formats

I had to break up with my trainer. I even gave him the ‘it’s not you, it’s me speech.’ Kinda.

See, The Man and I are going to need to move out of our teeny condo in the next year or so and into something bigger. That means I need to keep all the cash, and personal training, while wonderful, is not at all cheap. So I broke it off and have now gotten a much cheaper membership at a gym near work.

While personal training definitely gave me scads more confidence in the gym, it didn’t give me a great idea of how to plan my own workouts. I mean, I sort of know what to do? But I always worry I’m not doing enough. I forget parts of circuits, how many reps I’ve done, etc. I’m a space cadet, basically, and I like it that way. I like tuning out and letting my body, not my brain, do the work.

I’ve been trying to find a great app for weight training for awhile now. I tried several – the Nike Training Club app was my mainstay for a long time – but I think I’ve finally found one that’s close to perfect for me. I was reading the comments on Gretchen’s blog post about what she does for her strength training routine and Carla suggested trying out the Gain Fitness app.

It’s an iPhone app, though I think they have an Android version. It costs like $2 (I think) and it’s pretty great! You can set up an 8-week plan of workouts as many days a week as you like. Mine is currently set for two 75-minute workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays. The app will remind you that you’re supposed to work out, which might get annoying but for now is kinda nifty.

It sets up exercises that alternate between muscle groups the way you’re supposed to. You don’t have to bring a book or a piece of paper to the gym, just your phone, in which you can note the weight you use and the number of reps. It recommends a number of reps, but I am sometimes able to push out a few extra reps, so I’ve been doing that. I’ll try a heavier weight in the next session.

I’m only on the first week (I tried out the ‘quick workouts’ first) but I think it’s really going to be a great, useful app that adapts to my changing levels of fitness.

Pros:

  • Clear plans with good explanations of how to do the exercises
  • Plans get progressively harder
  • Alternating muscle groups! This is the part I suck at most
  • Good total body strengthening exercises
  • Can record reps/weights in the app
  • Can get variations of moves if you prefer not to do one exercise or don’t have access to the equipment
Cons
  • It’s sort of annoying to take your phone in and out of your pocket; you can’t leave it in a holder because you have to keep looking at it and recording your sets (well, you don’t have to, but I get confused, so I do) 
  • Not a lot of compound moves – if you’re doing a squat with dumbbells, you’re usually not also doing a shoulder press at the top
  • Limited number of some exercises in the base version, though you can purchase more packages
  • No integrated music player, so there’s no voice cues if you’re playing music
  • The app builds in a minute rest after every set, which is more than I ever take, so I usually skip them; this is why I do the 75 minute workouts instead of the 60 – I need to fill those extra minutes with more exercises! Doing short circuits helps rest my one muscle group while I work another
  • There are some glitches with the ticky boxes if you do circuits – sometimes the screen won’t allow you to check boxes off so you have to manually go into a dropdown menu and tick the box there
Overall, it’s a pretty spiffy little app that works really well for my needs, as long as I remember to wear shorts that have a pocket!