Attempting to use fitness apps on your iPhone can be clunky and frustrating. In order to do so with any efficiency, you need to make sure you’re wearing workout clothes have pockets or wear one of those uncomfortable armbands to hold your phone. With the new size of iPhones reaching an almost iPad mini stature, keeping it in the armband is not always a possibility. If you just keep it on the treadmill, it’s a possibility that the phone will miscalculate your steps, and you have to lock your phone or risk losing all of your battery – not to mention the risk of it tumbling off and cracking the screen. It’s much more convenient to do it all on your wrist. With the release of the new Apple Watch 3, the Apple Watch 2 has been discounted, making it more assessable to the average Apple Fan. Let’s take a look at the top 10 best fitness apps for the Apple Watch, No matter which model you have.
Top 10 Apple Watch 2 Health & Fitness App
Activity/ Apple Health – Free, comes with Apple watch
One of the best fitness apps for the Apple Watch is the native Activity app. It calculates many different metrics, such as steps taken, stairs climbed, heart rate, stand hours, exercise minutes, resting energy, as well as active energy and miles walked. You can view all the information from your Apple Watch, and it syncs up with your iPhone’s Apple Health app, which provides more details. On the iPhone, is possible to get a weekly or monthly view of your fitness. The fitness app sends the user reminders to meet your stand goal at 10 minutes to the hour until it’s met. Activity also sends you periodic progress notifications. That way you can see how much exercise you need to get in by the end of the day in order to meet your goals. The Apple Watch health app syncs up with weight-loss apps such as MyFitnessPal so that you get the full experience. The Activity app offers a lot of functionality, such as being able to start a workout right from your wrist it tells you how many calories you burn for the workout, as well as how many minutes you spent actively burning calories and fat.
Tracking with the native app is easy since it shows you in brightly colored rings how you’re doing for the day. The outer pink ring means calories burned, the green is active minutes spent doing fitness, and the blue is for your stand goal. I especially like completing my stand goal for the day because I work in an office, and I often forget to stand up and stretch. That Apple Watch app sends me useful Reminders so at least I’m standing once an hour at my office job.
Strava – Free, has Premium Version available
This was one of the first ever apps that let you track your run on the Apple Watch. Part fitness app and part social media platform, Strava allows you to track your runs via GPS, and share pictures on the platform.You can also follow your friends and monitor their activity. If you’re the competitive type, you can join various challenges on the app.This app is not just for running anymore. You can also track your bike riding from here. The app’s website claims that posts are made for you when you start being active, and it automatically shares your activity with your friends. Your followers on the Strava app can show their appreciation for your post by commenting, uploading photos, and giving a “kudos,” which is similar to “hearting” someone’s Instagram post.
Available Trackable Activities:
- ride (cycling)
- foot (hiking, running walking)
- skate (inline and ice skating)
- surfing (kite-surfing, windsurfing)
- stand up paddling
- rock climbing
- gym classes
Streaks Workout – $2.99
This workout application was just made available for the Apple Watch 2 in December 2016 after previously just being available for the iPhone. Users can start and stop workouts directly from the Apple Watch. In fact, since the app does not require the phone app to be open, and does not use date, Streaks Workout is able to be used independently of the iPhone. This is good news for when you leave your phone at home, or if the battery has died. You can even mark exercise sets as complete without being connected to the phone.
Streaks Workout has a few advantages over the phone app. For one, it displays your heart rate, which allows you to see when you are getting into your fat burning zone, and when you should take a break. It also lets you view the exercise instructions from your wrist on your Apple Watch 2. The app allows you to pick from a pre-made workout pla, or customize it to your needs.
- mountain climbers
- knee raises
- leg lifts
- glute bridges
- side lying hip raises
- bicycle crunches – and more!
Runkeeper – Free – Also offers in-app purchases
Ever since the release of the Apple Watch 2 and the corresponding iOS, Runkeeper has offered the ability to track your workout via GPS without needing to have your phone with you. The map of your run will sync with your phone once you get back within Bluetooth range. Unfortunately, if you save the activity from your phone, you will not be able to share it with your friends on Facebook.
The standalone feature does not do very well at tracking indoor activities, so be sure to have your phone with you if you’re running on an indoor track or using the elliptical machine. Runkeeper is definitely one company that listens to its consumers and added in more customization to the Apple watch app at its fans request. The main screen shows workout time, current pace, as well as total distance run and heart rate. If you so choose, you can view that as a graph. You can pause or end a workout from the watch itself, and once you finish it offers you the option to either discard or save the workout.
- running (this is the default)
- mountain biking
- downhill skiing
- nordic walking
Gymatic Workout Tracker Log – Free
As one reviewer put it, “Using Gymatic lets me focus on working out and not keeping copious amounts of notes.” It not only logs workout automatically, but it also identifies the exercise based on movement and counts the repetitions. Any workout logged with this app count towards your calories burned and active exercise rings in the Activity app on the Apple Watch 2. According to the Gymatic site, it only takes a total of 3 seconds to train a new exercise, so it can keep track of an unlimited number of exercises, and data such as power, velocity, rep speed, tempo, range consistency, form consistency, and speed consistency. Users of the Gymatic app have the option to do freeform exercises or go through a guided, preprogrammed workout.
This app does require a Premium subscription for Apple Watch 2 users. After a 7 day free trial, Premium users pay $4.99 a month, or $29.99 a year to get all the benefits of the app. The price is well worth it for anyone who does strength training or flexibility exercises and wants to track their progress.
- Barbell Full Squat
- Barbell Bench Press
- Upright Barbell Row
- Jumping Jacks
- Unlimited others!
Fitstar Yoga – Free, offers in-app purchases
On April 20th, 2015, FitStar Yoga released a version of their app for the Apple Watch. That allows the user view yoga poses led by Tara Stiles, a famous yoga instructor. All the information that you need to complete the workout is listed right on your wrist. The time needed to hold the pose, a visual representation of the pose itself, and the length of the workout are all shown clearly on the screen of the Apple Watch 2. You are also able to pause and restart the session and skip to the next pose.
I chose not to get the Premium version, so there are two different guided workouts available to me. It has won many awards for being a great fitness app, and it is accessible to anyone, beginner or expert. The app developers proclaim their dedication to finding new and better ways to take advantage of all the functionality that the Apple Watch technology provided.
- Downward Dog
- Child’s Pose
- 8 Point Pose
- over 300 other poses!
Zova Workout & Fitness Trainer – Free, offers in-app purchases
Zova Workout & Fitness Trainer boasts of 400+ different workouts that were put together by experts in the fitness field. There were some issues when the latest Watch iOS came out, but the developers are constantly revamping the Zova app to fix bugs, and adapt to the new updates. The app, of course, increases the activity rings in your activity app. Like many other fitness apps, Zova allows the users to see their heart rate in real time so they have a better idea of how hard they are working.
The app notifies you when it is time to work out, and also allows you to reschedule right from your wrist. You can see how the exercise is supposed to look by checking your technique with the photo on your wrist. All of that functionality comes with the app. You also have the option to upgrade to Premium to be able to use the personal training function. A plan (which can run anytime between 10 days and 8 weeks) increases the difficulty as you go along so that you can see improvement over time.
- core exercises
- personal fitness plans (for premium users)
MapMyRun – free, offers in-app purchases
The Apple Watch 2 MapMyRun app allows you to begin your workout on your wrist. Once it starts, it shows you the distance, duration, heart rate and pace. To view other panels, you would just swipe right. This allows you to see your heart rate zones, and, on another panel, the segments of your workout, and how intense each one is. Hard press the Apple Watch screen in order to pause the workout, resume it and finish and save it.
MapMyRun does require you to keep your phone on you if you want to use the GPS to record the distance. This keeps it at a disadvantage under other apps for Apple Watch 2 such as RunKeeper, which uses the native GPS on the Apple Watch 2 and up to not only show distance but also your exact location on the map. It also only offers to track for a run, since the other “MapMy” apps are not yet available for the Apple Watch.
Pokémon Go – free
I know what you’re saying. Pokémon Go is not your typical fitness app. However, it still allows you to begin workouts from your rest. It counts towards your active calories and active minutes for the day in the Health app. While there is only one work out, which is walking. It does allow you to hatch your eggs, and give your designated Pokémon candy. If you’d like, you can set your notifications on there so that you can also catch Pokémon that are around as you’re walking. It does track your movements in kilometers, but the Apple health app easily converts it into miles for you.
- Walking only
Lark – Free, in-app purchases
Lark is an interesting take on the typical health and fitness app. It operates like a chat, allowing you to use Siri to announce what you ate for the day, or what exercise you performed. Lark will then critique your action, letting you know that you are on the right track, or that you need some adjustments in your route to health. Lark will also track your sleep for you, and show you the results right from your wrist. It will track your movement, and let you know that it is time to get off your butt and take a little walk.
No matter which fitness app (or combination of fitness apps) that you choose for your Apple Watch, you will have the convenience of having your movement tracked right from your wrist, and you will get the satisfying feeling of meeting your Move and Active goals.