The fit doc

The fit life made easy, thanks to apps for every schedule and skill level

Apps for running, cycling, strength, and more can help DOs with busy schedules monitor progress and maximize results.


If a fitness plan that works and a healthier lifestyle is on your list of 2019 goals, you’re not alone. Whether you’re a medical student, resident, or physician, making time to prioritize your health while taking care of others can be challenging.

Enlisting technology can make reaching your objective and maintaining your results easier. Read on to discover The DO’s best fitness apps for 2019 and real-life examples of how people in the osteopathic community are using some of these workout aids.

Cycling the world while indoors

Moshe Bressler, OMS III, at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, is a former spin instructor and former cross country runner. In between exams and rotations, Bressler cycles indoors using Zwift, a virtual reality platform that allows him to turn his spare bike into a “virtual reality racing machine.”

“Zwift is the most helpful out of all my apps for my time-crunched schedule. My bike is always set up, so it’s easy to go on a 20-minute spin without the hassle of road conditions or wearing the proper gear,” he said. “The app also has a feature where you can ride with friends.”

Even though he’s in medical school, Bressler makes sure he exercises at least four hours per week.  Rather than taking the bus to his destination, he runs. “My iPhone’s step tracker gives me an incentive to climb the stairs or sneak in a quick jog,” he said.

When he jogs, Bressler wears his heart rate monitor strap and uses the Strava app. “It maps my rides and runs using my phone’s GPS and charts my distance, elevation, gain and exertion power,” he said. “The data from my phone motivates me throughout the day.”

Tracking your progress

In Columbus, Ohio, Jason Dapore, DO, is training for the Let Me Run Columbus Springfest 5K. Dr. Dapore, who practices non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine, is also an avid CrossFitter. He works out 4-5 times per week, including two days of strength training with CrossFit and two days of cardio.

“I have an Apple watch that keeps track of my heart rate, and I use my iPhone for my runs, using a running app like Map My Run to track my mileage, pace and pulse.”

At his CrossFit gym, Dr. Dapore says that members use the Beyond the White Board app, designed specifically for CrossFit, that ranks everyone in the gym and others nationally. “You can see how you compare to CrossFitters around you, and around the world. You can also pull up a scheme on a particular activity and see how you’ve performed over X number of years,” he said.

Moshe Bressler, OMS III, uses Zwift, an indoor virtual cycling platform, to compete and train alongside fellow cyclists.

Here are The DO’s Top 10 fitness apps of 2019:

  1. Zwift – Noted as a top cycling app by Quad Lock.
  2. Strava for Running & CyclingGotta Be Mobile has this app on its list of favorites.
  3. Beyond the White Board – Noted as one of the best apps for Crossfit by Athletic Muscle.
  4. Map My Run – This app features a trainer feature for specific races and syncs with your smartphone to map every route, according to Daily Burn.
  5. Nike Training App – With routines from pro athletes, this app is a Prevention favorite.
  6. Fitbit Coach – A complement to the Fitbit, this app made Men’s Health’s list of top apps for overall health. It offers guided video and audio workouts.
  7. My Fitness Pal – A top pick by Very Well Fit, this app has 350-plus cardio and strength sessions and a database of 6 million foods to help users track their calories and progress.
  8. Jefit – According to PC Mag, this app is helpful for tracking lifting exercises and designing workouts in lieu of a traditional journal.
  9. KeeloPC Mag lists this on-demand app as one of its top picks because it offers high intensity interval training workouts.
  10. AaptivPrevention lists Aaptiv as a top pick. Complete a quick fitness quiz and this app designs workouts tailored to you.

“Take time to outline your fitness goals and see what you’d like to achieve over the next 6-12 weeks. Then find the programs and activities that match your lifestyle,” Dr. Dapore said.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Although technology can aid in the process of getting and staying fit, it can also be a distraction, Dr. Dapore notes.

“It’s easy to go off course with so many options at your fingertips, but what it comes down to are the basics,” he said. “What are your goals? Do you want to be stronger? Or leaner? Or reach some milestone?”

It’s important to keep those goals in mind, according to Dr. Dapore, and re-evaluate them every 3 to 6 months.

Bressler agrees that technology should be an motivator, not a diversion. “You can get so sucked into tracking your progress that you lose focus on what it’s really all about, keeping fit while having fun.”

For further reading:

Study finds group exercise reduces stress more than solo workouts do

Documentary featuring sports med DO nominated for regional Emmy

5 things to know about your patient who enjoys CrossFit but has an injury

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