And we’re seeing a slew of the second type—apps that motivate you to show up to class, give it your all, and track of your results. (Which, at this time of year, is key.)
How do they get and keep you going? Each of these new fitness apps uses a different method of motivation, from harnessing peer pressure to emptying (or filling) your wallet. So no psyche is immune.
Think you might need a little nudge? Find out which motivational app is best for you… —Lisa Elaine Held
FitID is kind of like the Facebook of fitness apps. Only you’ll be adding a lot more information to your profile. It encourages you to track your every meal and workout and even post snapshots of your body changing as you make progress. The key is that you can follow others’ pages and they can see yours, and both can provide feedback via commenting. “When people are watching, you just behave better,” says co-founder Kenneth Yim. “And when you’re surrounded by people who eat healthy and work out, it will motivate your own behavior.”
Gym-Pact—which debuted last year but just launched on Android—knows what really motivates you: money. You surrender your credit card info during set-up and choose a monetary penalty (minimum $5) for when you miss workouts. Then, you tell the app how many times you plan on working out each week, and you check in to your gym when you get there. (It uses GPS to verify your location, so no checking in at boot camp while catching up on Downton Abbey on your couch.) Every time you skip a workout, you pay the penalty. The flipside: The money collected from those who cut class is put into a pot each week, divided, and paid out as rewards to those who did make it to class. So working out could become your second job.
Pear Mobile is ideal for runners, especially those training for races. But it’s more than an app: Before heading out to the park, you strap on a simple heart rate monitor that syncs with the app. Then, choose your workout plan, like a “20 Minute High Intensity Interval Run” (many are free, others cost upwards of $200 for things like a 12-week customized training plan), put your head phones on, and head out. Whatever motivating playlist you’ve chosen will pause for your digital coach to give you cues, telling you how far you’ve gone and when to speed up or slow down. At the end, you’ll have detailed stats on your workout that show your heart rate throughout, how many calories you burned, your pace, and more. Those stats will help motivate your next run. Can you go further? Faster? Also, the headphones that come with the system are the only ones I’ve ever had that don’t fall out of my ears the entire time I’m running. That alone is motivation to get out and go.