To remain competitive in your sport, you must go above and beyond your training and attack your performance from all angles. A complete athlete addresses areas like mentality, nutrition, recovery and mobility in addition to physical training, knowing that neglecting any one of these areas makes the others less effective.
Many of us have the training aspect down, but it can be difficult to know exactly what to do to help enhance the other areas. With advances in technology improving our efficiency on a daily basis, below are five free fitness apps that can help you become a more complete athlete.
1. HUDL Technique
Think of this as a free version of other well-known technique-analysis apps like Coaches Eye and Dartfish. The app allows you to film everything from sprint and acceleration mechanics to weightlifting technique and view it in slow motion or take snapshots of specific phases of your activity. In addition, you can use the embedded tools to measure joint angles and different body lines to take a more objective approach to your training. Improper practice is practicing to be improper, so use the app to hone in on the small but important details that aren't always visible to the naked eye.
Sometimes it takes a little more than just waking up and existing to give it our all at the gym or training grounds. Start the day off right with FitQuote, an app that syncs to your phone's notifications to deliver a quote each day from top athletes, philosophers and social influencers. The mind is a powerful tool, and when the right mindset is achieved, we are capable of impressive feats. FitQuote helps you achieve this mindset while giving you powerful advice on a daily basis.
3. My Fitness Pal
If you aren't satisfied with mediocrity and want to truly get the most out of your training while having the energy to push through the finish line, it's time to start understanding your nutrition. My Fitness Pal is a nutrition logging and tracking app that provides macro and micronutrient counting, fitness monitoring and goal-setting. Though high-level athletes may be concerned with specific daily calorie and nutrient intake, others may use the app to learn more about the food they are consuming and where they can make simple changes to improve their health. The app is quick and easy, and it includes nearly every food and brand in its registry for precise logging. In addition, the app allows you to set reminders and find local fitness classes, and it pairs with fitness trackers for a complete approach to health and fitness.
4. SleepTime by Azumio
Since I'm not a morning person, the SleepTime app is one of my favorites.
We all hate being jolted from a deep sleep by a blaring alarm just to hit the snooze alarm a few times and wake up groggy. SleepTime by Azumio starts by having you set a wake-up window. Say you need to be up by 7:30 a.m. You would select 7:30 on the clock and it blocks off a 30-minute window of time from 7:00 to 7:30. After setting the alarm, you place the phone face down on your bed, where it predicts your sleep cycles based on your body movement throughout the night. When the window hits, the app waits until you are in your lightest sleep cycle, then slowly fades in an alarm until you wake up. This leaves you feeling refreshed and actually awake, ready to start the day. To snooze, you simply pick up your phone and turn it right side up before placing it face down again, (which I've become incredibly proficient with in my sleep).
5. Yoga.com Studio
This may not be free currently ($3.99 in the App Store), but they occasionally have a free download or a few free programs within the app available for download. This is the best, cheapest yoga app I've come across, and it is incredibly user-friendly. You can schedule programs, learn mobility techniques through the pose directory and enter the programs tab for a full list of yoga routines for every ailment and goal, ranging from beginner and balance to fitness and prevention. Simply click the program and be guided with visuals and sound through a flowing collection of well-coached poses.