Hello New Year's Resolution: 5 Innovative Ways to Track Your Weight Online

By Katie Kindelan Comment

So maybe your iPhone alarm failed to wake you up for the gym this morning in your first attempt to fulfill the most basic of New Year’s resolutions, get in shape. Does that mean you should swear off all technology in your quest to lose weight and get fit in the New Year? We think not.

It is 2011, after all, which means plenty of ways to use social networks, apps and more to get that svelte body and mind you resolved to achieve. And even if you love the Internet more than vegetables and would rather Tweet about the gym than actually go to the gym, consider yourself saved. Here are 5 ways to stay fit AND stay online.

Get on the Phone

Not just for texting, playing Angry Birds and checking Facebook, iPhones can be good for your health. Take advantage of all your phone has to offer with apps like FitFu and GymFu. Both apps give you exercises to do on-the-go, while FitFu also makes it social by letting you compare your progress with friends, either by competing for points or just cheering them on. More well known are the Nike+ apps for iPhones and iPods that use a sensor in your running shoe to track your progress and let you set music tracks to mimic your pace and keep you moving.

Other useful apps include Runkeeper for the iPhone and Android and Endomondo for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia, both of which offer social fitness features and let friends track your running progress in real time on a map.

Text to Lose

The brave, and trustworthy, can try textWeight, a simple, new service that holds you to your New Year’s weight loss pledge by sending you a reminder text at 8am every morning, to which you reply (on the honor system) with your weight. textWeight then creates a graph of your weight loss progress, so you can measure every pound lost towards your goal over time. Created by Kevin Morrill, the service also offers a way to “skinny” out by just sending “stop” as a reply to any textWeight message or clicking the stop button on the website graph and is working on time adjustment features and other enhancements to come.

Step on a Virtual Scale

Forget the weekly weigh-in at the office Weight Watchers meeting, the Withings Scale ties into an online service that keeps track of stats like your body mass and fat index so you can see how you’re progressing in your quest for the new you. You can view your latest figures in a browser or via the scale’s iPhone app. And those for whom it takes an online village can set the WiFi-enabled device to automatically tweet out their weight each day. While for some that might seem a bit like TMI, for the Tweeter generation it could be just the encouragement needed to keep at it.

Join an Online Club

Web sites like the Daily Burn, MyFitnessPal, Skinnyo and Calorie King let you keep track of your calorie intake and nutrition information and set up customized training plans. You can also tap into the social aspect of the Web with motivational groups that let you compare your progress with, and set challenges for, other people. Daily Burn also has an iPhone app that lets you log your training progress, check nutritional information of food you eat using barcode scanning and take part in ‘Push up wars’ against others. Both sites have membership fees for the full slate of services, although, with Daily Burn, there’s a free 7-day trial period.

Stay at Your Desk

Confused as to how this will work? The Isokinetics Pedal Exercisers lets you exercise at your desk, keeping your legs moving with an under-the-desk pedal machine while your eyes stay on the computer and your fingers type away. Or, move it onto your desk for an arm workout while you keep just your eyes on the screen. The manufacturers promise that regular use will improve circulation, muscle strength, joint range of motion, and coordination. The SurfShelf, meanwhile, clips onto your treadmill, bicycle or other machine to let you rest your laptop while you walk, jog or cycle. Not sure what kind of workout you’ll get, but it will permit you to, at the very least, change your email auto-reply to “sent from my treadmill.”

How’s that for impressing the boss, and your personal trainer, in the New Year?