The Best Health and Fitness Apps by Runtastic Put to the Test
A lot of people like to take their smartphones with them to the gym, or they use their phones to bring the gym home. Either way, developers have rushed to provide us with as many fitness-related apps as they can muster.
Once you dive in and start weeding through them, you will eventually come across Runtastic. When you do, you will then see that this Austrian company has produced a ton of apps. Are they any good? Definitely. What all do they do? Well, let’s run through them (no pun intended).
Running & Fitness
Runtastic Running & Fitness is the app that started it all. Runtastic. Running. Need I say more?
I’m not a dedicated runner by any stretch of the imagination, but the few times I took this app out for a spin, it more than delivered. Runtastic didn’t just log my runs on a map, it showed how fast I went and how my elevation shifted.
More importantly, it tracked how long I had been out and notified me when time was running low. Then it let me go back and look over all the statistics. This app can easily serve as your daily run journal and trainer all at the same time. It even lets you keep up with things from your Android Wear smartwatch .
Download: Runtastic Running & Fitness for Android (Free | >Pro)
Road Bike Tracker/Mountain Bike GPS
Take the previous app and apply it to bikes. That describes Runtastic’s Road Bike Tracker and Mountain Bike GPS apps in a nutshell. Each piece of mobile software (get it, mobile?) shows where you ride, how much ground you cover, how high you go, and how fast you get there.
I haven’t taken either one for a spin personally, but the experience looks like a tweaked version of what you get with the running app, and I imagine much of the behind-the-scenes-magic was easily recycled (teehee, re-cycled — okay, I’m done).
Download: Runtastic Road Bike Tracker for Android (Free | Pro) [No Longer Available]
Download: Runtastic Mountain Bike GPS for Android (Free | Pro)
Runtastic hasn’t updated its altimeter app in a couple of years, so the interface is slightly aged, but it holds up well. More importantly, the functionality still works on Lollipop devices. Also, the app does much more than tell you how high you are above sea level.
Give it a look if want to see your elevation, weather, cardinal directions, GPS coordinates, and sunrise/sunset times all on one screen.
The app lets you snap photos and quickly share them to social networks, but the free version watermarks images. Going pro lets you stop this behavior, but it hardly seems necessary since you can just use the camera app that came with your phone .
Download: Runtastic Altimeter for Android (Free | Pro) [No Longer Available]
Your phone has all the equipment necessary to track your steps — it just needs an app that knows what to do. That said, there are some tradeoffs. Phone-based pedometers aren’t the most accurate, and the information you get is better used to track trends than to provide accurate measurements.
Runtastic Pedometer works best when it’s in your pocket, as looking at the phone while you walk confuses the sensors. On the other hand, the app shot me an error message saying it can’t run with the screen off. That really hinders its usefulness. Runtastic Pedometer is clearly intended for use in limited bursts, not as your all-day Fitbit replacement .
Download: Runtastic Pedometer for Android (Free | Pro)
Runtastic Me: Daily Tracker
If you’re going to do the whole tracking thing, you might as well step it up a notch. Runtastic Me not only tracks your steps, it monitors how much ground you cover in a day, how many minutes you spent active, and how many calories you burned along the way. It serves as a hub for all of the information you give Runtastic, so you can view your fitness profile.
Download: Runtastic Me: Daily Tracker for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
These four non-running related apps are nearly identical to one another. Each pushes you through a set number of reps with breaks in between. You are tasked with a different number each day, with the apps slowly building you up to a point where you’re doing hundreds. It’s a gradual process that worked very well for me.
Each app also provides a way of counting your reps. With push-ups, you lay the device on the ground and touch the screen with your nose. With squats, you hold it out in front of you and the counter increases every time you stand back up. The same is true for sit-ups. For pull-ups, you stick the phone in your pocket. This I found to be the most awkward as my phone loved to move around in, and jump out of, loose pockets.
Download: Runtastic Push-Ups for Android (Free | Pro)
Download: Runtastic Squats for Android (Free | Pro)
Download: Runtastic Pull-Ups for Android (Free | Pro)
Download: Runtastic Sit-Ups for Android (Free | Pro)
Six Pack Abs/Leg Workout/Butt Workout
You could easily lump Runtastic’s six pack abs, leg, and butt workouts in with the previous four exercising apps, except the experience with these is markedly different. These three apps let you follow 3D models and learn from watching video tutorials. Plus, the workout plans offer variety aside from just changing up the number of reps.
Unlike its other apps, Runtastic has tucked the full versions behind in-app purchases.
Download: Runtastic Six Pack Abs Workout for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Download: Runtastic Leg Workout Trainer for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Download: Runtastic Butt Trainer Workout for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Your smartphone likely came with a built-in stopwatch that can serve as your timer. Runtastic’s app cranks things up by letting you run multiple clocks at once. This lets you spend a steady amount of time on preparation and relaxation with each repetition. The app hasn’t received an update in a while, but again, that’s not much of an issue here.
Download: Runtastic Workout Timer App for Android (Free [No Longer Available])
Heart Rate Monitor
Like other smartphone heart rate monitors, Runtastic’s app uses your camera and LED flash to sense the flow of blood through your capillaries. This involves pressing your finger tip directly over the lense and holding it as still as you can. Any movement throws off the reading.
After downloading the app, I regularly failed to have my heart rate detected. I had the best luck when I placed my phone facedown on the desk and rested my finger on top. It’s functionality may be limited, but you can give it a shot. If you already have a Galaxy S5 or S6 (both of which have built-in heart rate sensors), then you’re better off with the built-in S Health app.
Download: Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor for Android (Free | Pro) [No Longer Available]
Health Myths & Facts (Nutrition Quiz)
This app is called Health Myths & Facts in the Play Store, but it’s labeled Nutrition Quiz once installed. It provides you with useful information about what to eat and how your body works. You can read up on little factoids when you’re curious, or you can test your knowledge with simple tests that provide you with fascinating tidbits as you go along.
While the app still contributes to your physical well-being, it’s ultimately more of an educational time-killer than a resourceful guide. But hey, if you’re trying to use your phone to live a heathier life , this is a good app to have around.
Download: Runtastic Health Myths & Facts for Android (Free | Pro)
Runtastic Music is a basic local music player reminiscent of Play Music during the KitKat era , minus the online streaming component. It’s nothing particularly fancy, and really, doesn’t seem necessary. Maybe in the past it may have integrated better with Runtastic’s other apps, but that’s not much of an issue anymore.
Download: Runtastic Music for Android (Free [No Longer Available])
Libra Weight Tracker
Runtastic produces a smart scale called the Libra that doesn’t just tell you how much you weigh, it also measures your body fat percentage and syncs this information to your phone or tablet. There you can see your body mass index and calculate how many calories you’ve burned.
Download: Runtastic Libra Weight Tracker for Android (Free)
You might feel tired after trying out all of these Runtastic apps. Well, there’s one left to go, and it’s one of the many sleep tracking options available for Android. Runtastic Sleep Better monitors your slumber to see when you’re restless and when you’re out cold. Then the integrated smart alarm tries to wake you up at the ideal time.
Download: Runtastic Sleep Better for Android (Free)
What Do You Think?
And there you have it — Runtastic’s complete catalog of Android apps. With a list this long, I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple new ones appear in a few weeks. The company didn’t get this many by sitting around on its hands.
Have you found any of Runtastic’s apps to be great supplements to your workout? Have any of them caused you to start being active in the first place? Share your experience with us in the comments below!