BodyRock, Balanced Body, Food and Fitness Tracker and More

I really need to get back into shape.

About a year, ago I got up early one morning to run. I like running very early in the morning, around 5 am, because it gets the heart pumping and I feel good the rest of the morning.

That particular morning was a bit cooler than the previous mornings so I cut my stretching short and started running at a pace much faster than normal. I was going along pretty good until about 1/2 mile into my 3 mile run, that's when I started feeling a weird pain in my right glutei. I sometimes feel pain in various parts of my body, especially sense I'm getting on in years, but this one was a bit different. It was deep in the muscle, and it hurt more no matter what I did.

I tried to ignore it, but it got progressively worse until, finally, about a mile into my run, I had to stop. Stretching only aggravated the pain. I was forced to limp, rather pathetically, back home.

Since that time I have not been able to run more than a few hundred feet before the pain kicks in again. Still, whatever I injured is healing albeit slowly. Before I could barely walk around the block with a severe limp, now I can do 3 to 5 miles of walking with hardly a twinge. And I have been walking. My forced sedentary lifestyle has not been kind to my waist, which has seen a steady circumferential increase.

While I have an excuse for my weight gain I have to admit it's a poor one. I could have exercised in many other ways. Sit-ups are still out of the question. I tried and got an instance reminder why I hadn't done them earlier. Even so my arms and legs are not broken, and there is a long list of workouts I could have used to keep my weight gain to a minimum.

I even have a home gym. It's buried under garage detritus, and it would somewhat of a workout just to get to it.

What to do?

It would be nice if I could afford a personal trainer, but since mine is the lifestyle of the average and unknown I'll have to look for more cost-conscious ways of whipping my bod into shape.

Luckily there's an iPhone app for that.

There are all sorts of diet and exercise apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, literally hundreds. One that I found interesting is with Zuzana Light.

OK, I'll admit that what attracted me to this app had nothing to do with exercise, but I did experience an increase in heart rate and my breathing was slightly heavier than normal. I am a man after all and the eye candy that liberally graces this app is more than worth the price.

Beyond the drool-worthiness, this app is a catalog of videos and instruction on exercise, letting you choose workouts that are right for you. I like that you can find workouts that target certain areas. For instance, I complained earlier about my expanding gut. There's a big list of exercises just for the abs.

Good stuff. should do the trick if you are wanting to get back to a shape that's less round and soft.

Exercise is only part of the fitness equation; you also need to manage your caloric intake.

When I was a lot younger I could eat a whole 16" sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom pizza, believed fast food fries and milk shakes were basic food groups, and would sneer with contempt at green leafy veggies, and I would not gain an ounce. These days finding a food that's tasty and contains high fiber is akin to finding a reserve of oil in my backyard.

I still eat pizza, heck, I'm not dead yet, but I can barely handle three pieces before feeling as though I could explode. And the calories in those three pieces can likely be measured as an increase in my girth the next morning.

What I need is a way to better mange what calories I take in versus what I burn.

Of course, there are iPhone apps for that.

One of which is Food and Fitness Tracker from SparkPeople.

This is a fine little app that helps you track the foods you eat and measures them against your activities. The idea is that if you know how many calories you're consuming you'll be more mindful and not eat so much and exercise more to burn it off.

Food and Fitness Tracker will list the approximate calorie count for a wide range of foods and let you keep a running total of the what you've eaten calorie wise. It does the same for your exercise and weight. All of which have to be inputted manually. The result is a chart that shows your progress as time goes on.

Remember that there is no magic pill that you swallow and in 5 minutes all your extra fat melts away. Not only is that gross, but it completely unrealistic. Those extra pound didn't appear overnight, so don't expect them to disappear without some effort.

To that end Food and Fitness Tracker can help.

Getting up the momentum to diet and exercise is tough. Sometimes it takes a lift-changing event to get people to change bad habits. Being healthy is just as much a state of mind as it is a state of body. That's where the personal trainer comes in, these folks are supposed to not only design an exercise program specifically for your needs, but also act as a motivator and coach.

Again, personal trainers want money for their services. If you only need a little extra motivation then you may be able to get all you need from Balanced Body Podcast.

This set of podcasts offers a wide range of exercises that are explained simply and shown so you can see what to do and how to do it. There are 17 episodes so far, and these are really well done.

One of the problems many face when working out is understand how to properly breath. Balanced Body Podcast even covers breathing. How cool is that?

Now, I you have no excuse. Balanced Body Podcast.

Ok, that's a wrap for this week.

More free goodies below with direct links.