Three weeks ago I jumped back into the Apple fitness ecosystem when I picked up an Apple Watch Ultra. It has been on my wrist 24x7 ever since. I have had issues in the past with Apple Watches before, but so far, it’s been a great experience. I have gone all-in on Apple’s fitness and here are random thoughts around it.
Apple Watch Ultra
Finally an Apple Watch that fits my style – I like wearing big bulky watches like G-Shocks and the Fenix series from Garmin. The Apple Watch Ultra fits that mold.
Things I really like about the Apple Watch Ultra: * The battery life. I love having more than a day of life on the watch. I don’t have to constantly worry about the level of charging it has. I can wear it to sleep and still be fine. Granted, I still give it juice every day – usually after I finish a run, I’ll take it off and throw it on the charger and then go shower. I am not an ultrarunner, so I have no idea if it will survive one, it did survive a 10K just fine (heh). * The screen is great. I am not a fan of screens that fall off on the sides (watches or phones), so the flat screen is awesome. The screen being Sapphire makes it even better. The 2000 nits of brightness makes a huge difference when I take this thing outside. * The action button. I have it assigned to bring me into the Workouts app. Then from there, I have it as the start button. It works so much better than having to swipe around to get going on a run. Also, pausing workouts is easier now that I don’t have to push the Crown + Side button together. The Action button + Side button combination is much easier since the two buttons are on opposite sides of the watch. The orange color of the Action button is a huge win. * Dual-band GPS is spot on when I run in my neighborhood and it even tracks great under foliage.
The family is subscribed to Apple One Premier mainly for Apple Music, iCloud+ (backups + custom domain email) and Apple News+. Apple Fitness+ kind of sat there unused for a long time because I was not actively using an Apple Watch.
After getting my Apple Watch Ultra, I figured I’d give it a try and have since found it to be quite awesome. I started off with meditation and then branched out into yoga. And recently, I have been doing functional strength training and treadmill workouts.
The coaches for the workouts that I have done are all fantastic and I appreciate their upbeat and motivational attitudes. Here are my favorites so far:
I really like how Apple Fitness+ has coaches from other disciplines join in on other workouts – the best is when Kyle from Strength joins in on Jessica’s Yoga workouts.
Also, the special event workouts are nice – for instance, I just did a treadmill workout that was an Artist Spotlight featuring Taylor Swift’s music.
Here’s a list of the apps that I have found useful.
- HealthFit is the most useful fitness apps. I started using this app when I had my Apple Watch Series 3 back in 2018. It lets me sync my Workouts runs to Smashrun, Strava and OneDrive (it drops a FIT file on OneDrive for backup). Recent releases also include a suite of analysis tools for insights from my runs. I don’t use the analysis and insights much because they are not very well explained – the webpage that is linked to each is dense and full of formulas. The developer, Stephane Lizeray, is super responsive and the app is constantly updated. This app costs $4.99, it’s a one time fee.
- Athlytic uses HRV and RHR to give a Recovery score and give me an idea how hard I can train on a day – it gives me a Target Exertion Zone and suggestions to what I can do in a day. And the Sleep section is really great for analyzing not just how I slept, but tracking my sleep debt from not going to bed early enough. I have found the sleep portion of the app really useful and have been using it to keep myself honest about how little I actually sleep. If Apple wants athletes to take their Apple Watch Ultra seriously, Apple needs to be doing things like what Athlytic is doing – or doing analysis and insights like what Garmin does. The stock Health app only presents page after page of numbers without giving users any sense of what the numbers really mean. Athlytic is useful because it does just what Apple does not do. Athlytic is a subscription app, $3.99/mo or $29.99/yr.
- Fitness Stats is a very simple way of seeing what I have been up to. Fitness Stats is free.
If you’re a running and want to connect socially, you can find me here on Strava tracking my runs and other workouts.