Google Fit wasn't much to write home about when it first appeared in 2014, which made the subsequent lack of updates all the more frustrating. But finally, in 2018, Google has overhauled the platform with a new look and some new features.
Google wants to improve Fit alongside the next wave of Wear OS smartwatches, and one of the ways it's doing that is in how it presents your health data: The new Google Fit puts less emphasis on steps, and more on Move Minutes and Heart Points β new metrics that grant better insight into how those steps are actually impacting your body.
Read this: The best Wear OS smartwatches
But still, Google Fit is mainly focused on collecting stats β activity, sleep, weight, and so on β rather than providing a comprehensive, all-in-one overview of your health and medical records, as Apple Health is trying to do, and as Fitbit is aspiring to. It collects these stats by sucking them in from a bevy of services and apps.
Getting started with Google Fit-compatible apps and services can be a bit tough though, so we've sifted through them to pick some of our favourites. And don't forget, the Google Fit app on Android is free and uses the sensors in your phone or wearable to track your progress. While you can add activities manually, plugging in the following apps or gadgets can also get the job done.
Any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.
Best Google Fit apps
The running and cycling tracking app is one of the best social fitness experiences you can get, and its data can be automatically shared with Google Fit. Set up the connection inside the app to see details of your workouts next to your step data and activity logs.
Your wellbeing and fitness aren't just physical. Instant realizes that, and integrates a whole bunch of other types of fitness into Google Fit. You'll get things like app usage and travel time and how much time you spend at home and work. You'll get a full picture of your entire life.
You're no doubt familiar with Google Calendar already, but we're including it here because the app has Google Fit integration for its goals feature β so if you set an exercise goal (like a daily run) in Calendar, you can then automatically track your progress in Fit.
7 Minute Workout
An app that does exactly what it says on the tin, providing customised, step-by-step workouts that last for seven minutes (and now Google Fit integration). If you want to get fit but you're not sure how to go about it, then 7 Minute Workout is a good place to start.
The most obvious option if you're looking to keep tabs on periods and ovulation on Android, Glow is a well-designed app packed with features and has been developed with help from fertility health experts. The Google Fit integration is a welcome bonus.
Instant Heart Rate
You don't necessarily need an expensive chest strap or smartwatch to track your heart rate, because this clever little app can do the job using your phone's camera: it uses the lens to detect how fast the blood is flowing under the skin of your fingertips.
Andβ¦ relax. Calm focuses on meditation, sleeping and relaxing to make sure your body is running at its optimum level for most of the time. There are a choice of meditation guides to choose from as well as some premium options if you don't mind paying a little extra.
Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android is pretty much your best option for sleep tracking in Google Fit right now β Fit itself has only just been updated to accept this type of data, and Sleep as Android will pipe all of your logged slumber times straight into it to combine with your other stats.
If you're looking for a way to better centre yourself, or just bring yourself some more flexibility, Daily Yoga is a good choice. There are over 50 yoga plans available for you to take part in, and video classes from world famous yoga teachers.
This rather aggressively titled app is dedicated to helping you lose weight as quickly as possible, helping you set calorie 'budgets' and track what you're eating every day. With Google Fit integration all of that useful data can be piped between the two apps as well.
Google Fit smartwatches
Here's the thing, all Wear OS smartwatches work with Google Fit. If you've got a smartwatch running Wear OS 2.0, you'll have access to the brand new Google Fit app for Wear OS.
So you'll get to see all your Move Minutes and such right there on your wrist. You can even go ahead and download the Google Fit activity rings watch face, which will keep your activity within quick access.
Even better, if your smartwatch is all updated, you'll be able to access Google Fit with a quick swipe. From your watch face, swipe to the right to see your Google Fit activity rings. You'll be prompted to tap to sign in to Google Fit with your Google account. Once you do, you're all set up.
For a while, Wear OS smartwatches were segmented between the Fossil brand of fashion-first smartwatches and everyone else. This is slowly changing as Fossil has embraced things like heart rate sensors to become better sporty devices.
While there are still some devices that offer more features, whether it be GPS or NFC, than others, for the most part they all tap into Google Fit the same way. It's all up to your style and affordability preferences.
Google Fit fitness trackers
Alright, so fitness trackers don't have an easy way to access Google Fit as Wear OS smartwatches do, but there are still some fitness trackers that you can use with Google Fit.
Surprisingly, the best of them are made by Huawei and Xiaomi. The Huawei Band 2 Pro is packed to the gills with features, including GPS and heart rate, and is a stylish wrist band that's compatible with Google Fit.
There's also the newer, and far more popular, Xiaomi Mi Band 3. If you're looking for a very affordable fitness tracker that's also sporting a ton of features, the Mi Band 3 is the one to look for.
To get these fitness trackers working with Google Fit, you're going to have to lean on their companion apps. While you're in them, there'll be a way to connect to Google Fit. The same goes for Withings, which doesn't currently have any fitness trackers but will at some point. The Withings Health Mate app is also compatible with Google Fit, which naturally means it'll feed all that info into the service.
Other devices that work with Google Fit
Withings Body Cardio
Withings Body Cardio is one of the more beloved smart scales out there. Not only does it keep track of your weight, it keeps track of BMI, fat mass, muscle mass and even water weight. Up to 8 users can track their metrics and, well, this thing looks gorgeous.
The great thing about the Polar Balance is that it supports up to 10 individual profiles, so if you've got a big household (or are running a hotel) you're in luck. It'll give you your weight and body mass index, and funnel them into the Polar Flow app, which you can connect to Google Fit. You can also link it to your smartphone or Polar Loop band to compare your weight to your activity.
If your favourite Google Fit compatible app isn't included, let us know using the comments below and make sure you check out our guide to getting started with Google Fit.