How to use Google Fit – the complete guide

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If you’ve just become a proud owner of a new Wear OS smartwatch and you want to start tracking your health and fitness, then Google Fit is in place to help you do that.

Available as a phone app and a Wear OS app for Android and iPhone users to make use of, it’s the quickest way to start tracking runs, walks and has now grown to offer somewhere to monitor heart rate or relax with some guided breathing.

The features at your disposal will depend on the watch you own. If you’ve got a Skagen Falster 3, you’ll be able to put the built-in GPS and heart rate monitor to use with Google Fit.

We’ve tested a lot of Wear OS smartwatches and in the process spent a lot of time using Google Fit as well. If you want to know what it’s capable of and to make the most of it, we break that all down below.

How to get the Google Fit app

Google Fit update

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 have an iPhone, then you’ll need to head to the Apple App Store and search for it and hit that download button.

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

Read this: Essential apps and devices that work with Google Fit

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. There used to be a web version of the Google Fit app, but that is now gone. So if you want to do your tracking, you’ll need that app on your phone or watch.

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 yourself, 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.

If you’re setting it up on an iPhone, you’ll have the additional option to link Fit to Apple Health letting the app read data such as heart rate, sleep analysis and steps. You can toggle on/off as many types of data you want Google Fit to read, or opt to share nothing by tapping Don’t Allow.

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 Google Fit phone app

Google Fit update

Along with new features, Google has sought to make its Fit app easy to use and easy to find the data you care about. Here’s a breakdown of the key Google Fit phone app features you need to know about.

The rings

To keep track of your progress ticking off those move minutes and heart points Google has its ring-based UI (sounds familiar?) to 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.

Manually tracking a workout

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

As of its latest update, Google Fit has the ability to map your workouts automatically, pulling data from any wearables you might be using, across both the Android and iOS version of the app. You can see these routes in the Journal (more on that below), and tapping on them will let you see full information and details, including an expanded map.

However, if you’d like to start tracking an activity from within the app, that’s possible, too. 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.

How to track a workout in Google Fit

Step 1: Go to the Home page on Google Fit and tap the big + button

Step 2: Select to track workout. There’s a dropdown menu to select your activity. If you pick an activity that is based outdoors, that will pull up a map to indicate it will track your route.

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. You can also see any routes you’ve taken, to explore the details of your workout.

Tracking your sleep

A recent update has also added sleep tracking to Google Fit, meaning that users can give the app access to sleep data being collected by any third-party apps their using. If you’re an iPhone user, your Bedtime data alone could give you a sense for how you’ve been sleeping.

When you set the app up, simply allow Fit to have access to your sleep data, and you’ll start seeing your sleeping time in your Journal. If you’d like to change this at any time, on iPhone you can head to the Health app to do so. Just go to the ‘Sources’ tab, select Google Fit and turn ‘Sleep Analysis’ on or off according to your preferences.

How to enable Dark Mode

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

In a recent update for Google Fit, Google has added a Dark Mode, to switch up the look of the app and make it easier on tired eyes.

Step 1: To activate this mode, go to your Profile screen, then tap the gear icon to access your settings. The top option is ‘Theme’ – this is where you can choose between ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’.

Step 2: Select ‘Dark’ to enable Dark Mode and enjoy the fresh coat of paint the app receives. Moreover, you might find that it’s easier to look at in dim conditions, and can actually be less of a drain on battery life, too.

How to add Google Fit app widget to your phone homescreen

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

Google offers the ability to let you keep a closer eye on your Move Minutes and Heart Points on your phone by adding support for a Fit widget. From here you can also see additional details on steps, calories burned and distance covered. As Apple doesn’t support widgets on iPhones, this is an Android-only feature we’re afraid.

To add the Google Fit widget do the following:

Step 1: Press down on your phone’s screen and you should see Widget appear among a trio of options.

Step 2: Tap Widget and you’ll be able to scroll through all available widgets where you should now find the new Google Fit one. You have your pick from the full widget (with additional details) or simply having the Move Minute and Heart Point widget.

How to add third-party apps to Google Fit

Google Fit update

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:

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

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

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

How to connect a Wear OS smartwatch to Google Fit

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

If you have Wear 2.0 or above installed on your Wear OS 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.

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.

If you own a Wear smartwatch that’s paired with an iPhone data from your Wear OS watch won’t sync with Apple Health. It will play nice with other apps including Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club and Headspace, showing Heart Points and Move Minutes earned through other activities.

Google Fit on Wear smartwatches

Once you’re updated you’ll be able to go into the app drawer on your watch and see that Google Fit icon. You should also see a Fit Workout, Fit Breathe, Fit Goals and Fit Heart Rate apps. The latter will be present if your watch has a heart rate monitor built-in.

To start using these apps you’ll 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.

Fit Workout

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

This is the app to go to when you want to start tracking workouts and tinker with settings. 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 Goals

Fit Goals is where you can track of your daily and weekly progress showing off your heart points, move points steps, calories burned, distance covered. You can also view workout history from here too and adjust Fit settings like whether you want to track heart rate continuously, change units of measurement and adjust activity goals.

Fit Breathe

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

Like Apple, Samsung and Fitbit, Google now wants to keep you calm with a new guided breathing feature that is available from the new Fit Breathe app.

The breathing exercise takes 2 minutes and requires you to stay still when performing the exercise. The screen will prompt you when to inhale and exhale with an animated ring helping to slow down your breathing to a more relaxed pace.

At the end you’ll get a summary of your breathing time and how many deep breaths you managed during that time.

Fit Heart Rate

This is where you can view your heart rate data and take on the spot measurements. At the top, Google will show your day’s heart rate, your most recent readings and the high and low heart rate readings for that day. Scroll down and you’ll see a big button that says Measure, which you can tap to take a reading.

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.

Google Fit on Apple Watch

If you own an Apple Watch, Google Fit does work with the smartwatch, but it’s a very different experience to the one you get when pairing a Wear OS watch to Google Fit on an Android phone. There’s no dedicated app that lives on your app screen on your Watch so you don’t get those guided breathing features we mentioned above for instance.

What you do get is the ability for any workout or activity tracking data recorded by your Apple Watch to be collected in the Google Fit app on your iPhone. So it effectively acts as alternative hub for your data if you don’t want to use Apple Health. Hopefully Google will change that over time and bring a dedicated app to the Watch as well.


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