3 Essential Fitness Apps for 2020 (And How to Get the Most Out of Them)

I first started weightlifting at a worn-down powerlifting gym in rural Pennsylvania. It wasn’t a high-tech place, and I was behind the times myself: I toted a spiral-bound notebook from machine to machine to record my progress.

A throwback photo of my husband from 2016. Seriously guys: this gym was rough. But I loved it!

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the notebook method, it’s not very useful. It’s hard to analyze trends, it’s annoying to calculate calories and macros, and it’s impossible to track steps or keep a sleep diary.

If you want to take your fitness journey to the next level, I think you need a few solid apps in your toolkit. Here are the ones I’m using daily in 2020.

To Record Workouts: Bolt Workout Tracker

Screen capture from Bolt’s website

About the App

Bolt is my favorite workout tracker. I use it to store my weightlifting routines and track my improvement week to week.

Why I Love It

A clean, easy-to-use interface makes tracking your progress simple. There are a ton of exercises to choose from. And once you log a set, Bolt’s automatic timer will start a rest break (1:30 minutes by default, but you can change it to however long you need).

I love that it’s free and there are no distracting ads. With the free subscription, you can only track 6 exercises per workout. That’s enough for me, but if you want more, it will prompt you to sign up for the Pro version ($1.99 a month).

Download Bolt from the App Store by searching for “Bolt Workout Tracker.” It’s a smaller app, so you’ll need to scroll down a bit until you see the lightening bolt logo (screenshot below).

I should mention it’s only available for iPhone right now. Android girls, try Strong – it’s very similar.

Get the Most Out of It

Maximize your workouts by sticking with a program for a few weeks at a time. You can create your own plan or follow one from a reputable trainer. Either way, you should record your routines in Bolt and have them ready and waiting for you.

Another thing I love is the history feature. Tap “history” from the menu bar to check out how you’ve progressed. There’s also a calendar that shows how many days a month you’ve exercised.

To Track Steps and Sleep: Fitbit

About the App

An app that’s stood the test of time, Fitbit is the easiest way for me to track my steps and monitor my sleep habits.

While many of my friends have moved to Apple Watch as their fitness-tracker-of-choice, my Fitbit Alta is still going strong, even though it’s since been discontinued. The Fitbit Charge 3 is the comparable new model.

Still rocking my Fitbit Alta in 2020

Why I Love It

The “move” reminders throughout the day are helpful. Working a desk job, I didn’t realize how long I was sitting each day.

I also think the sleep insights are useful to see just how much sleep I’m getting (or not). And I forgot how great it is to wear a watch and know what time it is without relying on my phone.

Get the Most Out of It

Since sleep is so, so, so important for recovery, I’d recommend Fitbit’s sleep insights tool to see if you’re getting 7-8 hours. Also make sure to update your weight regularly so you can accurately track your progress – I always forget to do this.

Lastly, I’d recommend challenges like the Workweek Hustle for a little friendly competition. Breaks up the week and keeps things fun.

To Track Food and Macros: My Fitness Pal

About the App

MyFitnessPal is an app we all know and love. It’s an easy way to track calories and macros. In my opinion, this is one of the top 10 most useful apps ever created. Anyone else agree?

Why I Love It

I have learned so much from MFP. Probably most importantly, I never realized how much I was overeating until I started religiously logging my food.

The barcode scanner makes it really easy to log a meal and the macros insights have been invaluable in achieving my body recomposition goals.

Get the Most Out of It

About 3 months ago, I took my calorie-counting a step farther and started tracking macros. You should, too! This can easily be done through the free version of MFP.

Once you know what your macros percentage goals are, you can setup your MFP account to track it.

To do this, simply tap “More” to access your settings. Then, tap “Goals” and finally, under Nutrition Goals, choose “Calorie, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals.” Enter your percentages and voila! You’re a macros-tracking master.

With the right tools and consistency, I believe every women can achieve her workout goals. What apps are you loving in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, please click the WordPress follow button. Also find me on Instagram @pearlsandbarbells.

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