Fitness isn’t something we can think about once, run through a checklist of things to improve it, and forget about. Just as in other areas of health, fitness must be maintained through small and consistent actions that add up over time. That’s why mobile apps make ideal fitness companions. Because our smartphones and apps are always with us, they become constant reminders to check your progress, stay the course, and keep your willpower strong.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, walk more steps in a day, or make time for a seven-minute power workout in your living room, fitness apps can help.

While some apps for fitness connect you to a community of people who cheer you on and send their support, others motivate you through competition. One fitness app on this list, called Pact, lets you compete for cold, hard cash: e.g., she who hits the gym most in a month wins the pot. In others, such as Strava, glory is in the bragging rights you earn when you get the shortest time running or bicycling a segment in your neighborhood. You compete virtually against everyone else using the same app and covering the same ground.

Some of the apps highlighted here are tracking tools. You can log workouts, count calories eaten, and collect stats about all your runs to see overtime how you’re improving. Fitness apps can also be coaching apps that put you in touch with a personal trainer or nutritionist who will check in with you once a week. And some, of course, combine all these things.

But most important of all, the best fitness apps let you set your own goals and maintain a pace that’s right for you. They keep you motivated for becoming the version of yourself you want to be.

Charity Miles

Available on: Android, iOS
Earn money for charities every time you run, walk, or bicycle by using the free Charity Miles app. Corporate sponsors (whose information you’ll see as a backdrop image in the app) agree to donate a few cents for every mile you complete. Browse the app’s list of charities, find the one that you support, and then hit the road. When a lot of people use Charity Miles, those little bits of money add up.


Free; $4.99 Elite Upgrade optional
Available on: iOS
The best bicycle-ride tracking app I’ve tested is Cyclemeter by Abvio. This iOS-only app collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well-thought-out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, but it is packed with data about your biking outings.

Digifit iCardio

Free app; requires compatible heart rate monitor (about $50 to $100)
Available on: Android, iOS
If you want real hard stats about your workouts, accelerometers and GPS aren’t enough. You need a heart rate monitor…and an app that can access the information it collects. One option is the Digifit iCardio app for iPhone and Android (it’s called simply iCardio in Google Play). You can pair it with any supported heart rate monitor to track your runs, bicycle rides, and other workouts. Digifit iCardio records heart rate, of course, but also distance, time, and pace. All the components needed to track heart rate can add up, so plan to spend somewhere in the $50 to $100 range to get full use of this app. If you’re in the market for a heart rate monitor, I recommend the MIO Link wristband.


Free; $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year for Premium
Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone
Endomondo tracks your runs, bike rides, and other outdoor activities with good accuracy and a simple interface. Its training plans and coaching features, which are limited to Premium subscribers, definitely improve the Endomondo experience.


Free; optional Premium membership $49 per year
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web
I came to know the Fitbit system through testing the company’s activity trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge HR, but you don’t necessarily need a tracker to use parts of the mobile app and website. Without a tracker, you can use the Fitbit app to count calories, log your weight, and record other health information, such as your blood pressure and glucose levels. If you do own a Fitbit, however, you can also upload the data it collects to the mobile app via Bluetooth.


Free; $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year for Premium
Available on: iOS
Former NFL player Tony Gonzalez aims to inspire you to get fit in the iOS-only workout app FitStar. The free app contains “Basic” workouts designed to inspire you to move more, whereas a Premium subscription gives you more program options, such as “Get Strong” and “Get Lean.” No equipment is required for these workouts, so you can complete them at home, at the gym, or on the road. When you first use the app, it runs you through a fitness test so that when you get rolling with your workout plan, you start at an intensity level that’s right for you.

Jefit Workout

Free; Jefit Pro version available for $4.99
Available on: Android, iOS
When you hit the gym, do you still carry a notebook or crumpled sheet of paper to all the stations and machines? Don’t. With mobile apps for the gym, there are better ways to keep track of your sets and reps. The Jefit Workout app gives you simple tools for crafting weight-lifting workouts and keeping track of the details as you complete your routines. You can log sets and reps, as well as how much you lifted. A calendar helps you plan your workout days and rest days. Jetfit Workout isn’t especially rich with features, but it gets the job done.

The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

Available on: Android, iOS
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App (free) helps you squeeze some exercise into your day at an intensity level that’s right for you. The interface is surprisingly attractive and clear. All you need is a chair and seven minutes—or about 11 minutes if you add a warm-up and cool down. A medium-intensity workout can include jumping jacks, pushups, wall chair, high-knee running in place, crunches, plank, side plank, triceps dips using a chair, and a few other moves. The app coaches you through each move as it comes up in the workout. It’s a great app for people of all ability levels.

Lose It!

Available on: Android, iOS, Kindle, Nook, and Web
The free website and app Lose It!, designed for counting calories and logging exercise, can help you lose weight, especially if you tend to eat name-brand American foods. Lose It!, which has been around for years, has an incredibly strong community of supportive people to help you stick to your goals. Lose It! is compatible with a long list of other fitness devices and apps, including Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit devices, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness, and Jawbone UP, so you can import your calorie intake and balance it effortlessly against your calorie expenditure.

Map My Fitness

Free; optional $5.99 per month membership required for some features
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
The company that makes the Map My Run app for runners also makes a slew of similar apps for different sports, such as Map My Ride for cyclists and the more general purpose Map My Fitness. Although it might sound like Map My Fitness will give you the widest range of supported activities, really all the apps have settings that let you track different sports and workouts. In other words, you only need to download one of the apps, and you can use it for almost any activity (Map My Fitness has more than 600 activities). But beware: The free app keeps some of its features behind a subscription pay wall, starting at $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year. As with most fitness apps for running, walking, cycling, etc., Map My Fitness uses GPS to track the routes you travel, and shows you a map of the ground you covered when you’re done. It also displays length, in both time and distance, as well as pace, maximum speed, and a few other statistics.


Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, Web
We live in a world of temptation, cheap pleasures, stress, and convenience—all of which can affect our diet and health. MyFitnessPal is a mobile app and website that gives you a wealth of tools for tracking what and how much you eat, and how many calories you burn through activity. Of all the calorie counters I’ve used, MyFitnessPal is by far the easiest one to manage, and it comes with the largest database of foods and drinks. With the MyFitnessPal app you can fastidiously watch what you eat 24/7, no matter where you are.


Free; wagering money is optional (but kind of the point)
Available on: Android, iOS
Pact, formerly known as Gympact, is an app that you use to wager money on whether you’ll go to the gym or complete a workout. The app verifies if you’ve hit your goals by making sure you check in to the venues where you said you’d pump some iron. If you reach or exceed your goals, you earn cash. If you don’t, you have to pay up. The pot is communal, and there are a lot of slackers out there pouring money into it.


$4.99 per month
Available on: Android, iOS
Pick a playlist from one of RockMyRun’s music sets, and the beat will match your heart rate or tempo as you run. It’s a fun app to try, with a surprising array of genres, including classical music. If “Flight of the Bumblebee” inspires you to pick up the pace, give RockMyRun a try.


Free; $4.99 per year for Elite
Available on: iOS
Rich with stats, highly customizable, and with an astoundingly low price for Elite membership, Runmeter is the best running app for data-lovers. Note that the $4.99 price for Elite membership is per year, making it the least expensive running-app membership you’ll find. It’s for iOS only, however, so if you switch between having an iPhone and an Android phone, it might not be best for you.

Runtastic PRO

Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and Web (for accessing account)
Runtastic Pro lets you measure and track your runs, walks, and other exercises, but it also doubles as a coaching app to motivate you to keep working toward your goals. You can use it to train for races, too. The $4.99 Pro version is worthwhile, because the free app lacks (and tries to sell to you through in-app purchases) many of the features that are central to the experience, such as the coaching features, voice feedback, and music player integration. The one-time fee, rather than a subscription, makes Runtastic Pro a good deal.

Runtastic Six Pack Abs

Free; $4.99 in-app purchase for full content, recommended
Available on: Android, iOS
The Runtastic Six Pack Abs app will leave your midsection muscles burning for days—or simply tighten that tummy, depending on the difficulty level you choose. It’s a solid coaching app that targets abs through a wide variety of exercise moves. A human voice (available in several languages) counts through your sets and reps, while a video of an avatar shows you the correct form for each exercise. Some of the training programs are weeks long, and there’s plenty of variety along the way.

Spring – Workout Music for Running, Power Walking & Exercising

$3.99 per month or $19.99 per year
Available on: iOS
Motivating yourself to move, or keep moving, might take a little help, maybe from an up-tempo song with a catchy chorus. A neat iPhone app called Spring ($3.99 per month; $19.99 per year) plays music designed to help you keep your pace up until the end of your workout. You tell the app your steps per minute or RPMs for cycling, and it selects music that will be ideal for your pace. With more than 30,000 songs across a number of genres, it’s a great way to explore new music while also burning some calories.


$9.99 per month
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Music streaming app Spotify now packs playlists and special features designed for working out. A Running feature, for example, finds your running tempo and plays songs whose beat matches it. The company also created a few custom Running Original playlists, DJ-mixed electronic music that’ll perk up your workout, even if running isn’t your thing. Spotify’s fitness-focused features are for Premium members only.


Free; Premium from $6 per month or $59 per year
Available on: Android, iOS
Runners, bicyclists, and other outdoor types have a host of apps and devices they can use to track their activities. The best one for competitive types is Strava. Whether you’re competing against yourself to beat your best time, or looking at the long list of strangers on the leaderboard who have smoked you on some nasty uphill stretch of your favorite route, Strava brings a fierce competitive angle. This freemium app is a great one to download if you crave having the heat turned up.

Touchfit: GSP

Free; $9.99 per year or $3.99 per month subscription optional (recommended)
Available on: iPhone
One of the most fun, and challenging, workout apps I’ve tested is Touchfit: GSP. The GSP stands for Georges St-Pierre, your workout coach (and MMA World Champion) who has created a number of muscle-boosting routines. What I especially love is the app first has you complete a test workout, in which you rate different exercises as easy, tough, impossible, or “need to learn.” Your answers inform the app going forward about how difficult your workouts should be. You can choose workouts of 20, 40, or 60 minutes, to do at the gym or at home with little more than a mat and resistance band. The app is free to download with an optional (but recommended) $9.99 per year or $3.99 per month subscription.

UP Coffee

Available on: iPhone
How is caffeine affecting your sleep, feelings of fatigue, and how hard you work out the next day? The iPhone-only app called UP Coffee (free) by Jawbone could help you figure that out. You use UP Coffee to manually log your caffeine intake, and the app then assesses how different amounts of caffeine affect your sleep. You need a Jawbone UP 24 or original other Jawbone fitness tracker for the sleep-measuring part. But once your connect the UP Coffee app to the fitness-tracking Up by Jawbone app, the rest is automatic. The results were surprising when I tested the app. I thought I was not at all sensitive to caffeine, but I noticed I slept noticeably less on nights that followed high caffeine intake days. I highly recommend Jawbone UP users give it a go.

Vida Health Coach

$15 per week
Available on: Android, iOS
Need a professional health coach to help you meet your fitness goals? For $15 per week, Vida Health Coach gives you in-app access to a personal coach who works with you one-on-one no matter what your health or fitness objectives are. Once a week, you can talk to your coach by phone or video conference, too, to get real advice. The coaches have a range of certifications and specializations, so if you have, say, gestational diabetes, you’ll be able to work with someone who understands your special needs.

The Walk

Available on: Android, iOS
Maybe you’ve heard of Zombies, Run! (featured next in this article), but never tried it because, well, you hate running. Now there’s an alternative called The Walk. It’s an app that uses audio storytelling to add some adventure to your walking workouts. As you walk, you listen to a story and are tasked with completing different missions. And who knows? Maybe adding a storytelling and adventure element is just the motivation you need to spur you to keep moving.

Zombies, Run!

Available on: Android, iOS
Zombies, Run! is an audio adventure and game rolled into a running workout. You listen to a story through your earbuds about zombies—which may be right on your tail!—and keep running to complete missions as they come up in the story. It’s a little silly, but definitely engaging. This app aims to motivate you to move rather than let you spend your time wading through data about your runs.


Free; $4.99 Elite Upgrade optional
Available on: iOS
The best bicycle-ride tracking app I’ve tested is Cyclemeter by Abvio. This iOS-only app collects a wealth of data, is very accurate, contains several well-thought-out features, and appeals to fitness enthusiasts who participate in more than one sport. Despite the name, you can use Cyclemeter to track walks, runs, and other activities. It does not include a calorie-counting component, but it is packed with data about your biking outings.

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By Editorial Staff

Syuhada has been in the media and publishing industry for over a decade but has been a sports enthusiast almost all her life. Whether she's actually good in any of the sports she's done remains to be seen.

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