Help with tracking fitness and losing weight

Breeze is a step counter that can adjust your daily limit up or down to keep you interested.
Breeze is a step counter that can adjust your daily limit up or down to keep you interested.

Like many of you, I’m trying to shake off the winter doldrums, so I’ve discovered a few apps that help turn fitness into a quantifiable part of daily life.


Free on iOS

My favorite fitness and weight-loss app is Breeze, free on iOS. Breeze is simple: It’s a step counter, based on the idea that you should walk 10,000 steps every day to keep fit. It’s also intelligent and adjusts your daily limit up or down to keep you interested.

Breeze prompts you with notifications if you have done something well, like walking more than usual early in the morning, and it reminds you if you’re behind your daily target. The notifications are cheerfully motivational, and the app’s interface is sleek and easy to use.


But it works only with the iPhone 5S or newer Apple phones.


Free on Android

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Android owners should check out Runtastic’s Pedometer app. It is similar to Breeze, but with a more complex interface. Because Android devices aren’t consistent in hardware and performance, it’s worth checking whether your phone works reliably with Pedometer. The app is free, so there is nothing to lose.

Lose it

Free on iOS and Android

For people seeking a more serious weight loss program, Lose It, free for iOS and Android, is worth trying.

Lose It tries to be everything you need to lose weight. It’s a calorie and exercise tracker, motivational social network, and fitness and dietary coach. When you first use Lose It you have to input your actual and target weights, and the app suggests a fitness and diet regimen to help you reach your goal. Then you simply log your meals and exercise, with the app telling you how you are doing.

Lose It requires a higher level of commitment to get the most out of it. The app prompts you to stay on track and applies a bit of peer pressure with a social networking feature that allows you to compare your performance with other users trying to achieve similar goals.


It has a calorie database to help you figure out what’s in your meals without spending much time fussing over the exact ingredients, and a bar code scanner to identify some prepackaged foods.

The app connects to third-party fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Up, and its interface is clear and easy to use.

Lose It is likable and doesn’t feel too bossy, as positive reviews it garners often point out. Many core features are free, but you have to pay for some features, such as tracking your step count or body fat measures plus some potentially useful analytics, such as insights into where your calories come from. These extras can cost up to $40 a year.

Calorie Counter

Free on iOS and Android

If you’re the type of person who wants a more businesslike weight-loss regimen, you may prefer MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter.

This app, like Lose It, starts by asking for some personal information so it can offer specific advice on diet and exercise. It has social networking elements, so you can befriend people to help keep you motivated, and it acts as a diet and exercise diary or tracker.


It can also connect with third-party fitness tracking devices, and it has a database of common foods (with over 5 million entries) to make it easier to enter details of calorie content in the food you’re eating. It has a bar code scanner for easy identification and calorie-tracking of food you’re cooking at home.

Calorie Counter’s interface is a little cleaner than its rivals, and if you’re the kind of person who likes details, the analytics and performance graphs may suit you. The app is free for iOS and Android.

And don’t forget that if you have a newer iPhone, Apple’s iOS 8 has a built-in Health app that acts as a kind of nerve center for many fitness and weight loss apps. It’s complex, but it is worth trying. Google has the free Google Fit, a similar app for tracking your fitness and weight loss, but it’s limited in how much advice it gives you and how much information it tracks.

These apps may be useful, but you have to do the hard part: sticking to your routine.

Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times.