Originally published January 2016 and updated with several new apps August 2017
You’ve probably downloaded and experimented with dozens of diet and exercise apps that are available, and still haven’t quite found the one that fits your needs.
Nutrition and fitness apps can help you set goals, track progress and even help motivate you when you need it. Many apps feature sharing functions which allow you to share your progress with friends/family and cheer each other on. And you can take them with you wherever you go, from the gym to the kitchen.
Most apps work with popular fitness wearables from Fitbit, Garmin, Apple and more. You can easily load all your workouts and track eating activity on-the-go, into a single dashboard.
Here is our list of some of the best apps in 2017 based on our experience and user reviews/popularity. Some you may know, but it might be the first you’ve heard about many of the newly popular ones.
The following are general overviews for each app. Please review the website for each for the most updated pricing and device availability information.
Knowledge is power when it comes to making healthy decisions about food, and this app can help. The Fooducate website and apps allow you to scan barcodes to find healthier food, and provide countless recipes and tips to help you eat better, get healthy, and lose weight. They offer an at-a-glance grade for quality of calories and food points, as well.
In-app purchases are also offered to unlock premium/pro customization features. These include tools for gluten-free diets, paleo diet, allergen information and alternatives, and more.
J&J Official 7 Minute Workout® App (Free)
The Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout is extremely popular with more than 2 million downloads, plus gets hundreds of 5-star reviews from those who have used it. Designed by an exercise psychologist, the program is touted as a science-based, simple way to exercise anywhere. It features 72 exercises and 22 workouts with a thousand variations, so you’ll never get bored. There’s also the Smart Workout mode that customizes your experience based on your fitness and motivation levels.
This free app is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and on the Google Play Store.
For those looking to get started running but have never really done it before, the Couch-to-5k program is one of the most popular ways. It’s an 8-week program with a reasonable walk/run schedule of only 3 days a week to start. By far, the most popular companion app of the many on the app store is C25K Free, which tracks progress, exercise and calories. Be a part of the millions that have successfully achieved their 5K goal using the program. Then, keep going with their selection of other running apps. Learn more here.
Charity Miles – Run for a Cause (Free)
This easy to-use-app gives you extra motivation to run, walk, or bike. Everything you log helps earn money for one of nearly 40 charities through challenge sponsors. There is an ongoing “challenge term” where they track all users’ miles to pay out to charity.
The app has garnered “best of” nods from Women’s Running Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine, SXSW, and Webby.
Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal (FREE)
One of the best calorie counters available, this easy-to-use app lets you set a daily calorie goal and track your daily food and exercise in order help you reach your weight-loss goals.
In addition, information you track in the app plays nicely with many other popular health and fitness devices like Garmin, and most of the fitness apps listed in this post- see the full list.
If you love the benefits of yoga but don’t have the time or extra budget to spring for classes, this app may be perfect for you. Almost like a studio class in your pocket (or purse), this flexible app has setting for all levels of difficulty and time availability. It features full yoga classes with voice instruction, plus a comprehensive pose dictionary, so you’ll never feel lost.
Pocket Yoga costs $2.99 and is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Google Play, and Mac Desktop. In addition, if you have an Apple TV, you can beam the app to your television for a full-screen experience.
This fun, “personal trainer in your pocket” app helps you stay motivated as you work toward you goals. Endomondo tracks your walking, running, or workout progress, and even lets you interact with a huge community of fellow users.
This free app is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and on the Google Play Store.
FitBit is an outstanding choice for tracking our all-day activity, workouts and health. You can set goals, monitor your weight, record your sleep, and start a food plan. Then, you can track your progress with easy-to-read charts and graphs. You’ll also find many of your friends use the popular app, so you can track progress, motivate, and participate in private group challenges to keep you motivated. The app includes a “feed” akin to a Facebook feed of user goals, trophies, and challenges.
FitBit plays nicely with a wide variety of other diet and exercise tracking apps, as well. View the complete list of FitBit-compatible apps/partners here.
FitBit is at its best when used with one of their fitness tracking devices/smart watches. You can browse options here.
Google Fit – Fitness Tracking (FREE)
This app gives you several options for getting instant, real-time insights for your runs, walks, and rides, allowing you to track your progress through metrics like steps, distance, or calories burned.
If you have an Google/Android device this is a must-try as it’s designed to work well with your phone, tablet or Android Wear watch, plus features integration with your favorite apps like Nike+, Runkeeper, Strava and MyFitnessPal to track additional nutrition, sleep and weight data.
One of the most comprehensive fitness apps available, Gym Goal Pro features 350 exercises with animations and step-by-step instructions, 52 workout routines and a flexible tracking system for strength and cardio workouts, and much, much more. It’s designed for users who need a premium workout training experience and features that can’t be met by the available free apps.
The app boasts millions of users and a nearly 5-star overall score from app store purchasers.
GymGoal Pro costs $8.99 (frequently discounted on promotion) and is available for iPhone and iPad.
FitStar Personal Trainer and FitStar Yoga (FREE)
This extremely popular personal training app takes the guesswork out of working out. The app will create a workout session tailored to your capability, and then slowly adapt future workout according to your progress.
The FitStar app’s exercises are based around the concept of uncomplicated fitness that you can stick to, boasting the features of no equipment needed, short workouts, and little space required.
In addition, FitStar offers a free Yoga app for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
A unique social network for those serious about exercise, Fitocracy encourages you to share your workout results, challenge others, and score points—all leading to better health and fitness. The free app also offers a “coaching” option with customized nutrition and workout plans for an additional fee.
The free app is available on iPhone and in the Google Play Store.
Created for beginning and advanced runners, alike, this extremely popular app helps you set (and achieve) goals, plan and track routes, and share your progress. Their community of over 50 million members makes them one of the top running apps available.
RunKeeper Go is a paid upgrade and offers more in-depth details on progress, plus real-time tracking. Learn more here.
Strava Running and Cycling (FREE)
This athlete-designed app tracks your running and riding via GPS, share photos from your trips, and follow friends’ progress, and even challenge them. Strava features some of the most advanced tracking and reporting data on the market and is popular with competitive athletes.
Strava is a free app and is available on iPhone, Apple Watch, and Google Play devices.
One of our absolute favorites, this unique running, walking, or jogging app alleviates the boredom of running the same old routes over and over. WalkJogRun provides a wide range of running routes no matter where you are in the country, and also includes other helpful features like pace coaching, training logging and reporting, training plans for various types of road races. As a bonus, it’s also one of the most accurate GPS tracking apps in existence!
〉 Read our full review of WalkJogRun, our favorite app to track and discover new exercise routes.
You might know that Spotify has quickly become one of the world’s leading music streaming services, but did you also know that they have created an app inside their player specifically designed for runners? The app contains numerous playlists of exercise music and can even use your GPS to automatically customize your playlist based on your speed and desired tunes during your run.
If you’re already a Spotify user, simply go to Browse, scroll down to Genres & Moods, click “Running”, and select a playlist.
Spotify is a free app that offers a paid subscription and is available on all iOS and Google Play devices.
Zombies, Run! and Zombies, Run! 5K (FREE)
Add a little fun to your runs with the app the pretends you are being chased by something out of The Walking Dead. While running, you’ll hear a mission and will need to speed up if being chased by zombies. In addition, you can collect supplies to build up your arsenal.
It’s a great way to mix things up and join more than 1 million members in their community that take running to a much more fun level.
MyWonderSlim Diet Tools (FREE)
For those following the popular WonderSlim weight management program, the MyWonderSlim website is a free community and tracking system. You can record everything consumed in conjunction with the plan, plus healthy grocery meal items with built-in nutritional information. You can also log exercise. Set goals and track weight/measurement progress for the plan and get helpful tips and motivation from the community of other WonderSlim plan users, all in one place.
Which fitness apps have you used and loved (or hated)? Tell us which ones you recommend in the comments below.