Burn and Chill with Nike+

Nike+ Training Club – Free on the App Store

Like most people, I could definitely use more exercise. I’ve been taking a walk each morning lately, and I love doing that, but I rarely work out. In an attempt to change that, I downloaded the Nike+ Training app. This is Nike’s app specifically designed for strength training (as opposed to Nike+ Running Club).

I’ve been really impressed with the app’s design and functionality. It looks great and it’s easy to use. I especially like the voice prompts during the exercises; they’re better than other fitness apps I’ve used. At the start of each exercise, the voice tells me the basics of how to do the move. About 15 seconds in, it will then give an additional tip – usually about form. Something like, “Make sure to keep your core tight!” I really like that the app doesn’t just bombard me with all the details of a move at the beginning; it’d be too confusing. Instead, the app lets me start to get the hang of something, and then gives me tips on how to do it better. That’s nice.

I downloaded this app for strength training, but after a few workouts, my plan included a workout focused on stretching (or mobility, as Nike calls it). I found out I really enjoyed this. I used to do martial arts, and I always loved the stretching time we had at the beginning of each meeting. Intentional, guided stretching feels amazing. And that’s the great thing about Nike+ Training Club: whether I want to burn calories or chill out and calm myself down at the end of the day, there’s always a workout available! ••

Have an app suggestion, feedback, or just want to say Hi? I’d love to hear from you! I respond to all messages I receive. Drop me a line on Twitter @NickFoster56 or email me at staringatphones@icloud.com.


October App Review: 7 Minute Workout

App: 7 Minute Workout
Developer: Wellness & Prevention, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson)
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS and Android

The 7 Minute Workout is the latest fitness craze.  Turns out, short, high intensity workouts are better than longer, less intense workouts.  The reason?  Intense workouts get your metabolism up, and it stays up for a long time after your workout.  This means that a long workout isn’t necessary.  There are tons of knock-off 7 Minute Workout apps available, but this one is the official one made by Johnson & Johnson and Chris Jordan (the creator of the 7 Minute Workout).  This app was also featured in one of Apple’s commercials.  I was really excited when I first heard about the 7 Minute Workout, since I’m really busy and don’t like to spend a long time working out in the morning.  Since I use this app often, it seemed like a good one for me to review this month.

The app is pretty straightforward.  You can do the official 7 Minute Workout, which has the original series of 12 exercises, or a Smart Workout, which gives you different exercises each day (which I like).  There is a also a huge library of other workouts to choose from (see image 5).  The 7 Minute Workout (which is really 7 minutes and 50 seconds), consists of 12 different exercises.  You do each exercise for 30 seconds, and then you have a 10 second rest period.  The exercises are simple, and there’s a video on screen showing you exactly what to do.  There are also helpful audio cues so you don’t have to look at your device the whole time.  You can give an exercise a thumbs up or a thumbs down, depending on whether you like it or not.  In addition to the 7:50 workout, there’s an optional warm-up and cool-down, which each clock it at about 3.5 minutes.  After the workout, you can rate how difficult it was on a 10-point scale from “Relaxed” to “Exhausted” (see image 4).

The only complaint I have is that the app doesn’t yet integrate with Apple’s new Health app in iOS 8, but hopefully that will come later.

That’s about it.  The app has an excellent, simple design: it gives you instructions and then gets out of the way.  The workout become the focus.  I really enjoy doing the 7 Minute Workout.  It doesn’t take long, and the intensity makes me feel like I’m actually doing something.  If you’re looking for an easy way to cram in some exercise first thing in the morning (or any other time of day), I definitely recommend this app.  ••