By Andrea Bell
A career in sports is not your average 9-to-5 job. It requires passion, zeal and complete dedication to your physical fitness and nutrition. Sportsmen find themselves globetrotting more often than your average travel junkie to participate in various sporting events and celebrity endorsements all over the world.
Multiple apps have been designed for the use of athletes and sportsmen. Here are our favorite 21 apps to help you train hard, sleep well, stay entertained and travel easy, regardless of your sport:
Travel with Ease
1. Trip Case
As a sportsperson, training is probably your top concern when travelling officially. Organizing the details of your trip may not be a priority for you, but it is essential if you want to get there on schedule. Trip Case is a free itinerary management app to streamline and organize all your travel plans. From hotel bookings and car rentals to airport and gate information, it compiles all the information in one place.
The app will also notify you, if there is a change in your flight schedule. You can find more info on this app on its website travel.tripcase.com.
2. XE Currency
Being in a different country is challenging, especially when you would rather concentrate on being in top shape, rather than worry about pesky currency exchange rates. Whether you want to go to the local store to pick up some groceries or to go out into the city to relax after the competition, you will need to know the local currency exchange rates. XE.com is the top website for currency conversions on the Internet. Its app is equally trusted as vouched by its over 20 million downloads since launch. It can convert every currency in the world and works offline by saving the last updated rates; a handy feature to have if you are trying to save your data package or are facing limited connectivity.
From what to expect to what to pack, every sportsperson needs to know what the weather will be like at their destinations. Olympian Natasha Hastings has said “I check my weather app every morning. I train outdoors, so it’s imperative that I know what the weather will be for that day. I also use it to plan my packing for trips.” The weather app can be downloaded from Google Play Store or iTunes.
Bvddy is akin to Tinder for athletes, but it is not a dating app. Claiming to be the ultimate tool for discovering new friends that play the sports you love, it seeks to connect individuals based on their location, skill level at a particular sport, and how often they play. The app even factors in punctuality and competitive spirit in its algorithms. It allows sportsmen who travel frequently to meet, socialize and train with others in their field.
Currently the app has been launched in South Florida but is due to expand to other cities around the United States. Though at the moment it is free, it plans to be offered at premium services through a monthly subscription fee. It is available on iTunes and Google Play Store with more information available at Bvddy.com.
5. Live Trekker
Every athlete knows the importance of recording his triumphs and failures, to understand the mistakes he makes and learn from his failures. Live Trekker allows its users to create a digital journal for travels, with which one can look back at the trip with an interactive map. Marking a red line along the map, this free app follows and marks your journey. Pictures, video, audio and text can be added, creating a multimedia travel diary that can be shared. Livetrekker.com explains the full functionality of this app.
Stay in Shape
6. Dartfish Express
Available on iTunes for $6.99, Dartfish Express is an ideal video coaching tool for sportspersons. Its many features include allowing athletes to record themselves with the options for slow-motion replay, control video replay frame-by-frame, comparing two videos side-by-side and zoom. What makes it valuable for travelling athletes, however, are the powerful analysis tools such as drawings and labels to aid understanding of the recording. It is not always possible for sportsmen to travel with their coaches. Dartfish Express steps in to make up for the absence of the coach. Dartfish.com also offers a free trial.
“Most hotel gyms are just a small row of treadmills, and maybe a half-complete weight rack. For anyone serious about working out, it’s usually not enough,” Kevin Bracken, chief executive officer of Gymsurfing has said. Gymsurfing is an iPhone app that helps travelers book day passes to professional gyms. Staying in shape is essential for sportsmen and since hotel gyms may not always be enough, this app helps them see gyms nearby with the price of a day pass, along with other offers.
Day passes cost between $5 to $20 for gyms that offer old school bodybuilding or state-of-the-art-corporate-style equipment. Currently, the app features gyms for San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and Toronto, with plans to include others.
8. Nike+ Training Club
Nike+ Training Club app is like having a personal trainer in your pocket. This free app, available on iTunes, has more than a hundred workouts with text, audio and video guidance for every move. Its training plans can be personalized, allowing sportsmen and athletes to make up for a missed day or increase intensity after hitting a peak.
Any form of exercise, from football to yoga, can be entered into the app, allowing NTC to become smarter at balancing your fitness routine. Olympians English Gardener and Allyson Felix both use NTC because it is easy to put together a workout with the right balance of strength, endurance, and recovery exercises. Nike.com has more information on this app.
9. Runtastic apps
Runtastic has a suite of apps that cover various areas of cardio, strength training, and tracking. For example, Runtastic Results offers 12-week customized training plans and health and nutrition guidelines. Similarly, other Runtastic apps include Runtastic pro, Mountain Bike Pro, Pedometer pro, Altimeter pro, Push-Ups pro, Runtastic Butt Trainer and many more. The full list is available at Runtastic.com. No matter what kind of exercise or regime you want, there is a Runtastic app designed to help you keep your body fit for any match, competition, or meet.
Sometimes, even with all the dedication it takes to be a sportsman, there are days when you just don’t have the energy to squeeze in a workout routine. Maybe you have travelled too many miles, or seen the inside of one too many hotel rooms, sometimes you want to just to take a walk and relax. The app Stepz track steps, allowing you to walk around a new city, take in the sights, and still be able to tell how much you have worked out. “I watch my step count, because some days, when I’m feeling really tired and don’t feel like I can get out the door, I’ll go to the pool and then take a long walk. It’s kind of nice to be like, well, I walked a mile and a half and I feel pretty good,” vouches Olympian Emily Infeld. Stepzapp.com provides all the information on this app.
Nutrition is as important as working out and practicing to stay in shape. MyFitnessPal is a popular app that lets users track their activity and food intake. This is especially important as a travelling athlete can never be sure about the amount of nutrition, or lack thereof, in the local cuisine. With over 6 million food items in its database, sportsmen can easily figure out what is the most nutritious in the hotel’s breakfast buffet. This free app even comes with a bar code scanner so athletes can find out what the calorie count was for their granola bar breakfast. To explore its benefits, you can check out its website myfitnesspal.com.
While sweating copious amounts during the daily workout, it is important to keep drinking water. It may be easy to forget to do so, in the midst of the workout. This app helps athletes schedule hydration reminders for before, during and after workouts. It can also be integrated with FitBit. Its other features include calculating how much fluid intake is required to rehydrate and graphs showing your water intake over time. More information is available at ihydrateapp.com.
13. UA Record
Record by Under Armor tracks four areas: sleep, fitness, activity, and nutrition. Instead of having a different app for each important area of staying in shape, UA Record houses all data under one label. Keeping sleep paramount of the four, Olympian Natasha Hastings has said “I use this daily, mainly because I like to track my sleep, as it can sometimes become a challenge with my heavy training schedule. It is an important part of my recovery routine, so [I need to] keep track of just how much sleep I’m actually getting.” Record.underarmour.com is your best source of information for this app.
14. Instant Heart Rate
As an athlete, knowing your heart rate is important to avoid overexertion or burnout. The Instant Heart Rate app, available at Google Play Store and iTunes, comes in handy. All it requires is the index finger on the camera lens to calculate your heart rate in less than 10 seconds. Features include heart rate measurement, heart rate activity zone calculator and stand-up test for fatigue and fitness testing. “Your heart rate can elevate too much when you over train, so I use the app to figure out whether I should keep going or if I should slow down,” says Olympian English Gardner.
Zoom helps people stay connected through video conferencing and online meetings. It allows its users to join 50-person meetings with video streaming, screen sharing and instant messaging. Though used in businesses, it is can be used by travelling student athletes, in order to stay on top of their studies. Using this app they can have one-on-one video meetings with other students, participate in tutoring sessions or meet with their faculty. This free android based app can be used over Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE and 3G networks. To understand its functionality more, you can explore the website zoom.us.
Another app that can help students keep up with their studies, while being away for sports competitions is Slack. Basically, it allows you to create a network, which can be shared with your team and fellow students. This puts all communication in one place so students can stay in touch with what is happening in school, as well on the team. Slack integrates with Google Drive, Twitter and syncs across devices and allows student athletes to get more done with less email. Slack.com has all the information you require on this app.
Apps to Relax
17. Sleepy Time! zZz
Sleep is when a body recovers the strength used in the day. For sportsmen, it is absolutely essential to get some good rest after pushing their bodies to the limit all day. Talking about using Sleep Time! zZz, a sleep tracking app, Olympian English Gardner says “When I started using this app, I noticed that I was getting a lot of REM sleep and not enough deep sleeps. I train in six-week cycles and normally, by the fourth week, my body is starting to break down. I noticed that when I was getting more deep sleep, I was able to make it to the middle of the fifth week.”
This app works as an alarm clock as well as a sleep cycle calculator. By placing it in the corner of your bed with the screen face down, it can detect sleep patterns to analyze how deep or light your sleep truly is. This app is available on Google Play Store and iTunes.
18. Rain Rain Sleep Sounds
Knowing that sleep is important does not mean that one will fall asleep immediately. In fact, humans tend to forgo sleep, despite knowing it is important. Rain Rain Sleep Sounds makes ambient noises that can lull a weary soul into sleep, as attested by Olympian Emily Infeld. “Rain noises are really nice because I have trouble sleeping, especially at altitude. They are super soothing to me,” she says. Available on iTunes, Google Play Store, and Amazon, rainrainapp.com allows you to try out the different sounds that calm you and help you fall asleep.
19. Big Barn World
Another way to relax is to play games such as Big Barn World developed by AirG. A social farming game, it allows the travelling sportsman to connect with friends in a fun way. Playing a game can also ward off homesickness, while the simple tasks provide relaxation and amusement. This app has great feedback from its users and can easily be found on several forums or in reviews sections of different stores.
20. Reaction Test
Some sportsmen find it hard to relax, if they are not doing something constructive right before a big competition. Reaction Test is an app that hones reflexes crucial for athletes. It is available on Google Play Store and iTunes for free. Though downloading all these apps may not be feasible for an athlete, a prudent combination of these apps will help overcome most hurdles that a sportsman faces while travelling frequently, allowing him to be at the top of his form for all upcoming competitions.
Author Bio: Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell