The Best Fitness Apps for Android

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Getting Inspired

fitness

Staying fit requires willpower, commitment, and encouragement. It's also easier said that done. One tool you can use to stay motivated is an app that tracks your progress and helps you find new workouts, whether you use your smartphone as a tracker or a dedicated device like the Fitbit or a smartwatch such as the Moto 360. There are plenty of free and low-cost apps that can track running, biking, and other activities and help you achieve personal bests. Here is an assortment of fitness apps that I like to use and a few that I'm excited to try out. 

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Reaching Your Steps Goal

Fitbit

I've had a Fitbit Flex for a few years now so I use the Fitbit app regularly. While it's primarily a way to keep track of my steps, I've also used it to log other activities, such as biking. However, that requires tracking the activity in another app and then manually logging it after the fact. If you wear your Fitbit to bed, you can also track your sleep, and the latest software update means you don't have to switch it to sleep mode before you nod off. You can also use it as an alarm clock; it will gently vibrate in the morning, a nice alternative to a blaring alarm. What I'd really love, though, is the ability for Fitbit to automatically track exercise other than walking and running, making it a one-stop shop.

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Track Cycling and Other Activities

Endomondo

When I go biking, I use Endomondo to track my speed, distance, and duration. I like that it shows both my average speed and top speed. Living in a hilly area means some fun downhill bursts and some excruciating climbs. My only complaint with this app is that you have to remember to pause it when you take a break, otherwise your average speed won't really be accurate, nor will the length of your ride. It would be nice if Endomondo could pause itself after it senses you haven't moved in a few minutes. Otherwise, it's a great way to get a snapshot of your workout. You can also use Endomondo to track runs, climbing, yoga, dancing, and many other activities. Endomondo Premium ($2.50 per month and up) gets rid of ads and adds personal training plans, more statistics, weather information, and more.

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Google's Fitness Tool

Google Fit

The Google Fit app can automatically track running, walking, and biking, and you can manually log more than 120 other activities. I'm planning to use Google Fit on my next bike ride. You can also connect it with other apps, such as Endomondo, Map My Ride, Sleep My Android, and other trackers, to get a full picture. Google Fit is available on Android Wear smartwatches as well as smartphones and tablets. You can also view your stats right on your desktop browser, which is convenient.

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Hardware and Software Solutions

Runtastic

Runtastic offers a slew of apps and gear to track your workouts and help you meet your goals. Despite its name, the apps are not limited to running; you can track cycling (mountain and road biking) and specific exercises, such as pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups. There are also sleep tracking and nutrition apps. Runtastic also offers sports watches, fitness trackers, heart monitors, and a scale that measures not just weight but also body fat percentage, muscle mass, BMI, and more.

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For Newbies

Couch to 5K

If you're not a fitness enthusiast, the Couch to 5K program is one way to get started. The idea is to start small and work up to a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) run after about two months. The program is geared towards people who are either intimidated by long-distance running or have tried and failed before. It's a sensible approach that doesn't require a huge time commitment. You can use the Couch to 5K website to track your progress for free or download the mobile app for $2.99. A companion app can then help you work towards a 10K if you really fall in love with running.