For athletes, maintaining optimum body condition through off-season training and proper nutrition is a top priority. But you don't have to tackle the off-season unaided. Tap into the power of technology to make becoming a better athlete a bit easier.
Get Active With Apps
From sport-specific workouts to pedometers to eating guides, you can download just about any training- or nutrition-related app to your iPhone or iPad. Below are a few recommendations to help you meet your off-season workout goals.
For a great workout—created by Tim Grover, founder and owner of ATTACK Athletics and trainer to elite pro athletes such as Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant—try the STACK ATTACK Workout Program ($2.99). If you follow this program, you'll jump higher, get stronger and play better in 12 weeks. Not a bad way to start your season, right?
If too much time on the couch as added a few pounds—and subtracted some lean muscle—get back on track. First, figure out how many calories you need per day (a STACK expert shows you how). Then, once you know your number, download Livestrong's Calorie Tracker ($2.99) to ensure you keep on track. If you want to add muscle while maintaining your current weight, use the app to ensure you take in quality calories, and not junk food.
Have a few months until your season starts and want a new challenge? Try running your first 5K (or beyond). Grab a few teammates and download the Runner's World SmartCoach, a free app that provides all the coaching you'll need to go from sloth to speedster.
Get Motivated to Move
Technology can also help you get motivated to move—and keep moving. Although you shouldn't need such tools during the season, they can make off-season preparation more fun and engaging.
If you've been unsuccessful trying to lose weight, Fitbit ($100) might tell you why. It's a small, clip-on device that wirelessly tracks your activity, including how far you run or walk, how many calories you burn and even your sleep patterns. You can even log your meals and workouts. Seeing how many calories you consume and burn—and whether you're getting enough muscle-repairing and fat-busting sleep—should give you insight into how to get healthier.
Another tech gadget that can nudge you back into action is the Gruve ($180), a clippable monitor that measures your calorie intake and activity. (Use their online program to enter data about your day.) Gruve's Halo Light Bar starts your day in red, meaning you need to get moving. You go through orange, yellow and blue before reaching the desired green, signaling you have met your calories burned goal for the day. And if you've been sitting for too long, Gruve will give you a "buzzing" reminder to get active again. Granted, this shouldn't be a problem during the season, but it can motivate athletes who need a little push during the off-season.
Get a Workout Buddy
Now that you're eating right, sleeping well and keeping active, use technology to record all your off-season gains.
Track your pace, distance, time and calories burned with the Nike+ SportBand ($60). A sensor in your sneaker works with the SportBand to capture detailed data about your workout, which you can upload to nikerunning.nike.com to keep a continuous record of your training.
Another option is the adidas miCoach Pacer Bundle ($140), an MP3-synchronized calorie counter, heart rate monitor and pedometer. It actually speaks like a coach would to an athlete, encouraging you to keep going at the right pace and distance. You can upload your data online and analyze it to ensure you're hitting your goals.
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