In trying to lose weight, exercise more consistently, or push yourself to higher intensity workouts, everyone needs a little help. Fitness apps give you that help by reminding you of your goals and prompting you to follow through on them. They also give you the tools you need, whether it’s a calorie calculator or a video-based workout session, to achieve success.
Maintaining fitness requires daily habits and lifestyle changes, and a few little nudges in the right direction from your mobile phone might make all the difference.
We’ve tested dozens of fitness apps, and 21 have emerged as the best. These top fitness apps meet a range of needs. Some are great for people who are already quite athletic, while others are perfect for beginners. Some have one area of focus, such as nutrition or music for workouts, while others take an all-in-one approach. Some are simple, and others go the extra mile to make sure you have all the information you need to keep working toward your health and fitness goals. Many can work with heart rate monitors and fitness trackers to help you gather more data about your workouts. All offer great value for the right person, which you can read about in the descriptions below.
In general, the apps fall into a few specific categories, including short workouts, workouts on demand, nutrition, activity tracking, and workout music. Where available, we link to the app store for both Android apps and iPhone apps.
The Best On-Demand Workout Apps
Apps that give you workouts on demand are a dime a dozen, but not all are equal in quality or price. Those that made the list here have high-quality instruction and are priced appropriately (or are free), though the styles vary, since not everyone is looking for the same thing in workout instructions.
The workouts in Blogilates, for example, are taught by a woman who suffers through the pain with you, smiling and joking even when she clearly feels the burn, too. Fitbit Coach and Nike Training Club, on the other hand, take a more serious approach with coaches who barely break a sweat when they show you how to do the moves. A wonderful app called Keelo has high-intensity interval training and supports connected heart rate monitors so that you’re sure you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can go. There are others in this list, too, that have varying degrees of intensity in both the exercises they offer and the personalities they bring.
The Best Short Workout Apps
In the category of short workout apps, two rise to the top: 7-Minute Workout (by Wahoo Fitness) and The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout. Both apps have designed a seven-minute workout experience that takes into account the needs of a person who is either quite busy, traveling, or new to fitness—some of the most common reasons one would choose to use a seven-minute workout.
Both apps show only what you need to complete the short circuit training program and they’re entirely free.
The Best Nutrition-Tracking Apps
MyFitnessPal has long been a top pick for counting calories and keeping an eye on nutrition. It has the biggest database of foods you can find for both name-brand packaged foods and homemade meals. It’s so widely used that you’ll find calorie and nutritional information for foods from all around the world in it.
MyFitnessPal used to offer macronutrient information (meaning how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates you eat) in its free account, but that’s now reserved for paying members. If you need that information, you can use MyPlate by Livestrong instead, another top app for logging food intake and analyzing what you eat.
The Best Activity-Tracking Apps
Activity-tracking apps log your activities as you do them, whether you’re running, bicycling, or mowing the lawn. The ones chosen to appear in this list of the best fitness apps cater to different personality types, from the competitive athlete to the friendly socializer. A few favorites here include Endomondo for those who like to socialize, MapMyFitness for people at any fitness level doing any activity, Runtastic Pro for runners, and Strava for competitive types.
Another one of the best apps for tracking activity motivates you by donating money to charity for every mile you run, walk, or bicycle. The app is called Charity Miles, and you don’t even have to be competitive or an extrovert to use it.
The Best Apps for Workout Music
A couple of fitness apps bring you music designed to power your workouts, no matter what it is you do to get fit. Among these are FIT Radio, RockMyRun, and Spring – Music for Fitness. With these apps, you can get professional DJ quality mixing, songs that match your running tempo, or tracks made for your activity of choice, such as elliptical training or yoga.
Find Your Motivation
No matter what kind of motivation or daily prodding you need to meet your fitness goals, there’s an app in the list below that can push you in the right direction. Make sure to tell us your opinion about listed apps in the comments, and let us know about any apps you think deserve inclusion the next time we update this list. For more excellent apps to consider if you’re trying to stay or get healthy, consider our roundups of great meditation apps, apps that can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and online therapy apps.
7 Minute Workout (by Wahoo Fitness)
Free with optional in-app purchases
Wahoo’s 7 Minute Workout app is a no-fuss, no-muss approach to fitness. You can launch the app and do this quick set of exercises nearly anywhere with no special equipment. Wahoo’s app gives you the standard seven-minute workout, which consists of 12 high-intensity bodyweight exercises in cycles of 30 seconds each, followed by a very short rest, as well as variations on the same routine. Some of the variations cost a small fee, around $0.99 at the time of this writing, and some of them are free. This app for quick workouts is even better if you have one of Wahoo’s heart rate monitors to connect while you do it, so that you can be sure you’re putting in the right amount of effort to elevate your heart rate. The Wahoo Tickr X is among my favorite chest straps on the market.
Free with limited workouts; $59.99 per year for Pro or $29.99 for three months
8fit creates a personalized program for your diet and exercise based on the results you want to see. It’s for people who like a lot of guidance, suggestions, reminders, and instructions for achieving their fitness goals. You choose a goal, whether it’s to lose weight, get fitter, or gain muscle. Then you make your goal more specific, such as decrease body fat to 20 percent in three months. 8fit takes into consideration a lot of details about you when creating your fitness plan, such as what time of day you exercise and whether you’re an ambitious cook or prefer simple meal prep. Additionally, the app gives realistic assessments of how hard or easy it will be to reach your goals. Then, once you embark on your fitness journey, you use the app to log what you eat, explore meal ideas, and workout using videos in the app. It’s an all-in-one fitness plan that you can customize to your tastes.
(Android, iOS, Web)
Free; $0.99 per month for workout calendar
Blogilates is an app, blog, and YouTube channel by the perky and cheerful fitness enthusiast Cassey Ho, who offers plentiful workouts on demand, as well as recommendations for stretches, eating well, and body positivity. The content leans more feminine than masculine (Ho has a series of workouts called Bikini Blaster and Cocktail Dress Series), but the exercises themselves are built for anyone. Every video workout takes little more than comfortable clothing, a mat, and a can-do attitude. In addition to the workout videos, the app provides a workout calendar, recipes, and a shop that sells athleisure wear. The majority of the content in the app is free, including all the videos, though a subscription to the workout calendar costs $0.99 per month.
Charity Miles is an app that donates money to the organization of your choice when you use the app to log miles running, walking, or bicycling. It’s a great fitness app for anyone who’s motivated by charitable causes. Corporate sponsors agree to donate a few cents for every mile you complete, and in exchange, they show you special offers in the app or otherwise expose you to their brands. You can also invite your friends to sponsor your favorite cause as you log miles. Charity Miles offers donations to a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Park Foundation, Save the Children, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
(Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, Web)
Free; $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year for Premium
Endomondo is an app for tracking your fitness activities, whether you want to record how fast and far you ran or how many minutes you stretched. It’s for people who both want a tracking app and enjoy social motivation, as Endomondo incorporates different ways you can interact with your friends and its global community of members. The free app has plenty to explore, but you’ll want to upgrade to a Premium account if you want richer statistics about your workouts, access to training plans, and an ad-free experience.
(Android, iOS, Web)
$27.99 per quarter or $99.99 per year
FIT Radio is a music-streaming app for working out that also has video-guided sessions for stretching, abdominal work, meditative breathing, and other recovery exercises. FIT Radio is for anyone who needs music that matches their tempo and appreciates DJ-quality mixing. The app has playlists for all kinds of workouts, such as using an elliptical trainer, lifting, and running, as well as a selection of music by genre. Its real area of expertise, however, is in creating mixes that maintain a consistent beat so that you don’t slow down the tempo of your music drops. You can plug into the app the beats per minute you want and listen to song after song that matches your speed. The app requires a paid membership, but you can get three hours of music for free when you try the app. There is no free version of this app, but you get 30 days free to try it out when you enroll.
(Android, iOS, Web, Windows)
Free; $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year for Premium
Whether you own a Fitbit tracker or not, you can use the Fitbit Coach app to work out to short videos that you can do nearly anywhere. It’s a good fitness app for people who want to be talked through their exercise routines and who want to see real humans doing the moves in a video. Some of the workouts are similar to those you might find in a seven-minute workout app—I like the one from Johnson & Johnson, which appears a little later in this article—but in Fitbit Coach, there’s more variety. There’s also a lot of audio cues to coach you along. You can choose to add background music or play your own. A free account has limited workouts and options, whereas Premium unlocks the whole kit and kaboodle.
(Android, iOS, Web)
Free; $6.99 per month for Elite
Jefit is a fitness app for designing workouts, especially lifting exercises, or following routines that come included with the app, and logging how many repetitions you do. This app is best for people who want to a paperless system for writing down their routines and progress. Jefit is great for weight training, as you can log the amount you lift for each set, plus the number of repetitions you do. It also has a section for logging your body measurements, everything from weight to the circumference of your thighs. A calendar helps you plan your workout days and rest days. The free app is ad supported with limited features; an Elite membership unlocks advanced features, such as progress charts, and removes the ads.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App is a circuit training workout app that lets you squeeze some exercise into your day at an intensity level that’s right for you. All you need is a chair and about seven minutes. The interface is surprisingly attractive and clear, but also simple and uncomplicated. Audio and visual cues tell you when to start and stop each exercise in the routine, and a video demonstration appears in the middle to guide you. A medium-intensity workout includes jumping jacks, wall chair sits, high-knee running in place, triceps dips on a chair, and a few other moves. You can also create custom workouts by stitching together exercises that are right for you. The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout app is one of the best fitness apps for three reasons: 1) it’s free, 2) it balances simplicity with adequate information, and 3) it’s suitable for people of with a wide variety of ability levels.
$11.99 per month, $29.99 per quarter, or $89.99 per year
Keelo is a high intensity interval (HIIT) workout-on-demand app. It’s one of the better apps for HIIT because it lets you connect a heart rate monitor and it offers alternatives for some of the exercises, in case you don’t have the equipment available. For example, you can often swap box jumps for a step-up move. It’s best suited for use in a gym, however. When you browse the app’s catalog of workouts, you see a preview of each session before you start, including not only all the exercises and equipment, but also a workout functional map that tells you if you’re in for aerobic exercise and some of the body parts that you’ll engage. Though Keelo isn’t cheap, at $11.99 per month, you can try out the app by sampling one of 16 workouts that are included for free.
Free; $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year for MVP
MapMayFitness is an exercise-tracking app for running, walking, bicycling, and plenty of other activities. There are literally hundreds, covering everything from mowing the lawn to hot yoga. You launch the app whenever you start an activity you want to record, and it captures statistics such as distance and duration using your phone’s GPS and other sensors. Upgrading to the MVP membership adds advanced data, such as cadence and heart rate, when applicable. If you forget to track an activity in real time (or don’t want to), you can log your exercise manually. All the information about your activities gets saved into your MapMyFitness account, where you can see for yourself whether you’re increasing your fitness level. You can also send your fitness data to most of the big-name fitness tracker apps, such as Fitbit and Garmin Connect. MayMyFitness works with Apple Watch, Android Wear, Samsung Gear, too. The app offers plenty of ways to stoke motivation and involvement in fitness, although it seems especially well suited to people who don’t take any of it too seriously. MapMyFitness is an extremely friendly fitness app because it’s designed for people of all fitness levels.
(Android, iOS, Web)
Free; $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year for Premium
MyFitnessPal is an app for counting calories, as well as figuring out how many calories you need to eat, balanced against calories expended, to reach your fitness goals. It’s the best food logging app you’ll find as long as you don’t need special tools for monitoring serious health concerns that are affected by diet, such as diabetes. MyFitnessPal has the largest database of foods and drinks, which means you can search for the foods you eat or scan barcodes of packaged foods to get the nutritional information and calorie estimates. You can also create your own entries and easily adjust the quantities you consume, too. The app has more to explore, from a social community to recipe recommendations. The free version of the app is more than adequate for calorie counting, though you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium subscription if you want to get a breakdown of your macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrates, fat), set custom nutritional goals for different days of the week, or get other advanced features.
Mindbody helps you search for fitness classes nearby based on your preferred workout type or date and time availability. You can look for yoga classes taking place weekday evenings or a new Muay Thai studio where you can train. From the app, you can usually book the class, though requirements for booking vary by business. Some locations have more search results in Mindbody than others, although in testing, the app proved useful in major cities in the U.S. and Canada, plus Mexico City. While Mindbody primarily focuses on helping you find a fitness classes, it has a tab for finding other kinds of wellness services, such as massage therapists, nutritionists, and beauty treatments. It’s a great app to have on hand if you travel frequently and like to scout out local fitness classes wherever you go.
MyPlate (by Livestrong)
(Android, iOS, Web)
Free; $9.99 per month, $30 for six months, or $44.99 per year for Gold
MyPlate is both a nutrition app and a workout-on-demand app. Similar to MyFitnessPal, you use it to look up and record everything you eat, except that in MyPlate you can see a nutritional analysis of your macronutrient intake for free (MyFitnessPal requires a paid subscription to see these details). When you first set up an account in MyPlate, the app asks about your current fitness level and body composition, then asks you to enter an ideal weight. From there, you choose to lose or gain weight in increments of a half-pound per week, but no more than two pounds per week. Based on this information and how often you say you exercise, the app estimates your nutritional needs. The app also has workouts on demand, which you can do at home with a mat and comfortable clothing, no special equipment required. You get a lot for free with MyPlate, and it’s a nice alternative to MyFitnessPal is you want macronutrient information without paying extra. You can upgrade to a Gold membership to get more details about nutritional intake, plus some workouts that are locked to free members, and an ad-free experience.
Nike Training Club
Nike Training Club is a free app with workout on demand that are recommended to you based on information you provide about yourself when you first enroll. While some workout-on-demand apps stick to short sessions that are around 10 minutes long, Nike has some that are 30 minutes or longer. The workouts are in the form of videos with trainers who talk to you throughout the session about form and the benefits of the activities. While all the videos are free, the app also has a store where you can blow some money on Nike sneakers, gym bags, and specialty workout clothes from socks to hijabs.
PEAR – Personal Fitness Coach
(Android (on Samsung devices), iOS)
Free; $5.99 per month or $39.99 per year for PEAR+
PEAR is a fitness app that was originally developed for use in conjunction with a heart rate monitor by the same company, although anyone can now use it for workouts on demand. The app (which is called Personal Fitness Coach in the Google Play Store) offers different workouts and training programs to help you get in some exercise right now or commit to a longer goal, such as building up stamina to run a 10k race. The app has high-intensity exercise sessions, yoga routines, programs to coach you through a basic run, and more. You can download and use PEAR for free, although some content is exclusive to PEAR+ members.
Free; $2.99 per month for Rockstar membership
RockMyRun is a music app for running and other workouts. You can choose different playlists based on a beat you like, have the music in the app match the beat of your footfalls while you run, or connect the app to a heart rate monitor and have the tempo adjust automatically to your internal beat. With a paid Rockstar membership, you can also adjust the tempo of the music to where you like it. With a wide variety of genres, including classical, RockMyRun has plenty of music to explore.
Free; $9.99 per year for Elite
Rich with stats and highly customizable, Runmeter is among the best run-tracking apps you’ll find for Android or iOS. It’s for people who like to collect a lot of data about their runs, and it’s a great stand-in for a fitness-tracking runner’s watch if you don’t own one. The free app works well, using your phone’s GPS and internal sensor to gauge speed, distance, duration, and other running metrics. With Elite membership, you get an ad-free experience, plus a extra features such as the ability to control your music from the app and integration with Apple Watch. Elite members can track other activities besides running, too. Runmeter is one of the best apps for running enthusiasts as well as those who are just getting started.
(Android, iOS, and Web)
Runtastic Pro lets you measure and track your runs, walks, and other exercises, and it doubles as a coaching app to motivate you to keep working toward your fitness goals and train for races. While Runtastic does offer a free version of this same app, the $4.99 Pro version gives you all the features you could ever want for a low one-time price. These features include auto-pause, voice feedback, color coding on route maps that show changes to your run, and more. With the Pro version of the app, you can track walking and bicycling as well. The app is compatible with Apple Watch so that you can start an activity from your wrist, view your stats as you move, and get notifications for your pace and distance.
Spring – Music for Fitness
$11.99 per month, $79.99 per year, or 199.99 for life
Spring – Music for Fitness is an iOS-only app that dishes up music designed to power your workouts based on your music preferences and your rhythm. In setting up the app, you identify some genres of music that you like, and you can select individual artists, too, if you want to make sure you hear some of their music in particular. It’s a great music workout app if you like familiar music, whether it’s a playlist of hits from the 1980s or more contemporary hip-hop. When you workout, Spring asks you to do some sample moves from your activity, and it judges your rhythm based on how the phone shakes and bounces in your hand while you move. The app does require a subscription, and you get a 30-day trial when you sign up and authorize a credit card via the App Store.
(Android, iOS, Web)
Free; from $2 per month for Strava Summit
Strava is a fitness-tracking app for runners and cyclists (and some swimmers) who are looking for a bit of competition, whether against their own personal records or against other people in the Strava community. Strava uses the GPS from your phone or a connected device to track where you run or bike and how fast you go; then it analyzes who else among its members have followed the same segments on your route and pits you against them on a leaderboard. If you’re into Strava, be sure to read through the details of how and where your data will be shared, as much of it becomes public unless you opt out. The free app has plenty to get you started, but if you want advanced features, you’ll want to explore Strava Summit, a somewhat confusing three-tiered set of upgrade options starting at $2 per month.