Believe it or not, applications made today to enhance personal fitness can help you get to know yourself better. Not every app has to be a personal fitness coach who designs your daily heated workouts. It’s important to recognize the many aspects at play in developing good fitness. Different apps are good for different things, and it’s never a bad idea to find your best fit for each type to build an arsenal of tools. While some focus on the workout routine itself, others focus on how to mold the rest of your schedule around the workout. Just like a gym has a universal machine, free weights, and treadmills to work the different parts of the body, apps exist to serve different dimensions of fitness such as diet, routine, sleep schedule. Some more unorthodox than others, the apps on this list should offer real support in areas of your life that need some assistance.

erik ledin - myfitnesspalTo manage your dietary needs and intake, I suggest MyFitnessPal which makes logging calories easy with accessible interface and a knowledgeable database of brand name foods you often see. As you develop your habits, MyFitnessPal’s food diary remembers your routines. HealthyOut makes it easy to enjoy special occasions out on the town while keeping faithful to your dietary restrictions. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean always cooking your own foods under house arrest.

Sleep Cycle is the most useful coach because it helps you with areas you can’t consciously control. Every night, sleep patterns change, and often we wake up with inexplicable muscular tension and spasms. As you move throughout the night, the app recognizes your movements and REM cycles, and tries to communicate with you accordingly. It won’t wake you up when you’re in your deepest sleep, that’s a sensitivity the everyday alarm clock just cannot offer.

One new and never before seen way to make sure you’ll lose weight and get in shape is to put your money where your mouth is. With DietBet, Healthywage, and similar budding programs, you have the opportunity to set up a wager on how much you will lose. If the muscle isn’t motivation enough, the money will help. If you hit your weekly goals, or exceed them, you’ll get paid for the bets you made. That’ll feel doubly rewarding.

Pick an app, try it out, and see if it works for you. Everybody is motivated differently, so listen to yourself and do what works for you.