SELF has been excited about the Apple Watch for some time—we featured it on our March cover with Candice Swanepoel and our Fitness Director Liz Plosser has been road testing the Apple Watch since going on maternity leave and then easing back into her regular routine.
Last week, Apple sent me a Watch to test so I could really dive into the different features. (The hourly nudge to stand for a minute is now a necessity, as I aim to close all of my Activity Rings each day!) I also had the opportunity to catch up with their Director of Fitness and Health Technologies, Jay Blahnik, to learn more about how I (and you) can maximize the Watch's workout features. Here's the sweaty intel:
1. Don't freak out if you forget to log a session
The Workout app is designed to enhance the data collected when you're working up a sweat. Logging a session in the app tells the Watch to turn on the continuous heart rate monitor as well as the accelerometer and GPS, depending on what type of workout you're doing (for example, GPS isn't needed for your treadmill sprints).
"Most of your daily activity is going to get picked up in the active rings without having to log a new workout," explains Blahnik. "But if you start the Workout app, you're going to be able to get more clarity and insight into your workout."
2. The exception is your SoulCycle or favorite indoor cycling class
Since your hands are stationary for most of the class, you'll want to turn on the Workout app to have the appropriate credit logged. If your forget to track the class, you can't retroactively enter the data. But not all is lost—just look at those hot muscles you're sculpting!
3. Start right away
If you want to start tracking as soon as your class (or your run) begins, set up your session beforehand: Open the Workout app and program the type of workout and goal, then Force Touch the display and tap pause. As soon as class starts, Force Touch the display again and tap resume.
4. Log an outdoor run to make the Apple Watch smarter
Even if you hate training outside, log a 20-minute run or walk outdoors—the Watch will calibrate to learn more about you and your fitness level.
"This will allow you to log near-GPS quality runs even without your phone because now it understands how you run, the steps you take, how fast you go," Blahnik says.
And it will deliver more accurate measurements of other workouts as well. To gather the right data, log a 20-minute run or walk outdoors bringing your iPhone along. The Watch will calibrate your pace against the GPS in your phone, which allows it to learn more about how fit you are.
5. Get sweaty
On the third day of wearing the Apple Watch, I booked a hot yoga class after work. Luckily, I chatted with Blahnik that morning because I was going to leave the Watch in the locker—I'm going to get too sweaty, I thought.
Wear it, he advised. "The Apple Sport Watch is designed to hold up under the most common fitness, activity and sport conditions."