Nowadays people are more engaged in their training metrics than ever. Everything from your heart rate, distance traveled, workout durations, to calories burned and pace plays a major role in the effectiveness of your workout. To measure all that, people use various devices like fitness watches, trackers, chest straps, and others. All of these combine their data into a hub which, in most cases, is a Training app. In this article, we will go over some of the best fitness apps for this year that will elevate your workout and boost your performance!
Fitness and training apps can be divided into a lot of categories with each app excelling in certain categories while being not-so-great in others. Of course, there are some great all-rounders that I will rank high but I also wanted to include some apps that are more niche-oriented. These include apps suitable for yoga, weightlifting, nutrition, personal training, meditation, and a few that are great for beginners in general. If you’re looking specifically for apps to help you with your cycling workouts, then I suggest checking out my other article on the top cycling apps…
Best All Rounders
There are three apps that are all great at covering the essentials. These are Nike Training Club, JEFIT, and My Fitness Pal
Nike Training Club
NTC is perhaps the best app for anyone looking to up their home-workout game. It is great for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike and has a community around it that is ready to help you in your journey. The app has a ton of built-in workouts ranging from HIIT, yoga, bodyweight workouts, and more. You can also join any of the 185+ workout courses which are lead by expert trainers called “Nike Master Trainers”. The app itself is free but there is a paid version that brings a more personalized approach to your training goals.
Among their best workout collections, they have workouts for the whole family, “big workouts for small spaces”, exercises that will boost your mood, yoga workouts, and workouts that target abs, glutes, and arms. Apart from that, the app allows you to log your workouts, keep track of your progress, and monitor your body’s change over the course of your course. Speaking of nutrition, there are recipes and meal ideas along with diet plans that you can follow.
The app works on all mobile devices (iOS and Android) and has smartwatch support, making it ideal for your Apple Watch or other Android wearables. NTC also integrates well with other fitness apps like Google Fit and some nutrition apps.
My Fitness Pal
Nike Training Club’s biggest rival is MyFitnessPal and there are a few very good reasons for that. This app has received praise from almost every major fitness community, site, and publisher. Unlike NTC, this one does it all – tracking, logging, personalized approaches, eating, habit improvement, health goals, you name it – it has it. No matter the sport, this app can help you excel at it. What this app really does better than every other one is third-party integration. It works with over 50 other apps to create an ecosystem like no other that makes sure that you stay on the right track.
In terms of programs available, it has more than 350 strength and conditioning workouts at your disposal. There is also an insanely large food database that lets you log everything you’re eating and track your calories accordingly.
While the basic app is free, there are a ton of features that you can unlock with the premium package which is, in my opinion, worth every cent.
Best for Beginners – Strava
The whole reason I am recommending Strava for all of the beginners out there is because it offers the most amount of features for its free versions. With all-in-one training apps there is the thing that their premium packages often overlap and offer you the same amount of functionality. How good a free version is, really matters to someone who is now walking into the world of fitness apps and wants to try them out. That’s why Strava is great – it has everything you need, it is free for the most part, and it has a wonderful community full of people who can help you or with whom you can compete!
The app excels for runners and cyclists with it being also one of the top cycling apps nowadays. It is very accurate in its tracking and it works flawlessly across all platforms and devices. It also has the new “beacon” feature for your loved ones to always know where you are when running or cycling.
Another thing that puts Strava in a league of its own is its route database. Basically, every time people discover new routes and describe/rate them, you get access to that route and the information about it, adding to the community effort to map out all the possible bike and running routes. In a single region, you can select either the most popular and most used routes or use heatmaps to see where people generally train. The route will have a type (run/cycle), distance, elevation gain, estimated time, and a few other details and checkpoints along the way.
Best for Weightlifting
Gymaholic is simple to use, yet an incredibly rich app that can track your weightlifting training sessions. It tracks all sorts of workouts including things like drop sets, tri-sets, supersets, circuits, failure sets, pyramid ones, and others. It also allows you to divide your workouts in terms of their type (TRX, strength, etc).
That is where the complex stuff ends, though. The rest of the app is you basically taking notes and putting down the information you extracted and went through during your workout. Combine that with your body measures and composition, and the app will give you a ton of advice and metrics in terms of records, performance, and progress paths.
The app also supports other sorts of workouts you can do in the gym and most importantly it is free to use!
JEFIT is a training app that has desktop integration, making it slightly more advanced and useful for people that like to geek out on the details of their workouts when they get home. It is also an excellent addition for anyone looking for a weightlifting tracking app. JEFIT will allow you to create custom training sessions and progress tracking logs. In the gym, it will record your workout and even time your breaks. All the data that it gathers is then sent to the JEFIT server and broken down to give you the best insights once you get home.
Best for Running – Nike Run Club
If you’re a person who loves running or even runs every day, you know how important data is to your progress, performance, and body’s recovery. Nike Running Club is perhaps the best app for running out there simply due to its advanced tracking, logging, and the awesome community around it.
The app will even let you know how often should you run based on your current progress, experience, body metrics, and goals. This all happens in the app’s personalized running plans section where you select the goal you are aiming for (half a marathon, full marathon, being healthy, etc). Once you’ve set the goal, your experience, how often you can run, and the time-frame in which you want to achieve your goal, the app will calculate the needed workouts to complete that goal and give you a detailed day-to-day plan on how and when to run exactly. This will all be accompanied by running coaches that will guide you through your individual workout. If you miss workouts, the app can re-schedule or change the course of the whole program.
One other feature that I absolutely love about the app is that it can track your shoes too. For instance, if you have a pair of running shoes that you want to log their miles for, you can submit them in the app, and then you will be able to select the pair of shoes with which you ran after each workout. The app also works with Nike+ shoes which have tracking chips in them.
Click here to read my guide on healthy eating for runners!
Best For Swimming – MySwimPro
While there are some great apps like MySwimFit, GoSwim, and Swim IO, I personally prefer MySwimPro over all of these since its full of helpful materials on swimming styles and has great tracking capabilities.
It also allows you to take a deeper look into your metrics and share your progress with friends in the app. When choosing various swimming workouts, you can select between 8 categories, which is something most other apps don’t have.
If you’re looking for some of the best waterproof fitness trackers for your swimming session, head over to my full Guide on the topic!
Best for Meditation and Yoga
Having your mind at the right place is a valuable part of your workout routine and a lot of people ignore the mental aspect of continuous training. This is why meditation and yoga apps are here to help and, honestly, they do a great job of keeping your mind and body at their peak potential.
If the daily stress of your life is getting to you, it may be time to invest in an app that will take all of that away and improve your well-being dramatically. Headspace is the ideal tool to put yourself in the right mind-set before your heavy workouts, which is why I consider it a great addition to anyone looking for a training app.
You will go through a walkthrough of the basic meditation sessions that will teach you the ABC of meditation and mindfulness. After you’re done with that, you will continue your journey forward with more advanced sessions that focus on managing issues like anxiety, pain, depression, and others.
If you’re still struggling with the tree pose, this app is just for you. Glo is geared towards beginners that want to work their way up on the yoga ladder. It also has good advice for more advanced yoga students. The app has daily lessons and classes which focus on various subjects like stress, sleep quality, strength, flexibility, and others. You can download any of the classes and use them later on and the app also works with most wearables, making it great for some on-the-go yoga!
Best for Nutrition – Lose it!
Everybody knows that maintaining a proper diet during your training periods is vital to your success and to your body’s recovering capabilities. Pre-workout, workout, and post-workout meals play a crucial role in how well your body handle’s the stress of the workout and how fast your muscle cells will regenerate after that.
Apps that help you keep a track of your daily calorie intake and nutrition are essential for your success. Lose it! is one of the go-to apps for that purpose and is incredibly easy and intuitive to use (not to mention free). You can set goals with the app once you are setting up your profile, and the app will help you achieve the rest.
As you plow through your days, the app will give you interesting facts and detailed information about the food that you’re eating. You also have goals and rewards for reaching them, which keeps you motivated as you progress. Lose it also has macro tracking for your macronutrient goals and water tracking to make sure that you’re staying hydrated. It also works flawlessly with various devices including Apple and Android wearables.
In the app, you get detailed reports for all of the past days/weeks/months/years you’ve been using it and you can take a closer look at your eating patterns throughout your day or week. When tracking foods that you’re eating, you can also take advantage of the Scanner feature for the food’s barcode (if any) and you can also use the Smart camera feature to log various foods and let the app recognize and store them.
Best for Wearables
While there are apps that work universally on both iOS and Wear OS platforms, I decided to split them into two different categories and give you the best for each one. For those of you who are wondering what is the best app for cross-platform use, I’d say the gold medal is split between Google Fit, NRC, and Strava with the last two apps offering far more advanced features (in their paid versions). Now, let’s start with the Apple Watch…
For iOS – Zones for Training
Heart rate zones are an essential part of your base knowledge about training your body at different conditions. What they essentially show you is how much work your heart is putting in and whether your body is working in an abundance of oxygen or in the lack of one (aerobic vs anaerobic training).
Apple watches are known for their precise HR sensors and their carefully calibrated internals that give you the most accurate data at all times. Or at least as accurate as a wrist sensor can be. The Zones for Training app works with the apple watch to give you information on resting and active heart rate. From that, it will derive whether you’re burning fat or if you’ve peaked your body’s training capacity. By knowing that, you will be able to calibrate your workout in order to burn more fat or push harder.
As a conclusion, if you want seamless integration between a detailed heart-rate monitor and your apple watch, this is the go-to app.
For Android – Google Fit
Pretty much everyone with an Android device has tried Google Fit at one point or another. When you get a smartwatch with wear OS (Android) it will come with Google Fit pre-installed in most cases. The app is great at three things:
- Basic tracking
- Third-party integration
It should come as no surprise that Google fit integrates almost perfectly with all other apps from the Android ecosystem. It also works flawlessly with some iOS and third-party apps. If you have other training apps like Headspace or NRC, you can connect them with Google fit to allow it to gather more information about your fitness routines. It even works with nutrition apps and has a calorie counter built into it as well.
If your watch has a microphone, Google Fit even supports voice commands and Google assistant which can both help you navigate through the app’s features without stopping to click on the watch.
While Google Fit is great, there are some other solid options that are perfectly optimized for Android watches and trackers. Those are Nike Run Club, Runtastic, Runkeeper, Strava, and Endomondo. All of them have easy-to-use interfaces and are excellent at their tracking capabilities. They all work with all of the watches that have Google’s WearOS, as well as some others that use proprietary software like some Samsung and Huawei watches.
If you want to learn how to create a running plan that syncs with your wearables and keeps you pushing forward, click here!
Finding the best fitness apps for your specific needs can be challenging, especially if you want something that covers all bases and has a more personalized approach. These types of apps typically cost a monthly fee but are great at tracking your progress and giving you advice moving forward. With the advancement of technologies and an increasingly mobile world, more and more apps offer coaches to go along with your workout plan as well.