Phone Fitness

Apps help you track exercise and count calories

Your smartphone lets you listen to music, read the newspaper, filter your photos and find people to date. It can also help you lose weight and stay fit. If your New Year’s resolution is to have less screen time and more gym time, you might want to think again — turn your phone time to fitness time with these free apps.


I don’t believe there’s an app out there that will make you feel worse for eating a McMenamins hamburger (810 calories!), but that’s what makes MyFitnessPall so effective. This app allots a number of calories based on how much weight you’re trying to lose. You input your meals and the app keeps track of calories. Most of the food is preprogrammed: If you type in “bagel,” several different brands are listed. Many local restaurants are preprogrammed as well, so you don’t have an excuse to estimate (e.g., one medium original Yumm! bowl has 758 calories). You can add your own calorie counts and create “meals” of foods you eat together often. It also connects with Pacer (see below) to add the calories burned from walking. It’s easy to “forget” to track every meal, especially as we exit the holiday snarfing season, but the point is to get you thinking about what you’re eating and, in turn, eat healthier. MyFitnessPal factors in exercise to your diet plan — who knew kickball burned so many calories?


Pacer is a pedometer app, making it useful for those who already walk a lot and are curious to see how many calories they actually burn, and inspiring those of us who spend too much time at our desks to get up and walk around. Simply keep the app open, and it will track your steps, as long as you carry your phone with you. Since this doesn’t always happen, the app may count fewer steps than you actually take. Hit a healthy 10,000 steps and get a celebratory alert. Pacer also offers workout plans (with a paid upgrade) to help motivate weight loss.

YMCA Mobile App

The YMCA is a great place to get fit, especially during these cold winter months when the looming fog and pouring rain make a jog seem all the more depressing. With the Eugene YMCA’s new mobile app, you can keep up-to-date on all the latest activities the Y has to offer. The app offers a full schedule of classes, swimming pool availability and scheduled events. Want to know which cardio class is offered tonight? Use the app to find out. And for anyone who’s tired of keeping track of membership cards, now you can check in with your smartphone — the staff in the front office can help you set it up.

The 7-Minute Workout

If you’re looking for motivation to get up right now and exercise instead of spending 10 minutes a day tracking your meals, check out the popular 7-Minute Workout. The free version only includes the Full Body  — 12 moves done in 30-second intervals with 10-second rest breaks. With this app, think fitness-world buzzwords: high-intensity circuit training. You tap a button, a whistle blows and you’d better be ready to do jumping jacks followed by wall-sits, push-ups, crunches, step-ups and more. This app is fun for people who don’t have a lot of time to work out and who prefer to do so in their homes.