The six-pack can wait: how to set fitness goals you will actually keep

Falling off the keep-fit wagon in February is as much a cliche as jumping on it in January here, three experts explain how to boost your chances of staying on track

Most of us have, at some phase in “peoples lives”, seemed in the mirror and decided we need a radical image overhaul- especially in January. Then, when we don’t achieve the desired six-pack within a few months, we tumble off the fitness bandwagon. But is there a way to set realistic, useful fitness goals that will maintain you motivated as the nights draw in and the prospect of an extra hour in bed trumps a workout?

First of all, think about the goals not to build- keep in mind that exercise alone won’t alter your body shape. If you are looking for major fat loss, you will have to look at diet, too.” People underestimate the amount of endeavour physical transformations take ,” says Hannah Lewin, a personal trainer. She advises clients to focus on positive fitness objectives instead- operating 5km or deadlifting 30 kg- rather than aesthetic objectives that will require drastic lifestyle overhauls.

Next, consider what is important to you.” A lot of people come to me and say:’ I want to look like this ,'” says Lewin.” That’s where a lot of aims go wrong from the outset, because you’re choosing a aim based on someone else .”

The personal trainer Ruby Tuttlebee advises starting small and building up. Something straightforward, such as a press-up, is a better bet than aiming for a triathlon right off the bat. She also suggests having a series of objectives. When you have mastered a perfect press-up, defined a new goal of five press-ups in a row, then 10, then 20.

Lewin agrees:” The first aim should be easy. In terms of a scale of how likely you are to achieve that goal, it should be a 9/10. Progress it from there .” The main reason people fail is that they focus on the thing they want to achieve and become dispirited where reference is takes longer than they expected.” Focusing on that end goal can be problematic .”

Choosing something you enjoywill help.” If you don’t like something, you won’t give 100% ,” says Tuttlebee. Training with a friend or a personal trainer can also keep you on track, when your motive slips.

Keeping score is also a good idea.” When I set objectives with athletes, I look at three types of goal ,” says the chartered sports psychologist Helen Davis. Outcome goals are big-ticket accomplishments, such as running a marathon. A performance goal sits below that and helps you assess whether you are on your way to your outcome aim. Progress goals are day-to-day activities, such as training three times a week or optimising your nutrition.” Monitoring these goals gives people tangible things they can work on and helps direct their focus to keep them on track day to day ,” Davis says.

Always reward yourself for achieving your goals, however small.” Even if just walking through the door of your gym is your first goal, you’ve achieved it- so well done ,” says Tuttlebee. Above all, remember that your goals are yours alone, she says.” Make it your own. Tailor it to you .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

A Brief History of Instagrams Trouble With Weight-Loss Tea

Do you want a lithe, toned body that utterly does not take multiple photo-editing apps to achieve? Do you want to be a person whose hair and makeup looking red-carpet-ready immediately after leaving the gym? Do you want to eat only photogenic smoothie bowls and be utterly unfazed given the fact that they are cold yogurt soup? Try this tea! The 30 -Day Detox Starter Pack is now merely $85 — merely use my promo code below. Oh, by the way: #ad.

On Instagram, gorgeous influencers peddling “fitness” or “detox” teas( along with “hair vitamins, ” “appetite suppressant” lollipops, and other supplements) are so common your eyes have probably stopped insuring them. Everyone on the platform seems to start their day by slurping down some concoction of herbs, mushrooms, or algae powders. Among the most ubiquitous tea companies claiming to be able to help you lose weight, stop your migraines, unclog your arteries, and cure cancer and the common cold is Teami, whose products have been promoted by celebrities like Cardi B.

Naturally , no scientific proof exists to support the claims, and the influencers who work with Teami routinely fail to disclose that they’re being paid for the posts. Today they had to answer to the Federal Trade Commission, which has made an official complaint about the company’s misleading marketing tactics. The FTC wants Teami to forfeit $15.2 million, the sum total of its questionable marketings. Neither Teami nor Cardi B immediately responded to request for comment.

Teas promising improbable results–most often related to weight loss–have been a staple of Instagram influencer marketing for at least five years, which constitutes half of the app’s existence. For whatever reason, tea companies have always been especially successful at attract celebrity endorsements: Kylie Jenner and several other members of the Kardashian clan, rappers Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea, singer Jordin Sparks, and megapopular fitness influencers like Katya Elise Henry have all promoted teas claiming to help your lose weight and reduce bloating to achieve an Instagrammably flat belly. Maybe celebrities truly love tea; maybe tea marketing is uncommonly lucrative. Considering that Teami is reportedly unable to pay the $15.2 million the FTC has ordered and has settled with the FTC for a much lower payment of$ 1 million, they might be paying a little too well.

The widespread backlash against these products has been at least as notable as the ceaseless promotion of them. In 2015, UK-based tea merchant Bootea faced criticism for allegedly causing a rash of unwanted pregnancies( nicknamed “Bootea babies” ). The tea’s ingredients can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills, and women claimed the company did not make this abundantly clear. Since then, companies like Teami, FitTea, and Flat Tummy Co( along with the celebrities endorsing them) have faced complaints from people who question not only the lack of scientific backing but the diet culture that promotes thinness as wellness and uses celebrities with access to plastic surgeon and personal trainers to promote expensive products that are unlikely to produce the results customers are looking for. Often, the side effects of these teas include nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. Companies often frame the discomfort as a positive, a sign of “toxins” leaving the body. In reality, nearly all of these teas contain an herb called senna, which is a natural laxative. Any weight lost on a “teatox” is likely to be mostly water–and poop.

In 2018, The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil induced headlines by calling out other celebrities, including Khloe Kardashian and Cardi B, for promoting detox teas. “I hope all these celebrities shit their pants in public, ” Jamil tweeted. When the backlash has gotten particularly intense, the Kardashians and other celebrities have been known to delete posts praising these products, but the first real consequences of the detox tea drama didn’t appear until 2019. Last year, Instagram announced that it would be confine posts promoting diet teas, shakes, and lollipops, presenting them only to users over the age of 18. The policy also made weight-loss profiteering a violation of community guidelines. If a post included a miraculous weight-loss claim and a commercial offer( like a discount code ), it was headed for a ban.

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Which would seem to put an end to the problem, but, as the FTC complaint against Teami demonstrates, it has not. It’s too easy to substitute “weight loss” for terms like fitness, detox, and wellness, and the allure of these products is too strong. It doesn’t matter that Goopified products like Teami’s stimulate promises on which no satchel of herbs could deliver. Their marketing strategy is designed to create a yearning for “quick fix” weight loss so intense it overrides common sense, especially in a social media culture optimized for aspirational photos that distract from the already hard-to-find small print. It’s encouraging to see the FTC taking an interest in an issue often dismissed as frivolous, but it will only be effective if it’s just one of many complaints to come. Considering those alleged Bootea babies are in kindergarten now, it’s also years late. And that’s the tea.


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Can your phone keep you fit? Our writers try 10 big fitness apps- from weightlifting to pilates

There are a dizzying number of apps promising to get you in shape even if you cant get to a gym. But can any of them keep our writers moving?


Centr

Price PS15. 49 a month.
What is it? A full-service experience from the Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth: not just workouts, but a complete meal planner- with food for breakfast, lunch and dinner- a daily guided meditation and a daily motivational article.
The experience I immediately regret proclaiming myself “intermediate” as the app launches into a punishing pilates workout. I am not very flexible at all, and it is about to change that my baseline fitness leaves much to be desired in terms of core strength.
More frustrating is the fact that the various workouts are introduced as videos. Clearly, this is supposed to emulate a real pilates class, but when my phone tells me to lie face-down on the floor I can no longer ensure the screen. It is frustrating to have to repeatedly break out of the pose to check the next movement.
Worth a download ? Only if you are single, enjoy cooking and are willing to hand control of your life to an app.
AH

Aaptiv

Price $14.99( PS11. 40) a few months or $99.99 a year.
What is it ? A cheery selection of audio workouts with curated tunes.
The experience Before I start, the app asks me my fitness level, how many times I work out a week, how many weeks a month, what days I work out on, what machines I have access to, and what equipment I have to hand. None of this stops it from absolutely destroying me with bodyweight exercises– but it is the thought that counts.
The teachers are great, with the right level of enthusiasm( read: grating in any other context ). I am glad to have clear verbal instructions for how to do the exercises, rather than wishing I could just read a list of workouts from my screen. Video walkthroughs, available before and after the workout, assist clear up any persisting concerns about form.
Worth a download ? If you want to get fit to the tune of PS7 5 a year, this is the app to expend your money on. AH

Alex
Alex get in the spirit. Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Fitocracy

Price Free; coaching from$ 1 a day.
What is it ? A bizarre mixture of a mediocre workout app and personal trainer upselling.
The experience You get what you pay for, and as a result the free version of Fitocracy is odd. The main workout app lets you defined a goal, then pick workouts from a listing, but the presentation of the workouts is much simpler than its competitors: only a list of exercisings and reps, which you check off as you go.
The problem is that much of the app is effectively broken, with visual artefacts- graphical flaws- all over the place. Digging in, the cause is clear: genuinely, the app is a gateway to a coaching business, where you can spend anything from$ 1 to $250 a month on a one-on-one consultation with a personal trainer.
Worth a download ? If you want free, there is better; if you want a coach, head to your local gym. AH

StrongLifts

StrongLifts
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price PS17. 49 a year.
What is it? A simple and direct approach to strength.
The experience A popular approach to learning to lift free weights, 5×5 involves doing five sets of five reps of heavy weights, with three different exercisings, three times a week.
It demands precisely what it does and no more. You need a gym, a squatting rack, a barbell and a bench. You don’t need to memorise a list of different exerts , nor wonder which equipment you are going to need today , nor, truly, think.
StrongLifts is the best introduction to this type of workout there is, basic coaching and tracking, as well as just enough motivation to get you to lift the next define. It is my personal favourite: in a year, I have gone from struggling with a 20 kg bar to reliably squatting my own weight.
Worth a download ? Yes, if you have access to a gym and don’t know what to do when you are there. AH

Nike Training Club

Nike
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price Free; PS13. 49 a month for the premium version.
What is it ? Slick branded workouts with a generous free offering.
The experience Nike Training Club, the workout sibling to
the more popular Nike Run Club, feels less human than its challengers. While the personal trainers are front and centre, they mostly exist as silent models demonstrating the best form for each exercise.
That may suit a certain type of self-motivated student. Less helpful, for me, is the approach to equipment. I feel as if Nike expects me to have an incredibly well-stocked home- with multiple dumbbells, a skipping rope and a bench- or induce myself tremendously unpopular at the gym by seize six things at once. That said, most of the app is available for free- a price you can’t beat.
Worth a download ? Yes, if free is the magic number. AH

Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness

Sweat
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price PS14. 99 a month or PS88 a year.
What is it ? The chance to have your workout( for the home and gym) and diet scheme organised by not only one Instagram influencer, but five- inspired by everything from
powerlifting and muay thai to yoga.
The experience Kayla Itsines was one of the first internet exercise influencers. She rose to fame with the Bikini Body Guides, her series of fitness ebooks( the name hasn’t aged well ). Itsines still offers the BBG programme, but it now includes differences for different fitness levels. This feels like an app that could stay fresh for well over a year. I like that there are adjustments for various exercises, that it is easy to sync to Spotify, and that it put so much emphasis on rest and rehabilitation to enhance healing.
The meal-planning features are disappointing, though. There is no option to swap indicated recipes, but as some of the suggestions are as unimaginative as” egg and salad roll”, I imagine quite a few people would want to.
Worth a download ? Yes- for the exercising, at least.
CK

Sworkit

Sworkit
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
What is it? It is all about workout on Sworkit, and there is a hell of a lot of it. You can choose from a variety of plans or one-off workouts, customisable by time or focused on body parts( Sworkit is quite to be used in firming hoboes ).
The experience This has one of the best interfaces for exercising of the apps I tried. It works in landscape, counts you in before the next exercise starts and has a preview window to mentally prepare you for the next move. You can alter music within the exercise window and set how long you want to exercise for, with sessions beginning at five minutes. It also has a great voiceover feature: think of the sort of thing a gym instructor might say, such as” keep your toes pointing outward “. The app sends out push notifications to encourage you to exercise, but the upkeep of a plan does not depend on exercising every day. So, novices can define their own pace.
I can’t work out if the instructor figures on Sworkit are AI or humans, but either way I liked them. Sworkit has tried to make its teachers diverse- there are men and women in a variety of sizes. It is a small thing, but I appreciate not always having to follow someone with the figure of a goddess.
Worth a download ? Yes, especially for novices. None of Sworkit’s conferences involve equipment, so if you ever work out at home or while travelling, it can’t be beaten. CK

Fit Body with Anna Victoria

Price $16.99 a month.
What is it? The Instagram influencer Anna Victoria rose to fame with her downloadable workout plans known as the FBGs( or Fit Body Guides) and pictures of smoothie bowls. Here, she brings together her fitness and food advice in one app, offering 12 -week exercise and nutrition programmes, including a customisable snack planner.
The experience The app offer a series of 12 -week plans to last you 60 weeks( for home or gym, for weight loss or sculpting etc ), a forum for users, a journal to log notes and a healthy-meal planner, which aims to spoon-feed the user into eating well( the nutrition segment generates your recipes and grocery list for the week as well as reminding you when to drink water ).

Coco
Coco tries out the apps. Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

I couldn’t get to grip with all of this, but when I tried it out there were some excellent features- a nutrition guide that is not just about calorie-counting( although the variety of the dishes may bore food fans ), plus educational videos( such as breathing does and don’ts) to help newcomers to regular exert. The downsides? The app doesn’t work in scenery mode, so checking the demo during workouts is difficult. Also, workouts often involve equipment. I am not convinced the app would work for total novices( push-ups in week one for a woman seems ambitious , not to mention the amount of vicious burpees ), while scanning future weeks leaves me know … … if it might get boring.
Worth a download ? Unless you are a fan of Victoria and her style, I can’t see it delivering enough. CK

Freeletics

Price PS1. 78 a week for educate; PS2. 66 including nutrional information.
What is it? Touted as a digital personal trainer, this app has a cultish fanbase thanks to its detailed personalised fitness plans.
The experience You can join in with the short but intense fitness challenges, or a variety of running, bodyweight or gym workouts. Users can opt for workouts anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes long, and can select sessions based on parts of the body. So far, so normal. But it is the Coach programme that stands out. The personal plans are created by algorithms that pool the data of users with similar stats to chart your journey. Key to this is regular logging; you will record your details when you first start( height, weight, general fitness level) and log after each workout, telling the app how tough you received it.

Freeletics
Freeletics Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Freeletics promises its workouts will be hard, but not so hard that you give up. It is the feedback moments that allow it to alter your plan accordingly, based on the behaviour of other users who the hell is similar experiences. As with a real coach, “theres plenty” of demo videos and tutorials to guide you through, plus helpful nudges to drink water and sleep well. The Coach can even see if you are overtraining. Freeletics also has a reasonably busy meetup community, some of the social elements of exercise that can be lost when training at home. Plus, the exercises don’t require any equipment
Worth a download ? Perfectly, if you have some experience of exercising- it could be a little overwhelming for a total newbie. CK

30 Day Fitness Challenge

Price Free; from PS1. 99 a week for the premium version.
What is it ? A 30 -day programme with levels from beginner to pro.
The experience Month-long challenges have become a staple of modern fitness. This app capitalises on the idea that people can do anything if it is in short bursts, hence the idea of daily sessions for 30 days.
Most of the challenges are focused on a specific area- there is the” flat belly challenge” and the” slim limbs challenge”- but nearly all involve a full-body workout. The video tutorials are clear and there are 400 workouts in the library if you feel like doing something completely different outside of the challenge. The objective outcome should be that your overall fitness is improved.
Worth a download ? Absolutely- 30 -day challenges may not be for everyone, but, unlike many other apps, there is plenty to do for free. CK

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Can your telephone maintain you accommodate? Our writers try 10 big fitness apps- from weightlifting to pilates

There are a dizzying number of apps promising to get you in shape even if you cant get to a gym. But can any of them maintain our writers moving?


Centr

Price PS15. 49 a month.
What is it? A full-service experience from the Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth: not only workouts, but a complete dinner planner- with food for breakfast, lunch and dinner- a daily guided meditation and a daily motivational article.
The experience I immediately regret declaring myself “intermediate” as the app launches into a punishing pilates workout. I am not very flexible at all, and it turns out that my baseline fitness leaves much to be desired in terms of core strength.
More frustrating is the fact that the various workouts are introduced as videos. Clearly, this is supposed to emulate a real pilates class, but when my phone tells me to lie face-down on the floor I can no longer insure the screen. It is frustrating to have to repeatedly break out of the pose to check the next movement.
Worth a download ? Merely “if you il” single, enjoy cooking and are willing to hand control of your life to an app.
AH

Aaptiv

Price $14.99( PS11. 40) a few months or $99.99 a year.
What is it ? A cheery selection of audio workouts with curated tunes.
The experience Before I start, the app asks me my fitness level, how many times I work out a week, how many weeks a month, what days I work out on, what machines I have access to, and what equipment I have to hand. None of this stops it from absolutely destroying me with bodyweight exerts– but it is the thought that counts.
The instructors are great, with the right level of enthusiasm( read: grating in any other context ). I am glad to have clear verbal instructions for how to do the exercises, rather than wishing I could just read a list of workouts from my screen. Video walkthroughs, available before and after the workout, help clear up any lingering concerns about form.
Worth a download ? If you want to get fit to the tune of PS7 5 a year, this is the app to expend your money on. AH

Alex
Alex gets in the spirit. Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Fitocracy

Price Free; coaching from$ 1 a day.
What is it ? A bizarre mixture of a mediocre workout app and personal trainer upselling.
The experience You get what you pay for, and as a result the free version of Fitocracy is odd. The main workout app lets you set a aim, then pick workouts from a list, but the submission of the workouts is much simpler than its competitors: merely a list of exercises and reps, which you check off as you go.
The problem is that much of the app is effectively broken, with visual artefacts- graphical glitches- all over the place. Digging in, the cause is clear: really, the app is a gateway to a coaching business, where you can spend anything from$ 1 to $250 a month on a one-on-one consultation with a personal trainer.
Worth a download ? If you want free, there is better; if you want a coach-and-four, head to your local gym. AH

StrongLifts

StrongLifts
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price PS17. 49 a year.
What is it? A simple and direct approach to strength.
The experience A popular approach to learning to lift free weights, 5×5 involves doing five decides of five reps of heavy weights, with three different workouts, three times a week.
It demands precisely what it does and no more. You need a gym, a squat rack, a barbell and a bench. You don’t need to memorise a list of different exercises , nor wonder which equipment you are going to need today , nor, genuinely, think.
StrongLifts is the best introduction to this type of workout there is, basic coaching and tracking, as well as just enough motivation to get you to lift the next set. It is my personal favourite: in a year, I have gone from struggling with a 20 kg bar to reliably squatting my own weight.
Worth a download ? Yes, if you have access to a gym and don’t know what to do when you are there. AH

Nike Training Club

Nike
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price Free; PS13. 49 a few months for the premium version.
What is it ? Slick branded workouts with a generous free offering.
The experience Nike Training Club, the workout sibling to
the more popular Nike Run Club, feels less human than its challengers. While the personal trainers are front and centre, they largely exist as silent models demonstrating the best form for each exercise.
That may suit a certain type of self-motivated student. Less helpful, for me, is the approach to equipment. I feel as if Nike expects me to have an incredibly well-stocked home- with multiple dumbbells, a skip rope and a bench- or attain myself enormously unpopular at the gym by seize six things at once. That said, most of the app is available for free- a price you can’t beat.
Worth a download ? Yes, if free is the magic number. AH

Sweat: Kayla Itsines Fitness

Sweat
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price PS14. 99 a month or PS88 a year.
What is it ? The chance to have your workout( for the home and gym) and diet plan organised by not only one Instagram influencer, but five- inspired by everything from
powerlifting and muay thai to yoga.
The experience Kayla Itsines was one of the first internet exercise influencers. She rose to fame with the Bikini Body Guides, her series of fitness ebooks( the name hasn’t aged well ). Itsines still offers the BBG programme, but it now includes fluctuations for different fitness levels. This feels like an app that could stay fresh for well over a year. I like that there are adjustments for various exercises, that it is easy to sync to Spotify, and that it put so much emphasis on rest and rehabilitation to enhance healing.
The meal-planning features are disillusioning, though. There is no option to swap indicated recipes, but as some of the suggestions are as unimaginative as” egg and salad roll”, I imagine quite a few people would want to.
Worth a download ? Yes- for the exercise, at least.
CK

Sworkit

Sworkit
Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Price $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
What is it? It is all about workout on Sworkit, and there is a hell of a lot of it. You can choose from a variety of plans or one-off workouts, customisable by period or focused on body parts( Sworkit is quite invested in firming hoboes ).
The experience This has one of the best interfaces for exerting of the apps I tried. It works in landscape, counts you in before the next exercise starts and has a preview window to mentally prepare you for the next move. You can alter music within the exercise window and defined how long you want to exercise for, with sessions beginning at five minutes. It also has a great voiceover feature: think of the sort of thing a gym teacher might say, such as” keep your toes pointing outward “. The app is sending out move notifications to encourage you to exercise, but the upkeep of a plan does not depend on exercising every day. So, novices can set their own pace.
I can’t work out if their teachers figures on Sworkit are AI or humen, but either way I liked them. Sworkit has tried to make its teachers diverse- there are men and women in a variety of sizes. It is a small thing, but I appreciate not always having to follow someone with the figure of a goddess.
Worth a download ? Yes, especially for beginners. None of Sworkit’s conferences require equipment, so if you ever work out at home or while travelling, it can’t be beaten. CK

Fit Body with Anna Victoria

Price $16.99 a month.
What is it? The Instagram influencer Anna Victoria rose to fame with her downloadable workout plans known as the FBGs( or Fit Body Guides) and pictures of smoothie bowls. Here, she brings together her fitness and food advice in one app, offering 12 -week exercise and nutrition programmes, including a customisable dinner planner.
The experience The app offer a series of 12 -week plans to last you 60 weeks( for home or gym, for weight loss or sculpting etc ), a forum for users, a journal to log notes and a healthy-meal planner, which aims to spoon-feed the user into eating well( the nutrition section makes your recipes and grocery list for the week as well as reminding you when to drink water ).

Coco
Coco tries out the apps. Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

I couldn’t get to grip with all of this, but when I tried it out there were some excellent features- a nutrition guide that is not just about calorie-counting( although the various forms of the dishes may bore food devotees ), plus educational videos( such as breathing dos and don’ts) to help newcomers to regular workout. The downsides? The app doesn’t work in scenery mode, so checking the demo during workouts is difficult. Also, workouts often involve equipment. I am not convinced the app would work for total novices( push-ups in week one for a woman seems ambitious , not to mention the amount of vicious burpees ), while scan future weeks leaves me know … … if it might get boring.
Worth a download ? Unless you are a fan of Victoria and her style, I can’t see it delivering enough. CK

Freeletics

Price PS1. 78 a week for educate; PS2. 66 including nutrional information.
What is it? Touted as a digital personal trainer, this app has a cultish fanbase thanks to its detailed personalised fitness schemes.
The experience You can join in with the short but intense fitness challenges, or a variety of running, bodyweight or gym workouts. Users can opt for workouts anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes long, and can select sessions based on parts of the body. So far, so normal. But it is the Coach programme that stands out. The personal plans are created by algorithms that pool the data of users with similar stats to chart your journey. Key to this is regular logging; you will record your details when you first start( height, weight, general fitness level) and log after each workout, telling the app how tough you procured it.

Freeletics
Freeletics Photograph: Alicia Canter/ The Guardian

Freeletics promises its workouts is difficult to, but not so hard that you give up. It is the feedback moments that allow it to alter your plan accordingly, based on the behaviour of other users who had similar experiences. As with a real coach, there are plenty of demo videos and tutorials to guide you through, plus helpful nudges to drink water and sleep well. The Coach can even see if you are overtraining. Freeletics also has a fairly busy meetup community, providing some of the social elements of exercise that can be lost when training at home. Plus, the exercises don’t require any equipment
Worth a download ? Perfectly, if you have some experience of exerting- it could be a little overwhelming for a total newbie. CK

30 Day Fitness Challenge

Price Free; from PS1. 99 a week for the premium version.
What is it ? A 30 -day programme with levels from beginner to pro.
The experience Month-long challenges have become a staple of modern fitness. This app capitalises on the idea that people can do anything if it is in short bursts, hence the idea of daily sessions for 30 days.
Most of the challenges are focused on a specific area- there is the” flat belly challenge” and the” slim arms challenge”- but nearly all involve a full-body workout. The video tutorials are clear and there are 400 workouts in the library if you feel like doing something completely different outside of the challenge. The objective outcome should be that your overall fitness is improved.
Worth a download ? Utterly- 30 -day challenges may not be for everyone, but, unlike many other apps, there is plenty to do for free. CK

This article contains affiliate connections, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate connection, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Health coaching app Noom will expand its product team after raising $58 M led by Sequoia

Health coaching app developer Noom has announced that that it has raised $58 million led by Sequoia Capital.

Other participants include Aglae Ventures, the tech investment limb of French holding company Groupe Arnault, WhatsApp co-founder and former CEO Jan Koum, DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu, Oscar Health co-founder Josh Kushner, SB Project co-founder Scooter Braun and returning investor Samsung Ventures.

Headquartered in New York City with offices in Seoul and Tokyo, Noom is best known for its direct-to-consumer weight loss app, but it also develops enterprise products, including an app focused on diabetes and hypertension. Noom’s consumer app competes for users with Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal and Weight Watchers, but its closest rival is probably nutrition and weight loss app Rise because both offer personalized programs and coaching for a subscription fee.

Noom aims to set itself apart by focusing on long-term lifestyle and behavior alterations, in addition to calorie, nutrition and exert tracking. Users get access to 1:1 coaching and fitness programs personalized by an algorithm based on how they answer a questionnaire.

The company will use its new funding to hire more people for product developing. In a press statement, Koum said he invested in Noom because it “has many of the same traits that helped WhatsApp disrupt the communications industry. Noom is so far ahead of the competition when it comes to technology, execution and brand recognition that it will be difficult for any company to catch up.”

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Goal! The football league that helped me lose five stone

Sick of being overweight and worried about his health, Andy Welch knew it was time for drastic action. Then he stumbled across Man v Fat

I have always been overweight. I was 10 lb( 4.5 kg) when I was born and it kind of ran from there. I was 10 stone( 64 kg) by the age of 10, 13 st (8 3kg) at 13 and 16 st( 102 kg) by 16. My age and weight matching was a worry- and lasted until I was 21.

There were diets along the way. When I was younger, my parents tried various approaches to get me to lose weight- gentle persuasion, desperate pleas, even financial bribes. I was referred to a hospital dietitian who had a go, too. When I was a bit older, I joined a gym, and throughout my teens and at university I tried whatever fad was going: SlimFast, the Atkins, the GI diet and its closely related Low GL version. I went through a phase of drinking grapefruit juice after every meal because I had read it stopped any fat eat being absorbed, and I once spent a hungry fortnight eating nothing but Rice Krispies after vaguely recollecting the Olympic sprinter John Regis explaining how he had managed his weight by eating only cereal. Unsurprisingly, it did not work.

When I was 21, a friend at university told me he was concerned about my weight, that I was attaining life difficult for myself. I wasn’t offended, but those words were a kicking-off point. I lost almost four stone over the course of that summer.

Yet the manner in which I had lost it- walking eight to 10 miles a day in my summer task as a hospital porter and going to the gym most days- couldn’t last and, within two years, the weight had returned. I made countless resolutions to slim down over the next few years, but nothing stuck.

At 30, I tried Weight Watchers for the first time. Again, I lost 4st in a matter of months but, happy in a new relationship, I took my eye off the ball, enjoying eating out and cosy, snack-filled nights in. The weight crept back on. By the middle of 2016, aged 35, I reached my heaviest ever- 21 st 4lb( 135 kg ).

Something felt different this time. I was unhappier than ever about my weight and, as I marched towards 40( sweating and out of breath ), I felt I was being stalked by the twin spectres of diabetes and heart disease. A lifestyle overhaul was needed , not just a diet.

In my youth, despite my sizing, I had always been active. I was in the school and town football and rugby squads and I was a county tennis player. But that was a long time ago. According to a 2017 report by the European Commission, 37% of people in the UK don’t do any exert, and I was among them. I softly longed to get back to sport but had convinced myself that my knees couldn’t take it, or that I should lose some weight first, then run operating, or that I would let the side down and no one would play football with a big fat man. There’s always an excuse when you are trapped in a cycle of remorse, self-hatred and emotional overeating. Much easier to buy another container of wine gums, fire up Netflix and promise to start afresh on Monday.

Andy
Andy Welch in 2008:’ I made countless resolutions to slim down over the years, but nothing stuck’

Then I stumbled upon Man v Fat, a weight-loss football league where overweight humen can play against each other, safe in the knowledge some skinny wunderkind isn’t going to show up and run rings around them. Players are rewarded for weight lost with goals added to their team’s score on the pitching. There are hat-trick bonuses for losing three weeks in a row, and further rewards for reaching 5% and 10% weight-loss milestones.

I signed up in January 2017, unsure what to expect and having not kicked a ball since my late teens. The enrollment meeting was heartening for a number of reasons: I was far from the biggest man in the room- a rare feeling- and most of the players returning for their second run had lost 10% of their body weight during the previous season, depicting me that change was possible. After the initial introductions, we began swapping tales of our struggles with weight and our reasons for wanting to lose some. It felt more like a therapy group than a Sunday-morning kickabout.

At my first weigh-in, the scales read 20 st 7lb( 130 kg ). Six seasons later, I have, as of last week, broken through the 100 kg barrier for the first time since I was about 15. My blood pressure has dropped( from 140/90 to 120/80 ); I am in 34 in jeans, whereas I once wore 44 in, and I have a resting pulse of about 50. I also bought the Baracuta G9 Harrington jacket I had lusted after since my teens but could never squeeze myself into without looking like a explode sausage.

I now play football three times a week, have taken up operating, go to boxing class and have started playing tennis again, 20 years after I stopped because get around the court was too difficult. Another new pastime is, when I’m in a supermarket, piling up sacks of potatoes so I can lift my missing 35 kg and try to remember what it was like lugging it around. I’m sure the staff members detest me, but at least I am enjoying myself.

Gaining control of my diet greatly improved my mental health, too, boosting my confidence, resilience and previously nonexistent self-esteem. It was tested to the extreme during a devastating 10 -week period last year that assured the breakup of a long-term relationship and the deaths of a grandparent and a dear friend. The more life events spiralled beyond my control, the tighter my grip on the double distractions of meal planning and exercise. In traumatic hours of old, I reached for drink and ice-cream. Now, I feed fruit and play football.

Andy
Andy Welch in 2019, having been playing in Man v Fat for the past two years. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/ The Guardian

Exercise is, of course, important to weight loss, but controlling intake is vital. For that, I use Weight Watchers’ app to track my food, double-checking calorie consumption with MyFitnessPal. I rarely drink alcohol and, despite a sweet tooth that could shame Augustus Gloop, waved goodbye to my beloved pick’n’mix. I am not yet at a healthy weight( my goal is 13 st 5lb, or 85 kg ), and whether I will achieve that is another matter. I know I’d like to.

Andrew Shanahan set up the first Man v Fat league in Solihull in 2016. Two years previously, after losing 6st, he had written a book, Man v Fat: The Weight Loss Manual, which grew into an online forum on which male dieters swapped tips and supported each other.( The forum is still thriving and is among the most heartening corners of the internet. If you don’t feel something watching a group of burly dieters cheering on a fellow calorie-counter who has lost his way, swapping tips on getting rid of stretch marks or advising how best to navigate a pending journey to a carvery without ruining his progress, there is something very wrong with you .) But participants were eager for a face-to-face component to their dieting.

” When I was losing weight, I could never understand why something didn’t exist specifically for men ,” he says.” I’d tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World but fought with their approach. Not that they weren’t welcome but, institutionally, they weren’t suited to me. I was often the only man in the meetings, which wasn’t conducive to opening up about my weight.

A paper published in the periodical Obesity Research and Clinical Practice in 2016 found that men and women dieted more successfully in single-sex groups. A study of more than 2,000 people published last year in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism also reported that humen typically lose weight faster and in greater quantities than girls. There are differing attitudes regarding intake and exert, too, with humen by and large preferring to work out more in order to eat more, while women would rather eat less to avoid lengthy sessions of exercise.

“Culturally,” adds Shanahan,” having a big appetite as a man has historically been seen as a positive thing, whereas for women, that hasn’t been the case. Men and women face different challenges when dieting, and Man v Fat reflects that .”

The first league comprehend 1,000 men apply for 80 league places, with about 90% of those participants losing weight over the course of the 14 -week season. That is a figure Man v Fat has more or less maintained in the three years since launching, with more than 70 leagues now operating all over the UK. The Australian franchise is in its second season, while talks are under way to launch Man v Fat in the US. Players have so far lost a blended 188,000 lb. That’s 85 tonnes.

” It’s quite unusual for men to go into any situation admitting some kind of weakness ,” says Shanahan.” Being fat is quite a good one because we can all see it. And when we’re in that group, it undoes any machismo around that dialogue. With that comes this positivity that you’re all doing it together and it opens up all sorts of dialogues you’d never commonly have. It’s an odd dynamic, but it’s very empowering .”

Suhal Miah is an immigration officer from north London. He joined Man v Fat in June 2017 weighing 22 st 7lb( 143 kg ). He has now almost halved his body weight. Miah says he was always” the fat kid at school”, but his weight shot up after his dad passed away in 2013.” I was suffering from depression and I began constantly feeing junk food. I simply remember looking in the mirror one day and thinking:’ What the hell have you done to yourself ?'”

Players
Players at the Man v Fat summer tournament in 2018. Photograph: Richard Blaxall

He signed up to the league on the relevant recommendations of a friend, and within two seasons he had lost 4st 10 lb( 30 kg ). By far the most motivating factor for him was Man v Fat’s squad component.” I don’t like letting people down, and on other diets it’s only yourself that you’re letting down if you don’t stick to it. With Man v Fat, it’s everyone on your team that’s affected if you fail and that helped me stick to my plan .”

As for his mental health, he is in a much better place than he was two years ago.” I was very close to my father and he died very suddenly, so it came as a real shock. We always had good food together, that was our thing- I guess me eating after he died was me trying to connect with him. But I look in the mirror now and I feel so much better about myself. I think my dad would be very proud .”

It’s a familiar tale for the Man v Fat coach Michael Falloon. After losing 8st himself in 2016, he qualified as a personal trainer, got a job with Man v Fat and now employs his personal experience and expertise to help others. “Losing weight gave me so much confidence,” he says.” I got to the point where I wouldn’t go to interviews because I guessed no one would devote person of my sizing a undertaking, so I know what the players are going through and the effects being overweight can have.

Matthew Maksimovic is a mental health worker from the outskirts of Cardiff. At 22, he was signed to the Welsh semi-professional team Merthyr Town until a contravene leg ended his dreams of playing at such a high level. It was then that he first started suffering from depression and gained weight. He carried on playing, though, until another serious injury a couple of years ago saw him stop playing altogether. His depression worsened and he put on even more weight.

He has now lost 3st 4lb( 21 kg) since signing up to Man v Fat last May, while his doctor has significantly lowered his antidepressant dosage. In addition, despite being 37, he is playing more football, and at a higher level, than ever before.

” I credit Man v Fat with giving me the belief to play again ,” he says.” Losing weight has changed not just my life, but that of my family, too. A day out with my daughter might have been jumping in the car and going to McDonald’s, but now we’ll head out for a walk and play in the park.

” I’m only sorry Man v Fat wasn’t around when I was 22 and I first started struggling with my weight. Who knows what I’d have achieved ?”

* To find out about your nearest Man v Fat football league, go to manvfat.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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