A while back Mariana from Riding With No Hands introduced me to SparkPeople. It really is a fantastic site that helps people reach their healthy goals - for free. They have nutrition, health and fitness information in all forms and types, including articles, interactive tools (fitness trackers, meal planner) motivational tools, and a huge online community.
While it has so much to offer (so, so much) I had one problem with it - I was majorly overwhelmed. There was just too much for me to focus on, and I found myself losing track of time every time I got on. I quickly bailed on the whole thing, altogether. (Sorry for going MIA in your group, Mariana! No hard feelings?) It was a bummer to know I was wasting such an awesome tool kit, but sometimes you just have to have the right fit for it to work.
Since then, I have had the pleasure of becoming a smart phone owner. (I heart my Droid.) I've seen so many great apps to use for healthy purposes - and have used a hand full of them. But guess what I just stumbled onto? A SparkPeople app!
And it is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Here's why I'm using it:
- It helps you determine your goals - weight loss, calories in, and calories out.
- There is a food tracker that includes an optional menu plan, tailored to your calorie needs.
- There is a fitness tracker as well, that calculates your calories burned based on the activity you did.
- Multiple status bars and reports show you where you are in your goals - including a weight graph and a water tracker. (Which I was really happy to find - there is a severe lack of good apps for simple water intake.)
- Links to just a few SparkPeople articles. (This is great for me, I can go look if I want, but I don't feel overwhelmed.)
- Plus, you have the option to link to a SparkPeople online account, or just do the app by itself. If you link up, all of the info automatically shares between the app and site.
Of course, you can always go to the mobile site with any web-enabled cell phone, but (besides the Android) this app is also available on the Blackberry and iPhone. I also found another handy little SparkPeople app - SparkRecipes.
It's perfect for finding tons of healthy recipes. It includes a search by keyword or by category/course/cuisine/occasion or dietary needs. Each recipe also includes nutritional information, and the option to view it online to get comments and ratings.
These are my new tools to help me kick butt. Got any to share?