iPhone Fitness Apps for Bushwalkers | Gym Workout Designers, Recorders, Calculators and Timers

Want to replace your “Personalised Gym Program Card” with digital logbook? Want to easily graph your progress? Not sure how to do a particular exercise you have been given? Want to know your BMI or HR max? Want help with timing the length of your rest periods between  sets or intervals? Work out your One Rep max?

 There are thousands of iPhone healthcare and fitness apps available; many are similar eg BMI has over 30 apps to choose from, some have free versions which complement their paid versions and some are truly unique and innovative. I have  briefly previewed several hundred and from those I produced a list of about 20 for a more detailed look and finally I selected a few that I thought would help me personally with my fitness program for download or purchase. These are marked with an asterisk (*)

Fortunately my body weight is OK so I chose to ignore iphone apps that  focus solely on body weight loss.  My focus is upon apps that will allow me to improve my cardiovascular and motor fitness in preparation for a multi-day hike-in through mountainous terrain, followed by a 1300m climb.

I know I will have missed some significant apps, so would welcome your suggestions.

Just a reminder of what you are attempting to achieve:

Backpacking is about endurance, leg strength, lower back strength and balance. You have to go up AND down mountain/hills, hike on uneven surfaces, step on things that move under your weight and deal with slippery surfaces. Your lower back gets stressed holding your upper body in a forward position when you lean forward on uphill climbs.(Youngblood)

The descriptions in italics have been pasted directly from the relevant iTunes page.

Gym Workout  Designers and Recorders

Fitness Pro (free): popular app. Banner free version can be purchased

– 450+ exercises photo’s with reference
– photo’s of real people (no drawings)
– search option for fast finding your exercise
– possibility to create your own workout schemes
– various build-in routines to get you started
– simple and easy logging
– advanced log graphs and log results
– track and map your runs
– share your runs with friends with the free online portal
– no registration
– no lite version or limited use

Notes: I found it impossible to enter my settings for the cardio exercises (treadmill or bike) as the app only allows calories/time or distance to be entered, not rpm, treadmill grade, speed (km/hr) or RPM

Body Fitness Ultimate Exercise (free)*

Body Fitness is a comprehensive exercise journal that provides clear pictures, detailed instructions, ,….
° Exercises categorized into target regions
° Over 320+ exercises each with detailed instructions and pictures
° Professionally drawn exercise pictures
° Animations with Play, Pause capabilities
° Easy logging, no more fumbling through multiple screens
° Create any number of your own customized workouts from the Favorites Tab
° Built in weight tracker with multiple daily weighings

Notes: This app has ads. It does however allow you to record duration, calories, speed, incline, average HR for cardio exercises and weight, reps for each set for weight exercises and log this for each session.

Fitness Free  (free)*

• more than 300 exercises grouped according to body parts, muscles and equipment. (free-download: 92 Mb of photo instructions)
• 3 FREE ready-made workouts – inside the app
• log your achievements for each exercise during every session and review the logs when you need
• Quick Recipes mode: choose from a list of ready-made programs to fit your goal
• Fast Mode: create and edit your own program quickly and efficiently.
• the app will automatically resume from the interrupted exercise if you have to receive a call or SMS
• 2 measurement systems: metric or imperial – choose either you are used to

Notes:  The paid version (All-in Fitness) has 700 video clips, although this version only has 2 high quality photos for each exercise, along with  a text description. While I could set up a workout, by selecting exercises, I could not see how to review a log or set the number of sets or repetitions. It is possible to select different music for each exercise.

Body Book Fitness Journal

BodyBook’s customizable interactive graphing system lets you graph what you want. Create graphs with up to four items in a scalable, scrollable interface that lets you zoom in and out, tap on data points for details and even edit data points from within the graph! 

Here’s a list of just some of the features you’ll find in BodyBook:
– Over 60 built-in exercises to get you started, or create your own
– Choose what to track for each exercise, from any combination of weight, reps, time, distance, energy or your own custom field
– Backup and restore your database, or download CSV data over WiFi right from your web browser- no need to download and install an extra application on your computer
– Email CSV data or a backup of your database from within BodyBook
– Restore your database backup from an email attachment (iOS 3.2 and higher only)
– Edit or delete multiple records simultaneously
– Easily record results for a different day with the Date Override feature
– Create your own interactive custom graphs- you’re not limited to what the developers think you want to see
– Track and graph your body weight and BMI

Notes: I have not tested this as it costs $3.99, but it is basically a graphing program to track your progress, using a wide range of criteria. If this is what you want to do there are few alternatives that I can see.

IntervalTimer (free)*

It allows you to specify an overall workout time as well as a Low/High intensity interval and rest time between sets. During the set, it will alternate between the high and low intensity intervals helping to increase stamina.

Notes: works well with very audible alarms.

Workout Diary Lite* (free)

 Workout Diary Lite is the iPhone and iPod Touch solution for recording all of your workout details. From casual exerciser to professional athlete – plan, track and record all of your exercises. It’s ease of use and flexibility provides fast data entry and modifications for your workout, as you workout. The free version lacks the following features found in the Pro version.

The Schedule is not included
Exercise History is not available.
The tracking of Measurements is not included.
The number of sets per exercise and exercises per workout are limited.
Multiple workouts for the same day are not supported.

Notes: there is a paid version which is more comprehensive.

Voice Counter

Voice count function that synchronizes with movement pace using acceleration sensor.
The cycle of the voice count can be selected from 2, 3, 4, and 8. (X = Voice Off)
Cycle frequency can be inputed.
Count sensitivity adjustment function of acceleration sensor.
Count pace of upper bound setting function by tap.
Count frequency display function.
Automatic count function of set pace at the maximum sensitivity.
Voice that reduces monotony, and improves motivation. 

Notes: Useful where you need to count repetitive movements and do them at a constant pace.

Gym Buddy

– Allows you to edit your sets after you input them. Change the time, note, weight & reps anytime and anywhere they appear. You can move them from workout to workout, or even change the associated exercise.
– Has three countdown timers to monitor your rest periods. They beep and buzz independently at any duration and can even be set to start automatically when you enter a set.
– You can define an unlimited number of Plans for each workout where you can store your goals for that day. Each plan can contain a unique subset of the exercises in a workout and may also be sorted independently.
– Workouts can be sorted into different Groups of Workouts.
– You view your results in a concise, compact format that is definable by workout, time frame, and exercise. With the Calendar view you can view an entire month of workouts in one glance, seeing the date, name of the workout, and your workout volume — then flip from month to month. Select a day in the calendar and you see all the sets you performed on that day.
– Allows you to email your history — also by workout, exercise, and time — for backup and input to a spreadsheet.
– With a wifi connection to a computer, you can backup and restore the database — so you don’t have to worry about the security of your data.
– Shows your previous workout results right on the input screen, so you know what your goal is — no searching, no tabbing, its just there.
– Calculates your One Rep Max for each set and tracks your all-time best, which it celebrates by flipping the screen and yelling, “YES!”
– Draws a graph of your One Rep Max history for each exercise, breaking down each workout by set number (up to five sets) and also by your best set. Also graphs your Workouts by volume.
– Tracks and graphs your weight, body fat, BMI, and lean body mass, or anything else that can be expressed as a number including body measurements and supplement intake, and also includes an interval timer. No need to buy separate apps.
– Includes a detail screen for each workout and exercise showing an extensive summary of your performance.
– Compatible with Kilograms and allows for decimal weights.
– Allows for supersets, bodyweight, and assisted weight exercises. Cardio exercises can have up to four user-defined data fields.

Notes: I am really impressed by the versatility of this app. It is a very comprehensive recording app which includes countdown and interval timers, calendars, graphs, and can track body measurements. Cardio is comprehensively recorded. This app is best for someone who is a serious weightlifter and already knows how to do the exercises and doesn’t need diagrams. Allows records to be emailed for use in a spreadsheet and backed up on a computer. The Manual is available to download before purchasing. Want to know more? See the video
Gym Buddy Central, a desktop app that runs on Mac and Windows, allows you to quickly edit and review your Gym Buddy data with nice charts and a real keyboard. 


Interval Buddy

An easy to use yet powerful interval timer. Enter the number of rounds you would like, the ‘work’ time and rest time and hit ‘Start’.Your ‘work’ rounds can be further divided into intervals by entering an interval time. For every multiple of an interval during a work round, a whistle will blow. This allows you to change up your work rounds   varying levels of intensity or for different activities. If you leave the work round at zero, IntervalBuddy works as a lap counting stopwatch. Settings can be saved and reloaded. Have as many saved as you like.

Notes: this app does not allow the high and low intensity intervals to be of different length

Gym Timer*

Provides several preset timer buttons as well as Custom button to select other time amount. Records number of rounds performed and alarms with the sound when the timer gets to 0.
Provides 2 custom modes of operation: one-time and continuous. When one-time mode is selected, timer will stop after it gets to 0. When continuous mode is selected, timer will reset once 0 is reached and number of rounds will be incremented by 1.

Notes: Can be used to time single or multiple rounds (sets) and record number of rounds.

GymTimer (free)

* 8 customisable rest times
* Large easy to hit buttons
* Big display for ease of reading
* Timer will continue in the background (alarm will not sound)

* Counts down, resets and repeats

Notes: this is a simple easy to use rest timer. Has ads.

IntervalTimer (free)*

It allows you to specify an overall workout time as well as a Low/High intensity interval and rest time between sets. During the set, it will alternate between the high and low intensity intervals helping to increase stamina.

Notes: works well with very audible alarms.


BMI Tool

The BMI Tool is an in-depth weight management tool developed to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of obesity. The tool features a BMI calculator that quickly gives accurate results in a few seconds. It also displays indications for pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery, weight loss guidelines, a Basal Energy Expenditure Calculator using the Harris-Benedict Equation, and other useful information. This tool uses waist measurement to predict heart risk. Please note that a free Epocrates account is required to use this free app. Registration is free and takes just a minute to complete.

Notes: many people believe that waist measurement at navel level is the best predictor of potential heart risk. BMI as a measure of whether you are overweight has its problems because it makes no allowance for the ratio of muscle to fat, when determining whether you are overweight. It is is highly likely that any body builder will be flagged as overweight. 

Hrate -Heart Rate Zone Calculator *

Uses your resting heart rate, age and/or your maximum heart rates to generate a series of zones. The body responds distinctively while the heart rate is within each zone. Use Hrate to target a specific heart rate and help you reach your training goals. 

Notes: There are numerous ways of calculating HR_max and the best seems to be HRmax = 191.5 − (0.007 × age2). Enter this and your minimum and have the zones calculated for you.

60Beat HeartRateMonitor

Polar Heart Rate Monitor now connects to your iPhone. The App for the revolutionary 60beat continuous heart rate monitor.
The 60beat Heart Rate Monitor helps you get the most out of your workout or fitness activity.
Download the application now and start calculating your heart rate to maximize your fitness experience
Making sure your exercise is at the right level to maximize the benefits to meet your specific goal.
Help focus your exercise in the Fat Burning, Aerobic or Anaerobic zones
The 60beat application can be used by itself for one time heart rate readings or with the addition of the 60beat RX, will provide continuous heart rate readings during your exercise.
Set your zones based on your Age, Max heart rate or your own settings
The Manual section helps the user calculate their heart rate and determines the specific zone.
Using the revolutionary 60beat RX, the user gets continuous feedback on their heart rate. The application measures total time and the time in each heart rate zone.
Perfect for running, walking, cycling, spinning

Notes: With additional hardware which plugs into your iPhone , it can continuously monitor your heart rate using a chest HR monitoring strap. Can be used manually to determine heart rate, by tapping the screen in sync with your heart. Without the additional hardware, it has limited value.


Heart rate: HR_max, Target HR,  (Wikipedia )

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  Creative Commons License This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


One thought on “iPhone Fitness Apps for Bushwalkers | Gym Workout Designers, Recorders, Calculators and Timers”

  1. Great article and great site! Another app that I've found to be good for fitness is called Endomondo. You can download it from http://www.endomondo.com/download/ and it can be used on a wide variety of devices. The program can track just about anything (heart rate monitors, GPS watches, scales and other devices can be synced) and uploads all of your data onto your online account, where your training sessions can then be analysed in detail. Definitely worth a try in my opinion! Oh, and the best part is it is totally free…


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