|Screenshot of My Workout Plan App, courtesy of Google Play|
Since my last foray into home exercise apps, I have branched out again. I’m still consistent to the point of insanity in my workouts (Sane person: “I have a fever. I’m staying on the couch.” Me: “It’s just 20 minutes of HIIT. The fever means I’m already warmed up.”), but I decided that, as a fitness professional-type-person myself, I’d rather create my own balanced and effective workout… and then have an app tell me when and how to do it.
I come from a long past of carrying a workout notebook with me every time I went to the gym. Literally, ten years into lifting weights four to five days per week, I would set my workout for the day before starting, and record it faithfully in my little book as I went, checking it between sets, tracking my weights, and noting how little abs and cardio I did.
My gym buddies used to mock me for this. “Don’t you know what you’re doing yet?” But it was helpful, reassuring. If I had a drink of water and forgot what I was doing, it was there. If I had written it on the page, I had to do it, even if I no longer felt like it. It kept me focused and honest. It made sure that I lifted the right weight for each exercise, not the weight I wanted to choose. It helped me progress.
I haven’t done that in years, though, entirely because I lost my Fat Little Notebook somewhere and am horrified by its replacement value. And, since this is 2019, I thought that I should try something new. Something digital.
There’s a fitness app for that
Of course there is. There’s a lot of them, in fact. The one I chose to try was My Workout Plan Daily Workout Planner by Sosis Apps. It’s free (with ads) and was very well reviewed.
I sat down to play with it and was pleased to find a large variety of exercises, equipment options, and workout styles. You can create supersets, rest periods, timed sets… it’s very versatile.
I set up my own workout
I’m a professional. I know what’s good for me and how not to overtrain my shoulders or do a pushups-only workout. I chose exercises and variations that I wanted, arranged them as I saw fit, grouped smaller muscles into supersets and gave myself more rest with larger muscle groups. It’s extremely customizable, which is a huge plus.
So many options
Not there? No problem!
I sometimes need a bit of a push to get going. This app sends me motivational reminders I can appreciate, like “Sweat is just fat crying,” and I can customize them to say something like, “Dammit Karen, get off the couch and do some pushups.”
(I didn’t, but I can.)
|Adding exercises: simple, but time-consuming. (image courtesy of Google play)|
I hate to admit, but I haven’t mastered the timing of the rest intervals between sets. Sometimes, I get a full twenty seconds after a superset, sometimes between exercises within the superset, but not after. I’ve read through several of the app’s reviews, but nobody else mentioned it as a problem, so it’s probably just me. It’s definitely just me. Never mind.
Cumbersome to set up
Compared to writing it down in my trusty old notebook (man, I miss my notebook – it has my entire history of heavy lifting in there, too, like that one time that I deadlifted 185 lbs. Yeah.), it took a while to set up. The exercise options are there, but each time you add a new move, you start fresh: equipment, body part, scroll down, set reps and sets and rest periods.
Planner, not a tracker
Once set up, the app works very well, but when I finished a set, I had nowhere to quickly keep track of how easy or hard it felt, and without manually changing it each time, I couldn’t set my progression. You can add “notes” to each exercise, but I’d prefer something more intuitive.
|My own upper body workout. (Screenshot of My Workout Plan by Sosis Apps.)|
My Workout Plan is free and it’s fantastic. It works great as a motivator and planner, and it’s just so incredibly customizable that I have to recommend it as long as you know what you’re doing. And have the time to play with it. But trust me, hire a trainer for a session or two first (and always consult your healthcare practitioner before you start an exercise program).
(Despite its many, many positives, this app fell just short of my precious, precious paper notebook.)
Do you use a workout app? Which one?
Are you interested in becoming more active?
You can read my article on Snacking on Exercise, and how Small Changes can lead to Big Results. Then, try this 5-minute workout or this 20-minute workout. (Consult your doctor first!) Don’t forget to comment and leave me feedback!