The best fitness and health tracking apps for Android

There’s never been a better time to get healthy, as there are plenty of apps that can serve as your workout and fitness companion.

fitness apps android
Credit: Derek Walter
Your phone is your workout ally

Fitness apps are everywhere. All the big players like Nike, Under Armour, Fitbit, Jawbone, and many others are rushing to be the defacto standard in our new age of smart fitness tracking.

The market’s actually quite saturated with such services, which can make it hard to decide which to go with. This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to give out an excessive amount of data over to such services to find you some of the best options. There's no one ideal app for everyone: some are better at helping you lose weight, others help you bulk up, eat healthier, or meet other fitness goals. So prepare to get active as we present the top apps to create a new and better you.

mapmyrun
MapMyRun

If you like to run, walk, or bike regularly then MapMyRun is an ideal companion for keeping track of all your stats.

The app is part of the extensive catalog Under Armour has built through acquisition and creating its own apps from scratch. MapMyRun also has some capabilities to enter food and personal health details, but MyFitnessPal has more extensive options for handling those tasks. 

The signature feature is the way the app announces milestones on your journey, so you can leave your phone in your pocket and listen for an announcement after each mile. If you pair it up with an Android Wear watch the details are right there on your wrist, so you'll know exactly for how long the torture has gone on. Try the free version is you'd like, or eliminate the ads with the premium option.

MapMyRun+ ($2.99)

myfitnesspal
MyFitnessPal

The other key piece to Under Armour's crown is MyFitnessPal, which is focused on both workouts and tracking nutritional information and calories.

I’m not totally in love with the interface, but you can’t beat the huge crowd-sourced food database and other statistical features of MyFitnessPal. It tracks all the vital numbers if you’re watching your weight or want to just be more diligent with what you eat. You can also save recipes, though its search system is a little wonky at times.

All the premium choices like recipe suggestions and priority customer support are tempting, but I’ve never been able to convince myself it’s worth $50 per year. That’s because in general the app does a solid job at the basics—just get ready for some ads and an interface that could use some retouching.

MyFitnessPal (free)

google fit
Google Fit

You can’t touch any digital solution without finding some type of offering from Google. But what once was a pretty bare bones fitness app has turned into a solid option, in particular if you have an Android Wear watch.

You can track your stats while on a run/walk/bike ride and do various challenges, like 10 push-ups each day or a round of sit-ups. The real strength from Google Fit comes in that it can collect your data from various other supporting apps, so it’s all saved in one place and can follow you when you switch devices. It could do more here, as it’d be nice to see if you could get an average by calculating the steps tabulated on your phone and watch, as sometimes they come up with different numbers even if they take the same journey.

Google Fit (free)

lose it add
Lose It!

If you want an app specifically for keeping track of what you eat, then Lose It is an excellent choice. The app has a comprehensive food database that includes pretty much everything you’ll find at the grocery store and most chain restaurants. The barcode scanning also works admirably, which can save you a couple of steps in entering the information about what you're eating.

When you add activities, Lose It will deduct those from your calorie bank, so you might be able to slip in some room for that ice cream cone after all.

Lose It! (free)

fitbit 2
Lose It (cont.)

Along with a pretty extensive database of food items, Lose It will help you out by giving a lot of different details about what's contained in what you're eating.

I've also used it not just to enter what's currently digesting but also to determine if I really should order that bacon-avocado cheeseburger (the answer is usually no). This is valuable if you're watching your cholesterol intake or sugar level.

Even if you don't use all of Lose It's other capabilities, it's worth keeping around for this alone.

Lose It! (free)

spotify running
Spotify Running

No, Spotify isn’t a health and fitness app, but it offers a clever feature that will motivate you on your next run.

Aptly named Spotify Running, you’re able to pick among motivating playlists that get more or less agressive depending upon how fast you want to trek on. In most cases the selections are spot on for serving as the kind of music that will push you along the pavement. Some of the playlists I could do without. And there’s something to be said for going with another set you’ve collected yourself. But it’s a valuable option to check out, and you don’t need a paid account to explore it.

Spotify (free)

lifesum food
Lifesum

Lifesum performs very well as an all-around health companion. It's one of the few in this category that takes the entirity of the Android platform seriously: the app fully embraces Material Design, connects to Google Fit, looks good on tablets, and has an Android Wear app. 

You'll need to add a subscription if you want to access an enhanced recipe database and other goodies. The company also built Movesum, which is a step-counting app designed to push you to move faster if you like what you see here.

Lifesum (free)

lifesum diet
Lifesum (cont.)

Lifesum also deservs credit for how it tackles health from a number of different directions, like finding recipes (there's a limit unless you opt for a paid account) and pinging you about water intake and movement.

The app can also be an aide in weight loss, keeping track of your progress and detailing the downward trend in a regular chart. There's a lot to explore, which can make Lifesum a great do-it-all app for health and fitness.

Lifesum (free)

strava
Strava

Strava is pretty singularly focused on serving as your running companion. Yet often that strategy is a good one, as it works rather well for this purpose. The clocks are nice and large and you get a persistent notification on the lock screen. 

Additionally, the Android Wear app lets you stop and start an excursion right from your watch. I liked the ability to upload a picture after each run, though the novelty of that could wear off over time. If you want to see leaderboards, get heart rate analysis, or see your aptly-named Suffer Score (an analysis of how difficult your runs were) you’ll need to go for the in-app purchase.

Strava (free)

7 minute workout
7 Minute Workout

Going to the gym isn't always a pleasant experience. You'll find lots of sweaty individuals with various levels of personal hygiene expectations. So there's a lot to be said for working out at home or going for a run.

But what to do? That's how 7 Minute Workout can be a friendly guide, as it's filled with exercises that don't require you to leave the house. Some of the attached YouTube instructional videos are a little cheesy, but I've found this app a good place to start if you want to get in more exercise but don't quite know what to do first. You can try out the free version, or go for the premium option to nix the ads.

7 Minute Workout ($2.99)