Get In Shape With Online Fitness Tools

16 01 2011

I have a suspicion that this semester’s advanced calculus class has done me in!  I can’t afford to diva up again.  I have to get and stay motivated when it comes to this workout thing.   One thing that I don’t do that I probably should do is track my progress.  I don’t have measurements, I don’t have a scale of pounds lost per week, I don’t have a lot of things that I probably should, but it’s just so much to keep up with!  I’m really not a paperwork person.

Well there is a solution!  There are sites on the internet like SparkPeople and Daily Burn that do the work for you!  I actually have joined both of them and while they both do essentially the same thing, they are very different sites.  Both sites offer you a place to log your stats, track your progress, track your nutrition activity and update friends on your status.  Both offer an opportunity to build a community and network with other people trying to achieve the same/similar goals as you.  They even both have smart phone apps to help you keep on track on the go!  I find the layout and navigation of DB to be more current “feeling” than SP, but they both are pretty simple to get around on.

SP appears to be a much larger site than DB.  To get to SparkRecipes alone, you have to leave the SparkPeople page all together.  DB, does not offer any recipe options for nutrition purposes.  However, both sites have a meal planning option.  DB, however, requires you to opt into a paid plan for that feature.  Both sites allow you to search for individual exercises as well as workout plans.  DB, however, requires you to opt into a paid plan in order to see more than their three most basic workout plans but you can see all individual exercises for free.

Both sites offer challenges and groups and DB even offer “Motivators.”  On the surface, it seems obvious that you invite people to be your motivators.  However, when I clicked on that tab, I was taken to a page full of faceless people who were ready to motivate me.  OK.  I don’t quite get that part of the site, but I have been known to be a bit dim at times so it might be me.  SP offers Spark Points as their little motivator.  These points don’t do much more than indicate how much stuff you have done daily on the site.  You get points for logging certain activities for the day or for reading articles or even taking quizzes.  The points aren’t redeemable, the creators just figure that it will get you doing tasks that will aid in your success.

As stated before, both sites provide you an opportunity to meet others with the same/similar goals.   There are groups to join and challenges to take on and on both sites they are free.  I think though that SP is better at it.  There are just more opportunities there because everything is free.  DB, to me, has a very hardcore approach to what they are doing.  They really don’t seem to do a lot of hand holding so don’t go in there crying about how you ate a whole bag of chips and feel guilty.  SP on the other hand, seems like they welcome you home.  I have to say that sometimes it is kind of distracting what with all the articles, quizzes and extras that are always available, but my experience there is that people just want to help you out even if you aren’t trying your hardest.  They’ll be here when you want to do it right.

On feature that DB offers that SP doesn’t is the “Trainer Inbox.”  This is a paid feature where you can email a personal trainer with fitness and nutrition questions.  You can have them analyze your habits based on what you are logging on a daily basis.  I think this could be a very useful option.  While I’m thinking about it, I should talk about the pricing on the site.  DB offers four levels of membership.

  • Free The Test Run  This is the basic membership and it is the bare minimum access to the site.  No access to advanced workouts or body and nutritional tracking.  No fancy reports or meal plans or anything.  Also, this option is not ad free, but I don’t find the ads on there to be to intrusive.
  • Pro Lite   $5.99 month/$49.95 year  This level gives you access to advanced workouts or body and nutritional tracking.  You also can add more to your list of favorites, access to advanced iPhone features and get advanced daily tracking reports.  Since there are no reports in the free membership, I can’t tell you what those reports are for.  This option also makes your experience ad free.
  • Pro Plan $9.99 month/$74.95 year   This membership level gives you everything in the Pro Lite plan and more.  Unlimited favorites on your lists, meal planner, iCal integration, grocery list, ad free, and larger advanced reports with a longer archive time.
  • Elite Plan $24.99 month/$197.95 year   This plan gives you everything in the Pro Plan and the Trainer Inbox feature and a free t-shirt.

I’m pretty sure that DB is much newer of a site than SP and that may just account for the smaller feeling of the site or it could be that the site would open up to me if I went in for a paid subscription.  They do say after all that we value that which we pay for more, but for now, I think I’ll be sticking to SparkPeople.  I am more familiar with it.  I will keep lurking on and learning DB and who knows I may just spring for a paid subscription in the future.  It’s not in my budget right now though.

Did you make a new years resolution to get in shape, lose that last 10 pounds, get rid of those love handles?  Then get on it!  Head on over to SparkPeople or Daily Burn, sign up and get going!

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