When it comes to the world of fitness and technology things are just getting started. This year at CES and Mobile World Congress, wearables and tools used to measure your fitness routines have become one of the biggest growth fields. And why not? With all the advancements, it's about time we started to use technology for healthy reasons.
TRAINR (getrainr.io) is one of those new companies that is looking to shake things up. They're not another me-too organization in creating their own smartwatch or smart device; instead they want to come up with software tools for those pieces of technology, including smartphones.
Two days ago, the TRAINR app for Windows Phone was released to the Store, beating out iOS and Android. TRAINR does have apps for the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear Neo, though their Windows Phone app is their first foray into a general exercise app for beginners on up through regular gym rats.
From the app description:
Broken down you get
- 4 multi-day routines based on high intensity interval training
- 21 bodyweight and dumbbell based exercises for your upper body, lower body, and core.
TRAINR is easy to setup, with big, bold screens that walk you through the process. Enter in your gender, height and weight, and the program does the rest. From there, you get two choices: Challenges or Workout. The 'Challenges' allow you to push your limits for certain exercises like 90 degree crunch, leg thrusts and the dreaded burpee. 'Workout' takes you to another section where you can do a basic diagnostic, quick circuits and multi-day programs.
Probably the nicest feature of TRAINR is the detailed walk-throughs of each exercise. Indeed, almost certainly the number one barrier for a lot of people who want to get fit is knowing what to do and how to do it. It's the old 'Okay, where do I even start?' issue that we all face when trying something new. TRAINR makes this simple with descriptions and detailed photos of the moves that you're supposed to do so that you do the exercise correctly. It makes learning them dead simple and it's perfect for those who are just beginning. It's also great for folks who have been exercising for a long time.
TRAINR doesn't use any of the Windows Phone sensors e.g. the upcoming SensorCore technology featured on new Lumia phones. It's in essence a basic exercise app that lets you count and record reps for your exercises, challenges you to push further and multi-level routines to make sure your body doesn't get used to anything.
What makes TRAINR worth the download is the excellent layout, detailed exercises and ease of use. I'll be curious to see if the folks behind TRAINR, Los Angeles-based company FOCUS, enable the use of SensorCore in future versions similar to Bing Health + Fitness. After all, their motivation as a company is to leverage such technology so that they can use their proprietary algorithms and SDK to calculate your level of fitness. SensorCore though is still very new so there will be some breathing room before it becomes adopted by developers.
If there were any complaints about TRAINR, it would be the inability to export or share my data with other services like MyFitnessPal or even FitBit. That's always a touchy subject with some companies, though I wouldn't mind being able to utilize the data fully as I see fit. Also, I noticed I would get reminder notifications at a higher frequency than I would prefer with no option to disable. However, that's easily solved on Windows Phone 8.1 where users can control those through the OS settings.
TRAINR is a free app, and you can create an account right on the phone. I found it useful for doing circuit training routines and even appreciate picking up a few new moves. It's also great to see a company delving into Windows Phone before the competition.
Download the app, give it a spin and tell me what you think of it in comments. Is TRAINR something that can help you? What would you like the developers to add next?
TRAINR is part of our new Hidden Gems series in cooperation with Microsoft to highlight new or under-appreciated apps on Windows and Windows Phone. See our announcement post for more information.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.