Smart phones can do a lot to hinder your life and slow your progress, the constant loop of checking Facebook, Instagram, emails, Whatsapp then back to Facebook again keeps us distracted from what is really important, the things we should really be working on and the tasks that will drastically improve our lives.

In his book Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield talked about distraction.

“When we work with focus and we work deep, we succeed.

How did Tom Brady master the art of the forward pass?

How did Picasso paint?

How did Yo-Yo Ma learn the cello?

Resistance wants to keep us shallow and unfocused. So it makes the superficial and vain intoxicating.

Have you checked your email in the last half hour?

When you sit down to do work do you leave your web connection on?

It can be fatal, keeping up with the Kardashians.”

It’s true.

Smart phones can become a distraction, every time your screen lights up with a notification your attention is stolen. We create this false urgency, that message needs to be dealt with right away.

So my first piece of advice is to head to your phone settings and switch off notifications for everything then tell everyone who’s important to call you if there’s an emergency.

Now on the flip side, smart phones aren’t bad at all if you use them well and there are a few really useful apps that can add a lot of value to your life and help improve your results in the gym.

Here are 4 of my favourites:

Inner Fire

This is from a guy called Wim Hof.

He’s the one who created the type of meditation that I do most of the time, which isn’t really meditation in the spiritual sense (I’m not into becoming a “phoenix butterfly” as a guided meditation bloke once told me to do).

It’s more of just a breathing practice that helps you relax, clear your head and feel less stressed.

The Inner Fire app teaches you how to do it properly.

Remember, lots of stress can equal increased levels of cortisol in your body.

This cortisol can have a big negative effect on your results; your body fat can increase, muscle mass can reduce and your performance in the gym will be below average.

All because you’re stressed out (nothing to do with your training or nutrition) and if this is a daily occurrence then you’re fighting an uphill battle from the minute you wake up every single day.

So it makes sense to take action to minimise your stress levels.

That’s what Inner Fire will help you do.

Other apps like Headspace, Stop Breathe Think and Meditation are just as good – they all take a slightly different approach but the end goal is the same.

Pzizz

If you ever have trouble getting to sleep then Pzizz is perfect for you.

Human composed, algorithmically remixed sounds to optimize getting you to sleep, keeping you asleep, and waking you up feeling refreshed
.

…essentially it’s an ever-changing piece of audio that is scientifically proven to help you sleep.

When you hit play it’ll sound like a weird mish-mash of natural sounds, music, long pauses and soothing speech but it’s been carefully composed to help dramatically improve your sleep and it certainly does the trick.

The next one goes without saying really…

MyFitnessPal

It’s an absolute dream for tracking how much food you’re eating.

Which, in case you missed the memo, has a HUGE part to play in whether or not you get results.

MyFitnessPal makes it dead easy to do.

You just search for whatever you ate, click on it and it’ll tell you how many carbs, fat, protein and calories it was then adds it to your food diary.

It even keeps a running total throughout the day and reminds you how much food you still have left to eat.

It couldn’t possibly be made simpler (so you can’t use the “it’s too complicated” thing as an excuse).

I remember when I first started training and I had to keep track of my food in a notepad and repeatedly search google to find out how many grams of protein was in a chicken breast, how many carbs in a potato or whatever it was then manually add it all up at the end of each day on my abacus.

That was fucking pain in the arse.

Now there’s an app that does it all for you.

So use it.

It’s important to track your food ‘cos if you don’t know how much you’re eating you literally have no idea whether you’re eating the right amount of food to hit your goal.

In other words; you’re guessing.

And guessing wastes a lot of time.

Which leads to you getting frustrated and disappointed that you’re not getting results – not ideal.

Symmetric Strength

This one isn’t necessarily life improving but it’s still a useful tool to have.

Everyone should have a little notebook for tracking their sessions in the gym but sometimes it can get a bit messy.

Symmetric Strength allows you to track progress on your main lifts and puts your scores into a nice little graph for you.

It also gives you a strength analysis – grading you on a scale from untrained (gym newbie) to world class (international level powerlifter) for your weight class.

Another bonus is the 1RM calculator that estimates how much weight you should be able to lift for a certain number of reps. All you have to do is enter the weight you lifted and the amount of reps you completed with that weight and it will predict everything from you 1RM to you 10RM.