Five Best Fitness Apps for iPhone and Android

These fitness apps are feature-loaded and free or low-cost

Runner tying shoe and checking heart rate app on cell phone
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Add fitness apps to the long list of things smartphones do well. There's no shortage of fitness apps out there, but here are five of the best. Most of these apps rely on the GPS technology in your smartphone to provide location and speed data. They are available for both Android and iOS operating systems, so whether you have an iPhone or an Android smartphone, you're good to go.

Runkeeper App

What We Like
  • Deep integration into frameworks like Apple HealthKit.

  • Well-known app with large userbase.

What We Don't Like
  • Great as a stand-alone app; not-so-great if you want a more encompassing app that covers nutrition, sleep, etc.

  • Not clear what value proposition attaches to Runkeeper Go.

Runkeeper is one of the earliest running apps, and it has added and enhanced its features to remain one of the best fitness apps. Casual and serious runners alike benefit from using Runkeeper. Whether you are tracking your progress toward a 5K goal or training for a marathon, this app has something for you.

With Runkeeper, you can:

  • Log running pace and distance on various routes in real time
  • Set goals and Runkeeper coaches you to reach them
  • Keep track of your personal records
  • Tailor a plan to promote improvement
  • Hear audio cues to stay on track
  • Listen to your music and skip tracks without leaving the app
  • Add indoor cardio and gym workouts
  • Upload your activities to your friends on social media platforms

Runkeeper Go is the premium version of the app. With it you receive customized weekly workout schedules tailored to you, live tracking on social media, a record of weather during your runs, and progress insights.

Runkeeper for iOS and Android mobile devices is free with in-app purchases available. Apple Watch users can leave their iPhones at home and still track their runs.

Nike+ Training Club App

What We Like
  • Good overall design with great workout-focused features.

  • Great for gym rats.

What We Don't Like
  • Nike's app environment seems a bit duplicative.

  • More emphasis than necessary on social sharing.

The Nike+ Training Club app has more than 100 workouts to challenge you in strength and endurance activities. Whether you play basketball after work, attend a spin session, or swim laps, it is all exercise. Enter it manually in the Nike+Training app to keep all your fitness activities in one place. With the app, you get:

  • Audio and visual guides for boxing, strength, yoga, endurance and mobility activities
  • Personalized training plans that adapt as you use the app.
  • Nike trainers to help you master techniques and get the most from every workout.
  • Body-part focused workouts
  • Beginner, intermediate, and high-intensity levels
  • Bodyweight only, light or full equipment
  • Daily "Picks for You"
  • 15 to 45 minutes sessions

The Nike+ Training Club app syncs with Google Fit and is available free for iOS and Android mobile devices. 

Strava Running and Cycling App

What We Like
  • Good design.

  • Nice balance of free and paid features.

  • Isn't just limited to running and cycling.

What We Don't Like
  • It's a stand-alone app in a universe of federated apps.

  • Clear emphasis on cardio, which isn't helpful if you're looking for a more full-featured solution.

Strava Running and Cycling App maps and tracks your runs, rides, and swims. Record the distance, pace, speed, elevation gained, and calories burned during your favorite activities. The app includes the world's largest route and trail map for runners and cyclists. With the Strava app, you can:

  • Challenge yourself or compete with others
  • Prepare for triathlons or marathons
  • Join run, cycle, or swim clubs
  • Track indoor running and cycling as well as outdoor activities
  • Record your stats for additional sports, including hiking, alpine skiing, rock climbing, gym workouts, and CrossFit.

Users who upgrade to the Pro version of Stava Running and Cycling receive tailored plans and gain live features to help train, along with advanced analysis and performance metrics.

Strava Running and Cycling apps for Android and iOS and mobile devices are free with in-app purchases available.

Yoga Studio: Mind & Body App

What We Like
  • Free trial.

  • Good overall design.

  • Appropriate segmentation of different types of poses with levels of difficulty.

What We Don't Like
  • Yoga-only app is a stand-alone from any other apps you use for your health.

  • Annual pricing models at this price point might surprise you 364 days from now.

If yoga is your exercise of choice, the Yoga Studio: Mind & Body App is made for you. The app includes more than 75 classes that come with full HD video and easy-to-follow teacher commentary. The app includes:

  • Information and advice on more than 280 poses
  • 25 hours of video classes
  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
  • Renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee 
  • Classes for back pain, for runners, pregnant women, and a Hip-Hop collection

A 2-week free trial of Yoga Studio: Mind & Body app for Android and iOS and mobile devices is available, followed by a monthly or annual fee.

Yoga Studio: Mind & Body is also available for Windows 10 and Apple TV.

Abvio Cyclemeter app

What We Like
  • Well-optimized for cycling.

  • Great user reviews.

What We Don't Like
  • Interface design isn't all that elegant.

  • Elite upgrade is a bit pricey for a stand-alone health app.

The Abvio Cyclemeter app for cycling, running, hiking, and mountain biking is an advanced app for cyclists. This app is complete, easy-to-use, and full-featured. With Abvio Cyclemeter, you can:

  • View stats, maps, steps, summaries, splits, and intervals
  • Remain secure and private with no logins or passwords
  • Share your activity using email or social networks
  • Record heart rate, bike speed, and bike power with sensors
  • Automatically record the weather
  • Track cycling, running, walking, skiing, skating, and other activities
  • Receive audio comments for encouragement
  • Use 5K, 10, half, and marathon running plans

The Abvio Cyclemeter app for Android and iOS and mobile devices is free with in-app purchases available.