App Review: Fitness Appz 4
You're sitting on the couch, reading catching up with the latest on your favorite webOS community site (hint, you're probably reading it this very moment). You notice that it's Fitness Month at Mobile Nations, and while we're approaching the end of February, you do kind of feel the motivation to get into better shape. The problem is, you haven't a clue of where to start. You can go ahead and check out apps like Couch to 5K to get you out and running, and that helps with some of that extra weight around the middle and your endurance, but what about getting to the point of being 'strong'? That's another matter all together, and that's where Infinite Appz's conglomerate guide Fitness Appz comes into play.
Built on the same principles as Couch to 5K, Fitness Appz relies on interval training to ramp you up from barely being able to do one push up to knocking out fifty without stopping. Six-week courses are also provided for sit-ups, chin-ups, and squats, getting you from flabby to fantastic (or at least in better shape) with just three-days-a-week for six weeks.
In reality, Fitness Appz combines four of Infinite Appz's interval training apps into one super-app. Individually, 100 Pushups, 200 Situps, 200 Squats, and 20 Chinups each retail for $1.99, while Fitness Appz wraps them all together for… $4.99 (there's also a $4.99 Fitness Appz HD for TouchPad - it's the same app but bigger and harder to tote around the gym).
Upon launching Fitness Appz you're presented with a colorful four-tile grid prompting you to select the exercise you with to perform. The tiles: Pushups, Chinups, Situps, and Squats. Each jumps into a specialized interval training routine for that exercise that is for all intents and purposes the same app as the individual version (so if you're looking to build your arms and your abs, you might as well buy the package app for a dollar more instead of the individual ones).
The first time you select an exercise you'll be prompted to perform an initial test to get a baseline around which the app will base your program. If you're reaching for a smartphone or tablet for exercise guidance, chances are you aren't sure exactly how to proceed with that exercising, and we won't fault you for that. Like Infinite Appz's running trainer Couch to 5K, Fitness Appz and its individual sub-apps suffer from the flaw of assumed knowledge. The initial test instructs you to perform as many "good form" repetitions of that exercise as you can. But what is good form for a push-up? Fitness Appz doesn't say, so if you think you're doing it right, but in fact you're doing it wrong, Fitness Appz is going to give you improper calibration and possible work you too hard. For the record, a "good form" pushup has your body in a generally straight light from head-to-toe, feet no more than twelve inches apart, and your body lowered until your elbow forms a ninety-degree angle. For the average-armed person that puts your face just a few inches from the ground - much lower than most people expect for "good form".
Once you've got your initial test out of the way, Fitness Appz dumps you into their training program. For each exercise it's a three-day/six-week program of increasing intensity. For example, day one week one for an initial test of five pushups would have you doing 2, 2, 3, 2, 2, 2, and 3 sets of pushups with a minute's rest in-between each set. After six whole weeks, the app expects you to be able to do 13, 13, 17, 17, 16, 16, 14, and end with 50, with shorter breaks to boot.
Unlike Couch to 5K, Fitness Appz doesn't offer any audio prompts. It also seems to lack the ability to keep the screen on, an important feature for the easily distracted "crap, how many pushups was I supposed to do?" crowd, among which your reviewer today claims membership. By and large, Fitness Appz is a simple and non-nonsense app designed to make it as easy as possible to get your body into better shape. What it lacks in features it makes up for with straight-forwardness and a solid exercise plan.
Fitness Appz and Fitness Appz HD are available from the webOS App Catalog for $4.99 (strangely the Pre3 is not officially supported). 100 Pushups, 200 Situps, 200 Squats, and 20 Chinups are each available for $1.99 (again lacking Pre3 support).