to a photo. Ideal for sharing your efforts on twitter, instagram and Facebook, especially when you've completed a class and so can't share the the exact workout. I do wish that you could see other people's Fitnaps in the app, rather than relying on people that you already follow on other social media channels. 


What are your favourite fitness apps? What other apps do you use all the time? 

This post is sponsored by Virgin Media, all opinions, screenshots and wiggly running routes are my own. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Swimming in the Olympic Pool

Happy Easter! 

I spent Easter morning having brunch with my family, before heading to the Olympic Park with my Mum for a swim. After a less than stellar first training swim last week, I was in major need of some inspiration, and where better than at the Olympic Aquatic centre. To swim in the very place where British greats like Rebecca Addlington and Ellie Simmonds earned their medals. 


Sadly the weather wasn't very spring like!


Unfortunately, due to an oversized inflatable and about one hundred lifejacket clad children, we weren't able to swim in the competition pool and had to settle for the training pool. Although we were lucky to get a lane to ourselves and deliberately ignored the 'Fast Lane' sign. I still found my lengths exhausting but did manage a few more in the 25m pool than I did on Wednesday. 


My Mum used to be a brilliant swimmer so I asked her to have a little look at my form and although she thinks there is nothing fundamentally wrong with my front crawl, she agreed that it might be a good idea to get some open water swimming lessons. I know I've got a long way to go before my fitness is up to 400m non-stop swimming without relying on breathers every few lengths to 'clean my goggles'! 

If you're planning on swim at the Olympic Aquatic Centre then it's best to book a swimming session online, either for the Competition or Training Pool, although you can pay on the day. An hour session starts at £3.50 for adults, and is open from 6am (although you may see Tom Daley training around 8am!) Bring flip-flops, a towel and a £1 coin for the lockers, plus shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. 


Oh and don't forget to stop by at the cafe afterwards for some delicious fruit salad... 


Hope you had a brilliant Easter. 
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