4 Smartphone Apps That Make Running More Fun

The smartphone has become more than just a call and text accessory. The modern smartphone has revolutionized the way we live and has even influenced the things we do. Modern technology has not just changed the world but it has changed how we interact with each other and how we interact with ourselves.

In one way modern technology has made us more lazy and more reliant on the easy option. We get less exercise and engage more in low-calorie-burning activities due to the easy access of things and the allure of digital entertainment.

In many ways modern technology is responsible for the unfit nature of our society. But, what if we could use that same technology to help us get healthy and fit. And, what if we could use it so that the whole process of getting fit and healthy became fun…wouldn’t that be good?

exercise app

How Modern Technology Can Help You Get Fit

If you are bored with the usual running at the track or the cardio machine training that you have been doing at the gym why not try a new approach.

Instead of using your smartphone to get some fast-food use it to have fun getting fit.

Here are some fun applications that you can download onto your shiny-new smartphone.

There are some fantastic good free workout apps. But if you want something a little more different then check out the apps below.

Let the workout begin.

Five Apps to Make Running More Fun

#1. Zombies, Run!

Zombies Run - running appCan you imagine how it feels like to run because there is a zombie gaining on you?

Now this zombie is not the slow type that someone with a walking stick could get away from – like those in The Walking Dead. These zombies are more like World War Z zombies or those from 28 days later!

They can really shift.

Zombies, Run! is a smartphone app that you can download free onto your smartphone.

It is a fun little app that can help you keep up your pace so you don’t get caught by the gaining zombie that wants to eat your brains.

It may not make you feel the way you would if a real zombie was chasing you but it is a great way to get some exercise by making your run-time a little more fun.

While you run you are chased by a virtual zombie, or at least the sound, from a zombie.

A complex story is told as you workout and you will be alerted if there are some virtual zombies nearby.

It is available for free for both Android and iOS.

#2. Nexercise

Nexercise is a free app available for iOS and Fire phone users that transforms your exercise routine into real-world rewards.

Nexercise is an app that is designed to help you meet your fitness goals by providing you with real-world incentives.

You can get rewards through points earned based on your activity. Basically you run for points. These points can be exchanged for discounts at Home Depot, Sephora, CVS, and more.

The only drawback to using Nexercise is that the discounts are only available in store that are located in the United States for now.

nexercise

You can download Nexercise for free on iOS and Fire Phone.

#3. Fitocracy

Fitocracy tags itself as a social fitness network.

Many of us are addicted to video games and social media, so the designers of Fitocracy thought they would combine the two and then twin them with fitness to help people get into shape.

The app will help you connect to a network of runners that already achieved the goal that you have set for yourself.

If you want to run your first 5K you will have no trouble connected with a member that can help you realize your goal.

This social networking has been shown to be very beneficial in the fitness world.

Fitocracy has a many very useful features that go beyond just running.

The designers have made it very easy to enter and track exercises that you perform.

The app deign makes it very easy to add exercises, reps, sets, weights, routines and even your daily weigh in.

Once you’ve completed whatever workout routine you usually do then you can also submit it to their web service.

You can use the app completely free or get additional help from a fitness expert for $1 per day.

Fitocracy

Fitocracy  is a free app that is available for both iOS and Android devices.

#4. BattleSuit Runner Fitness

BattleSuit Runner Fitness is another great fun running app that is story-based.

It is similar to Zombies, Run! mentioned above but with a more futuristic twist.

When you are suited up in your virtual battle gear you will not be battling the undead but instead fighting to protect Earth against alien invader scum.

You need to speed or to slow your pace when you have to activate different features on your virtual suit depending on the current predicament you find yourself in.

BattleSuite RunnerA great thing about this free app is the element of choice that has been built into the storyline.

At various points during your mission you will be given a choice.

You can either slow down your running to help guide the hostages back to safety or you can speed up your running in order to chase down those pesky aliens for immediate dispatch to the netherworld.

The results you get in-game are dependent on the choices you make during your run in the real world. This makes the app a little more interesting and interactive than the Zombies. Run! alternative.

Battlesuit Runner also includes some interesting combat situations. Your success in these alien encounters will depend on the current state of your battle suit.

You can upgrade your battle suit using iridium, the game’s currency. Iridium can be earned through the completion of missions or you can buy upgrades with real money.

The design of the app is extremely basic but this is no big deal as you will not be looking at your phone as you run. The audio-narrated missions however are fun and delivered with enough enthusiasm and reality to make an average run much more fun.

This app is available for fee eon both Android and iOS here.

Summary

Getting your daily run in has never been more fun.

You just have to get the right apps for your smartphone to do it. Exercise can be a drag but with these apps you can make running entertaining.

If you want to stay fit while enjoying every minute of your exercise regimen, go ahead and download one or more of these free apps to your smartphone and make your run more fun.

Running to Lose Fat in Your Stomach

So you want to start running in order to to lose weight. If you have belly fat that you want gone then running is one of the best ways to get rid of it. However, you will have to lose fat all over your body as you can’t just hit one area.

There is no way to target specific fat areas in your body. However, by lowering your overall body fat percentage you can lose fat in your stomach. If you want to use running as a method to lower body fat then this is best done through HIIT running. Even though it takes less time than normal cardio, HIIT burns more calories during exercise and continues burning them for up to 24 hours. Let’s look at this in more detail.

running to lose fat in stomach

 

Running to lose fat in the stomach area is only possible by reducing your body fat percentage across your entire body. There is good news though. If you are a man then most of the extra body fat you gain goes to your stomach, so when you lose body fat it usually comes off your stomach first. If you are a woman belly fat usually is the last to go on you (after your hips and thighs). So as the fat went on the tummy last it will come off the tummy first.

Dangerous of Belly Fat

Belly fat is not only unsightly and makes you feel sluggish and self-conscious but it is the most dangerous body fat you can carry.

subcutaneous and visceral fatBelly fat comes in two forms:

  1. Subcutaneous
  2. Visceral fat

These two fats grow together as your belly fat grows.

Scientists refer to internal belly fast as “visceral fat” and claim that it is a killer.

As visceral fat becomes larger in the stomach area it covers vital organs and makes it much more difficult for them to work effectively.

When a person carries a lot of excess belly fat they can develop type 2 diabetes, dementia, heart disease, cancer, and a multitude of other serious ailments.

Belly fat is bad news and you should be proud of yourself that you have decided to eliminate it.

Battle Against the Belly

Although there is no way to directly target belly fat, or any fatty area for that matter, all you have to do to get rid of it is reduce the body fat percentage in your body overall i.e. lose body fat from all parts of your body.

Cardio exercises are by far the best way to eliminate excess body fat but weight training is also extremely beneficial and diet is crucial.

We will look at all of these areas in more detail.

Weight Training for Weight Loss

Although cardio is by far the best way to lose body fat I have included weight training as a fat-burning tool because it is an important part of weight loss.

Lais DeLeon fitness model weight trainingI have included it first because I don’t want you to miss out on its importance to eliminating fat around you midsection.

Please read this if you are a woman and are afraid of getting too big from lifting weights.

Female weight training will not make you big and muscular! You need to train in very specific and very determined ways while eating a lot of food of to get big and muscular. It never happens by accident or by simply lifting weights – it’s very hard work.

Weight training is a fantastic way to increase the mass of your muscles though.

When you weight train your muscles can increase in mass and weight without looking much bigger – you get that toned look.

Weight training for men will make them look broader and tighter while women will look toned with their natural curves accentuated.

But looking good is only half of the benefits.

Because these weight-trained muscles are heavier it means they need more energy to function – even when at rest.

Heavier muscles increase your metabolism, so you burn more calories without doing any exercise.

muscle building and muscle toning require the same exercises

Just an extra pound of muscle will burn around 6 additionally calories per day while it is not being used (and more when you use it) while a pound of fat only burns about 2 calories per day.

So, by increasing the mass of your muscles through weight training you automatically increase the amount of calories your body needs every day just to function normally.

This means you can burn more calories and lose more weight by following a simple weight training routine.

Simple weight training for fitness rather than muscular growth has other health benefits as follows:

  • Improves posture
  • Increases endurance
  • Builds strength
  • Reduces chance of muscle strains and sprains
  • Accentuates female curves
  • Makes men look tight and toned

Scientific studies into weight training have shown that it not only builds muscle mass, helps you lose weight, helps strengthen your heart and lowers your cholesterol but it also increases the bone density that is usually lost naturally as you get older.

So try to incorporate a simple weight training routine into your weight loss program even if you only use a simple home gym.

Weight training just three times per week will greatly increase your positive weight-loss results and you will shed fat much faster and find it much easier to keep that weight off.

Bodyweight machines like a Total Gym are a great way to weight train without the weights.

Running Cardio

You will never get a flat tummy without doing some form of cardio.

running to lose belly fatRunning is one of the best forms of cardio in existence.

But not all cardio has been created equal. I will cover this in a lot more detail later.

For now lets look at how running can help target belly fat.

Running to Target Belly Fat

Running has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to lose body fat.

By engaging the large muscles of your legs you burn up a lot of calories as these large muscle groups require lots of oxygen and energy to keep moving.

Additionally swinging your arms also requires extra energy.

You will get the added benefit of toning your legs and to some extend your butt as well (though there are better exercises to target these areas if you are interested).

The Problem with Standard Running Routines

Remember I said that not all cardio is created equal?

You see, standard solid state cardio only burns calories while you are performing the exercises. Although this is a great way to burn extra calories it isn’t very efficient as a weight loss tool because it takes a long time to show results.

For example 20 – 30 minutes running on a treadmill will only burn about 250 calories (depending on your weight).

If you do that every day then it will take you 2 weeks to lose just 1 pound of fat.

Standard cardio is slow and not very effective and this includes normal running exercises.

You need to take a smarter approach.

This is where a special type of cardio training comes into play known as HIIT.

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an abbreviation for high intensity interval training.

Modern HIIT was first used by Per Coe when training his European, Olympic and World Champion Runner son Sebastian in the 1970s.

HIIT involves a very specific way to train.

With running HIIT exercises you sprint for a period of about 30 seconds and then take a rest period of about 15 seconds before sprinting and resting again.

Sebastian Coe sprinting to gold medalYou continue this cycle for 20 – 30 minutes.

The effects are amazing.

Why HIIT is More Effective For Fat Loss

A simple 20 minute HIIT running routine will burn as much calories as a 45 minute standard run on a treadmill or track.

But that is only half the story.

HIIT keeps working to burn calories long after you’ve stopped exercising.

For up to 24 hours after you have finished your 20 minute HIIT routine your body will continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate.

HIIT Running to Blast Away Belly Fat

HIIT training is by far the best way to eliminate belly fat and fat in other areas of your body.

HIIT is especially well suited to running.

You can blast away fat in as little as 2 weeks on a treadmill using HIIT exercises.

HIIT Running Exercises at Home

 

HIIT Sprint Running Exercises at the Track

HIIT Treadmill Running

The Importance of Diet

I can’t leave you with all this great information on how to use running to lose fat in your stomach without mentioning a vital part of any weight loss plan – your diet!

There is a very famous saying in fitness circles that sums up this short section on diet it goes like this:

You can’t out-train a bad diet.

What does that mean?

Well as I stated above a standard cardio session of 30 minutes running will burn approximately 250 calories which isn’t bad. But if you leave the gym and buy yourself a cream bun that has 300 calories and eat it then you have not only nullified your cardio work but you have added 50 extra calories onto your daily calorie intake.

What will happen?

You will gain weight!

Any type of training program you use, even HIIT cardio running, must be used in conjunction with a good diet.

When you want to lose weight you must be burning more calories than you are eating. It’s a simple as that.

How do you do that?

Cut Down on Carbs

As we get older it it gets harder for our bodies to process complex carbs.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all carbs are bad and if you are on a weight loss program trying to completely cut carbs from your diet is bad idea.

However, some carbs are just a no-go when you want to lose weight. After all you don’t want to bust your butt running HIIT circuits just to see no results because you washed down a candy bar with a bottle of soda after your workout.

You should therefore try to either eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of certain types of carbs from your diet.

Some carbs to avoid are:

  • Cakes
  • Candy & chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Donuts
  • Fried food
  • Junk food
  • Muffins
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Potato chips
  • Processed foods with sugar
  • White bread

good carbs vs bad carbs

Replace Bad Carbs with Healthy Options

There are things that you can snack on that will not feed the fat. In fact many of them will help you fight the fat.

Some great alternatives to bad carbs are:

  • Cabbage
  • Good carbs
  • Healthy fats
  • Kale
  • Lean protein
  • Lettuce
  • Most beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Vegan protein
  • Vegetables

Cut Out the Soda

Soda is packed with high-carb sugars.

As far back as 2014 the University of Carolina was warning that American consumption of added sugars had increased by 30%.

sugar cubes in soda canMost of us, if not all of us, already know that too much sugar adds to visceral fat and is extremely bad for your health.

The study carried out by the University of Carolina showed that those people consuming large quantities of added sugar were adding 80 calories per day to their diet.

For most women this equates to an extra 1 lb of body fat per month and men are not far behind – just from an extra 80 calories per day.

Start reading labels and watch out for hidden sugars in things you wouldn’t expect it and stop drinking soda.

Be in a Calorie Deficit

There is a flip side to what I said above. Just as an extra 80 calories per day can add 1 lb of fat to your body every month, eating 80 calories less than your recommended intake per day will lead to a lose of 1 lb of body fat per month.

When you want to lose belly fat you have to force your body to use your body’s fat reserves for energy.

In order to do this you must be eating less calories than you burn.

So take inventory of what you are eating and create a simple meal plan that will ensure you are eating at least 500 less calories per day then your body normally needs to simply function.

500 calories per day equates to 3,500 calorie per week which is equal to 1 lb of fat.

This approach in conjunction with your running exercises will ensure you start to melt away belly fat in super fast time.

There is an easier way to ensure you stay in a calorie deficit though that doesn’t involve counting all those calories. It’s called Intermittent Fasting.

How to Calculate Your Calorie Deficit

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a proven way to ensure you are always in a calorie deficit while being able to eat large meals. I know this sounds counter intuitive but by keeping large gaps between the times you eat you are able to bulk up on tasty foods while still losing weight.

The scope of this type of dietary technique is too great to go into here so I encourage you to investigate it further. There are a ton of resources and books on the subject.

Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone as some people find it difficult to go long periods of time without eating. But I do urge you to try it.

The majority of people on weight loss programs who have tried it think it is much easier than calorie counting and after you have eaten you always feel completely full and satisfied – unlike the feeling you get after eating a meal from most diets.

And the vast majority of people who use this dietary approach always feel as though they are eating much more than they have done on other diets when in most cases they are eating less.

This is because you get to eat one large meal that is often difficult to finish and also get to eat again and have tasty treats later in the day without having to feel guilty or worry about going over your calorie quota.

Even bodybuilders and fitness fanatics use intermittent fasting. They claim that it is much easier than eating lots of small meals throughout the day.

states of intermittent fasting

Summary

Running is a great way to eliminate belly fat because it targets fat in every area of your body.

Using HIIT running exercises will mean you burn much more calories during a shorter exercise period (usually 20 – 30 minutes) and you continue burning those calories for up to 24 hours even while you sleep.

You can exercise on a treadmill, the track or even in your own home.

However, running is only half the story!

sprint HIITYou must be in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. Only by taking in less calories than you burn can your force your body to use body fat for energy.

By far the easiest way to do this is through intermittent fast.

You should also consider weight training as increasing your muscles weight and mass will mean it requires more energy to function, which means you burn more calories without even doing anything.

Here is a brief summary for losing tummy fat through a running and weight loss routine:

  1. Run daily, or at least 4 times per week
  2. Use HIIT running exercises
  3. Weight train (optional but advised)
  4. Take in less calories than you use
  5. Follow an intermittent fasting diet (optional)