With the end of August in sight and perhaps diminishing motivation for the ultimate beach body, the desire to get fit and healthy should not just be limited to the summer and for sunny days for the beach (although we are praying for an Indian Summer come September and October!). Maintaining and increasing ones fitness should be an all year round goal; not just so that we physically feel our best but also mentally. Following a steady year round routine also means that one does not need to drastically change their lifestyle come pre summer months.
Now with increasing technology advancements and a flourishing base of health and fitness apps that are constantly updating, there is really no excuse to embrace them seeing as we are already superglued to our smartphones. In fact, there has been a rise in popularity of such apps as they primarily allow the option of exercise to ones weekly routine... flexibility! So whether you are a professional athlete, a regular gym goer, just new to the gym or a couch potato looking to begin your fitness regime, you can positively fuel and motivate themselves through your very own smart phone.
Health and fitness apps can be incredibly beneficial...
- For those who do not have enough time to go to the gym - there is huge flexibility to adapt your gym routine to do at home or wherever you are, even on holiday!
- For those who do not want to spend masses on a gym membership, apps are also A LOT cheaper; some are even free!
- For those who want to record and track their personal health and fitness goals - some apps are able to calculate and graphically report progress data
- For those who have one sport they would like to specialise in i.e. running, cycling, yoga
- For those who are at any fitness level, no one has an excuse to opt out and try something new!
There are hundreds of health and fitness apps available and with some charging a small cost, it is difficult to know which ones are worth buying. The hard work has been done for you as we compare reviews and ratings to find the best apps to download in 2016.
For those new to running
Couch to 5k
If you’ve wanted to try running but never known where to start, Couch to 5K should be the next app you download. The free eight-week program gives users three workouts per week that get you ready for your local Turkey Trot or Fourth of July road race.
; iOS and Android
For a serial runner or cyclist
Strava Running and Cycling
If you’re a serious runner or cyclist, you need one place to keep track of your most recent runs and rides, and no app comes close to the capabilities offered by Strava. The app can track distance, speed, elevation, calories burned, heart rate, power, and cadence. Then it synthesizes all of this data into easy-to-understand graphics.
with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android
For a work out at home
No equipment required, just yourself.
Sworkit 'Simply WORK IT'
Tell Sworkit the type of workout you’re looking for (strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching) and the amount of time you’ve got (anywhere from five minutes to an hour), and the app delivers the moves to follow during your sweat session. The pro edition ($4.99/month) has a few notable features, including the ability to save custom workouts, access your complete workout history, and eliminate ads. This is also compatible with Apple Watch.
with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
For a 10 minute work out
HIIT at its best
FitStar Personal Trainer
Shows workouts you can do quickly and inexpensively. Training is broken down into four types of workout styles: "get lean" (cardio), "get strong" (balance of bodyweight strength training moves), 10-15 minute "daily dose" workouts; and "freestyle". At the core of the app is a patented algorithm that customises a user's workouts, so an athlete can move at their own pace and and advance as they get stronger. There is also a user's rating for each exercise which is used to adjust each routine. Difficulty ratings range from "too easy" to "way more brutal" than expected
FREE or Premium ($7.99/month or $39.99/year); Android and iOS
Or a 7 minute work out?
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout
Crafted by Chris Jordan who is the mastermind behind the original 7-Minute Workout. This "Smart Workout" is designed to challenge your fitness level and help throttle the intensity according to your ability, while the uncomplicated interface is designed to help you get through the bodyweight routine as simply as possible.
For those who lift
No need to carry around a paper and pencil while lifting at the gym anymore. This app keeps track of the exercise, number of reps, and rest time, so all you have to worry about is getting to the gym and getting
FREE with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
For outdoor lovers
Think of this like Yelp for the outdoor enthusiast. Enter your location and find dozens of suggestions for hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing with reviews and tips from fellow outdoorsmen and women.
FREE; Android and iOS
Running becomes way more fun when each step gets you closer to carrying out your mission, collecting materials for your base camp, and keeping humans safe from the zombie apocalypse. There’s a reason this game became the highest-grossing health and fitness app on iTunes in just two weeks—even though it’s free to download, you’ll start shelling out money like you do for Candy Crush. Except this game helps you get your sweat on.
with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
Never be bored by yoga again: More than 50 classes shot in HD video are just a few taps away. Each sequence has a specific focus, from increasing flexibility to strengthening your core. Plus, there’s a library with detailed videos of more than 500 poses.
FREE with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
My Pilates Guru
iTunes most popular Pilates app created by Pilates instructor Anya Hayes. Offers step by step instructions with 90+ exercises with high res photography. Build your own sessions, focusing on one body area and monitor your own progress.
Food and nutrition
Because you need to eat well too!
MyFitnessPal is the most popular health and fitness app in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The app’s database of more than 6 million foods makes it easy to track your diet, no matter what you eat. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or put on muscle, the app helps determine the best things to eat to meet your goals.
with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
Makes grocery shopping surprisingly fun. Open the app, scan barcodes, and get a quick read on how healthy each item is. It also tracks sleep, mood, and hunger levels. Then Fooducate analyzes all of the information and provides feedback to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
with optional in-app purchases; Android and iOS
Buying healthy food has never been easier and cheaper. Thrive Market is basically the Costco for natural and organic products. Pay a yearly fee ($59.95) and have access to insane deals on everything from coconut oil to kale chips. The app makes it easy to shop for groceries whenever you’ve got the time, and then Thrive sends your order right to your door.
Mind and Brain
There are so many different types of guided meditation. Rather than try a general practice that focuses on relaxation, this app offers meditations catered to your needs, whether it’s anxiety, stress, happiness, or gratitude. And best of all, it’s a one-time fee for access to more than 160 meditations. ($2.99; iOS
Say sayonara to feeling groggy in the morning. This app measures your sleep cycle, as its name suggests. Then it wakes you sometime during a 30-minute window before your alarm when you’re in the lightest sleep state. Sure, you might get up before your alarm goes off, but you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
with in-app purchases on iOS, $0.99 on Android
Listening to music can be the perfect way to add extra oomph to your workout, but crafting the perfect playlist is tricky. That’s where Motion Traxx comes in. The app combines coaching from world-class trainers with music designed to set the perfect intensity for every phase of your workout.
FREE with optional in-app purchases; iOS and Android
Part of the Spotify app (and let’s be honest, you probably already have that on your phone), Spotify Running measures your pace and picks a song with the beats per minute to match it. It’s about time your music matches your cadence instead of the other way around.
; iOS and Android
Destress and relax
The most popular and highly rated of the stress release apps on the market, Relax Melodies boasts at array of white noise inspired loops, which you can then mix with other loops or pair with songs on your device
FREE; iOS, Android and Windows Phone
Now without further ado, get downloading to renew and enhance your workout! It is important to note that an app should not replace ones motivation, they should be seen as a personal aid or guide to be made full use of!
All year round healthy foods for everyone!
We are so often bombarded with contrasting information regarding foods and drinks we should or shouldn’t be consuming, however once things are made simpler and we get rid of some of the complicated ingredients and recipes, and take it back to basics with some simple ingredients and foods that are fairly easily accessible.
It’s no secret that coconut oil and well, everything coconut, is the what everyone is going mad for! There are so many brilliant uses for this lovely nut including coconut milk, cream, water, oil and the meat itself. Coconut holds many beauty properties, doing wonders for your skin in turn, and absolutely creates the most deliciously healthy flavour when used in cooking. Coconut cream is brilliant for baking, while coconut water is filled with electrolytes, hydrating you no end, and coconut milk is a wonderful alternative to cow’s milk. Try Chi coconut oil, 100% organic, raw and cold pressed!
OK, so we all know that including greens in our diet is good for us, however it’s not necessary for you to sit with a bowl of spinach and expect to thoroughly enjoy munching your way through it. There are so many ways you can include greens in your daily diet, in pasta sauces, casseroles, in a smoothie, or even just stripping things back to basics and enjoying them as part of a colourful salad, this is one of the most important ways for anyone who refrains from eating meat and fish to get in a good source of protein in their diet. Try Giving Tree broccoli crisps as toppings for salads and soups as well as a healthy and nutritious on the go snack!
Just as raw chocolate is brilliant for upping your antioxidant intake, so are the berry family. They are best when they are completely ripe and in season, however if you buy the frozen kind from any local supermarket, they make for a fantastic ingredient within a morning smoothie, on top of a breakfast bowl or even just on their own. Don't forget to try our Strawberry crisps from the Giving Tree which make amazing toppings for yoghurt, cereal, porridge and so much more! mmm!
Oats are a brilliant way of consuming something delicious that will give you an extremely slow release of energy, meaning that it will keep you going for hours. They are so versatile by nature within recipes too, going from being able to be ground into a flour, as the nation’s favourite brekkie, porridge or as a substitute in many baking recipes. They work really well with bananas in smoothies as well, and are guaranteed to keep you going right through until lunch.
Now for people who love a caffeine fix but want it without the sugary additions usually included in coffee shop concoctions, or for those who simply want something a little different, raw chocolate is a brilliant way to have this fix minus the nasties that come in normal chocolate bars. This form of chocolate is extremely high in antioxidants and is a brilliant way of getting your caffeine fix, totally naturally! There are so many different bars on the market that there will undoubtedly be a flavour that will take your fancy.
Nuts create much controversy for many due to their high calorie content, however when portion control comes into play, the most important thing to do is know when to eat them, how to eat them and to remember that when food is in its’ rawest form, like nuts generally are, they are full of protein and healthy fats, which are both essential for maintaining our energy levels and giving us a gorgeously envious glow. If having them on their own just isn’t on the agenda though, combining them with dates to create a raw bar, or using them in a flour are all ways of including them in your diet without having to sit down with a bag of almonds.
We are going to be like your mother 'EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!' We are sorry but your Mum is right ;) Broccoli is full of potassium and folate which helps prevent anemia and it also gives you solid doses of vitamin A.
Our crispy broccoli will help you to eat more broccoli. How many people that we met told us they hate broccoli and after trying crispy Broccoli they become a Broccoli Lover! Not convinced? See below all the benefits that you can get from broccoli.
8 Health Benefits:
1. Cancer Prevention
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.
2. Cholesterol Reduction
Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fibre that draws cholesterol out of your body.
3. Reducing Allergy Reaction and Inflammation
Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients. Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. This vegetable even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory.
4. Powerful Antioxidant
Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.
5. Bone Health
This green vegetable contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.
6. Heart Health
The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates in broccoli, may be able to prevent some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.
Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin are special phytonutrients that support all steps in the body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants. These three are in the perfect combination in broccoli.
8. Diet Aid
Broccoli is a smart carb and is high in fibre, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.
Antioxidants play an important role in overall health. They are natural compounds found in some foods that help neutralize free radical damage in your body that comes from the environment and unhealthy foods. Eating foods high in antioxidants helps your body fight illnesses that include heart disease and cancer. But what are the common antioxidants? What foods are high in antioxidants? Let's learn more about this.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are part of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients present in foods. They are most common in plant foods with bright, distinctive colors, such as red cherries, orange, carrots and purple blueberries. The most common antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E, beta carotene, selenium and lycopene.
What foods are high in antioxidants?
Foods that are naturally high in antioxidants are mainly from the fruit, vegetable and legume families. That's because all plants produce antioxidants to fight against predators and UV rays.
Top 10 foods rich in antioxidants:
-Raw coconut water
- Green Tea
Freeze-dried fruits contain antioxidants?
Research has shown that freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and fibre.
In freeze-drying, the water is removed in a low energy system, no additional energy is added, no additional reactions altering the nutritional contents of the fruit or the vegetable.
The Giving Tree snacks don't contain any sugar and nothing taken away!
Everybody wants to eat raw, but why is there such excitement about raw food? Heating food which is heating to high temperatures destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad because enzymes boost digestion, and fight chronic disease. In short when you cook it, you kill it! Raw fruit, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all brimming with vitamins and minerals which can help boost our immune system, give our gums a great workout, keep us slim and leave our skin looking young and silky. So let's eat Raw!
See below all the health benefits from raw food:
- You will have more energy
- Your skin will have a much better appearance
- Your digestion will improve
- You will lose weight
- Your risk of developing heart and cardiovascular diseases will significantly drop
However, a diet made up of raw food and nothing else is unhealthy
because we are not getting all the protein
found in other groups of food such as meat and grains.
An ideal diet is composed with your daily quota of five portions of fruit & vegetables and the right amount of protein & fats.
Our Giving Tree fruits are 100% raw and perfect to help you to maintain a healthy diet.
It hits 11am and you're feeling peckish, but surely it's way too early for lunch yet? Or maybe you need an afternoon pick me up, something to get your teeth into and REALLY enjoy.
As you may already be aware, its essential that the body is kept nourished and energised with healthy, nutritious foods throughout the day and when you're feeling hungry, it's ok to grab a snack..just as long as it's the right kind!
Here at The Giving Tree we've come up with some simple, tasty and fun ideas to create the perfect snacks for every day, for all ages. Packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre which helps to make you feel fuller for longer.
You can either snack sweet or savoury with our range so there's something for everyone.
Here are a few of our favourites..
1. Crudités - Dunk your veggie crisps in your favourite dipping condiment. We like a roasted red pepper hummus, low sugar/salt sweet chilli dipping sauce, low fat sour cream and chive dip, or homemade guacamole!
2. Swap your lunchtime packet of crisps for a bag of Giving Tree veggie crisps! They are MUCH tastier, crunchier and will fill you up a lot more.
3. If you're feeling adventurous, try melting some reduced fat cheddar cheese and try dunking some broccoli into the gooey, deliciousness for a delightful snack or canapé style serving suggestion.
4. Add our veggie crisps as a topping to your favourite salad, crackers, or canapés too!
1. Add your favourite fruit flavour crisp into some natural yoghurt, drizzle with honey and any other toppings such as granola, un-salted nuts, chopped apple, dried apricots or fig!
2. For a naughty but nice treat, why not try melting some raw cacao or dark chocolate and dunking strawberry crisps into them, let them set and cool if you fancy a delicious snack that you won't feel guilty for!
3. Add fruit crisps to you're favourite smoothie/smoothie bowl for an alternative crunchy texture and added fibre, not forgetting 1 of your 5 a day!
4. Use our Giving Tree fruit flavour crisps for the perfect energy burst after or before exercising loaded with slow release carbohydrates
5. Add them to cereal bars / cakes/ buns for added flavour, nutrients and crunch cereal
You can find our Giving Tree snacks at Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Holland & Barrett.
We all know once the sun comes out, it's that time of the year where the health kicks swing into full force, and the workouts get much longer and probably more regular than in those chilly winter months! At Giving Tree HQ, we believe when working out, it's important to make sure you have enough energy to achieve a high performance. Our bodies are like a car; they need fuelling up! So when it comes to picking out a snack to keep you going, this can sometimes be a downfall for many of us.
It can be easy to slip up and go straight to the energy bars & drinks that will give you that quick and easy burst of energy. However, surprisingly, many of them have a lot of hidden, nasty ingredients in them that will end up making your workout a waste of time.
At Giving Tree HQ we prefer to keep you snacking as healthy as possible! That means no more high-sugar and fatty snacks, and Hello Giving Tree snacks!
Our mission is to show work-out snacking can be guilt-free and still amazingly tasty. Also our snacks will keep up your health momentum and get you beach body ready in no time!
So, next time you are thinking about what snack to have before or after a workout? Why not give our Giving Tree snacks a go! We have a delicious selection of freeze-dried fruits and vacuum fried veggies for you to take your pick. They are super light, crunchy and bursting with flavours making it an easy snack to keep your energy sky high!
This month you have the opportunity to WIN the whole range of The Giving Tree snacks and a yoga session!
How do I enter the competition?
For a chance to win, it’s very simple, all you need to do is:
The winner and the friend tagged will all win The GivingTree prize!
- Like our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.
- Share and tag a friend in the competition photo on one of the pages.
- And add the hashtag #yogasphere.
The competition will be running from the 11th August 2015
– 25th August 2015 till 4pm.
Here are our links:
TheGivingTree’prize T&Cs: Correct entries will be submitted into our prize draw, and a winner selected at random. The winner will be contacted via twitter or Facebook, and must respond within 48 hours to receive their prize; otherwise a new winner will be selected. Open to UK residents only.