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Three new apps for a better workout

A trio of apps have come out recently that will give your spring workout a boost:

Faster ($1.99): This app, shown at right, is geared toward those who exercise outdoors and relies on GPS to be effective. You can set a distance and target time, and if your pace isn't matching the goals you set, Faster will slow down your music. There's a social aspect to it as well, with Game Center integration and the ability to earn badges and compete with friends. You can also hear voice feedback during workouts and use it in tandem with other fitness apps. Now that the weather's warming up here, I'm looking forward to using Faster outside and hope it'll keep me motivated and not looking longingly at gardens and park benches. One warning: For those who still have some DRM-protected tracks on their iPhone, Faster will not work with them.

Bit Timer ($.99): Bit Timer is designed for when you do any sort of interval training, great for if you're doing a regimented exercise that requires you to alternate between running and walking, or if you're doing strength training and need to take rests between sets. Two distinct tones let you know when you're about to perform the exercise and when you either enter your rest period or change exercises. To change the seconds, hold the colored bars and drag down to increase time, drag up to decrease it. When using a music app, Bit Timer will fade the music out to let you know when to switch phases then fade back in, which is really nice.

The one drawback to the app is that you can't set the work and rest periods for any longer than 2-minute increments at a time. I'd like to see this go up to 5-minute increments to better utilize it with such programs as the Couch to 5K plan. Plus, I'd like to see some customization such as being able to switch to different phases of an exercise program. But for 99 cents, this app is a good deal, and I plan to incorporate it into my workouts.

Fitness Trainer ($.99): For building those spring workouts, you can create and track routines in this app. There are more than 70 exercises within the app to choose from, including videos to demonstrate move you're not familiar with. This app just hit version 4, and it's a good way to create a training program for yourself without having to pay for a personal trainer. What it won't do is keep you working out. That you'll have to do yourself.

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