Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apps I Love

I was recently contacted by U.S. Cellular to review some apps that I might find useful with running and the organization of my other daily activities. Alas, I am stuck with a lovely phone that doesn't run apps. It has a camera, but there is no way to even get the pictures off of it. Useless for anything but making calls, so the gracious Kelly at U.S. Cellular lent me a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone to use for a couple of months. Let me just say I was spoiled and so sad to give it back at the end of the trial, but I was very glad to get to try some of the apps that I know other people use and found some others I hadn't heard of before.

For exercise:
  • Runtastic

Love this app! Without a Garmin, I had never been able to just go out for a run and be able to know how far I went. I would always create a route using a map beforehand. Using the phone's GPS capabilitites, Runtastic tracks your distance and route, time, pace, speed, and elevation. It also allows you to share your workout on various social media platforms. Pretty awesome for a free app. With the Pro version, you can even have your friends track your progress and cheer you on! I had fun with this one day when my friend Jen was using it during one of her runs. Hee hee! 

And it isn't just for tracking running. Check out all the activities you can log using this one app!

You can visit the Runtastic site here.

  • MapMyRun

This is another great app for figuring out different running routes. Since I starting running, I've always mapped routes and recorded my workouts using LogYourRun, so I didn't use this app very much during the trial. MapMyRun is very similar, but one feature I enjoyed was after making a route, it gives you turn-by-turn directions. You can also import data from a whole slew of tracking devices. Visit the MapMyRun site here.

  • My Fitness Pal
I love it when some of the best apps are free! The My Fitness Pal app allows you to track your daily intake of calories, diet, and exercise to achieve a weight loss goal. You personalize the app by inputting your current weight, height, how much you would like to loose, your current exercise habits and it gives you a number of calories to hit each day to loose the weight. It has so many foods (over 2 million) in the library with their nutritional values and you are able to easily input recipes of your own. You can even scan the barcode on any prepackaged food to view the nutrition information! So cool! Check out the My Fitness Pal site here.

There are certainly many more apps for running and exercise, but these were the three that I focused on for the purposes of this review and got the most use out of.

For organization:

  • Astrid

This app basically allows you to organize everything on your to-do list and calendar. It is very easy to create new lists and designated when to complete the task, its' priority, if it belongs to a master list, the description of an item, and even a picture of the item (handy when shopping for a particular brand). The coolest feature is that you can assign tasks to other people within a list. Say I realized that I was out of running fuel and I was going on a long run the next day (has totally happened), and I wanted my husband to pick some up. I can just add it to a list, add a photo of the brand I want, and share the list with him. You can visit the Astrid site here.

  • HootSuite

This app is a must for managing all of your social networks. Instead of checking Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc. separately, HootSuite allows you to do it all once. What was once a major time-suck, is now much more manageable and productive. There is also a way to check your statistics on the multiple platforms. I could easily check my blog stats that I run through Google Analytics as well as my Facebook and Twitter numbers, all in one place. For more information on HootSuite, visit their site here.

For fun:

  • Instagram

Seriously, my favorite feature of using a smartphone was the ability to instantly take a decent photo, do simple edits, and share with my friends and family. Before this trial (and now after) my system was/is take photos with my camera, connect to computer, upload photos, save to computer, do any edits in Photoshop, save as a smaller file, upload to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Such a long process! With the Galaxy S, literally two button presses is all it takes to share a photo. To sign up for Instagram, visit their site here.

These are just a few of the thousands of apps out there, but I found these to be the most useful to my lifestyle. What apps do you use on a regular basis? What app can you just not live without?

Disclaimer: U.S. Cellular sent me a Samsung Galaxy S to use free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.


  1. pandora--I love! I also use the Kindle app a lot.

    I didn't know about that Hootsuite... I'll have to try that one!

    1. Yes, Pandora! That's a must when I'm running on the treadmill.

  2. I still use my Garmin but want to try Runtastic.

  3. I need an iPhone with much more memory so I can download everything I want! I haven't tried HootSuite. I think I need to!!!!


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