Our bodies were meant to move, which means they actually crave exercise. Not as obvious as food or water, but rather in a subtle way that we have to recognize and follow.
Without being physically active, we put our bodies at danger. Chances that we might develop chronic illness, such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety or depression, skyrocket. Becoming more active through exercise can help to significantly reduce these risks, especially in people who are overweight or obese. Besides that, exercise can help you look better and delay the aging process.
Despite the all known benefits, more than 80% of Americans aren't getting regular exercise, defined as 5 or more days per week for 30 minutes of even mild activity, such as walking. Lack of exercise contributes vastly to increasing rates of many chronic diseases, obesity and related comorbidities that plague Americans for decades.
How often should we exercise to stay healthy? The more the better doesn't always apply. Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis can have counterproductive effects, and often cause injuries. Consistency is more important factor in achieving desired results.
So, if you are a beginner, you can start off slowly. Three days per week is realistic, safe and effective goal. Once you're more experienced, you can add up more minutes to your sessions and more days to your weeks.
However, both beginners and experienced folks may often experience lack of motivation, which combined with time deficiency of time, as well as financial reasons, can put an end to many exercise regimes.
This is where fitness coaches and trainers step in. They keep us motivated, when we're in the mood to rather sit on the couch and eat that doughnut, instead of doing pushups. But they're not always available when we need them. Also, a lot of people nowadays can barely afford spare money for gym fees, let alone fitness coach.
A lot of mobile apps for both Android and iPhone are made with the purpose to fill in that empty spot and bring fitness trainers at your fingertips.
On SteadyHealth we reviewed couple of those apps, including FitBit app, a companion to Fitbit activity trackers that also works as a stand-alone app.
FitBit also made the app we review today, called Fitstar Personal Trainer that motivates users, helps them get a great workout on the go in their own time and stay in shape with dynamic exercise programs that continually adjust to users' feedback, goals, and capabilities.
Before you start your fitness routine, the app will require you to register an account and it will then ask you couple of questions about your current fitness level and regimen, and your height, weight and age.
Once you've done this, the app will ask you to choose your trainer (Lea or Adrian) and then you can proceed to the next step, i.e. taking an initial fitness test which lasts around 7 minutes, and consists of exercises such as butt kicks, kneeling pushups, bodyweight squats and couple more.
The test, as well as other exercise sessions, consists of videos that need to be downloaded. So keep that in mind and use the WiFi to avoid unnecessary costs.
Each session contains a series of exercises that you need to do for a set amount of time. There are also breaks that are built into the routines. Before beginning the session, you'll see a list of the exercise moves, color-coded to indicate a difficulty level. If you tap on any of the exercises in the preview list, you'd get an text-based explanation and video of how to do it.
Videos are high quality with instructions and tips as the exercise goes on, mostly about proper posture, breathing, hydration and so on. The exercises also feature music that can be also added from your phone.
After completing the exercises in the test, you'd have an option to provide a feedback for each, i.e. how long did you keep up (as instructed, less or more) and how hard was the exercise (just right, too easy or brutal). FitStar exercises don't require any special equipment, other than a mat or carpeted floor for added comfort.
Once you've completed the test and provided your feedback, the app will suggest you a program from one of the current main selections, including Daily Dose, Get Lean, Get Moving and Get Strong.
Daily Dose is intended for users who already lead an active lifestyle, containing six sessions per week, each lasting between 10-15 minutes. Get Lean program is designed to users who want to burn fat over four longer 30-50 minute sessions a week. Get Strong is a balanced program split between burning fat and building muscle, containing 3 sessions per week at 20-40 minutes each. These three programs require a premium membership subscription in order to access them.
Get Moving program is initially available for free. It features two sessions per week at 10-20 minutes, which is ideal for beginners and those who want to see how the programs work for them before subscribing for premium membership.
The monthly $7.99 fee for a Premium membership is more than what most other exercise apps charge and it could be too much for many users. However, Fitstar app also offers a year of free membership for every friend you refer, which is pretty cool.
Besides Programs users can also do Freestyle workouts, which hit on a variety of fitness goals, and Challenges where you can challenge yourself or a friend to reach certain goal.
FitStar is really great app that brings customized workouts to you, helping you stay fit and motivated. The monthly Premium option may seem expensive, but the app offers free tryout that is especially useful for beginners who want to try challenging but manageable exercise program.
Benefit: Users who want to stay fit and need motivational help from personal fitness trainer