Apps

Nike+ Training Club app review

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In my quest for washboard abs, I came across Nike+ Training Club (NTC). The exercise app, a sister to the popular Nike+ Run Club, is a free downloadable app from the popular fitness brand — presumably to lure us into buying more of their workout clothes.

Basically, this program walks you through whatever exercise you’re supposed to be doing, all with visuals, audio narration, and even encouragement! But, what’s so great about NTC is its exercise variety coupled with an interface that allows you to find one that works for your needs. Nike’s athletic apparel is no joke and apparently, their workout apps aren’t, either.

You can create workout plans

There are four options to choose from: Start up, to get you on the right road to start your fitness journey; lean fit, to push endurance; bodyweight only, for exercising without weights; and gym strong, a lifting program.

Nike Training Club App

Choosing one entails a quick setup. The app asks about your normal exercise routines, activity levels, and details about your body. There’s an option to include running to your workout and it lets you pick what your start date would be.

Nike Training Club App creating a workout plan

An exercise plan is then built for you based on info you input, complete with a workout schedule and what program you’re supposed to do on each specific date. This highly customizable option leaves you with only one more thing to do: the actual exercising.

Or specifically curate your exercises

If you’re a little picky with your workouts, or if you’re a strong, independent woman who can make her own workout plans, you can just choose specific workouts for each time you do a session.

Nike Training Club App has different workouts

NTC offers handpicked exercises in their “Picks for you” section but you can also browse each workout by focus, whether they be for strength, endurance, or mobility; or type, whose choices include yoga, athlete, no-equipment, short workouts, and classics.

There are also different intensity levels!

Because NTC recognizes the wide range of people who use their app, each option is categorized into one of three groups: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. This makes it easy for you to gauge if your exercise choice is actually doable for your fitness level — and mind you, the intermediate to advanced levels are no walks in the park. You will get challenged; something I look for in fitness activities to prevent me from getting bored with my workouts.

Nike Training Club App workout preview

Each workout preview allows for the user to see the duration and intensity for each one. A quick overview will also show you which parts of your body they’re good for and what equipment you’d need. NTC also gives a quick rundown of each specific exercise for a selected workout, presumably to let you know what you’re in for (which also means no backing out).

The verdict

Unlike those genetically blessed to be over 25 without a slowing down metabolism, I — like the rest of us fitness pariahs — need to take extra effort to make sure I get exercise in. Although I have gotten significantly better with my fitness routine, I still struggle to find the best and most convenient way for me to exercise despite a hectic and random work schedule.

I’ve always said that consistency is the key part in getting fit but from personal experience, it’s very hard to keep an exercise routine when scheduling, traveling, and general life scenarios keep getting away. NTC is a quick solution to all these issues: It allows me to work out anywhere and anytime I’d want with just my smartphone in hand.

For a free app, I honestly did not expect this many options. I was pleasantly surprised by the exercise variety offered and how easy it is to actually find something that would work for whatever circumstances or limitations I had at the moment.

Although I still do not have those washboard abs I dream of, I now exercise more than I used to and althleisurewear, unsurprisingly, is now something I live for.

SEE ALSO: Essential fitness apps for a healthier lifestyle

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Apps

Hong Kong protests: Apple succumbs to pressure from China

Trying to please both the sides

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Every international company, whether based in China or the US, is now stuck in the middle of the Hong Kong protests. While the people want pro-Democracy ideals to govern their city, China refuses to back down and continues its passive-aggressive push.

Apple has reportedly removed the Quartz app from the App Store at the request of the Chinese government. Quartz’s Investigations editor John Keefe confirmed the app has been removed from the App Store and even the website has been blocked in Mainland China.

The publication has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail and this hasn’t gone down well with the government in Beijing. China has a long history of suppressing free speech and it’s not surprising to see them block off content that doesn’t suit their narrative.

Though, users are furious at Apple for not taking a stand and bowing down to pressure. A few days back, the Cupertino-based giant removed the Taiwanese flag from its keyboard for some users to please the Chinese officials.

Apple was also in the news this week due to its initial rejection of an app that kept a tab on police movement in Hong Kong. Back in 2017, Apple removed the New York Times app from App Store after the Chinese government requested its removal because it was “in violation of local regulations.”

It is necessary for Apple to stay on good terms with China because of its business interests. Almost every other product designed by Apple will find its roots back in China, where everything is built — components as well as finished iPhones.

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Apps

Instagram is finally getting a dark mode

Out on iOS, beta on Android

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The spookiest and scariest month is upon us! A week into October, we can’t wait to sink our teeth into Halloween. While we wait for our monsters to wake up, the tech world is slowly paving the way for a scary month. For one, Instagram, Facebook’s popular photo-sharing social media network, has started embracing the dark side.

The app has released a much-awaited update for its iPhone variant. The update includes a dark mode, in collaboration with the newly released iOS 13’s native dark mode support. Finally, Instagram turns off the lights on its iconic (and sometimes obnoxiously bright) white theme. We can now browse throughout feeds in eye-pleasing darkness.

Sadly, the new dark mode is not accessible using a normal on-and-off switch. The mode switches on based on your own iPhone’s settings.

In addition to iOS, Instagram is also slowly rolling out the update for Android users. Unfortunately, the update is available only for Instagram Beta users. Even then, the Android update is only starting to trickle down to users worldwide.

Regardless, Instagram’s dark mode is a welcome addition to our growing list of dark mode-friendly apps. It’s getting easier to distract yourself from startling jump scares during those inevitable horror movie marathons on your couch this Halloween.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Dating is now live with Instagram integration

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Apps

This is Huawei’s alternative for missing Google Play services

Filling up the vacuum

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2019 has been an awfully difficult year for Huawei. While the US and China are embroiled in a trade war, the Chinese telecommunication giant is stuck in the cross-fire. Like every other phone maker, it relies on Google’s Android operating system and services to deliver a complete experience to the end user.

However, President Trump has barred American companies from doing any business with Huawei, which means the brand can no longer leverage Google Play services. Google has been banned from China for the longest time, so this won’t have any effect on Huawei’s sales in the country, but it will completely derail Huawei’s plans of global domination.

To counter these missing Google apps, Huawei has released a plethora of in-house apps that will ensure the user doesn’t feel left out. AppGallery is will replace the Google Play Store and can be used in 170+ countires. Launched way back in 2011, it was initially released for users in China only. In 2018, it was shipped to non-Chinese users and became a pre-installed package on all new phones.

Similarly, Huawei Browser replaces Google Chrome, Huawei Mobile Cloud replaces Google Drive, and Huawei Music replaces YouTube or Play Music. There’s also an addition of Huawei Themes, Huawei Assistant, and many more.

Thanks to the open-source nature of AOSP, Huawei is not completely barred from using Android on its smartphone. The recently launched Mate 30 series runs on Android, but doesn’t come with Google apps out-of-the-box, including Google Play Store.

This reminds us of Samsung’s Galaxy phones that usually ship with Google apps as well as Samsung’s own suite of apps. They are pretty much meant to do the same job, but come from two different vendors. Ultimately, offering more options to the user.

Will you be fine with these replacements or are Google apps necessary? As Plan B, Huawei has already announced its Harmony OS and we expect it to be ready for phones in the coming years. But, that’s still a long way down the line.

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