It’s that time of year again. Those weeks just before the start of summer when folks are frantically scrambling to get that beach body in time for vacations at some tropical locale, or long weekends at the shore. That time when my Instagram feed becomes filled with gym selfies from people vowing to #getitin or proudly declaring their #grinding status to the world. If you were one of those for whom winter = hibernation, technology might have a way to whip you back into shape, or at least your abs anyway.
Runtastic, one of the leading developers of fitness software, brings you Runtastic Six Pack free for iOS and Android. This “personal six pack trainer in your pocket” promises to help you flatten your midsection on the go. Pick your avatar trainer, add you own music and get to crunching! There are videos to show you how each exercise is performed, and a ‘Tip of the Day’ gives you more useful advice to help with your workout. The videos also guide you through the actual workout itself, and with recovery time added in, each beginner ab workout takes between 8-10 minutes.
The one big problem I have with this app is the same problem I have with any app that takes a similar approach to the concept of “free”. With the free version, you get some basic functionality, but to unlock any of the features you may actually want to use you have to pay. I’d rather just pay for an app to get all of the features I want, or deal with the ads to use it for free. With Runtastic Six Pack, you’ll pay to get to more intense levels of exercise, you’ll pay to see certain videos, and you’ll pay to access some of the customized workouts as well.
So is the free version even effective in getting you that six-pack you always wanted? I had a couple of professionals test it out and the reviews were mixed. David A. Miller, Owner of D.A.M. Good Bodies Elite Personal Training, thought that although the exercises were fairly basic the app was easy to use. David went on to say that the free version of this app is definitely for beginners – anyone looking for a more advanced workout would have to pay to upgrade. Dr. Nina Cherie Franklin, Research Scientist, Exercise Physiologist & Nutritionist, agreed that the free version would only appeal to the beginner. But she cautioned that some of the more advanced exercises could “put undue stress on the lower back when performed excessively and repeatedly.” And she recommends a targeted diet and whole body exercise plan for anyone looking to lose a significant amount of belly fat as opposed to simply getting more definition in their abdominal area.
Overall, this app may help you go shirtless this summer, but it depends on the circumstances. You’ll probably need to upgrade at some point to get the most benefit, and you probably shouldn’t expect miracles if you haven’t worked out since before President Obama took office. And of course, always consult with your physician before starting any workout program.