Fitness Apps: The Good and the Bad

AugQuotes JodieWhen I searched “fitness” in the App Store on my iPad, it came up with more results than I could scroll through. They ranged from apps that track your cycling information, calories, or weight loss to weekly challenges, and diet programs. I even found apps that use the idea of being chased by zombies as motivation to get up for your morning run.

With so many options, it can be difficult to know whether you should use an app, and if so, which one. There are some fantastic apps that help support you to move joyfully, eat intuitively, and foster positive body image.

There are also apps that are inherently bad; they contain poor, unsubstantiated information about exercise prescription, dietary guidelines, or body weight recommendations. And of course, thee are apps that fall somewhere in between these categories.

The Good:

1. Fitness apps can be fun and give you new ideas.
I’m not sure I’d use the “being chased by zombies” app but I know many people who would absolutely love it. Fitness should be something that is largely enjoyable and apps can provide a new dimension through games, interactions with friends, or simply the suggestion of new and exciting exercises. Other apps can provide recipes to make dinnertime something to really look forward to, or offer alterations if you have allergies to consider.

2. They can target other areas of “fitness.”
Fitness can be considered a holistic term and includes more than just how far you can run or how much weight you can lift. Yoga, Pilates, and stretching, as well as relaxation and meditation are great complements to your fitness program. There are a number of apps to help with these practices.

3. They can provide feedback.
You can use the information provided by some fitness apps to help identify areas in your diet or exercise program that may need changing. It might be that you’re no longer seeing improvements in your running distance – a sign you’re possibly over-training and need to reduce your load. Or you may see patterns in your eating behaviours, such as the tendency to binge in the evening when you’ve been busy at work and missed lunch. This feedback may help you to prioritise your health and take a break at lunchtime or have a snack on the way home.

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The Bad:

1. Fitness apps aren’t individualised.
Fitness apps, whether they focus on exercise, food, or both, are very rarely individualised. Even if the app collects information on your gender, age, height, weight, etc., computers can’t account for all the extra features and nuances that exist within the body (and mind!). This may leave you prone to injuries and poor nutritional intake, or it may reduce the effectiveness of the program. Apps may be cheaper than seeing a professional, however it’s certainly worth seeing a qualified dietitian or exercise physiologist to provide some individual advice (at least in the beginning).

2. They provide external guidance not internal cues.
An app that makes recommendations about when, how much, and what type of exercise you do or foods you eat does not teach you how to listen to your own body. Everybody is unique, and an app can’t possibly know what your unique self needs. Consistently using external cues may result in disordered eating and exercise behaviours, including under-eating, bingeing, over-exercising, and associated emotions such as guilt. In the long-term, your internal cues may be silenced and you may find it difficult to eat or exercise without guidance from the app.

3. They are often “numbers” focused.
Many people find motivation in keeping track of how far they can run, how many calories they’ve eaten, or how much weight they’ve lost. Some people are able to acknowledge these are just numbers and use them as a guide whilst still listening to and honouring their own body. For others, these numbers can become consuming and obsessive. It’s important to be aware of what these numbers represent. They don’t necessarily correlate with genuine changes in your health or fitness.

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When you begin thinking about using a fitness app, it can be helpful to consider who developed the app, who the app is designed for, and what sort of “promises” it’s making. For example, an app designed by a company whose name you don’t recognise that promises “flat abs in just 7 minutes a day” is unlikely to be as scientifically sound as an app run by a government or medical organisation.

Further, different people will respond differently to each app, whilst one app might be great for your friend, it could be unhelpful for you.

Some questions you might ask yourself are:

  • Does this app motivate me in a positive way or does it leave me feeling guilty?
  • Is this app teaching me or do I feel I am solely relying on the app?
  • Is this app genuinely improving my life and my health or am I feeling it might be leading to injuries/disordered eating/poor mental health?

Ultimately, I encourage you to use apps to support and complement your own internal cues, rather than to dictate what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Speaking to a professional, as well as using an app, can help set you up for an experience that will foster good physical, mental, and emotional health.


Fitness Apps: The Good and the Bad #StopFitspiration
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For more Body Positive tips on Fitness and exercise, visit our StopFitspiration site and project page.

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Today’s article on @liberonetwork (link in bio) “Your body isn’t going anywhere. It hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on it.”
#stopfitspiration #athlete #loveyourbody #fitspo #fitness #truth

Today’s article on @liberonetwork (link in bio) “Your body isn’t going anywhere. It hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on it.”
#stopfitspiration #athlete #loveyourbody #fitspo #fitness #truth

We’re All Somebodies
by Megan Mottola. Originally published on Libero Network here.
Identity is an important part of us. It gives us a sense of purpose and allows people (including ourselves) to easily attach labels to us.
But with identity comes beliefs, and sometimes those beliefs aren’t the most positive. Oftentimes, we let these identities get in the way of our true selves. We forget there is more to us than just a name or a label or a thought.
For example, I grew up identifying myself as an athlete. I thought if I looked like an athlete, then I would be taken seriously. If I was this fit/thin person, then all was okay. People would look up to me. I was constantly praised for my achievements which just perpetuated the cycle of my identity, and eventually it got out of hand.
I took my identity to an extreme. I couldn’t love my body unless I was exercising or using self-destructive coping methods. I got sucked into a world of extreme body hatred. I took advantage of my identity as an athlete and used it as an excuse to self-destruct and make myself something I wasn’t.
Truth be told, I was more than an athlete. But I had quickly forgotten there was more to me than my identity and body. I based my self-worth on how my body looked and felt in regard to exercise.
It has taken me a long time (and it’s still a work in progress) to realize that I am more than the identities I give myself. I’ve always been somebody.
Without those labels, I still am somebody. Slowly giving up those identities has allowed me to see myself for what I am, purely loving myself.
I don’t have to be an athlete to love my body. (tweet)
I don’t have to workout to love my body. I don’t have to restrict myself to love my body. I just have to open my heart, embrace, and truly “be” to really see myself for all that I am.
Labels are a hard thing to steer clear of–throughout our society, we are constantly filled with information from the media and other people. Our brains are easily adaptable and quickly latch onto those things. Instead of someone suffering from anorexia, they’re considered “the anorexic.” Someone who decides to take a day off from exercise might be considered “lazy” when in fact they’re just human.
I’ve noticed with both myself and others, ignorance to the body occurs with labels and identities. Our identities cause us to become hard on ourselves and we no longer have compassion for the body. We ridicule it. People eat a cookie, and instead of thinking of it as feeding their soul, they turn right to self-hate and talking about how they have no self-control.
We allow these labels to have too much power, and as a result we get trapped in a cycle of self-hate and destruction, and sometimes we are completely unaware.
Our identities and labels can get in the way of treating our bodies properly and with gratitude. We live in a society that is about immediacy. We want results right away. We want to just love ourselves. But holding onto those labels and acting out on those labels won’t get us there.
What we need is self-awareness – the path to self-love.
What would happen if we all just let go of these identities? What would happen if we just let ourselves be as we are, raw and vulnerable? What would it be like to actuallybe with your body? To be with your body and yourself as is? It is one of the most powerful things you could do for yourself.
How would your life and relationship with your body be different if you stopped letting you identities and labels run the show?
Try to let go and let be for a day, a week. See what happens. Don’t allow your ego to take the front seat. Let love take control. Appreciate, show gratitude, embrace, and allow yourself be as real as you can get. You will be so surprised at how different things will start to feel once you begin to let go of (or lessen) the labels and identities that you or society has placed on you. Stop trying to escape and hide your bodies through these labels.
Your body isn’t going anywhere. It hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on it.

We’re All Somebodies

by Megan Mottola. Originally published on Libero Network here.

Identity is an important part of us. It gives us a sense of purpose and allows people (including ourselves) to easily attach labels to us.

But with identity comes beliefs, and sometimes those beliefs aren’t the most positive. Oftentimes, we let these identities get in the way of our true selves. We forget there is more to us than just a name or a label or a thought.

For example, I grew up identifying myself as an athlete. I thought if I looked like an athlete, then I would be taken seriously. If I was this fit/thin person, then all was okay. People would look up to me. I was constantly praised for my achievements which just perpetuated the cycle of my identity, and eventually it got out of hand.

I took my identity to an extreme. I couldn’t love my body unless I was exercising or using self-destructive coping methods. I got sucked into a world of extreme body hatred. I took advantage of my identity as an athlete and used it as an excuse to self-destruct and make myself something I wasn’t.

Truth be told, I was more than an athlete. But I had quickly forgotten there was more to me than my identity and body. I based my self-worth on how my body looked and felt in regard to exercise.

It has taken me a long time (and it’s still a work in progress) to realize that I am more than the identities I give myself. I’ve always been somebody.

Without those labels, I still am somebody. Slowly giving up those identities has allowed me to see myself for what I am, purely loving myself.

I don’t have to be an athlete to love my body. (tweet)

I don’t have to workout to love my body. I don’t have to restrict myself to love my body. I just have to open my heart, embrace, and truly “be” to really see myself for all that I am.

Labels are a hard thing to steer clear of–throughout our society, we are constantly filled with information from the media and other people. Our brains are easily adaptable and quickly latch onto those things. Instead of someone suffering from anorexia, they’re considered “the anorexic.” Someone who decides to take a day off from exercise might be considered “lazy” when in fact they’re just human.

I’ve noticed with both myself and others, ignorance to the body occurs with labels and identities. Our identities cause us to become hard on ourselves and we no longer have compassion for the body. We ridicule it. People eat a cookie, and instead of thinking of it as feeding their soul, they turn right to self-hate and talking about how they have no self-control.

We allow these labels to have too much power, and as a result we get trapped in a cycle of self-hate and destruction, and sometimes we are completely unaware.

Our identities and labels can get in the way of treating our bodies properly and with gratitude. We live in a society that is about immediacy. We want results right away. We want to just love ourselves. But holding onto those labels and acting out on those labels won’t get us there.

What we need is self-awareness – the path to self-love.

What would happen if we all just let go of these identities? What would happen if we just let ourselves be as we are, raw and vulnerable? What would it be like to actuallybe with your body? To be with your body and yourself as is? It is one of the most powerful things you could do for yourself.

How would your life and relationship with your body be different if you stopped letting you identities and labels run the show?

Try to let go and let be for a day, a week. See what happens. Don’t allow your ego to take the front seat. Let love take control. Appreciate, show gratitude, embrace, and allow yourself be as real as you can get. You will be so surprised at how different things will start to feel once you begin to let go of (or lessen) the labels and identities that you or society has placed on you. Stop trying to escape and hide your bodies through these labels.

Your body isn’t going anywhere. It hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on it.

Happy Friday! #lol #stopfitspiration #bacon

Happy Friday! #lol #stopfitspiration #bacon

"It is when the words are attached to #fitspo images that they become harmful" @lauren_b_sag #stopfitspiration

"It is when the words are attached to #fitspo images that they become harmful" @lauren_b_sag #stopfitspiration

Thanks, @allyoop237 for supporting #stopfitspiration! //
“This really bothers me. Exercise is not a punishment for what you eat or for being fat. Exercise for your health and well-being or don’t bother. I admire @stopfitspiration so much for stepping up and pointing out the disordered thinking that exists even in those who exercise and diet all the time. You don’t have to have an eating disorder to have an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. They are  NOT punishments.”

Thanks, @allyoop237 for supporting #stopfitspiration! // “This really bothers me. Exercise is not a punishment for what you eat or for being fat. Exercise for your health and well-being or don’t bother. I admire @stopfitspiration so much for stepping up and pointing out the disordered thinking that exists even in those who exercise and diet all the time. You don’t have to have an eating disorder to have an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. They are NOT punishments.”

We were so excited to see this former #fitspo blogger defending our cause! #stopfitspiration

We were so excited to see this former #fitspo blogger defending our cause! #stopfitspiration

#Repost from @lauren_b_sag (our our Founder & Creator of #stofitspiration)

#Repost from @lauren_b_sag (our our Founder & Creator of #stofitspiration)

A Response to the #StopFitspiration Criticism (and threats)

response to stopfitspiration criticismThey’re back. The Fitspo community is on us again. Originally, I was going to pull some of their tweets and respond to them individually (like I have in the past); however, after skimming through the twitter stream for about the hundredth time, I felt exhausted and dragged down. So that’s not what I’m going to do today – maybe another day, just not now.

Instead, I feel it’s better to focus more on the positive, and to clarify some things (yet again).

As you may have noticed, we do not get into petty arguments with our critics; instead, we just keep pumping out our message in the hopes that it will be loud enough to not be drowned out.

And so far it’s working.

The truth is, even though there are possibly more people against us than there were when we first came on the scene with #stopfitspiration two years ago, there are also way more people with us. I think if I were to chart it out, I’d actually find the increase of #stopfitspiration supporters has actually been far greater than the increase in #stopfitspiration haters. The conversation is changing – and it’s changing for the best.

However, the backlash has not stopped – and in the past week it has been incessant and growing – in both number of voices and severity of threats.

So as a broad, general response, I would like to clarify the following:

We are not against fitness.

This is probably the thing that makes me the most upset. Yes, if we were anti-fitness, that would be ridiculous and people would have the right to raise an eyebrow (still not to send hate messages flying across the webosphere, but a pause of “seriously?!” would be fair and understood).

We are all for exercise and fitness – all for it. Exercise is a valuable asset to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Not only does it have physical benefits, but it has psychological and emotional benefits as well.

However, when taken to the extreme, or under the wrong context or with the wrong approach, exercise can also have incredibly negative effects – both psychologically and physically.

So to clarify: we are not against exercise, but we are against fitness being taken to an unhealthy extreme.

Exercising in moderation to improve and maintain internal health indicators, as a release of emotion, as a way to be social, and as a hobby are all good things!

But exercising as a way to punish your body, or as a means to achieve some aesthetic end (one that most likely is unrealistic, anyways – as we see in the many heavily photo-shopped fitspo photos) is not healthy.

The desire to exercise is good; the compulsion or need to exercise is not. (click to tweet)

When guilt and shame are brought into the equation (“If it’s important, you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse” and “While you sleep, I train”) it is a recipe for disaster.

Loving your body, working with your body, and keeping your body active are all good things that we support. But body-shaming as a way to encourage/motivate a higher level of activity than is healthy or even safe (“You can feel sore tomorrow or you can feel sorry tomorrow”) are not things we can or will support.

Also take a look at our #stopfitspiration column and site – you will notice we spend a great deal of time teaching and promoting healthy approaches to fitness, not just sharing anti-fitspo images. The goal of this whole project from day one has been to “bring awareness to the harm of Fitspiration messages and to offer support for those recovering from exercise addiction while providing alternative information and tips for a more healthy, balanced, and body positive approach to fitness.”

We do not hate fit/thin people.

This one also makes me upset because we work so hard at promoting the message of not only healthy at every size, but also acceptance at every size. We do not thin-shame any more than we fat-shame. And we don’t fit-shame either.

Your body is your body, the same way my body is my body and there is nothing wrong with either one. They are different and unique and beautiful.

We are not lazy gluttons looking for an excuse.

Seriously? …. Seriously?! I feel I shouldn’t even honour these accusations with a response, but I will anyways.

I workout. I go for runs, I do sprints, heck, I even own a punching bag and a full set of weights (which I use, by the way). I am not lazy.

And yes, I do eat cookies and Ben and Jerry’s, but I eat these just as readily as I eat salads, and couscous, and veggie burgers. I eat when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full. And when I don’t, I still offer myself grace not shame. I am not a glutton.

If we were so lazy that we needed an excuse to not have to “get our fat asses off the couch” (excuse my french – it’s acceptable when it’s a direct quote, right?) then do you really think we’d go to all this effort to create and maintain an entire project, website, and multiple social media accounts in order to have said excuse to fuel our laziness?

hmm….

and lastly…

We are not out to get anybody.

So everyone calm down and take a chill pill. Relax. Breathe. We are not “out to get you” – so you don’t need to threaten us with your desire for us to “drop dead” and you certainly don’t need to get all your feathers ruffled.

We aren’t interested in starting a war and we certainly aren’t out to get anybody. We don’t have time for that, to be honest, nor do we have the desire.

If we were out to get you, we would’ve gotten you already – trust me on that one.

So relax and calm down and don’t worry so much. Vicious, aggressive, pack-like attacks are not how we roll here at Libero Network. You’re safe.

We’re just going to be standing here in our corner, speaking our message – awaiting people to come to us. Don’t worry – we won’t even cross the line over to your side. We believe in what we say and we believe, ultimately, the truth will always ring loudest.

So you keep doing what you do, and we’ll keep doing what we do and we can all just let things unfold.

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In closing, we are not going anywhere. And though we realize the haters won’t stop (“haters gonna hate” and all that) we know that neither will we.

They said they were going to push and push until they wore us thin and we finally surrendered – ha! For those of you who know how I and the rest of the team roll here, you can share that laugh with us. Because it’s not that we don’t go down without a fight, it’s that we simply don’t go down at all.

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Oh, and I also wrote this… http://ift.tt/1qm1r7h

Share this post and be part of the #stopfitspiration movement!

The desire to exercise is good; the compulsion or need to exercise is not. #stopfitspiration
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