What is Workout Software?

M.J. Brower

Workout software is personal productivity software that helps people achieve their fitness goals. Workout planners, training logs, and exercise trackers are all examples of popular workout applications. These applications are available for personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and mobile phones; nearly any device that has an operating system has at least a few workout tools. Some workout software operates with a hardware device such as a pedometer or heart rate monitor.

A pedometer.
A pedometer.

One of the fastest-growing kinds of workout software is the smartphone application. Every major category of workout software has its own smartphone application. There are workout planners, calorie calculators, and training logs. There are even smartphone applications that can use the phone's motion sensor to count steps, and applications that use the phone's global positioning system (GPS) to calculate the distance of a run.

Workout software apps are available for a variety of smartphones.
Workout software apps are available for a variety of smartphones.

Workout software is available for nearly any aspect of fitness, from planning a workout to recording completed workouts. Workout planning tools help a user create workout routines, based on variables such as her goals or her current weight and age. Exercise trackers are used to record exercise: The date, the type of exercise, the duration, and sometimes an estimate of the number of calories burned. Strength training logs are used to record the type of exercise, the weight used, and the number of reps and sets.

A typical comprehensive fitness software package might include modules for planning or tracking cardio, strength, and flexibility workouts. It might also include a nutrition calculator and a food diary. Some applications offer videos of exercisers to demonstrate form and technique. Nearly all fitness software lets users create graphs and charts to show progress toward fitness goals.

Increasingly, workout applications are integrated with a website, or are offered completely online. Such integration allows software users to interact with each other. They might participate in discussion forums, fitness challenges, and recipe exchanges. Some websites offer free access and registration in order to try to sell their software; others are mostly free, with just a few privileges for software purchasers.

Workout software can be an excellent tool for computer users and smartphone users who want to track their physical fitness. Many people feel a sense of accomplishment when they record their workouts, and are motivated to continue exercising by seeing their progress presented visually on a graph or chart. While it's certainly possible to keep records and graph data without the aid of special software—or even a computer—workout software can make it easier.

Workout software can help people achieve fitness goals.
Workout software can help people achieve fitness goals.

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