Five Best Mobile Fitness Apps

Mobile fitness apps have changed the way people create, record and reach fitness goals, thanks to mobile phones and mobile devices that put a powerful computer right in your pocket. Here's a look at five of the best mobile fitness apps.

Photo by Lululemon Athletica.

Immediacy and consistency are keys to reaching fitness goals. If your gym is right next to your work, you're more likely to go. If it's easy to record the weight you just lifted or the miles you just ran, you're more likely to track your progress and be motivated by it. The following applications, designed for various mobile platforms, offer a range of tools for tracking and measuring your fitness goals.

CardioTrainer (Android, Basic: Free, Premium: $US2.99)

CardioTrainer is a well-rounded Android application focused on running and other cardio activities. It tracks your runs via GPS, counts the steps you've taken and supports workout recording for everything from distance ran to yoga classes at your local gym. CardioTrainer's features focus on helping you while you're actually in motion, including pausing your workout routine when you get stuck at stop lights, integrated music playback and voice notifications to update you on how far you've run, how long you've been running, calories burned and more. The free version of CardioTrainer includes nearly all the functionality of the premium app, which adds in a weight loss training module and the ability to race against yourself to beat your best times.

RunKeeper (Android/iOS, Free)

RunKeeper was one of the early running applications available for the iPhone and has since expanded to include Android phones. RunKeeper combines GPS tracking, map integration, music management and more into a polished application. All of your RunKeeper activities, including those you enter in manually, are aggregated on the phone and your RunKeeper dashboard — accessible through the main RunKeeper website. You can keep your stats to yourself for personal review, or you can share them easily thanks to integration with Twitter and Facebook.

iFitness (iOS, $US1.99)

If you're more interested in tracking weight lifting and stationary fitness routines than running and cardio activity, iFitness has you covered. iFitness has a catalogue of over 300 exercises ranging from those requiring cable machines and free weights to exercises you can do without any equipment. You can easily mix together exercises to create custom routines. If you need help setting up a weight-lifting regimen, iFitness includes 20 routines designed by fitness experts. Should you ever need a refresher on proper form, each exercise catalogued in iFitness has clear pictures and videos to show you how to do the exercise safely and effectively. When you're done working out, you can save the routine and record your progress; all progress is saved locally and on the iFitness servers to keep your workout records accessible.

Endomondo (Android/Blackberry/iOS/Misc, Free)

It would be more accurate to call Endomondo a fitness social network than simply a fitness application. Endomodo, the application, is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, LG, Eten and Garmin devices. You'd be hard pressed to find a portable device or phone with GPS capabilities that they aren't working on bringing into the Endomondo network. With Endomodo installed on your mobile device, you can track where you run, how long you run, check your personal best times and share them with friends. From the Endomondo site, you can view exercise summaries, issue invites and challenges to get your friends involved in your fitness push and participate in site-wide challenges. Endomondo is a cross-platform running app with a huge network of fellow runners built right in.

SportyPal (Android/Blackberry/iOS/Misc, Free)

Endomondo isn't the only fitness app with a wide reach across platforms, SportyPal is available for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Mobile, as well as Java and Symbian-based phones. Fire up SportyPal when you're in motion whether you're running or roller blading, and it measures your distance, speed, calories burned and more. Later you can sync your data up to your web-based profile and see all the stats gathered from your exercise routine charted out. If you're an outdoor sports enthusiast and you cover a lot of ground hiking or mountain biking SportPal can even display your route on a topographical map for a 3D-style representation of your exercise adventures.

An honourable mention goes out this week to MyFitnessPal, a contender that just missed inclusion in the top five. Have a favourite app that didn't get a nod? Let's hear about it in the comments.


Comments

    iFitness is one of the best iphone apps period.

    RunMeter works a lot better then Runkeeper for me (http://www.abvio.com/runmeter/).

    I can't speak highly enough of myfitnesspal.com. I have been using it for a month and have lost about 7.5kg.

    The iphone app is great and allows me to track calories (it's scary how many you eat without realising) in realtime, and the Facebook like community is extremely encouraging.

    Well worth checking out.

    I hear some of these apps can drain the battery fast when using the GPS. Can anyone post their experiences with battery life?
    Some rides last over 7 hours, and I also carry the phone for emergencies.

    I use a Polar device to track heart rate, speed distance and cadence, but it will not let me export or extract the data. The only option is load it onto the Polar website. A warning to anyone considering this device - it has this crazy limitation even though on paper it looks like a useful feature.

      On my Desire I have been just been using Google's My Tracks to track my runs, mostly for its simplicity and its tie-in to Google maps.

      I've did use iFitness for a little while and was surprised by how often they were releasing updates with new features and changes that the community had requested. Tho it was a good app, i still didn't find it very speedy to record my lifts on, paper always seemed faster.

      Now days I record my lifts in a simple google docs spreadsheet which I could access/update on my Desire using the mobile version.

      @Analyser
      I think you would be hard pressed to get the phone to last 7 hours using GPS but I've never really tested it - I'm usually only out for an hour or so.

      I'll see if i can do a little test of battery usage using GPS on my Desire at lunch.

      I went on a ride yesterday with the battery lasting about 4hrs from a full charge until it was at the 10% mark.

      The app I was using was RunKeeper (free version) on an iphone 3GS.

    What about jogtracker? Works well for me.

    I also found these apps to be really useful for tracking my movements while doing merchandising work for my previous employer.

    Boot it up, tell it I was starting my run and it tracked time/km's etc etc Everything I needed in order to bill :)

    Useful apps :)

    I loved Sports Tracker on my previous phone, a Nokia N82 (an awesome phone for its day), although I used it more in the car than for fitness usages. I loved all its speed & altitude graphs. Its mapping didn't overlay on a real map, but you could export to various formats and import into Google Maps.

    Great on holidays to record all the places you go to!

    If speaking in terms of dieting&fitness (not only tracking your jog/ride) - I would prefer MyNetDiary.
    It has more extensive food database and this app is more flexible in entering the data on eaten foods (i.e. it allows to use tsp/tbsp/ml in addition to standard grams/cups as used in myfitnesspal). And I find its design more user-friendly :)

    And good sets of exercises can be found in free apps Fitness Pro and SixPack Lite.

    The problem I find with all these apps is that they are based on running, running and more running. The only exceptions to this are the apps which show you pictures of how to do an exercise but never actually give you the tracking options. What would be great is an app which has exercise modules or programs such as 5BX or Hacker's Diet. The closest you get is something to count your food intake and weight daily, but that is not very useful.

    You should also check out ITGO - Interval Trainer GO and Interval Trainer GO HD for the iPad. ITGO has been featured by FT.com, Apple and ITGO HD has been the number 1 grossing App in 14 App stores.

    ITGO, Interval Trainer GO, is a dedicated interval signaling application for the iPhone and iPod Touch specifically designed to offer advanced user controlled signaling in the form of vibration, sound and visual alerts while playing user-defined fast and slow interval song playlists.

    It's not just for runners :) but any cardio activity (within reason)

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