- 1 Fitness trackers
- 2 Training apps
- 3 Diet tracking and logging
- 4 Workout logging (for lifters)
If you ask my friends what I'm really into, they'll definitely mention fitness. As surprisingly as it sounds, this wasn't the case about ten years ago, until I decided I wanted to lose weight and start training more seriously. I've been able to achieve my goals and understand what I was doing thanks to a bunch of apps, and I wanted to share a some of them with you to help you get in shape or track your objectives in a way that matches your lifestyle.
I've compiled a list of apps with the help of our team, and organized them into categories, as not everybody has the same needs and ambition. Below is a selection of workout trackers, virtual coaching apps, diet planning and logging software, and workout logs for lifters. Of course, this roundup is nowhere near exhaustive and only aims at sharing a list of curated apps. Feel free to share your favorite ones with the community in the comment section.
This first category encompasses apps that will track outdoor fitness activities, such as running, walking, or biking, and rely mainly on your GPS position. There are many of them on the market, but these are among the most popular ones.
Strava: Track Running, Cycling & Swimming
Strava is probably my favorite app in this category. First, it's not just a tracker, but a true community of riders and runners that can interact with each other, share routes, and gain awards. It's also dead-simple to use and lets you keep track of your gear's wear and tear, whether it's a bike or a pair of running shoes, so you know how much you've used them, and when it's time for a change. I also like that Strava has an independent WearOS app that works without your phone, so you can leave it at home and still track your workout using your smartwatch's GPS. You can even unlock advanced training plans, live tracking, and precise analytics with a Strava Summit subscription that starts at just $2/month. Unfortunately, Strava is only meant for runners and bike riders, so you'll have to look for an alternative if you're planning on tracking any other kind of workout.
Google Fit: Health and Activity Tracking
Google Fit is one of the simplest yet most complete apps around. It can track your moves without the need to tell it you're about to work out and helps you achieve a healthier lifestyle thanks to an interactive coach. Fit is also meant to be a "health hub," as it syncs with many of your favorite apps, including several of the ones mentioned in this post. Although I initially used it a lot, I moved away from Fit as its tracking wasn't accurate enough. That's not necessarily a flaw if you're interested in simply being more active, but I wouldn't recommend this app if you want to track precise indicators such as your average speed and exact distance. You can still use it in combination with other software, but I'm not necessarily in favor of using a myriad of apps to track your fitness.
Map My Fitness Workout Trainer
Unlike Strava, Map My Fitness is very versatile and can track various set of activities, including walking and yoga. It also has a WearOS app and can connect to external sensors like heart rate monitors or even Under Armour shoes to record precise data. The app also suggests new paths to try thanks to its Routes feature and even lets you create and share new ones with others. The premium membership will give you access to live tracking, personalized training plans, and advanced analytics for as low as $2.5/month if you pay yearly.
Runkeeper - GPS Track Run Walk
Runkeeper is similar to Map My Fitness, as it can track many different types of workouts. It even looks nicer than its competitor, but I've been disappointed the developers abandoned Wear OS support, which used to be very convenient on the go. The offering is quite complete, though, as you can build a customized workout plan, track your progress, and join running groups. A Go premium subscription will give you access to prescribed workouts, progress insights, and live workout tracking for $40/year or $10/month.
Runtastic Running App: Fitness, Jog & Run Tracker
Runtastic also cover a wide array of activities as it lets you track runs, walks, hikes, and bike rides. It's similar to the previous two, thanks to its workout analytics, challenges, running groups, and leaderboards. It's also fully compatible with WearOS and syncs with Garmin Connect and Polar Flow compatible devices, so you can still use it even if you don't want to take your phone with you. Unfortunately, you'll have to get a Premium subscription to track and save your favorite routes and monitor your achievements, which some other apps offer for free.
If you're looking for inspiration and need some help finding it, the below apps will help you build workouts that fit your needs. Some of them are focused on working out at home, while others provide motivation if you tend to get bored when running outdoors.
Freeletics - Workout & Fitness. Body Weight App
Freeletics is one of the most popular fitness apps around. It offers a wide variety of bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere, and lets you access pre-set routines or build your own, based on your targets. Each move comes with a video explanation, so even beginners can reproduce them without prior experience. Everything is designed to walk you through your session, with built-in timers and counters, as if you were training with a coach. A paid membership will get you a tailored fitness plan with a fully customized experience to reach your goals faster.
The Fitbit Coach app is very similar to Freeletics, and gives you access to various video workouts, but also offers running and walking coaching to improve your endurance. A nice touch is the Fitbit radio, which plays motivating music to energize your sessions. There's also a premium subscription that will grant you access to personalized and exclusive training content.
HIIT & Cardio Workout by Fitify
High-Intensity Interval Training workouts are quite the hit, but they require precise timing and pre-built routines, which usually means it's more convenient to attend a class than to build your own. However, thanks to Fitify, you'll be able to do these sessions wherever you are and even personalize their duration, exercises, and rest intervals. If you'd rather start with simpler workouts, there's also a bunch of light cardio and aerobic sessions to choose from, so you can gradually work your way up to more intense moves. I particularly like the app's ability to estimate your calories based on individual data, which provide a more precise estimate of how much you're burning per workout. Lastly, there are other Fitify apps available that focus on particular body parts or equipment, depending on what your goals are.
Bodyweight Workout at Home
If you're not into bells and whistles and want a simpler app, this one is probably a good choice. It comes with a bunch of pre-set routines and can even automatically build a training plan based on your level. You still get access to videos, but there's no virtual coach to walk you through the whole workout. Instead, you'll have to enter how many reps you've done for the app to track them and build progression charts. It's a nice alternative for the ones who already have experience but still want some guidance while training.
Seconds Pro - Interval Timer
Seconds is quite different from the other apps in this category, in a sense that it's not meant to guide you through your session. It's actually a very powerful interval timer that will let you segment your workouts precisely. There a few templates available, but you can create your own and customize the duration, colors, and names for each. You can even assign particular songs to each interval, so you don't have to manually launch a playlist. I also really like the option to use differentiated colors and text-to-speech, which let you know what's coming up without having to keep looking at your phone. Unfortunately, the app isn't very intuitive and has a dull interface, but it works wonders once you've set it up.
C25K® - 5K Running Trainer
If you're new to running, the Couch to 5K program will help you achieve your goals with a virtual coach, running plans, and challenges to gradually manage 5K runs. It has everything built-in to help you along your fitness journey, including a virtual coach and curated playlists, which are adjustable based on your pace. There's even a community of runners you can join to discuss your progress and ask questions.
Zombies, Run! (Free)
Sometimes music isn't enough to motivate people to work out, so this app offers a much more immersive experience that will surely get you to run as fast as you can. Imagine being chased by zombies that have already attacked several other people; the only thing you can do is try to escape. This is the plot set by the app, which gamifies the fitness experience in a frightening story with missions where you collect supplies and rebuild a base with other survivors. It's definitely a different approach to fitness and a fun way to get moving.
Diet tracking and logging
These apps are focused on eating well and help you track your calorie intake and macros to achieve a healthier diet.
Calorie Counter - MyFitnessPal
I have to thank MyFitnessPal for helping me achieve my goals. We often don't realize the number of calories we're eating versus how many we need to sustain our weight. Thankfully, this app helps you get the right amount in by calculating the number of calories you need based on your weight and goals. It does require you to record what you're eating, but there's a vast database that makes it easy to find the right items. You can also scan barcodes to automatically add food to your diary, making the overall process a lot faster. Most importantly, the app syncs with your favorite services, so you know whether your morning run has earned you that cheesecake you've been craving.
Lose It! - Calorie Counter
Lose It is an alternative that's quite similar to MyFitnessPal but offers a more intuitive interface, in my opinion. It doesn't sync with as many apps, but has a more visual interface and is easier to use. Most importantly, it lets you take a picture of your food to automatically recognize what you're eating, which takes away the painstaking logging process. The app also comes with added features such as built-in recipes and workout guides, as well as insights on your eating patterns.
Runtastic Balance Calorie Calculator, Food Tracker
If counting macros is essential to you, Runtastic Balance makes this easier, as it displays them directly in your diary, without having to access a specific page. The interface is also quite intuitive, and there's a bunch of free plans you can pick from based on your goals. If you use other Runtastic apps, you'll be able to sync your activity automatically, but it's a bit disappointing there's no option to connect to more services.
Lifesum - Diet Plan, Macro Calculator & Food Diary
Tracking your diet can be a complicated task if you don't know what you're supposed to eat. Thankfully, Lifesum provides complete meal plans and healthy recipes to help you create a balanced diet. It also offers a built-in calorie tracker with a sleek UI and lets you view macros and calories at a glance. Unfortunately, you'll need a paid subscription to sync with third-party services, which can be a roadblock for some.
Mealime - Meal Planner, Recipes & Grocery List
One of the things I remember struggling with when I wanted to get more fit was planning my meals. I had to research various recipes, check the nutritional information, and add the ingredients to my grocery list. It was painstaking, to say the least. Mealime makes all of this a breeze, by offering recipes that match your goals, but also your taste. Thanks to an advanced search engine, you can filter results based on calories, allergies, ingredients, and much more. Once you've decided what you want to cook, the app automatically creates a categorized grocery list, which makes it so much easier to get what you need from the store. There's even a paid subscription that brings advanced features such as detailed nutritional information, meal plan tracking, and exclusive recipes.
Workout logging (for lifters)
After losing 30 kg (yes, thirty) in about ten months, my arms were probably as thick as a pair of chopsticks, so I decided I wanted to build muscle and started hitting the gym with a new goal in mind. Unfortunately, I had a hard time remembering my routine and tracking my reps. Thankfully, there's a bunch of apps to help you with that.
Progression Workout Tracker
If you're not sure where to begin, you can start with one of the various pre-built programs and exercises to follow offered by Progression Workout Tracker. Once you're more comfortable, you can create your own routines, with the exact number of sets, reps, and weight. When you're at the gym, you can track these precisely using your phone or watch, to see whether you're reaching the target you've set, and track your progress in the app.
GymRun Workout Log & Fitness Tracker
If you're looking for something more extensive, GymRun offers a complete solution, with images on how to perform an exercise and the ability to store your own photos. The app is also built with practicality in mind and comes with widgets to save your workouts directly from your home and lock screens. You can even log body data and photos to track your progress more thoroughly. These can also be saved to your cloud storage accounts, so that you can sync your progress across devices.
FitNotes - Gym Workout Log
FitNotes is much simpler than the previous two, and focuses on providing essential functionality for someone who's already familiar with the gym and only needs an app to track their progress. It comes with handy tools such as a plate calculator to know exactly how to load your barbells, as well as a built-in rest timer. Lastly, even though the app is built with simplicity in mind, it still features online backup and an exercise database, making it both light and convenient.
321FIT looks a bit more like a game than a fitness tracker, but it's a fun companion when you're at the gym, and differentiates itself from the competition thanks to its retro gaming interface. As with the other apps, it comes with a bunch of pre-loaded routines and the ability to customize them. However, once planned, your workouts are "played" in a sense that the app will launch a timer showing you the progression of the session, the number of reps to complete, and the time it'll take to finish them. It requires some setup, and I personally wouldn't like to keep it on during the entire workout, but it's a fun way to go around your session, especially if you tend to get bored at the gym.