My Top 3 Apps to Make You Stronger
We live in an age of tech. While tech aims to make our lives easier, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to know where to turn if you want to be a healthier, happier, less stressed, more productive human. Because I am all about maximizing purpose, wellness, and performance, I've tried my fair share of apps in this category. I've used apps for fitness. I've used apps for meditation, calorie tracking, even apps for how much time I'm on my apps. While some are more beneficial than others, the ones I gravitate to again and again are ones that are easy to use and help me improve my performance—although I think my GrubHub app has a mind of its own because buffalo wings seem to magically appear.
Given my interests and the fact that 90 percent of what my VC firm invests in is technology, I've analyzed my share of apps. As part of my research, I've developed a pretty extensive list. As a result, I'm going to share those that I think might be helpful for you to achieve your wellness goals.
My Top 3 Wellness Apps:
WHOOP: Performance App
Notable: People can optimize their daily performance through a systematic approach to understanding their bodies. Whoop provides tools to accomplish this through their wearable band and app.
Cost: Individual subscriptions for $30 per month; team subscriptions vary.
Why I use it: It provides predictive insights about what I need to do—versus what I've done—to perform better, which translates into the gym, office, and home. Although I like my Fitbit and still wear it for a variety of reasons, Whoop is my go-to fitness app. It provides insights about how my work stress and workouts affect my body. Based on the insights, I get a daily score to know where I am. Then, Whoop calculates how much sleep I need to perform at my best the next day. It also provide a recovery score in the morning, so I know if my body is ready to really push my workout or my workload, or if I need to slow it down (or maybe even take the day off). By following these indicators, I've been performing better at work and in the gym, which is often interconnected.
What bugs me: Because I use my Fitbit to keep an eye on my heartbeats per minute (BPM) to monitor my stress level during the day in meetings, I need to wear two devices: Fitbit and Whoop. I also use my Fitbit silent alarm to remind me to be present, which Whoop can't do.
Calm: Meditation App
Noteable: Calm is the #1 app for mindfulness and wellness, with over 26 million downloads and over 225,000 5-star reviews. They were recently named Apple’s App of the Year and Editors’ Choice by Google Play
Cost: Free basic service. Premium services offered with various payment options.
Why I use it: I've used a number of meditation apps and I've narrowed it down two that I use the most: Calm and Headspace. When I first started using Calm, I really liked the 21 day programs. Over time, I finished the programs that interested me. I would occasionally go back to practice a few of them again, but my practice shifted to listening to their daily meditation referred to as the Daily Calm led by Tamara Levitt. I enjoy the random nature of topics covered during the 10-minute guided meditation. It was easy to sit down, settle in, and zen out. Although not on my app, I use Calm's background music while at work. The bubbling stream, crackling fire, and other ambient sounds provide the necessary white noise to help me concentrate.
What bugs me: Like many things in life, it's hard to please all of the people all of the time. And that is certainly true for the Daily Calm topics. I don't always agree with the point of view of the guided meditations. That said, I occasionally find myself either very distracted during the meditation—which the practice should address—or I just turn it off.
Myone: Fitness App
Noteable: MyZone provides real-time feedback for maximum efficiency in tracking workouts and heart rate. It is also primed for group goal setting, social accountability, fun challenges, and the opportunity to earn badges and climb status rankings.
Cost: $149 for the Myzone belt. No monthly subscription fee.
Why I use it: I love using Myzone to give me real-time feedback when I'm working out to ensure I'm maximizing my time in the gym. By wearing the Myzone belt, my app provides me up-to-date status of heart rate, regardless if I'm in the gym, on the bike, or the running path, so I can calibrate my intensity to get the right zone, which is essential for High Intensity Interval Training. I really like the visual color cues because I'm usually head down and don't want to think about the percentage of maximum heart rate I should be performing at. After I'm done, the app provides a quick recap of my workout and allows me to assess it against other works to see how I'm progressing.
What bugs me: There are too many features on the app that I don't use, which makes it a little clunky to review the features that matter to me.