​Fitbit and Strava explained: How to sync your workouts and fitness data

Get these two fitness behemoths working together for your workouts
How to sync Fitbit and Strava
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Strava is a firm favorite here on the Wareable team and it's become a must-have app for runners, cyclists and pretty much anyone that feels the need to track workouts. As a resource for tracking, comparing, studying and challenging yourself it's an essential fitness app, and brands like Fitbit and Garmin have had to open up to Strava.

Fitbit supports two-way integration with Strava, which means when you head out running with your Fitbit fitness tracker or smartwatch the session will appear within your Strava workouts, and you can check how many records you smashed on your weekly route.

But perhaps even better, if you go on a Strava workout, your steps and calories will count into Fitbit's daily goals. If you've ever been frustrated by burning a thousand calories running but not getting the credit on your Fitbit, this is the answer.

Follow these steps for connecting Fitbit and Strava together, and getting your fitness data working between the two.

How to connect Fitbit to Strava

Fitbit and Strava explained: How to sync your workouts and fitness data

1. Link them up

While you can fiddle around in the companion smartphone or web app to do it, the easiest way is to head to the dedicated page and click the connect button.

2. Log into Strava

You'll be prompted to log into your Strava account. Type in your details here, or choose to login via Facebook and Google.

3. Authorise

You'll then need to authorise Strava to connect to your Fitbit account. Once that's done you'll get a reminder of the types of data that will be shared.

You can only have GPS-tracked activities sync from Fitbit to Strava. Firstly, that means that walks and general daily activity won't appear within Strava, nor will gym sessions, for example. It has to be a run or cycle. It also means that you'll either need to use the likes of the Ionic (which has built-in GPS) or a connected GPS Fitbit like the Charge 3 or Versa.


Manually share workouts with Strava

Fitbit and Strava explained: How to sync your workouts and fitness data

Historic activity also won't be uploaded automatically, so if you've got a big run logged in your Fitbit account then tough luck. But not so fast: you can export runs from your Fitbit web dashboard and load them into Strava.

1. Log into Fitbit

Log into your Fitbit dashboard and click Activities from the list. You might need to trawl a little bit as every single walking workout is recorded here – which typifies a reason why Fitbit users might want to use Strava in the first place.

2. View a workout

In your Activity History, find a workout you want to export and click the View Detailsbutton, which reveals the full summary of your workout. That file must have GPS data to enable exporting.

3. Export

In the upper right corner are three dots. Click these and choose to Export as TCX file from the resulting menu.

4. Head to Strava

Head to the Strava dashboard, log in and head to the plus button in the top right. Click and choose Upload Activity and then choose File from the menu on the left.

5. Load your TCX file

Click browse and upload the TCX file you just extracted from the Fitbit site – probably in your downloads folder. The run will then be loaded into your Strava stream.

These are the main ways in which the Strava and Fitbit apps work together. We'll be exploring more ways to deal with and extract data in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back for those.

Can you sync data using the Fitbit Strava app?

Fitbit and Strava explained: How to sync your workouts and fitness data

So, if you own one of Fitbit's smartwatches and you peruse the App Gallery (that's Fitbit's app store) you'll notice that there is a free Strava app you can download to your watch.

The Strava app currently allows you to view your most recent logged workouts and includes Strava's Matched Runs to plot your progress and improvements over time.

You cannot, however, track or sync activities from the app. Syncing will still be done as long as you've connected your Fitbit and Strava accounts as explained above. Hopefully, Strava and Fitbit will continue to improve the app to make it function a little more like its phone app, but right now it's not quite the fully fledged app we were hoping for.