Tech for your connected self

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android and Wear fitness platform

Our guide to getting up and running with Google's fitness ecosystem

The Google Fit you once knew is no more. Google has given the Apple Health rival its biggest revamp since its launch back in 2014.

It's still all about helping you monitor health and fitness from your smartphone or Wear smartwatch (formerly Android Wear), but Google hopes the way you do that should be much easier. Keeping on top of those goals should hopefully be more manageable and achievable too.

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It still uses the advanced sensors on your smartphone or smartwatch to work out when you're walking, jogging, cycling and more. There's also a web app and support for third party apps and devices so you don't want to spend money on a new Wear watch to use it.

So, if you've just picked up a new smartwatch or you're ready to ditch your current fitness app favourite, here's how to get started with the new look Google Fit.

Still have a question about Google Fit? Let us know in the comments section below

Get the Google Fit app

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

If you own an Android smartphone, then Google Fit usually comes as part of the suite of apps preloaded onto the handset. If it's not there, then you'll need to head to the Google Play store to get it downloaded.

If you already use Google Fit on your phone, then to get the latest features you'll also need to head to the Play Store to update the app. (Unfortunately for iPhone users, there's no dedicated app for Google Fit right now.)

It should be a similar story for Wear watches too. Fit should come pre-loaded but you may need to update the Wear version of the app for the new features to be reflected on your wristy companion.

Once downloaded, you'll need to use your Google account (that's the same one you created to first set up your phone or smartwatch) to log in and access Google Fit.

Switch to the web

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

Before we get into those watch and phone app features, we should talk about the web app too. It's kept pretty quiet about it, but Google does have a web interface for Google Fit. It doesn't look like Google has got around to giving it the same makeover as the phone or smartwatch app just yet though.

You can log in to view your recent activity, edit or add activities, change your personal information, alter your goals or delete all of the data Google Fit has on you. The only feature missing from the web interface is automatic activity logging, but then again you didn't want to take your laptop out running, did you?

Enter your details

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

You don't have to tell Google Fit anything about you, but it does help the software calculate your activity levels if you specify your gender, height and weight.

The new setup will also ask you if you want Google Fit to automatically track activity like walking or running using your phone or connected wearable. You do have the option to opt out of this though. It will also give you the option to use location information to save routes for when you go out running or cycling. Again, you can choose not to have this feature turned on.

New goals to improve your health

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

Google is shaking up how it's helping you boost your day-today wellbeing and it's ditching step goals with two two new goals.

Move Minutes

First up is Move minutes, which is essentially all about the amount of time you spend doing physical activity for a specific amount of time during the day. This could be doing some yoga or going out for a stroll.

How many minutes you choose to move is determined by you. It's set as a default to 60 minutes a day, but you are able to bump this up or reduce the amount.

Heart Points

The next way to measure your activity goal is through something Google is calling Heart Points. Google Fit will award you points for more intense sessions of physical activity and when you're really getting that heart pumping. So we're talking going for a run or a cycling for instance as examples of ways to earn those Heart Points. Running will award you 2 points for every minute you are run for while for every minute you cycle, you'll bag 1 point.

For smartwatches, this will tap into your heart rate sensor to detect when you're picking up the pace. On your phone, it'll use the combination of the accelerometer motion sensor built into your handset and (if available) GPS data to predict the intensity of your movements.

Google has drawn on help from the American Heart Association to ensure that you earn enough Heart Points to meet its weekly recommendations for physical activity.

Getting around the new Google Fit app

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

Along with new features, Google has also spruced up the look of the app introducing something that's less cluttered and generally make it a less daunting place to spend time in. Here's a breakdown of the key new changes that will help you quickly the Google Fit phone app.

The rings

To keep track of your progress ticking off those move minutes and heart points Google has introduced a new ring-based UI (sounds familiar) that will give you a clear idea of how close you are to completing that day's goals. As you use Google Fit more, it'll adjust your goals depending on the activity you log. So if you push a little harder it may give you a higher total of move minutes or heart points to amass during the day.

Tracking a workout

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

This will no doubt be a really important one for a lot of people. From the Home screen you should see an icon with a cross on it. Hit this button to bring up additional options to add blood pressure readings, weight, activity and to start tracking a workout.

There's a whole host of activities that can be tracked from aerobics to windsurfing. Some of these activities are of course better suited to a wearable of course. So tracking from a phone for certain activities will only offer information such as time and a tally of Heart Points. But for activities like running and cycling, it'll also map your routes. As long as you've enabled Google Fit to track your location as mentioned in the setup process.

If you head to the main settings menu on the Google Fit app (in Profile tab and hit the cog in the top right hand corner), you can customise the workout experience including turning on spoken announcements as well as switching from KM and miles measurements.

Adding an activity

There is also the option to manually add an activity on Fit, which requires doing what we described above and selecting the Add an activity option. You can find the same extensive list of activities to choose from and you'll be assigned Move Minutes and Heart Rate Points for that activity. You can also make a note of the duration, add notes, calories burned, steps and distance in KM.

Journal

Alongside from the Home tab in the Google Fit app is where you'll find something called Journal. This is the place where all of your workouts can be viewed. That's whether they've been tracked from the app or a connected wearable device or added in manually.

How to add third party apps

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

Google Fit still allows you to share Google Fit data with other apps and devices and that's now done from the Profile tab. Look for the small cog icon in the top right hand corner of the Profile page and you'll find all of the various settings you can tinker with in Fit.

It's here where you can manage connected apps and devices. Google now breaks this down into three categories. There's All apps & devices, Apps with Google Sign-in and Google Fit apps & devices.

For a list of compatible Google Fit apps, you can go see them here and also check out our top Google Fit compatible apps too. If you want to sync other apps to Google Fit to pull in the data to the Fit app, it's done in roughly the same way:

1. Go to the third party app (Runkeeper or Strava for example) and find the settings menu.

2. Locate the option where you are able to connect other services and or link other services.

3. Follow the instructions to link the app to Google Fit.

How to connect a Wear smartwatch to Google Fit

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

If you have Wear 2.0 installed on your smartwatch, then you should automatically have Google Fit too. If not, look for it in the Play Store on your watch. On older Wear devices, meanwhile, Google Fit shows up on your watch as soon as you've installed the app on your phone. As we've mentioned, though, there's no Google Fit app for iOS yet, so if your watch is paired with an iPhone, you're stuck with the web and watch interfaces.

Read this: Best fitness tracker to buy right now

The chances are you'll need to update the Google Fit app to access the new-look design and features. The best way we've found to do that is to head to the Play Store on your Wear watch (for those watches that support the ability to do that), searching for the Google Fit app and selecting to update.

Google Fit on your smartwatch

Once you're updated you'll be able to go into the app drawer on your watch and see that new-look Google Fit icon. From there you'll once again be asked to associate your Google account to pull in the same data that already exists on the phone app. You'll also again be prompted to enter weight and height details. Once that's all done, you're ready to roll.

Those activity rings are now front and centre listing your Move Minutes and Heart Points at the centre of the screen. If you swipe up from the screen you'll be able to view your total steps for the day along with calories burned and distance covered.

Scroll even further and it's here you can start tracking workouts and tinker with settings. In Workout, you'll see a long list of activities that can be tracked including Challenges, which has been kept from the previous version of Fit. These challenges include push-up, sit-up and squat challenges and you can also adjust the difficulty levels for these challenges. You still have support for rep counting here as well to make Fit more gym and weight training friendly too.

If you want to see your workout history, you'll need to scroll down all the way to the bottom of the list of supported exercises. From the Fit Settings menu there are options to adjust activity goals, change units of measurement and even change the size of the numbers displayed for distance, pace and other exercise data.

Fit Workout

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

You might notice that there is another Fit app on your Wear watch and that's Fit Workout. This is simply a shortcut to get to the workout mode we've described above. If you're not interested in checking in on your activity rings, this is where you need to go to first.

How to get the Google Fit activity rings watch face

How to use Google Fit: Get set with the Android fitness platform

Yes, you can keep a close check on your daily progress straight from the watch face. To access the new Google Fit watch face you need to swipe left from the watch face screen to see more watch faces and tap on the Google Fit face.

It's near identical to the look of the app and will display your activity rings as well as a small widget that lets you jump straight into workout tracking. That workout assigned to that widget can be changed as well. A double tap at the bottom of the watch face will also reveal your tally of Move Points and Heart Points too.

If you're watch has an always on display, it should still also let you view the rings when the screen is not awake, just in a more simplified black and white UI.


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11 comments

  • LocalHero says:

    I'm taller

  • peagreen says:

    The big drawback, in my opinion, is that each recording is focused on a single activity: walking OR running OR cycling etc.

    I often cycle to a park or the beach and then take the dog out of her transport basket and walk for an hour or two and then cycle home. 

    I would like an app that I can configure to treat speeds from 0.01kph up to 6kph as walking, from 6kph up to 30kph as cycling and anything above 30 shouldn't be taken as exercise because I've clearly stepped into some motorised mode of transport.

  • chikaneamar96 says:

    I have installed app on my android mobile but it is not showing distance and foot steps while activity.

  • ztar says:

    Without route tracking, the app has less appeal. I'm looking for a replacement for My Tracks.

  • pradeep says:

    I AM USING GOOGLE FOT ON MY NEXUS 5. UNABLE TO FIND OUT THE PULSE RATE AND BODY TEMP. PLEASE GUIDE ME.

  • Ghf says:

    why can't the saved workouts be uploaded to facebook?

  • chenle says:

    Someone forgot here a very important value - it's well know and recommended for adult person to make around 6,000 steps a day.

    Yes THERE IS NOT AVERAGE PER DAY INFO - you need to calculate it yourself...funny with all the data and the graphs a very basic data - how many steps I did per day the last month and the last months is missing...

  • Nathansb says:

    after complication of goal of 10000 steps this app is not showing correct reading of kilo meter pl. advice how to set the same in mobile.

    Thanks,

    Nathan

  • ichthyosaurus says:

    No floor count looks like... 

  • Jan2344 says:

    I removed Google fit, i dont like the new goals but they are mandatory. I want my pink rings and steps back!!

  • tgrimm1213 says:

    What is the heart rate range of "75v 128^" on the pop-up when holding your finger down on the blue line on the heart rate graph? I have afib and am trying to figure out what this "range" means and cannot find an answer anywhere

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