With the sun occasionally beginning to peek out from behind the clouds and the temperature getting up, it's a great excuse for anyone who's been putting off getting in shape to put on the trainers and head outdoors. Whether you want to get in shape for that summer holiday or just enjoy a bike ride in the warmth, now's the perfect opportunity to get fit.
And right now, people have more help available than ever before when it comes to motivating themselves and checking on their progress. Whereas in the past, it was up to willpower alone to keep your head up when pounding the pavement, now there are a whole host of smartphone apps available that can help encourage you and give you a clear idea of how you're doing.
So why not strap on an iPhone 5s Running Sports Armband, load your most upbeat tunes and hit the roads or the gym, using some of our favourite apps to help boost your performance?
Nike Training Club
Like having a personal trainer in your pocket, the Nike Training Club app offers more than 100 workouts put together by Nike's professional trainers and world-class athletes like Maria Sharapova. You can select individual routines lasting 15, 30 or 45 minutes or choose a four-week programme to help get you lean and toned, with step-by-step visual and video demos to help you perfect every drill. It can also stream music from your library to keep you going and lets you view your favourite workouts and history, as well as share your progress via Facebook and Twitter.
Map My Ride
If running isn't your thing and you'd rather get on your bike, Map My Ride could be the perfect companion. The tools uses GPS data and Google Maps to track every aspect of your trips, turning your phone into a complete cycling computer with data on your route, speed, distance, calories, time and more. Use a BeachBuoy Bike Mounted Waterproof Case to mount your phone on your handlebars and you can get real-time updates on your progress. If you're a competitive soul, you can even take on on local courses to receive automatic achievements and get an overall rank on leaderboards for popular runs and rides.
Of course, working out is only half the job when it comes to staying in shape – watching what you eat is also essential if you're to get the body you dream of. And there's no better way to keep track of your diet than with Calorie Counter. It has a database of over three million foods and a barcode scanner for you to easily find the items you're eating, with information on calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar, fibre, cholesterol and more. It also lets you input your exercise regime and set goals for reports on how you're doing.
One of the hardest parts of any fitness plan can be keeping yourself motivated. After all, while it's easy to get yourself up on a beautiful sunny morning, doing so when its chilly and drizzling is a very different story. That's why apps like Fitocracy are such a good idea, as it can make your workout more fun by connecting you with other fitness enthusiasts and giving you challenges to beat and points to gain. Log your progress, list your goals and then hit them with guidance and help of other users. There are over 800 bodybuilding, cardio, weight training and bodyweight exercises to track, while you can also browse what other members are doing to see what works for people like you.
And making your exercise more interesting doesn't have to end there. If you're bored of running the same streets day in, day out, why not give Zombies, Run! a go? The app combines fitness and a story, giving you missions to achieve as you work out. Simply put in your headphones and get out the door and before you know it, you're involved in an immersive running game that sees you fleeing from the virtual undead. You can choose your own playlist of music tracks to interweave with the story and choose a workout speed that matches your fitness level while you gather survivors and essential supplies.
If you want an all-in-one solution for measuring your running and cycling performance, Strava has you covered. It's already been said that this tool has changed the way people think about riding due to the way it uses GPS to track your route and rank your performance against family, friends and the rest of the world. Leaderboards and challenges let you tap into your competitive instinct whether you're using pedal power or your own feet to explore the streets, while extras such as detailed heart rate analysis and details on key stats like distance, speed, elevation gained and calories burned help you understand what's working for you.