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I’m always excited when my favourite apps come out with a big update or when a completely new app hits the market.
The problem is, many apps, especially the ones I’ll be talking about today, have such vast feature sets that many of their super useful features slip through the net.
Which features of Fitbit, UP by Jawbone, and the other major health and fitness apps have potentially slipped under the radar? I spent some time using all of these apps, reading reviews and talking to other users in search of some little-known features and came up with 30 new tips and tricks to try for RunKeeper, UP by Jawbone, Strava, Fitbit and Withings.
Read on to learn all 30 little-known features (and see which ones you might already know!).
In April 2014, RunKeeper announced a new feature that quickly became one of my favourites within the app, Goal Coach.
Goal Coach will get you motivated and help pick goals that are realistic and specific to you. The process of setting goals is broken down into three steps:
On RunKeeper, goals are so effective that our users who complete their goals log 50% more miles and 30% more workouts per month than if they hadn’t set goals. – RunKeeper Blog
Sometimes, if I’m lacking a bit of motivation or struggling to make that step out of the door, I look back through my previous Activities on RunKeeper to give me a bit of motivation.
To access your Activities, click ‘Me’ on your RunKeeper home screen and you should then see the option to view all your previous runs and activities tracker through RunKeeper.
By opening up the RunKeeper application, and selecting the Friends Tab, you’ll be brought to the Leaderboard.
The Leaderboard is arranged in order of how Active your friends have been in the last Calendar month. This means that your super active friends will be displayed in dark green, your moderately active friends in light green, your lightly active friends in yellow, with your inactive friends displayed in red on the couch!
If you feel some of your friends could do with some added motivation, you can send a shout-out to anyone in the Red Zone by tapping on the megaphone icon and tell them to “Go for a walk!” “Go for a run!” or “Go for a bike ride!”
One of my biggest challenges when training for a race used to be planning runs of a certain distance. Now, I use Routes to do this for me.
You can search for existing routes using the Routes Search tool and if you’d like to, you can also create your own Routes.
Pro Tip: When creating your own route, use “Snap to roads” to keep your path along streets.
First and foremost, RunKeeper is a running app. However, it also lets you track a number of different activities. You can enter activity information for any activity by inputting the activity details through the RunKeeper website or app.
When tracking activities on the mobile device, you have the options of tracking:Running, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Walking, Hiking, Downhill Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowboarding, Skating, Swimming, Wheelchair, Rowing and Nordic Walking.
For most of these activities you need to enter the data manually, so remember to make note of important information like duration, distance and calories once you’ve completed a workout.
Addapp for iOS is now available for free from the App Store. Download now to start receiving personalized insights into your well-being!
The Jawbone UP is best known for tracking your steps and sleep. However, there’s much more you can do with the latest version of the UP by Jawbone app.
Weight tracking was added to the app as part of the version 3.2 update, and allows you to log your weight and set a personal goal in the app to see your progress toward your target weight. UP will recommend a daily calorie goal and balance calories burned versus calories consumed to show you your remaining allowance for the day.
UP24 offers a Team feature, so friends can join one another in tracking and exploring their data. The support and encouragement of friends helps you stay on track and move toward your goals.
To find friends in the UP Community and invite them to join your team, simply click the left menu screen and tap Team. You can add Team members from your phone’s contacts, Facebook, Twitter, location (find others in the UP Community who are within range of your location) and by searching for friends by name or email address.
You can use UP’s food detail screen to quickly evaluate how healthy a dish is at a glance. UP shows you the breakdown of healthy nutrients to less healthy nutrients for any given item, along with a new Food Score to help you quickly asses the overall healthiness of individual items and full meals. You’ll also see a rolling average of the score throughout your entire day.
“We’ve introduced Food Score, which is a metric that quickly assesses the overall healthiness of your food, whether it’s just a bag of chips or an entire meal, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the healthiest). By comparing similar foods in one category, they can see which option is healthier.” – Laura Borel, Jawbone
With half of meals in the US eaten outside of the home, UP now lists restaurants nearby based on your location and lets you quickly log menu items from places you visit. Quick access to menus lets you instantly select what you’re eating and automatically import calorie information when available.
This is one of my favourite additions to the Jawbone UP app. A super simple feature that suggests other food items members of the community have logged alongside your selections. For example, if you log a hamburger and a soft drink, Jawbone will suggest fries and ketchup. As Laura Borel points out on Jawbone’s blog, “people forget to add ketchup, and it has a ton of sugar which can affect the healthiness of that meal.”
6. Set sleep and steps goals. These are long time favourites for the Jawbone UP community. Personally, I find the steps and sleep goals within Jawbone a great way to keep on top of my overall well-being – they’re also great motivators to keep me on track.
7.The Smart Alarm is now my favourite way to wake up. The Smart Alarm allows you to set a daily wake-up time within the application and your band will wake you up at the best time based on your body’s natural sleep cycle.
8. Activity Alert allows you to receive in the moment push notifications to hep you stay up-to-date on your activity. You can have progress updates when you reach a certain number of steps or a ‘Move Summary’ at your chosen time of day.
This one may be a little more well-known than some of the other features in this list, but it’s still relatively new. MobileRun uses GPS to accurately track, log and compare runs, walks and hikes efficiently and easily.
Through GPS, MobileRun allows you to track and elevate training/workouts with real-time updates and key stats from individual runs, walks and hikes, including exact route, pace per mile (splits), distance and time.
If you want a simple way of tracking your steps, calorie intake and activity, you can use the Fitbit app on its own.
Of course, if you want to get the most out of the Fitbit app and use all its features, you’ll need to own one of Fitbit’s wearable devices.
Water intake can be a pain to track. However, the Fitbit app makes it very simple and actually helped me get into the habit of monitoring my water intake.
Fitbit have released a number of new features to enhance the apps food logging capabilities. One of the most useful and timesaving features is Easy Meals.
Easy Meals auto-completes favorite or frequent meals in one quick step; it learns which foods you tend to log together and automatically suggests a set of foods (a meal) whenever you start logging one of them. This is a great addition and makes food logging – which can be a painful job – much easier.
Fitbit have recently added challenges to their app. These include:
These challenges are a great way to motivate yourself and have some fun with friends, too.
How many miles have you covered since you last changed your chain? Or tyres? This information is great to know and can actually be tracked pretty easily using Strava’s component milage tracking feature.
Cycling enthusiast Al Thompson has created this great video explaining exactly how to track milage on each of your bike components:
Top Stops gives you the top 150 places in the San Francisco Bay Area to meet friends, have coffee or just checkout out the view.
TO generate Top Stops, Strava logs stops of at least 5 minutes from Bay Area rides and matches them to the Foursquare database to find the best places to take a break. For more on how Top Stops are created, check out the Strava Engineering blog.
Currently Top Stops only covers San Francisco and the Bay Area. We’d love to see it expand across more locations!
Added back in April, the Trophy Case gives you a place to view all your achievements and completed challenges. Each finisher badge is prominently displayed in order of completion date with the four most recent visible on your profile. This way all your friends can see what you’ve done and be encouraged to join you next time.
The trophy case looks fantastic. It certainly brings achievements into the light; I didn’t even realise I had so many badges. I imagine this feature will be brilliant inspiration for a lot of people out there. – Carole Whitehead
The Trophy Case is a Premium feature.
Effort Comparison is an improved way to compare yourself and others on a segment – one that can help highlight that finishing kick that won the race, or the brick wall that lost it. Effort Comparison can be accessed on the web from any segment page by clicking the Compare Efforts button, or any Activity page by clicking the Compare button within the segment detail view.
Effort Comparison is a Premium feature.
Another Strava Labs project, Activity Playback allows you too see who was riding while you were riding and identify who you cycled past on your ride (assuming the other rider or runner is on Strava, of course).
Find out more about Activity Playback here.
The Withings Health Mate app uses the iPhone M7 processor to measure your steps, distance travelled and calories burned through activity. With Health Mate you can also challenge your friends to take more steps and earn badges as reward for your activity.
By linking your RunKeeper with Withings you can immediately view and compare your weight, heart and sleep charts with your RunKeeper data. This allows you to view data like:
By linking Withings with MyFitnessPal you will be able to :
From November 2 at 12:00 AM to November 8 at 11:59 PM, Withings users steps will help to raise money for ChildObesity180. Withings hope their users will walk 500 million steps to raise $10,000 for ChildObesity180.
This is a great way to help a good cause and motivate people to move more. Will this be the first of many challenges?
On Withings Health Mate you can easily customise your dashboard layout to display the most useful and relevant data to you at the top. To do this all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of your dashboard, click the ‘Customise’ button and then re-order the widgets however you prefer.
IFTTT (If This Then That) – about the service
If you have both a Jawbone UP device and a Phillips Hue connected lightbulb. This recipe will turn on your lights as soon as you wake up.
If you haven’t met your daily steps goal by 3:00pm, this recipe will automatically send you a motivational SMS to encourage you to get up and beat your target.
If you connect both your Jawbone UP and Foursquare with IFTTT, you can automatically log any Foursquare checkins at the gym to your UP by Jawbone app. Check out the recipe here.
For those of you who use Withings scales to keep track of your weight, this recipe will automatically update your weight on Fitbit every-time you weigh yourself using Withings.
There we have it, just over 30 little-known features from the health apps many of us use every single day. I’d love to hear what your favourite features are, and any that may have slipped under my radar? If you have a question about any of these apps, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help in any way, too.
How many of these little-known features are you already using?
What are you own favourite features in these apps?