With the myriad of fitness apps and gadgets available, it can be a pain to keep track of health information that’s scattered all over the place. Some apps track your calories consumed, wearable devices track your calories burned and devices like smart scales keep tabs on your weight and body fat percentage.
Fortunately, if you’ve got an iPhone most of this data can be made sense of with Apple’s Healthkit. This makes it considerably easier to track everything, allowing you to make a single app the centre of your fitness life.
Let’s have a look at six great apps that work with Healthkit.
The most popular fitness trackers on the market are from Fitbit. Whether you’re rocking a Flex, Charge HR, or any other model, you’re able to automatically add all collected data into the Health app. The more advanced model you use, the more details you’ll get.
One of the problems with the first generation of activity trackers was that they all used motion sensors to estimate activity. While they could tell if you were doing something, they couldn’t tell what you were doing or (accurately) how many calories you were burning. Now, the top end Fitbits integrate heart rate sensors. This means they can get a much better picture of how hard you’re working out throughout the day.
If you’re serious about tracking your fitness then a Fitbit — or other activity tracker — is essential. When they’re integrated with the Health app, they are the best way to monitor your calorie burn. This is entirely passive on your part — just wearing one is enough to gather all this awesome data straight into Health.
UP by Jawbone (Free)
If a Fitbit isn’t for you but you still need an activity tracker, a Jawbone UP may be exactly what you’re looking for. While a Fitbit looks like a (very ugly) smartwatch, Jawbone’s UP2 and UP3 look far more like a stylish bracelet. I was an early UP adopter because I wanted a tracker I could wear on the opposite arm to my watch without looking like I was wearing two watches. They won’t tell you the time but they’re a lot less noticeable in almost every situation.
The UP app is also prettier than Fitbit’s, but the important thing is that it integrates all the same information with Health. As I’ve already stressed, if you are serious about tracking your fitness then you need something that you wear all the time.
CARROT Fit ($2.99)
Just wandering around aimlessly wearing a fitness tracker isn’t going to do all that much for your health; you occasionally have to do some real workouts. These don’t have to be multi-hour gym sessions — as little as 7 minutes hard activity can do wonders for your health.
CARROT isn’t some boring workout app though. Taking its cues from the other CARROT apps (CARROT todo and CARROT weather), the app’s sadistic AI will bully you into actually exercising. She wants to “transform your flabby carcass into a Grade A specimen of the human race” (which is slightly terrifying) by putting you through a tough seven minute workout.
There’s a lot to be said for having a workout app that’s fun to use. All the exercise you do gets sent on to Health so you can keep track of your progress in the one, all important app. If you want to, you can even use CARROT to record your weight and daily steps.
7 Minute Workout (Free)
Although CARROT Fit is great, not everyone wants to be shouted at by a crazy AI. If you’re looking for another workout app then the more serious 7 Minute Workout app is the one for you.
Instead of rebranding regular fitness exercises with silly names, the 7 Minute Workout app is focussed on getting you exercising properly. You’re not just left on your own to muddle through a host of new exercises, the app provides video and written instructions.
Although the app is free, and the core functionality really is, there are some in-app purchases that offer alternative workouts or the ability to create your own. You can unlock them all for $4.99.
Just like CARROT, the 7 Minute Workout app sends all your workout information onto Apple’s Health app so you can keep on top of everything.
As almost anyone in the fitness industry will tell you, 60% of any program is diet. If you’re not eating right, then no amount of exercise is going to do you much good. For that reason, keeping track of what you eat is one of the most important things you can do.
MyFitnessPal has one of the most complete calorie databases with over 5,000,000 foods recorded. It’s easy to use the app to add every morsel that passes your lips. It’ll keep a tally of how many calories you consume each day (and what they came from), and compare them to what you should be eating.
As with all the apps in this article, the details get passed along to the Health app. There’s a huge difference between eating 4000 calories if you’ve just run a marathon or if you’ve just had a marathon Call of Duty session. By combining your calories in with your exercise from some of the other apps, you can get a complete picture of how you’re getting on.
Withings Health Mate (Free)
Doing all this tracking is wonderful but if you’re not working towards a goal it’s all a little bit pointless. Withings makes some of the best tools for tracking your goals. Need to lower your blood pressure? Want to pack on some muscle? Withings’ smart tools can keep track of your progress.
They’ve got everything from activity monitors and smart weighing scales to blood pressure monitors and sleep trackers. All the information from their smart sensors are funnelled through the Withings Health Mate app, and the best news is, it’s sent on to Health.
If you want to see how different calorie intakes affect your sleep or how much red meat drives up your blood pressure, the information you can glean from some of Withings’ tools is critical. Combine it in Health with all the information from the other apps you’re using and you’re onto a winner.
A Picture of Perfect Health
Apple’s Health app (and Healthkit which powers it) is an awesome central command for all your fitness needs. Before HealthKit existed, it was awkward to combine all of the information health, exercise and diet because it was spread across different apps and services. Now you can get it in one easy to use app.
Do you use Health to track your fitness? What apps do you integrate with it? Let us know in the comments.