Do Exercise Apps Keep You Motivated?


Let’s chat about exercise, shall we?

Here’s the abridged version of my history with exercise apps and websites.

I’ve used RunKeeper on and off for a few years to keep track of my walks and elliptical workouts.

Same with the Couch to 10K app, but only for the cool down stretches.

I once had a Fitbit One, but lost it in a dressing room or something.

I then broke down and bought a Misfit Shine because the design wasn’t half bad, but I never wore it because it looks like a watch, and I already wear a watch, people.

You guys, I would like to find a way to keep myself motivated to exercise during the week. Tell me, what apps or products do you use for your workouts? Do you count steps? Part of an online group? What about the Nike apps? Do you compete against others online? I’m really interested in the community aspect…

What keeps you motivated to workout again and again and again? How do you stay accountable? Because, at the moment, my good intentions aren’t hacking it.

  1. Karen

    May 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I’m one of those people who has to run/bike/swim/ hike, etc. or I get cranky. I’ve realized how important movement is as I’ve gotten older and it’s something I try to do first thing in the morning. ( not every single day, but most days). Something new for me are barre classes. I love barre3 and do classes at a studio or with their amazing online workouts. Pretty sure there’s a studio in okc(?). The classes are a nice balance of strength/toning/but-kicking exercise balanced with great stretching. I thought you were doing ( teaching?) yoga…maybe there’s a good studio in your new hood?

    • Kat

      May 6, 2015 at 3:09 am

      I also love barre3. I rarely use the online videos, though I may start now that I’ve resolved some injuries (should have been doing them while I was recovering). But for me, it’s conditioning for climbing, which changed my life. For me, working out has to be more than just heart rate and burning calories. It has to be social, or it has to be really challenging or it has to help me work out some kind of mental or emotional issue at the same time. Both climbing and barre3 do that for me. Then the motivation doesn’t have as much to do with exercise alone, but taking care of my whole self. I would love to feel that way about yoga because I think it would be a gentle conditioning practice but I’ve not found the right teacher or class.

      As for tracking, I keep saying I’ll track my workouts but I’ve never found an app that tracks what I care about.

  2. Summer

    May 4, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I broke down and joined a gym, Orange Theory Fitness. I love the workouts, the trainers and the overall vibe. They offer a free class…try it!! It’s very motivating and energetic and fun!

  3. kristiina

    May 4, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t think anything helps keep me on track except working out every day. I go with the “never break the chain” approach. For me one day off leads to two and it’s a slippery slope. I’m not a hard core gym rat, though. I’m talking about a long walk, or a workout DVD.

    When I’m super unmotivated I do about a 12 minute High Intensity Interval Training workout. I come up with my own exercises (pushups, squats, etc) and I use the “interval pro” app to run through my sets. I like it because you can listen to a podcast or music and you’ll still hear the whistle and the coach telling you it’s ‘go time’ or cool down, etc.


  4. Sarah

    May 5, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I love the conversations on your site. You have awesome commenters!

    I’m super analog and old school: I have a copy of a running/training plan from an old copy of Runners World. It’s a grid, like a calendar, and outlines what you do (or don’t do) for each day of the week. I do the workout, I cross off the box. (It’s a bit like crossing days of a calendar, I guess.) This is the method I stick to and like best.

    I practice yoga daily and keep a journal about my practice. I write down how I felt during practice, progress made, setbacks, injuries, and the like. It’s taught me a lot. I’ve learned that a little coffee before practices makes a world of difference in my strength and endurance. I’ve also learned that no matter how injured I think I am, the fancypants poses I learned how to do always, always come back. Even if I can’t do them for months at a time, my body always relearns them again. I’ve been doing this yoga journaling thing for a couple of years now and really like it.

    I used to belong to a swanky gym that had an app where I could log my check-ins and workouts. The app is beautifully designed and works well, but I just didn’t care much about tracking that data.

    I’ve been sending my running data to Nike+ for years now, but I’ve never engaged in the community there. I upload my run, glance at the graph showing my distance and pace, and that’s it. (I do remember spending way too much time customizing the outfit on the little cartoon avatar thingy that goes with the account.)

    I do the step-tracking thing, but only because the company I work for has a little challenge that runs for part of the year. I wouldn’t bother with it otherwise, but it’s a nice thing to do at the office, I think.

  5. Lauren

    May 5, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Not sure if this counts, but I’m loving ClassPass so far. You have to pay for the membership monthly, but I have yet to get bored of working out, which is highly unusual for me. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys different types of workouts!

  6. Bethann

    May 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I LOVE the NikePlus running app and the community that comes with it. I compete each month with friends and strangers on miles and we often text back and forth telling each other to “quit running so much”, or “look I am finally ahead.” It has been great at keeping me motivated and reaching my goal of running 100 miles per month in 2015. I have also had a nike fuel band in the past and I really like how everything worked together seamlessly.

    My username is finleyba, if you’d like to follow me!

  7. Tania

    May 7, 2015 at 3:36 am

    I am a big Fitbit fan. I’m have the Flex which is quite sleek looking. I’ve read a bit about creating habits rather than relying on willpower (www.summertomato.com) so am working on creating a walking habit with my Fitbit. It has its ups and downs but mostly is encouraging me to walk consistently.

  8. Sarah Jean

    May 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I have a Fitbit Flex, which keeps me somewhat motivated, especially when I compete against friends in the weekly challenges. But that still didn’t keep me going long term. I just think, “Meh, someone has to lose these challenges. Hello, comfy couch.” The thing that has actually kept me exercising lately is the Pact app. I have it synced with both my fitbit and runkeeper, and it charges me $5 for each day that I don’t exercise. (You can set it for any number of days per week you want; I have it at 3 days and some of my friends have it at 6 days.) Plus you get paid (the money that other people got charged for slacking) for each day that you DO exercise!

  9. Lori

    May 11, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve been using Fitocracy to motivate me into being more active. You get points for working out and it’s like a game where you get to level up when you get so many points. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re not in the mood to work out but so close to that next level you work out anyway. And you get virtual fist bumps from other members! Did I mention it’s free?