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TUAW Fitness: An Apple a day update

About two weeks ago I pledged to lose weight using my iPhone, AppleTV and Mac. Well, I'm happy to report that I've lost a whopping 6 pounds since then using my iPhone 3GS. Below is a short list of the apps I used as well as a mini-review of each.

LIVESTRONG

This iPhone app has a great feature set for calorie, exercise and weight tracking, although it is not without its problems. Overall, it needs a little "spit and polish." The foods I logged often failed to save correctly when I initially entered them. Instead, I'd have to save them, then go back and edit them in order to adjust time of day, or servings eaten. It wasn't a huge deal, but calorie tracking should be quick and easy to encourage me to keep doing it. If every entry takes twice as long because of editing, well, I'm probably going to give up eventually. Which I did.

In addition, the exercise trackers seem very skewed. LIVESTRONG tells me that a 2-hour bike ride burns about 1,600 calories, while Trailguru gives a much more conservative 750 for the same time and distance. When trying to lose weight, you should overestimate calorie input and underestimate calorie burning in my opinion. I learned pretty quickly to ignore however many calories it said I was burning.




LoseIt

Based on the number of glowing reviews from commenters on my last article, I gave this app a shot. I was really impressed at the polish of this app that LIVESTRONG lacked. LoseIt looks and acts like an iPhone app, and is very intuitive and easy to use. It does lack the syncing that LIVESTRONG has, so there's no sharing results with friends, or even yourself, on anything but your iPhone. That may be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, but personally I get a little extra motivation from making my weight loss and food intake public. If you're a little less open about your weight than I am, I can see how keeping it personal would be preferred. It also suffers from the same issue that LIVESTRONG does in overestimating the calories burned on various activities. The bike ride I mentioned above says I burned 1,400 calories, which seems very high.

Trailguru

This app doesn't handle food tracking. Trailguru does just 1 thing: tracks your exercise. However, it does this much, much better than the previous apps. There is no rounding to be done when using Trailguru, and it does a great job of tracking speed and distance so you can improve over time.

Like LIVESTRONG, you can sync your runs or bike rides to a website where your results can be public if you like. Here's the 17 mile bike ride I took earlier today, and you can see the detailed statistics like top speed, low speed, average speed, and elevation. I love these sort of statistics on my rides and runs. The only downside is that, because it needs to be run in the foreground, it is a huge battery sucker. After my 2 hour ride, my iPhone battery was drained about 50%. You can also see that parts of my ride were not logged properly, and that was because I got a couple phone calls which interrupted the logging of my trail. That was operator error on my part and I should have known it would happen, and I know this is an iPhone limitation rather than an app limitation.

To sync your runs and rides, you actually have to tell the app to do it. It'd be nice if there was an automatic syncing function to save having to do this step.

LIVESTRONG [iTunes link] is $2.99, but LoseIt [iTunes link] and Trailguru [iTunes link] are freebies.

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