The Best Wear Fitness Apps

Track workouts and more with the best fitness tracker apps for your smartwatch

If you own a smartwatch that runs Wear (formerly Android Wear), Google's operating system tailor-made for wearables, chances are you're on the lookout for some solid apps. We've covered some of the best overall downloads for Wear users in a previous post. Here, we take a deeper dive into apps that help you leverage your smartwatch to stay fit and keep up tabs on your workout data.

Close up of running on a treadmill
BraunS / Getty Images 

A Good Starting Point: Google Fit

Google Fit comes pre-installed on all new Android phones, and if you have a Wear device you can choose to use Google Fit as the main fitness app on your smartwatch. To do so, navigate to the Wear app on your phone, and select Google Fit as your default activity tracker.

The Google Fit app covers most of the basics you'll find on standalone activity-tracking devices—such as steps taken in a day, total active minutes, distance traveled, and calories burned. It even adds some fun and unique features, including Paced Walking, where you can add a gentle audio background beat to whatever music or content you're listening to and unconsciously pick up your pace.

The Google Fit app automatically syncs data with Wear devices, and if you have a Wear watch that includes a heart-rate monitor it can track your heart rate as well. Plus, Google Fit integrates with many other Wear fitness apps, including several mentioned in the list below.

Some Android devices even support a Google Fit update that measures your heart rate and respiration via the phone's front and rear cameras.

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Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! How-to page
What We Like
  • First four missions are free, unlock another each week.

  • Custom music playlists.

  • Running and game stats provide extra motivation.

What We Don't Like
  • Clocked distances are not always accurate.

  • Tends to close unless you deactivate Battery Optimization.

What better way to get your heart rate up than to use an app that puts you on a mission and tasks you with outrunning zombies? Whether you prefer to walk, jog, or run, this popular download will encourage you to speed things up when "zombie chase" mode is in effect.

The app includes 200 missions, and the immersive experience is part audiobook, part workout coach (or at least motivator). Especially if you get bored easily while you're out on long runs, Zombies, Run! is worth a download since it will certainly keep you engaged. And you don't have to sacrifice listening to your favorite music, either; the app will combine your tunes with the story, so even when you're not "running for your life" when the zombie sounds start, you'll have the upbeat temp you need.

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Seven — 7 Minute Workout

7 minute workout homepage
What We Like
  • No internet connection required.

  • Decent variety of exercises.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks warmup and cooldown exercises.

  • Paid version is expensive.

This app is designed to help busy Wear users fit in quick and easy workouts. As you could guess from the name, the workout plans are seven minutes in length, and they don't require any special fitness equipment; you simply use your own body for resistance, along with a chair and a wall for select exercises.

The Seven app uses some gamification strategies to keep you motivated; you start out with three "lives," and you'll lose one each day that you skip a workout. You can also unlock achievements as you progress to more advanced workouts. You can even play music from your favorite app to keep your energy up as you work out, and the app doesn't require an internet connection, so you can get moving anywhere.

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Screenshots of the Strava Fitness Tracker app.
What We Like
  • Share progress, route maps, and photos with an active community.

  • Works with a broad range of activities and sports.

What We Don't Like
  • Tends to shut down without adjustment in Battery Optimization.

  • Defaults to elapsed time, rather than moving time.

Considered the definitive app for cyclists, Strava for Wear lets you start, stop, pause and resume ride-tracking directly from your smartwatch. You can even use voice commands to start a run or bike ride with your wearable. The app will show stats, including average speed, time, distance, run splits, heart rate, and real-time segments.

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StrongLifts 5x5 Workout

The Stronglifts app.
What We Like
  • Easy to use with a bit of experience.

  • Works for people of all fitness levels.

What We Don't Like
  • Anything more than basic features requires paid subscription.

  • Occasionally glitchy.

Strength training is a part of any well-rounded workout plan, so it would irresponsible to do a roundup of the best Wear apps without including one focused on weightlifting.

The StrongLifts app guides you through strength- and muscle-building workouts, and you can track your activity directly from your Wear watch. The app guides you through squats, overhead presses, deadlifts and more, with the goal of getting you to complete three 45-minute workouts per week. You can set your weight preference in the app and track your progress over time as well.

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Sleep as Android Unlock

Sleep As Android screenshot
What We Like
  • Records snoring and sleep-talking.

  • Statistics provide insight into daytime energy levels.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version is limited to a two-week trial.

  • Takes time to learn and explore all the features.

Why include a sleep-tracking app, you ask? Well, getting good rest is essential and ensuring that you get a proper amount of sleep will help you stay on track with your activity goals. While there is a free version of the app, it only includes a two-week trial of sleep cycle-tracking using your wearable's sensors. However, this could be a good place to start, since you can try out the app for free and see if the sleep-tracking functionality is useful enough to warrant paying for the premium version.

The sleep cycle tracking ties into the app's other main feature: a smart alarm. This will wake you up with gentle sounds at the optimal moment based on where you are in your cycle, with the idea of getting your day started off on the right foot.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are plenty of apps tailor-made for Wear that can help you work up a sweat and keep track of your fitness progress. Some might even argue that there's no need to purchase a standalone activity tracker when your smartwatch can collect so many workout stats, though of course serious athletes and those who prefer other sports like swimming or golf will still want to look toward specialized sports wearables.

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