The Best Fitness Tech
Nutrition and Weight Loss
A multitude of weight-loss Websites and applications serve up huge searchable databases of different foods and exercises to help you count calories, analyze nutritional information, and use portion-control systems to dial down the pounds safely. But these services are only as good as the information that you put into them, and remembering to note every carrot and candy bar can be a pain in the very posterior that you're trying to slim down. Mobile apps such as Lose It (free), available for iPhone and iPod Touch, have made the task of logging in data about your meals a lot more spontaneous because you always have the app with you.
"I'd go and do it four times a day," says Kirsten Owen, a Bar Method instructor and former triathlete who used LoseIt to sharpen her awareness of what she was eating. LoseIt's database contained entries for a lot of the foods Owen ate, though its litany of prefabricated packaged foods didn't match her preference for cooking from raw ingredients or eating at restaurants. Still she was able to use the app's Recipe feature to determine the caloric make-up of her home-baked cookies and muffins. You can register for a LoseIt account to obtain more-detailed reporting, data backup, and a method for sharing results with friends.
If you're more comfortable using PC software, you might like DietPower 4.4 ($30), which lets you track 33 nutrients in more than 21,000 foods. It also has tools that encourage you to adjust your eating throughout the day by telling you which items you should be eating more of (skim milk) or less of (fudge). As with LoseIt, you can count carbs and cholesterol. The 4.4 version also lets you track trans fats, and enter portions by volume or weight.
If you want to feel as though an actual human were determining your food fate, try Nutrition for You ($10 per month). Gina Gutierrez, general manager of San Francisco-based Diakadi Body Personal Training, calls it a great tracking system. "Our clients have used it quite a bit and have seen a lot of success from it."
Developed by sports nutritionist Manuel Villacorta, Nutrition for You creates a customized dietary plan based on your age, activity level, resting metabolic rate, dietary restrictions, and fitness goals. You use the Website to track what you eat and to read fitness news, tips, and recipes. If you need a little more help, you can sign up for 30-minute consultations with a registered dietitian at about $30 a pop, depending on the number of sessions.
For some people, success takes the form of weight loss, and if that's the cohort you belong to, the Withings Internet-connected Body Scale ($159) can help you measure keep track of the vanishing pounds Wi-Fi-style. A thin black-metallic unit with a backlit display, the scale wirelessly transmits your measured weight to your Withings Web account. You and up to seven other users can track progress over time. If you're feeling especially confident (or triumphant), you can broadcast your results via Facebook or Twitter or more discreetly transmit them to fitness services such as DailyBurn and RunKeeper.
Next: Breaking Away: Running and Cycling