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Zwift, Strava, or Runtastic Compared: Which is the best cardio Fitness App?

runtastic v zwift v strava - which is the best fitness and cardio app?

If you’re here, it means you’re eager to take your cardio game to the next level. And in this digital age, it’s all about finding the right app to guide, motivate, and challenge you in your journey to better health.

Today, we’re putting three of the running world’s heavyweight apps – Zwift, Strava, and Runtastic – under the microscope. We’ll dig into what makes each tick, uncover their unique strengths, and highlight any not-so-lovable aspects. Finally, we’ll crown one as the top pick to boost your fitness game. Let’s get started, shall we?

Zwift: A Virtual World of Fitness

Zwift is more than just a cardio app; it’s a virtual world where running meets gaming. Picture yourself jogging through a futuristic cityscape or sprinting up a volcanic incline – exciting, isn’t it? That’s the power of Zwift. With its immersive 3D environment, this app transforms your treadmill workouts into thrilling adventures.

Pros: Zwift’s gamification aspect is second to none. It gives users a unique, enjoyable way to engage with cardio workouts, turning the oft-dreaded treadmill run into a captivating experience. It also promotes a sense of community, allowing you to join virtual races and group workouts.

Cons: As thrilling as Zwift can be, it requires a bit of a setup. You need a treadmill, a device to run the app, and ideally, a foot pod sensor for the best experience. This might make it less accessible for some. Plus, the focus on gaming might detract from the fitness aspects for purists.

zwift cardio app

Strava: Social Network Meets Fitness Tracker

Strava has often been dubbed the ‘social network for athletes.’ And indeed, this app merges the tracking features of a fitness app with the community aspects of a social network. Here, you can track your workouts, compare your performance with others, and even give and receive ‘kudos’ for completed activities.

Pros: Strava shines with its strong social networking features. The sense of community is motivational, encouraging you to keep up with your cardio workouts. It also provides robust tracking features, with detailed analytics of your speed, distance, and route.

Cons: While Strava excels in social and tracking aspects, it might not offer the immersive workout experiences found in other apps. Moreover, to unlock the full range of features, a subscription is required, which may not sit well with everyone.

Runtastic: Your Personal Training Coach

Runtastic, owned by Adidas, is a comprehensive fitness app that offers an array of features to aid your cardio workouts. From tracking your running metrics to providing audio feedback, Runtastic aims to be your personal digital coach.

Pros: Runtastic offers a plethora of useful features such as voice coaching, personalised training plans, and even integrates with Apple Music for a tailored workout playlist. It’s designed to be your all-in-one running partner, making cardio workouts simpler and more focused.

Cons: While Runtastic is packed with features, it may feel overwhelming to some users. The interface isn’t as user-friendly as it could be, and like Strava, full access to all features requires a subscription.

What the experts say about Zwift, Strava and Runtastic


“Training apps like Zwift, Strava, and Runtastic are a game changer for runners. They provide structure, motivation, and valuable data that can revolutionise your training,” says Oliver Simmons, a seasoned personal trainer.

Whether it’s creating a sense of community, gamifying your workouts, or offering personalised coaching, these apps bring professional-grade training right to your fingertips. They essentially act as a running partner, coach, and cheerleader, all rolled into one. This kind of support can dramatically improve a runner’s performance and overall enjoyment of the sport.

Oliver Simmons, personal trainer

The Ultimate Fitness Companion Is…

Drumroll, please… It’s Strava! While all three platforms have their unique strengths, when it comes to overall contributions to cardio fitness, Strava takes the crown. Its robust tracking features combined with its strong community aspect can truly fuel your motivation and enhance your commitment to cardio fitness. However, remember, the best app is one that fits your individual needs and preferences. So, give these apps a go, and may the fittest runner win!

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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