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Strava vs. Zwift | MOTTIV

Are you comparing Strava vs. Zwift?

Strava and Zwift are two of the best-known apps for endurance athletes. Strava will allow you to connect with and follow athletes from around the world (sort of like Facebook for athletes), while Zwift provides an indoor cycling world ride around in when connected to a smart bike trainer.

While each app offers training plans, the type of athlete they're best for differs.

The main difference between Zwift and Strava, is that Strava is primarily designed for people to follow the training other athletes are doing, while Zwift is designed for people to train and race with other cyclists in real time inside a virtual world.

In this article, we'll discuss all the pros and cons of Strava and Zwift, and we'll answer the following questions you might have:

  • What are the main features of Strava and Zwift?
  • What are the pros and cons of Strava and Zwift?
  • How much do Strava and Zwift cost?
  • Are Strava and Zwift good for beginners?
  • What should athletes consider when comparing Zwift to Strava?

BONUS: We'll also discuss our app MOTTIV which is a really good alternative to Strava and Zwift if these two apps don't sound quite right for you.

Strava vs. Zwift vs. MOTTIV Summary

What kind of plans? Thousands of structured workouts but very minimal race preparation-focused training plans Very generic template-based plans for: running and cycling Personalized training plans for running, triathlons, cycling events,duathlons, swimruns
Can training plans be combined? No No Yes
Strength Training None None Fully guided strength videos
you can follow along with at no extra cost
Mobility Training None None Fully guided mobility videos you can follow along with at no extra cost
Progress Stats No Yes Yes
Nutrition Guidance No No Yes (on every workout)
Connect With Other Users? Yes Yes Yes
Ease of Use Very easy Easy Very easy
Free Plan No Yes but training plans are only available to paid Strava users Yes
Pricing $14.99/month (no annual option) $11.99 or $79.99/year $19.99/month or $179/year
Avg. User Rating 4.7/5 Stars 4.7/5 Stars 4.8/5 Stars

Strava Review

Strava Overview

Strava is a web and smartphone-based app designed primarily as a social media app where you can follow the fitness activities of other people.

Strava displays activities, allows you to see existing routes, create your own routes, and see how people rank on leaderboards for sections of activities from all around the world.

Compared to Zwift, Strava is much better for connecting with friends and strangers, but the training plans offered on a paid Strava subscription are very generic. Also, Strava doesn't offer a real-time training experience.

Strava Pros

  1. Connections: Strava connects to an almost unlimited number of fitness devices and apps.
  2. Huge community: Strava has roughly 100 million users, so you'll have no shortage of athletes you can follow.
  3. Free version: If you only want to follow other athletes, you can do so for free.
  4. Stats: Strava can be your all-in-one, lifelong fitness activity app, so you can always change your fitness devices and not worry about losing your fitness data.

Strava Cons

  1. Paid version: Strava has struggled over the past several years to show its users that the paid version actually has value.
  2. Training plans: Strava training plans are limited to runners and cyclists, and the training plans are extremely basic and not interactive whatsoever.
  3. Complexity: Strava has suffered "feature creep," where so many features are available on their platform that many users don't even know everything that's available or where to find it.
  4. No strength or mobility training: Strength training is one of the most significant performance enhancers endurance athletes can do, and mobility workouts will help athletes avoid developing tightnesses and physical limitations during training. Strava doesn't include any strength or mobility training in their plans.
  5. No nutrition guidance: Pairing the right nutrition with every workout will make the workouts much more effective. Strava doesn't provide any nutrition recommendations at all.

Strava Ease of Use

Strava is very easy to use because it is designed for the end user (as opposed to being designed primarily for coaches like Trainingpeaks is).

The most difficult thing new users need to learn with their Strava account is where everything is located. Strava has been around since 2007, so the app has grown quite large, and there are a lot of features users can find and play with.

When it comes to Strava's training plans, they're easy to use once you find them (run training plans can be found on Strava here, and cycling training plans are here). They are very basic and without many details, so athletes will have an easy time using them, but they'll find them generic and not personalized to their goals and abilities.

Who is Strava Best For?

Strava is best for athletes who want to track their fitness activities in one place to see what they did, what their friends or favorite athletes did, and how they compare. Strava is not a good option for training plans.

Strava Pricing

  • No free plan
  • Paid: $11.99/month, $79.99/year

Zwift Review

Zwift Overview

Zwift is an online, computer and smartphone-based app that connects to indoor smart bike trainers and fitness devices like heart rate monitors.

In the Zwift virtual world, you can cycle and explore, finish fitness challenges, ride with friends, or join a virtual race with other people worldwide. The community of athletes from around the world is incredibly motivational and group workouts can make indoor riding much more enjoyable.

Zwift offers thousands of pre-made workouts you can perform in the app; you can create your own workouts or upload workouts from your MOTTIV training plans.

Compared to Strava, Zwift does not offer training plans, and it isn't much of a social media experience where you can follow along with what other athletes are doing day-to-day. However, Zwift's virtual world is a very engaging experience for riders to ride and race indoors using a smart bike trainer controlled by the Zwift app.

Zwift Pros

  1. Virtual world: Riding in the virtual world of Zwift can almost feel like you're riding outside when you have a nice indoor bike trainer setup.
  2. Huge community: Zwift has roughly 1 million users, so you'll have no shortage of athletes you can ride with while doing indoor training. The community features are very motivating, making you feel like you're really riding with other people.
  3. Races: Zwift races are incredibly intense; they're some of the hardest workouts you can do. Zwift racing has become so popular that some riders even specialize in virtual and not real-life bike racing.
  4. Badges: Many people get into the gamification of Zwift and start pursuing all the badges, achievements, and rides they can collect.

Zwift Cons

  1. While Zwift is not expensive, getting a bike trainer setup for an immersive, realistic cycling experience may cost a few thousand of dollars.
  2. Training plans: Zwift also doesn't really offer any structured training plans to prepare for races.
  3. Graphics: Zwift was released in 2013, and the graphics haven't changed much since. Many people find the graphics cartoony and unrealistic.
  4. Workouts: Zwift pre-made cycling workouts are very random, not relating to any specific goal or training plan. Some coaches have criticized Zwift training plans as only being interesting and hard instead of effective or good.
  5. Stats: Zwift tracks all of your activities but doesn't do any performance tracking to let you know how you're progressing or if you're making any progress at all.
  6. Pricing: Zwift is primarily an app used in the winter months. However, there's no annual membership option or long-term pause feature, so many riders cancel Zwift outright every year.

Zwift Ease of Use

Zwift is easy to use once your indoor bike trainer is set up.

The user interface is very easy to understand for every single ride. The only thing that's a little confusing for new users is that to use the full features of Zwift, you need the Zwift Companion app.

Who is Zwift Best For?

Zwift is best for athletes riding indoors on a smart bike trainer. If you want to ride around and collect achievements or race in virtual events, Zwift will be great for you.

If you have a training plan from another app, like MOTTIV, you can perform your bike workouts from the MOTTIV app in Zwift.

Zwift Pricing

  • No free plan
  • Paid: $14.99/month, no annual option


MOTTIV Overview

MOTTIV is an app that can be used on the web or via the smartphone app. It creates a personalized training plan for athletes looking to prepare for any combination of running races, triathlons, cycling events, duathlons, and swimruns.

Athletes just need to enter the dates and distances of their races, how much time they're able to train, and their current fitness abilities, and they'll receive a personalized training plan that gets them ready for all their races at the same time.

MOTTIV excels at keeping athletes on track to reach their goals. Getting a training plan is one thing, but having the support and motivation to stick to that plan is far more important. MOTTIV keeps you motivated throughout the training process so you always know you're on track and your goals are within reach.


  1. Ease of use: MOTTIV is designed for athletes who want a training plan that's done for them and easy to follow. All you need to do is input some data, then be ready to show up willing to work and follow the plan every day that you have training scheduled.
  2. Unlimited training plans: Whether you have one race or 20 races to train for, MOTTIV can create a training plan that gets you ready for all of them. Premium members can add as many races as they want at no additional cost.
  3. Strength & Mobility: MOTTIV strength and mobility workouts are full-length videos you can follow to ensure you're doing the movements and workouts correctly.
  4. Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every workout you complete much more effective. Every single workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
  5. Progress stats: MOTTIV tracks and displays all your workout and progress stats. You don't need to learn how to work the app or where to find stats to know if you're on track or not, MOTTIV easily shows you if you're headed in the right direction.
  6. Motivation: MOTTIV has some excellent features that help keep you on track with your training plan because we all need a little support sometimes.
  7. Cost: MOTTIV provides all your endurance training, strength training, mobility training, personalized workout nutrition, and stats tracking, all in one place for one flat fee. Getting all these services separately would cost well over $60/month.


  1. Workout complexity: Some people find our workouts can be a little hard to understand when they first start using the app.
  2. Device connections: MOTTIV offers full workout synchronization with Garmin as well as connections to many of the most popular training apps such as Trainingpeaks, Strava, Zwift and more, but our list of possible connections isn't as robust as some other platforms.
  3. Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they can follow, some people want one they can completely customize themselves, adding, subtracting and modifying workouts as they see fit. Although athletes can definitely move workouts when needed, MOTTIV is designed for you to follow along as closely as possible for the best results; there's no need for athletes to make dramatic changes.
  4. Slow interface: MOTTIV hasn't been around for as long as Strava, so some screens take a few seconds to load while the app is being optimized for speed.

MOTTIV Ease of Use

MOTTIV is designed to be the easiest app for endurance athletes to use. All you need to enter to create a personalized training plan are your race dates and distances, how much time you can train, and your current fitness abilities.

In addition to it being easy to create training plans, the MOTTIV app has features throughout the app that tell you why and how to perform every aspect of your training, so you're never left guessing.

Who is MOTTIV Best For?

MOTTIV is best for athletes looking for a holistic training plan that includes: endurance workouts, strength training, mobility workouts, and nutrition guidance.

If you are the type of person that wants to know what to do and wants confirmation you're on track and doing everything right, then MOTTIV is for you.

MOTTIV Pricing

  • Free plan
  • Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year

Strava vs Zwift vs MOTTIV: Which One is Better?

When comparing Strava, Zwift, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better is like most things: it depends.

If you're primarily just looking to connect with and follow what other athletes are doing in their day-to-day training, Strava is the app for you.

If you're looking for an app to make your indoor bike training more enjoyable and want to ride inside a virtual world alongside other athletes, then Zwift is the app for you.

If you're looking for a holistic training plan app that can create a personalized training plan for multiple races at a time, and keeps you motivated to stay on track to reach your goals, then MOTTIV is the app for you.

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