If you made a New Year's resolution to get in shape or have been thinking about it for a while, here are three iOS apps that can help get you started. For this article I used these apps on an iPhone 5 running iOS 8.1.2.
This is a good app for learning yoga in the privacy of your home. If you cannot attend a class or if the instructor is unable or unwilling to assist you with detailed verbal pose descriptions, this app clearly describes each pose.
Pocket Yoga's Home Screen
The "Store" button is located at the top left of the app's home screen. The next button is "Poses," where very clear pose descriptions are presented. The next button is "Ocean." Activating "Ocean" loads a page where you choose your session level and time duration.
The "Settings" button is in the lower left corner. Next is the "History" button, which records the date and length of your workouts. The next button is "Karma." You get one Karma point for each 15 minutes of practice; activating this button tells you how many points you have. Use these points to unlock additional levels in the Pocket Yoga Store, accessed through the "Store" button. The final button is "About." Activating this button presents options to visit the appp'S related website, explore additional apps, and follow the app on social networks.
The first option in the Settings menu is Voice, which toggles the app's speech on or off. Perform a one-finger double tap to toggle. Above the Voice toggle is a picker for adjusting voice volume.
The next heading is Music, which toggles the app's music on or off and allows you to adjust the volume as for Voice. The app's default setting uses its own music for all parts of a workout. However, this can be changed by double tapping on any of the workout parts and choosing the music you want.
Next is a heading labeled "Overlay Displays." There are two options in this section. The first is a switch to show the number of calories burned during the workout. The second shows heart rate. A heart rate monitor is required to use this feature.
The final heading is Health. This lets you choose to share Pocket Yoga information with the Apple Health app. To get out of the Settings menu, use the "Done" button in the upper right corner.
It is important to do yoga poses (positions) correctly. Activating the "Poses" button will load a page with several sorting options and the names of the various poses. From the top of the page, flick right. The first control is a "Search" button. Activating this button will bring up an edit box. Enter the name of a specific pose and activate the "Search" button at the bottom right. A list of results will be displayed. Double-tap on the desired result. Flicking right past the "Search" button are two more buttons, "Images" and "Text." Make sure Text is selected.
On the bottom of the screen are four sorting buttons: "Name," "Category," "Subcategory," and "Difficulty." Activating any of these buttons provides various ways to sort the poses. For example, activating the Difficulty option sorts into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and expert.
To read the description of a particular pose, double-tap on the name and then use any technique, such as flicking down with two fingers, to read the description. Information provided will include the benefits of each pose. Activate the "Poses" button in the upper left corner to get back to the list of poses.
Choosing a Routine
From the home screen, activate the "Ocean" button. The next page gives a brief description of the Ocean style workout and provides options to choose duration, difficulty, and environment. The final option is "Start Practice."
If you aren't familiar with yoga poses, consider listening to the routine first and reviewing the poses that you'll need. Sighted assistance may be helpful.
Doing a Routine
Once the "Start Practice" button is activated, Pocket Yoga will play music and the voice will begin speaking. Each time a pose is given, you will initially hear a description of how to do it. After the warm-up, poses will come at a faster rate without description. There are a few instructions that are not poses and therefore have no description. For example, the instructor will say the word "soften." There is no yoga pose with that name. With sighted assistance I learned that "soften" means to relax the body. Flick around the screen to find the number of calories burned.
Pause the routine by activating the "Home" button. When you reload the app there will be a "Back" button in the upper left. Next will be how many minutes of the routine have already been completed, the percentage of the routine completed, and how much time is left. Next will be a "Finish" button and the number of calories burned so far. Flicking right, there are three buttons: "Previous Pose," "Play/Pause," and "Next Pose." Finally, there is a "Sound Control" button. Activating this button will give you access to the voice and music volumes. Once done, activate the Dismiss Pop-Up option. This will bring you back to the "Play" button.
Although Pocket Yoga is not perfectly accessible, it is quite good. You will be able to make sure you learn the poses correctly and track your progress.
CARROT Fit takes a humorous spin on exercise, offering intense 7-minute interval workouts via "a sadistic AI construct with one simple goal: to transform your flabby carcass into a Grade A specimen of the human race."
CARROT Fit's Home Screen
The first button on the screen is "Settings." The next is "Start Workout." Next is a button to select your avatar. The final two buttons are "Profile" and "Store."
The first category in Settings is General. Within this category are options to set speech to either chatty or terse. The next control turns sounds on or off. The next option is measurement units. The options are US, UK, or Metric.
The next option sets reminders. When this button is activated there are options to set reminders for workouts and weigh-ins. Reminders are set by using pickers to set the time and using buttons to set the days. Unfortunately, only one time can be entered for workouts and only one can be entered for weigh-ins. When done setting reminders, activate the "Back" button in the upper left.
The next Settings option is Punishments. When this button is activated, there will be a list of the punishments that can be disabled, though you will find there are punishments that cannot be disabled.
The next heading is Sync. The first option is whether to sync your data with Dropbox. The next option is whether to sync your data with the Apple Health app. To do this, activate the button and make your selections.
The next heading is Profile. The first option is a button to edit your profile. You can choose what CARROT calls you, enter your age, and enter your height.
The remaining options in the Settings menu are locked and you must exercise to unlock them.
The "Start Workout" button is the next option on the home screen. When it is activated, CARROT will make a sound and say something. The next button after "Start Workout" is "Avatar." Double-tap which of the several options you want to use.
The next button is "Profile." To edit your profile, activate the "Edit Profile" button in the upper left corner. At the bottom of the page is a "Rewards" button. Activating this button will display a list of options available for a particular number of points. Activate the button associated with each reward to learn details. The next button is "Weigh-In." Here is where you will enter your weight. Carrot will respond to your weight loss or gain.
The final button on the Home Screen is "Store." This is where you can make in-app purchases such as an exercise booster pack.
After activating the "Start Workout" button, two new buttons will appear on the screen, "Begin Workout" and "Instructions." The first time the "Begin Workout" is activated, CARROT will clearly explain each exercise. After that, CARROT assumes that you know how to do them. Activating the "Instruction" button brings up a list of all exercises. There is a button for each exercise. When activated, CARROT will say something snarky. Flick down with two fingers and CARROT will read the step-by-step instructions for the exercise. There are buttons for the previous and next exercises. The "Back" button is in the upper left corner. This will bring you back to the list of exercises. Get out of the list by activating the "Close" button in the upper right corner.
Exercises have different names. For example, Can't Get Ups are crunches and Territory Markers are squats. To review instructions for an exercise while in the middle of the workout, double-tap the screen. Three buttons will appear: "Resume Workout," "Instructions," and "Quit Workout." CARROT offers congratulations when a workout is completed. Quitting the workout will make her say something rude like, "Are you a quitter, Meat Bag?" There will then be an option to resume the workout or quit.
An Exercise Booster Pack is available from the CARROT store. The first time the booster pack is used, CARROT will again speak instructions for the exercises. From then on, Carrot will mix the new exercises into the original exercise group.
This app is very accessible and can be a lot of fun. It's a good way to get exercise in very little time. Just remember that CARROT may not always be nice.
If you are looking for a high-spirited and unique way to count calories and track your workouts, CARROT Hunger might be for you. CARROT Hunger definitely has an attitude.
VoiceOver and CARROT Hunger
There are some issues with this app, but it is definitely useable. When flicking on the screen, you may hear the iOS error sound or VoiceOver may not say anything. Drag your finger on the screen until you hear VoiceOver begin to speak, then try flicking on the screen again.
Another issue with the app is that sometimes VoiceOver will lose focus when you are entering text into an edit box, which can cause the virtual keyboard to disappear. Double-tap on the edit box again or try moving your finger on the screen. The iOS dictation feature works when entering information such as the name of a food.
When CARROT Hunger is first installed, you need to create a profile. Long strings of numbers may be spoken during this process—just ignore them and use the edit fields. The first category in the profile is General. Enter your name (or whatever you want CARROT Hunger to call you) in the first edit field. The default is Meat Bag.
There are additional edit fields for gender, birth date, height, and current weight. The next choice is Activity level. CARROT Hunger will present several options. The next edit box is Your Greatest Fear.
In the next part of the Profile, choose if you want to lose, maintain, or gain weight. Although VoiceOver reads the fields as edit boxes, double tap and VoiceOver will speak an option, double tap again and a new option will be spoken. Continue this procedure until you find the correct option for you. It is possible to manually enter the number of calories to eat per day. Be aware that occasionally the keyboard may vanish when entering information. Flick around the screen or double-tap on the edit box. This problem also sometimes occurs when entering calories or exercises.
CARROT Hunger Home Screen
On the CARROT Hunger home screen there is a "Record Calories" button, a "Diary" Button and a "Menu" button. Activating the "Menu" button loads a page with more options. There are buttons labeled "Profile," "Store," "Reminders," "Help," "Settings," and "About." At the top is the "Record Calories" button. Sometimes flicking on the screen does not read all the buttons. Try starting from the bottom of the screen and flicking left. Another option is to slide your finger on the screen.
To make changes to or create a profile, activate the "Profile" button. The "Store" button opens a page for in-app purchases.
The "Reminders" button lets you set up specific reminders during the day. CARROT Hunger can remind you to log your calories for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and end of day. When double tapping on an option, VoiceOver does not indicate that the option was selected. Near the bottom of the screen will be pickers for hour, minute, and AM or PM. When finished entering a reminder, activate the "Done" button in the lower right corner. To remove a reminder, double-tap on the option; the "Remove" button is to the left of the "Done" button.
The Help section contains a lot of information on logging foods, logging exercises, and daily reports.
The Settings option is where voice and sound toggles are located. You can also choose measurement units such as pounds or kilograms. Review selections by tapping on the edit box. This gesture will cycle through the various options.
The next section is Punishments. This is where you choose how CARROT Hunger responds if you exceed your calorie limit. The next section of Settings is about syncing CARROT Hunger with other apps such as Dropbox. The final section is about using gestures to control CARROT Hunger functions. Unfortunately, these gestures conflict with VoiceOver's gestures.
Begin the process by activating the "Record Calories" button. CARROT Hunger will suggest items to log. There is a search box you can use to find a food. It is possible to enter information by using the dictation feature. By default, CARROT Hunger will search recent foods. There is a "Search All Foods" button, which will appear if no recent results were found. Review results and select the correct one. CARROT Hunger will instruct to review the number of servings. If you ate one serving, activate the "Submit" button. If you ate more than one serving, change the number in the edit box before activating the "Submit" button. The correct number of calories will then be added to your calorie tracking. If you explore the screen, sometimes CARROT Hunger will tell you how much exercise you need to do to burn off those calories.
Once foods are entered, the most recent items will appear near the top of the screen, along with CARROT Hunger's suggestions. Foods can be entered by just filling in the Calories Consumed edit box. There is also an option to add a new food that isn't in the app's database. A bar code scanner is also available if you can see or locate bar codes. The scanner option is at the top of the page.
By flicking right with one finger past the calorie section, you'll encounter the option to switch to Exercise View. In this view, you can search for an exercise. There is also an option to add an exercise that is not in the database. Controls are similar to those used to enter calories. When exercises are added, CARROT Hunger adjusts the number of calories you can eat.
It is easy to access many features from the CARROT Hunger home page. Performing a two-finger double tap will bring up options to search foods, search exercises, and scan a bar code. This is a very convenient way to access frequently used tools in the app.
The diary keeps a list of everything you have eaten, in chronological order. Calories burned through exercises are also included.
Although there are some focus issues with this app, it is very easy to use. An excellent feature is that it says the amount of exercise needed to burn off calories you've consumed. Since it's free, consider giving CARROT Hunger a try.
CARROT Fit 7 Minute Workout, Step Counter and Weight Tracker