As a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Jiulong Zhao has downloaded his share of HIIT timers from the app store. The only trouble? Concern for his phone would distract him during workouts. If it was on the floor, “I’d be worried about stepping on it,” he says. If it was on a machine, he’d be worried he wouldn’t see or hear when he was supposed to switch from high to low intensity.
Enter the #Made4Fitbit App Challenge. As an independent app developer, Zhao couldn’t resist the opportunity to create a HIIT timer for Fitbit Ionic that was completely separate from his phone. “I wanted to develop an app that would allow me to leave my phone in a locker,” he says.
That’s exactly what he did, and it earned him the top prize in Fitbit’s first Developer App Challenge. The contest, which awarded more than $15,000 in prizes, challenged developers to create apps in three categories: Health+Wellness, Sport+Fitness, and Transportation+Local.
The winning apps* in each category, as well as the Grand Prize winning app, are available to Ionic users in the Fitbit App Gallery. (If you’re reading this on a smartphone, you can also visit the download links provided below.) Here’s a quick rundown of the apps that took top billing.
Best Overall App
Zhao’s winning app, simply titled HIIT, is a fully configurable multi-section timer that allows users to designate how many rounds and sets of high- and low-intensity exercise they want to do for any given workout. The Ionic watch display then counts down the time, alerting the user by vibration and color when it’s time to switch between high and low intensity. Your heart rate is also displayed throughout the exercise, so you can keep track of how hard you’re working. Download with mobile browser »
Best Health + Wellness App
This first place winner allows you to track your fluid intake without logging into the Fitbit mobile app. Simply tap the Water Logged icon on your Ionic, and then register what you’ve consumed. Each corner of the display represents a fluid amount: a cup, a 16-ounce bottle, two bottles if you’re really thirsty. Once the app syncs to your Fitbit account, it’s right there on your Fitbit Dashboard to see at the end of the day. Download with mobile browser »
Best Sport + Fitness App
A lot of runners, and running coaches, talk about optimal cadence—that is, how many steps you should be taking per minute to run faster and reduce your risk of injury. But while many training watches calculate cadence, that information is usually only available after a run, once you download your data. Enter the Cadence Coach, the first-place winner in the Health+Wellness category, which displays cadence right on your wrist. You can also enter your ideal cadence, and the watch will vibrate when you’re off your target number. Download with mobile browser »
Best Transportation + Local App
Most sports and fitness apps measure distance and speed in miles or kilometers per hour—and track location using GPS technology. But what if your sport happens to be sailing or kiteboarding or ice boating (yes, there is such a thing). SaltyDog, the first-place winner in the Transportation+Local category, tracks speed in knots and also displays current compass heading—critical information for those involved in these types of water sports. Download with mobile browser »
To see the full list of winners in each category, visit Fitbit’s Developer Blog.
*All apps have been created by third-party developers for the Fitbit OS platform.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.