Fitness apps come to the rescue of New Year’s resolutions

New year, new aspirations. If running a marathon is a part of your New Year resolution, Sportlyzer is a tool which may help. It is specifically developed for the endurance sport enthusiasts such as runners or cyclists, but aims to support also the less ambitious racers, to help improve fitness level or complete a race.

The Estonian startup and a Seedcamp company, Sportlyzer analyzes workout goals, develops a personalized plan and records workout data. The co-founder and CEO of Sportlyzer Tonis Saag told me: “Every plan in this world gets knocked out by the reality in a couple of weeks. That’s why the essence of Sportlyzer is not just generating training programs, but also adjusting these on the fly. This way the generated plans work even if the user deviated from the training instructions in the past”.

According to Saag, years of sport science research have gone into developing  Sportlyzer’s algorithms, so that resulting plan which one receives within seconds, is just a tip of the iceberg.

Sportlyzer is about setting and achieving goals, and social sharing  is essential to stay on track and show progress. This is why Sportlyzer enables its users to connect with with Facebook friends and share the results of the training. Results can also be compared, which works well for members of running or cycling clubs.

At first, Sportlyzer appears to focus on the more serious end of the amateur racers, as integration with a pricey heart rate monitors such as Garmin, Timex and other brands is in place to keep track of the heart rate, which is the key parameter in evaluating the intensity of training.

Nevertheless Sportlyzer is also suitable for the general fitness amateurs (like me) who do not track their heart rate while training. Instead one can use “difficulty of talking” to measure intensity of the workout.

When it comes to Sportlyzer competition, it does exist. For DACH runners (people in Germany, Austria, Switzerland) it is Quevita, a Swiss company. British TrainSmart also caters to the outdoor sport enthusiasts, with its plans starting from GBP 70 per year. 2Peak is a personalized online training program, which will even provide a Garmin device if needed. It is available in 5 European languages and the pricing starts at 72 Euros per year. However, Sportlyzer is still in beta, and it is free.

Alternatives to outdoor sports are aplenty, and so are online sports coaches. One of them is DailyBurn, which was launched at TechStars Demo Day in 2008. It targets home fitness segment, appears to focus on the weight loss as a primary goal and charges a little over $10 per month to offer personalized training plan and nutritional advice (available only in English). Recently DailyBurn added gamification element to motivate its users to lead healthy lifestyle, and learn about fitness.

Then there is a GainFitness, founded by former Googlers and a RockHealth accelerator company, which aims at those who work out at home or in the gym. The workout plan includes free weight training or requires gym equipment. There is also an iPhone app with over 700 different exercises. It is available in English and both the service and the app are free.

And finally, Adidas has a MiCoach tool, available internationally. It sells monitoring devices, and offer the service to analyze workout data, design a fitness plan and share it on the social networks.

There are plenty of options to get fit. And if your new year resolution does include running a marathon, Sportlyzer team has pulled together over a thousand of marathon and half-marathons races happening around the world in 2012. Check it out here.