Just like the epic search I had to go through to find a way to manage my media, and my never ending search for a task tracking application, I can't seem to find a decent way to track and log my workout habbits. When I first started looking the only app that was around was called Run Fatboy, but since then a ton of players have come to the scene. Way too many to keep track of.
To start, I figured I'd just lay out what I'm looking for:
1) Easy access to exercise instructions/descriptions
Exercises need to be done right to be most effective, and it helps to have instructions with photos or video. I've been using a book for the time being, and I'd love to have that resource with me at all times from my phone. At one point I did scan a bunch of the exercises in .pdf format :-)
2) Track workouts
Once you have the list of exercises you're doing, and descriptions of how to do them, you'll want to track how often you do them. You want to know how often you're working out, what types of workouts you're doing, and you'll probably want to track if your performance is increasing.
3) Exercise discovery and workout plan creation
Up until now, I've used books and friends to help put together work out plans. There's TONS of different workouts, exercises, tricks, and tips that make it very difficult to figure out what you should actually be doing with your time. High quality content on these topics as well as sharing workout plans and exercises would really be a big help.
4) Food and diet
I'm starting to realize that what you take in may be even more important that the exercises you do. Just like working out theres just as much information overload or misinformation when it comes to diets. I need a clear simple resource that publishes well researched methods for staying healthy and cooking well in the busy world we live in.
For me the social networking part is the least attractive, but it could be useful. I'm reaonsably motivated, so I havn't had to rely on a partner to get me in the gym. That being said, its tough to meet people at the gym, and its tough to find people with the same interests. I'd love to find someone to work out with every once and a while, or a person to play tennis with.
Number 1) I think is the real kicker, and its where most of the apps fall short. The reason I'm using the Men's Health Better Body Blueprint book is because it attacks the workout problem from a perspective I understand. It starts with rehabbing and getting back into shape enough to actually start working out. Then it supports this with solid photo based examples of how to do each exercise.
This is severly lacking in the online counterparts. Some site simply provide a list of all exercises, no descriptions included. Other sites provide a very small and rigid directory of exercises that you can choose from. Nothing is flexible or comprehensive enough to be useful. On cardio days you need to track heartrate and miles, while on lifting days you want to track reps and weight. All this needs to be accounted for.
As a starting point for a successful web app, I'd propose a curated/seeded user generated exercise application. Allow people to upload their own photos of exercises, or build a human body animated model that allows them to quickly create the graphics needed to represent an exercise. If you make this "exercise builder" powerful enough and seed it with some decent exercises to start, I can see it growing quickly to be the most comprehensive excersise resource ever!
Once you have this, then you can the tracking, social networking, and diet content needed.