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Too busy to join a gym? Get healthy at home

From fitness trackers and apps to YouTube exercise channels and social media groups, there’s a lot to pick from if you want a do-it-yourself option. But how feasible are these services?

health and fitness Updated: Jan 14, 2014 13:33 IST
Sumedha Deo
Sumedha Deo
Hindustan Times

I was getting married in six months and had spent a bomb on my trousseau. So getting a flat belly was a given,” says 26-year-old bride-to-be Vaibhavi Patil.

Since Patil works very demanding hours at a US-based IT consulting company, it was difficult for her to join a gym or training programme. Just when she was about to hit the panic button, help arrived in the form of the blog, Fit For A Bride. “There were workout tips and links to fitness apps. It was like I’d found the perfect gym buddy,” says Patil.

Hers is but one story of a growing number of individuals whose busy schedules or lazy temperaments keep them from committing to a gym.

From fitness trackers and apps to YouTube exercise channels and social media groups, there’s a lot to pick from if you want a do-it-yourself option. But how feasible are these services?

“I would recommend them. Fitness trackers display your measurable results and encourage progression,” says Kris Gethin, partner at Physique Elite, which is a group of global fitness trainers.

Gethin should know; his trainer app was in iTunes’s top fitness and health apps list in October 2012. He calls mobile fitness apps “great educational account-buddies that can provide everything from healthy recipes and meal plans to instructional exercise plans”.

Connect with your peers
Indian television personality Paras Tomar is another participant in this popular trend. Last year, in a bid to get six-pack abs in 45 days, Tomar started a programme titled Man On A Mission on his YouTube channel, Paras Tomar UnPlugged. He diligently tracked his progress and uploaded a video every day to encourage his followers and prove his critics wrong. And the endeavour was successful with Tomar getting a lot of positive feedback.

“Many people I meet now want to know diet and workout tips since they saw my videos. I also had a lot of people writing to me saying that I motivated them,” he says. The TV host also interacted with his audience on Twitter and Facebook and shared more fitness and nutrition tips with them. “A lot of people are not comfortable asking questions on a public platform so they’d write to me privately for tips and such,” he says.

Pick the right service
With so many apps, YouTube channels, social network groups and celebrity DVDs out there, it can get hard to pick the one best suited for you. Like Patil, you could search for a need-specific programme and then follow the service.

“During my hunt, I came across many apps and channels aimed at certain goals — lose 5 kg in two months, get a flat stomach in six weeks or something on those lines,” she says.

Many gyms and celebrity personal trainers also have their own apps or channels on the Internet.

“Search for ratings and reviews before deciding which service is best suited for you. Be cautious of what you publish in regards to comments, images and information about yourself, because once it is out in the public domain, it can never be retracted,” says Gethin.

Take your pick
Apps: Pact – Make a pact with yourself to go to the gym more regularly, eat more veggies or just keep a log of all you eat.

RunKeeper – Track your motions — the running, walking and biking kind — with this GPS-enabled app.

My Daily Fitness Guide – Get customised workout and diet plans and also set reminders to exercise daily.

Fitocracy – Join this social network of fitness freaks and match your exercise regimens with like-minded people.

SparkPeople – Get free nutrition and health tips from informative articles and communities.

FitBit – The wristband keeps track of your activity and even sleep. You can keep the tracker on all day, come rain or shine.

Garmin Vivofit – From the makers of the popular GPS device, these trackers let you meet your daily fitness goals.

NikeFuel – This popular tracker even keeps tabs on your everyday activities, giving you feedback and motivation through the day.

Jawbone Up - This device helps you discover hidden patterns in your day-to-day activities and celebrate reaching goals.

First Published: Jan 14, 2014 13:26 IST