Doing something active is always better than doing nothing, especially during the holidays with heavy schedules and heavy food getting the best of your workouts. (See Fit Bottomed Girls interview for healthy holiday tips.)
So I decided to try out some fitness apps to take with me during my travels. The first up for review is Nike Training Club, a free app on my iPhone.
Summary: It has four workouts you can choose from: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, or Get Focused. Within each option you choose if you want the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. Then it gives you about six workouts to choose from in that level. These are great options that let me get whatever type of workout I am looking for and at whatever level of strength I'm feeling.
Get Lean has interval drills that really get your heart rate up, as if workout routine names "The Shedder" or "Wipeout" didn't give that away!
Get Toned has different workout circuits that tone all over using dumbbells or a medicine ball.
Get Strong is similar to Get Toned but with heavier weights, hence workouts called "Worth the Weight" and "Tower of Power."
Get Focused offers 15 minute workouts for specific areas, such as "Ab Burner," "Shoulder Ripper," and "Leg Sculptor."
Review: These workouts are true to their name! They will get you sweating, moving, and feeling your sore muscles the next day. Let's be honest, I don't feel that I've really worked out hard enough unless I'm sore the day after! The workouts are very user-friendly, demonstrating how to do each move through pictures (of very fit athletes), word descriptions, and video demonstrations.
When you start the workout, you can set music from your phone. I love this feature since I cannot workout without upbeat music, but you can't change music once you begin. A lady's voice also coaches you through the workout, so once you understand how to do the moves you don't need to look at your phone. It's helpful to go through the workout ahead of time and learn how to do the exercises before starting. But if you get confused, there is a helpful video you can watch for each move - and it pauses the workout while you watch, so no cheating allowed! Each exercise has a time on it, such as 1 minute or 30 seconds, and your "coach" lets you know when you have 10 or 5 seconds left of the move, counting down for you. However, there is no way to skip exercises or the rest breaks (though trust me, you'll be needing those recovering minutes!). She also gives you helpful tips throughout the workout, such as to remember to use yours abs for balance. The downside is that she repeats the same tips each time you do the move, so it gets a bit repetitive.
Overall, I love this app because it has so many workout options that it's hard to get bored with it. Be warned, though, some intermediate circuits - like the "Ab Burner" and Get Lean's "Body Surge" - felt more advanced. 1 minute of toe touches with a medicine ball is a long time - especially when you're repeating the move 3 times! As you finish workouts, the app logs your workouts, tracks your progress, and allows you to post your workout to Facebook or Twitter. You're also awarded medals as you accrue workout minutes. For instance, my second medal unlocked 5 smoothie recipes and Sofia Boutella's Fearless Workout.
Bottom line: Nike Training Club is the perfect app for at home training or to bring along for squeezing in a 15 or 30 minute workout in between Christmas dinner and dessert.