Do you use your phone for fitness and health-tracking in the gym?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| October 31, 2011

Ever since the explosion of mobile apps, smartphones have become do it all tools that most of us use for anything and everything we can. Aside from no longer needing a physical flashlight or a wristwatch, one of the more popular adaptations of the pocket computers is health tracking and fitness.

Two years ago, however, if you wanted to track your runs and workout sessions with your smartphone, options were slim. Most applications limited you to manually inputting your information and trusting yourself with the honesty system, which if you were motivated to use apps like those, you likely wouldn't go through all of that trouble to lie to yourself. But I digress.

Since then, big sports fitness and apparel companies have jumped into the smartphone game, like Nike, who offers the Nike + iPod (or iPhone) fitness tracking sensor. And just last month, Motorola took the stage in New York to release their latest products: MOTOACTV and the Motorola SF700 Bluetooth headset (with integrated heart sensor). Now AT&T is pairing with Zephyr and Under Armour to bring health tracking clothing that collects data and can send it to a connected smartphone.

Most of the mobile fitness solutions also have an application for Android or iOS (or both) that can also help you take the collected data and analyze it after the fact. Track your elevation, distance, speed, heart rate and other vitals. And in the coming years and months, these fitness tools are only going to get better. Bluetooth SIG promises the arrival of smarter Bluetooth devices, built to collect data and share it with a paired device, with Bluetooth v4.0 compatibility.

Personally, I'm not much of a fitness buff. Actually, I can't remember the last time I worked out. That's what I get for spreading myself so thin. But I have tried working out and tracking progress with my cell phone before. In short, I'm terrible at keeping up with my own data and would much rather prefer using my favorite thing in the world – technology – to do it for me.

In the coming months, I will be opening myself up to more free time – cutting out the unnecessary – and I am becoming more and more interested in all of the fitness options for smartphones: apps and peripherals for tracking performance and vitals. Think of it as a pre-New Year's resolution. MOTOACTV is one of the remaining reasons I'm trying to decide if I want a DROID RAZR or not. Not only does MOTOACTV track your progress and receive text messages and calls for you, it also tracks which songs you innately work out harder to and intelligently creates a playlist based on what motivates you. That said, the wide selection of different peripherals and apps for the iPhone are definitely in more abundance than for Android.

I'm a bit torn as to where I should even begin. As I said, however, I am no fitness junkie. I have done some research in different apps and accessories that can improve a workout, or at least help you reflect on the workout after the fact and see where you can improve next time. But I'm curious about you guys and gals and have decided to crowdsource.

Do you use your smartphone while you work out? What fitness applications or accessories do you use with your smartphone for fitness and health tracking? Have you found the use of a smartphone in the gym helpful or distracting? I've heard both sides of the story. Be totally honest and share the accessories and apps you use while hitting the gym below!

Image via Motorola

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