It's that time of the year again to make your New Year's resolutions. And if you are like the vast majority of people who make resolutions, you probably have either a weight loss or fitness goal on your list. With the CardioTrainer app for your Android phone, you can carry your training partner in your pocket wherever you go.
There are many reasons why Cardio Trainer is a very popular Android app and after only a few minutes of exploring the this app, you'll quickly see why it is so popular with fitness-minded people. Designed to record your walks, runs and bike-rides, Cardio Trainer's mapping features are truly spectacular. The app is simple to use and provides the feedback and motivation that many people (including myself) will find the perfect aid to their fitness goals. Just knowing what this app can do is often enough motivation to get me out from behind my desk and out on the streets!
Just tap "Start Workout" when you are ready to hit the road and Cardio Trainer will begin mapping your every step. Using the GPS feature of your Android phone, the app will locate your position and will detail your path, recording distance, pace, calories burned and total workout time. When your workout is finished, press "End Workout" to get an overview of your workout. You will be able to see a very precise map of your workout route, along with the details of your workout. Pressing the History tab from the Welcome screen will allow you to view the details and route of all your previous workouts.
Setting up the App
Spending just a few minutes to personalize the app's settings will provide a more accurate and detailed summary for your workout. Though the app has several settings and features, making sure that the basic settings are correct is your first step in making this app your own.
Start with choosing whether you want your distance recorded in miles or kilograms. The default is to use miles but by simply de-selecting this option, the app will use the metric equivalent to record distance as well as your weight loss.
Cardio Trainer also can give you audio feedback to keep you motivated and aware of how far you've traveled. Once Voice Output has been selected, you can choose to be notified after either a set time or a set distance. For time notifications, choose from 30 seconds up to 30 minutes. I've found that having the app notify me every 10 minutes is a good notification schedule. For distance, your options range from .1 mile (or km) up to 10 miles (or km.) Since I am using this app to motivate me to get back in shape, I set the distance notification for 1 mile. Not sure what the 10 mile notification sounds like but I'd sure like to find out!
You can also set the app up to automatically upload your workout data to the Google Health site.
Adjusting the GPS/Pedometer settings are important to ensure an accurate summary of your workout. Set your stride length, the frequency of the GPS location intervals and the GPS filter. The higher the GPS filter, the more accurate your workout details will be. The "Good" setting seems to work perfect for me and provides the detail level I need.
Considering how powerful and feature-rich the free version is, you may be wondering if spending the money for the Pro version is really needed. The Pro version offers two powerful features that are available only as trials with the free version. These two features, "Lose Weight" and "Racing" are what convinced me to go with the Pro Version.
If your goal is weight loss, the more tools you have at your disposal the better! Using the "Lose Weight" tool of the app, you can set a detailed weight loss goal, along with your goal deadline and set workout reminders to keep you on track. Once you set your goal, the app will track your calories burned, workouts completed and you will be able to update your actual weight loss. The app will even provide some "risk level" feedback if your weight loss goal is too aggressive. For example, I entered a weight loss goal of 20 pounds in a one month period. The app showed that my goal had a high risk of failure. I adjusted my time-frame to a more reasonable and healthy goal.
The "Racing" option of the Pro Version is powerful motivation tool. I have convinced many of my friends and family to join the "Android Revolution," all have access to the Cardio Trainer app. Those that purchased the Pro version can compete against and track one another. My friend in Colorado went 5 miles yesterday? I'll go 5.1 miles. Another friend ran a 5K in under 25 minutes? Well, I won't beat that but I can send some encouragement and help keep her motivated.
This feature alone is reason enough for the Pro version and the weight loss goal is just low fat gravy on top.
All in all, Cardio Trainer and Cardio Trainer Pro are my favorite fitness apps. I love the mapping feature and the Pro version features. And for those of us who live in cold weather climates that occasionally outdoor workouts too challenging, the app allows to enter indoor workouts as well. Go 3 miles on a treadmill and 20 minutes on an elliptical and record the information into the app. Your calories burned are recorded as are you distances and times.
As for the apps stability, it forced closed on me a few times when running on my HTC Incredible but has been rock solid on my Motorola Droid. Updates are frequent but certainly not over the top. The app can be a battery drain since it relies heavily on the GPS feature of your phone but you can run the app in the background and have your display turned off to minimize battery drain.
Lastly, the app allows you to play music while your working out. This basic feature can provide an additional level of in-workout motivation and does not interfere with the audio feedback of the app.
All in all, this is a fantastic app with wonderful features. If you are serious about your fitness or weight loss goals and need some motivation, Cardio Trainer is a fantastic choice and the Pro Version is, in my opinion, well worth the investment.
So give yourself the added ammunition and motivation you need to make your New Years Resolution a reality but downloading Cardio Trainer! I'll see you out on the streets! (I'll be the slow moving guy that you'll probably pass a few times.)