How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

How to get fit with Apple Watch

One of the attractions of the Apple Watch is its built-in activity tracking features. The proprietary Activity app enables you to track your movement, exercise and standing frequency over time, while integrated feedback helps you to improve on long-term activity goals.

Apple’s efforts are commendable, but a little basic for the committed fitness freak, and so there are third-party Apple Watch fitness apps available that specialise in these areas and their functions that may serve your needs better than the stock option.

Nike+ for example has garnered a devoted community of iOS device users with its Running app, which caters to both wide-eyed beginners and hardened marathon veterans with its simple interface and social media-friendly Nike Fuel concept.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

So you’ll be delighted to discover that this great app has now made the small leap to Apple Watch, as indeed have the excellent Strava and Runkeeper systems, which have both attracted thousands of followers of their own. Here we take a closer look at the Apple Watch implementation of the three apps and walk you through some typical usage patterns.

Learning about your general activity and how much fitness business you’ve been up to at a glance of your wrist is a feature in itself – here’s how you can make the most of it.

How to use Nike+ on Apple Watch

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

1. Start a session

Once you’ve installed the iOS app, Nike+ Running will show up in your Apple Watch’s menu, from which you can initiate a session.

Swiping in the app before selecting a new session shows you the average number of miles of your last 10 activity sessions and how many of your friends have completed the circuit if it was a public track.

If you want to start a new session, tap Run.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

2. Track your run

Put away your phone (but be sure to take it with you for the GPS mapping to work) and from here you can check on your exercise options from the convenience of your wrist.

Whether you chose running or cycling you can now keep track of live statistical data, including pace, distance and time elapsed. This readout is especially accurate since the Nike+ app senses if you stop moving and pauses.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

3. Get motivated

Glances at your Apple Watch let you get a quick view of your friends leaderboard so you can motivate yourself to keep up. You are also able to receive and send cheers to fellow runners while in session, and if you’ve got Bluetooth headphones paired with your Watch you can listen to music from iTunes.

GPS maps also reflect the intensity of your session using colour.

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How to use Strava on Apple Watch

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

1. Head on out

Launching the Strava app on your Apple Watch brings up a cycle or run button, depending on your iOS preference.

As long as you’ve also opened the app on an iPhone that you take with you then the app records GPS location data as you complete the session.

Pressing the bicycle initiates the timer on your iPhone while your watch continues to display a live data feed of your progress.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

2. Heart monitor

Sadly, Apple has yet to grant third-party developers access to the heartrate monitoring technology built into the Apple Watch, so recording this information with the Strava app requires you to use a separate dedicated heart-rate patch.

Also, it’s worth turning off the Watch’s wrist detection in the General Settings so that it doesn’t stop when your hands are resting on the handlebars.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

3. Check the stats

On the right-hand side of the Strava in-session display you can see your average miles per hour. On the left is your actual distance. The large digits show the time elapsed of your current session.

We found inconsistencies between the data shown on the Watch display and on our iPhone screen, so maybe take the data accuracy with a pinch of salt – at least with this first version of the app.

How to use Runkeeper with Apple Watch

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

1. Get on the road

Once you’ve installed Runkeeper on your iPhone, open the blue app icon on your Apple Watch. Runkeeper remembers the last kind of workout you recorded and displays the option immediately.

If you want to change the type of activity, you need to select it from your phone. Press the button to initiate the activity when you’re ready and you’ll hear the words “activity started”.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

2. Time yourself

The display is replaced with a multi-digit readout. A minutes per mile average is shown in the right-hand corner and a total miles count on the left.

The main digits are the stopwatch, with an option to pause the session appearing along the bottom. You can also choose to exit and save the session from the Pause menu.

The app also notifies you about your fastest intervals.

How to get fit with Apple Watch fitness apps

3. View live data

On completing a workout the Runkeeper app gives you an audible summary of the session, including total time, distance and average pace. During a session, you can lift your wrist to glance at the Watch display to view a screen of live stats.

If you only see a clock face, make sure that Resume Previous Activity is selected in the On Wrist Raise menu of your General settings.

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