I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch regularly for a couple of years now – tracking various elements of my health and fitness. It’s a wonderful device – if you have the means, it’s highly recommended.

This guide will explain the various workings – as well as offering a few suggestions – of the fitness side of things, notably the workouts.

Working Out with the Apple Watch

This is actually a fairly straight-forward process. When you’re ready to work out (whether thats hitting the iron, doing some yoga or a spot of cycling etc), simply :

  • Press the digital crown (the button on the side), and select the ‘Running Man’ symbol
  • Scroll through the list of workout types, and tap on the relevant one.

This will give you a 3 second countdown to get ready to start. If you’re impatient, just tap on the screen – it’ll start straight away.

That’s it – it’ll record your workout, showing your heartrate on screen the whole time. This is incredibly useful if you use your pulse rate to work out when you’re ready to begin the next set – whenever the rate has gone down a bit.

It’ll appear in the form of the green ring on the watch itself, and in the Activity app. Tapping on the green ring shows the details of previous workouts, and lets you adjust your fitness goals. It’s really well done.

If you’d like to see it in action, here’s Apple’s official video :

Nice and simple. Once you’ve used it once or twice, it’ll become an automatic part of the workout itself.

NB : there are a couple of tweaks I would suggest that make this process even easier. And yes, I use both of them myself.

1. Edit your preferred watch face to include the ‘Workout’ function (the ‘Running Man’ symbol) as one of the complications. The easier it is to just, the more likely you are to make use of it with every workout.

2. Enable ‘Workout Do Not Disturb’ in the Watch’s Settings (it’s under ‘Do Not Disturb’). This will prevent calls and notifications during each workout, and switch everything back on immediately afterward.

3. Use ‘Cardio’ for bodyweight workouts. I’ve tried a few of the workout types for my own, and the Cardio one seems to be the closest match to what I’d expect.

Moving, But Not Working Out

There are a number of times when you might be doing something active (going for a walk, doing some housework, mowing the lawn etc) without actually working out. You’ve got two options here :

1. Record the movement as a workout, if it’s a major, clearly-defined event (a lengthy hike or a 30min run)
2. Let the watch record it automatically as ‘Movement’, and watch the red ring increase as a result

Adjusting Your Workout Goals

Of the three rings on the Watch, two are directly influenced by your workouts – the red (Movement) and green (Exercise) ones. The third relates to the amount of time you spend standing, which may or may not play a role.

Every sunday you’ll receive a notification on the watch itself, prompting you to adjust these if necessary. You can also adjust these yourself, as much and as often as you’d like.

To adjust them :

Note that the weekly notification will contain suggested amounts. I’ve found these to be really good – unless you’re going for a specific goal, use the recommendations.

Which One?

Ultimately, your budget will determine that. You’ll be pleased to know, however, that the workout functions noted above are common to all variations currently available.

Beyond that, it’s really a matter of what else you plan to do with it. (Personally, I use mine to track my sleep.)

NB : If you haven’t already checked out the various devices available, swing by either the Apple or Amazon sites – both have plenty of information on what does what. Not to mention prices.

As you can see, the workout-tracking functions are pretty straight-forward. There’s a lot more you can do with the Apple Watch, but the ability to measure workouts is certainly the big one for me. And as you’re reading this site, likely for you to.

Sounds Great. Where To From Here?

You can do everything above using just the watch. Still, there a couple of additional things you may wish to consider :

Sharing Your Workouts With Friends

This is exactly as it sounds – your watch’s rings are compared to someone else’s (someone specific – you pick who). A training partner of sorts.


These are virtual ’stickers’, given for achieving particular goals in your exercise and daily movement. A session in the gym, a few laps of the pool or a hike through a National Park.

NB : Both of these features are entirely optional, and you can simply ignore them.

Pairing the Apple Watch with Apple Fitness+

Apple Fitness+ is a subscription service for fitness classes, delivered via streaming video. Think of the various classes available at your local gym, showing on your ‘phone or TV.

Incidentally, the ‘phone or TV (or anything with a screen, really) needs to be an Apple product (that’s just how they roll). Your own TV with an Apple TV attached, or something like an iPhone.

Pairing the Apple Watch with an iPhone

Although the you can see the details of previous workout sessions on the Watch itself, the Fitness app (on the iPhone) is where it shines. You can dig in much, much deeper.

Note that the trends data only display after you’ve been using the watch for a while (180 days), as you’d expect.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love this thing. For tracking my workouts, sleep and general movement; it’s fantastic. Highly recommended.

To grab one – or simply to check one out in person, just swing by an Apple Store. Any of them.

You can also grab them online, on a site like Amazon. Huge selection.