Supercharge Your Workouts: 6 New Ways to Get Fit with WatchOS

The Apple Watch has many awesome features and useful capabilities. One of the standout offerings of the Apple Watch is the Workout app. With the release of watchOS 5 last fall came new fitness-tracking features that can help you achieve a better level of physical and mental health. Read on to learn six tips for getting in shape with watchOS 5. Note: Sadly, watchOS 5 is incompatible with the first-generation Apple Watch.

Related: 15 Apple Watch Tips That’ll Make You A Pro

1. Track New Workout Types

With every update to the operating system of the Apple Watch, Apple adds additional workout types to its tracking options. With watchOS 5, Apple added two new workout types. The watch can now track yoga, thanks to a new heart rate-based algorithm, as well as hiking, thanks to the ability to measure elevation gain. The list of workout types is still limited, however. If you don’t see the workout you need, you can track it as Other and then name it. Here’s how:

• Choose Other when choosing a workout type and start the workout in the usual way.

• When you’ve finished the workout, swipe right, and tap End.

• Tap Name Workout.

• Select the workout type.

• Tap Done to save the workout.

• From now on, the workout type will appear in the list of workouts types available for tracking.

 

2. Set Pace Alerts for Outdoor Running

For runners, it’s now easier to maintain a steady pace thanks to watchOS 5. Once you enable Pace Alerts, your Apple Watch will notify you any time you go above or below your pace goal during your run. Here’s how:

• When you are ready to start tracking an outdoor run, tap the More icon (the three dots) to the right of Outdoor Run.

• Scroll down and tap Set Pace Alert.

• Turn the Digital Crown to set a pace goal and then tap Done.

• Below your goal pace, choose whether you want to use the Average pace (your one-mile pace averaged over the time you’ve been running), or Rolling pace (your one-mile pace at that moment) and then start your workout as usual.

• Once you have set up Pace Alerts, they will stay the same for every Outdoor Run until you change them or turn them off.

• You can change the selected pace in the future by tapping on the pace you’ve set and following the steps above.

• You can turn Pace Alerts off by tapping Off below Average and Rolling.

 

3. Use Automatic Workout Detection

Have you ever gotten most of the way through an amazing workout, only to realize you never started tracking it? What about those times you glance down at your watch 30 minutes after your workout only to discover you forgot to end the workout? Well, that should no longer be a problem thanks to watchOS5! The Apple Watch can now remind you to start or stop tracking a workout if it thinks you are exercising or have finished your workout. Workout detection is available for eight workout types: Indoor Walk, Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, Outdoor Run, Elliptical, Rower, Pool Swim, and Open Water Swim. You can enable or disable this feature right from your Apple Watch. Once you enable Pace Alerts, your Apple Watch will notify you any time you go above or below your pace goal during your run. Here’s how:

• When you are ready to start tracking an outdoor run, tap the More icon (the three dots) to the right of Outdoor Run.

• Scroll down and tap Set Pace Alert.

• Turn the Digital Crown to set a pace goal and then tap Done.

• Below your goal pace, choose whether you want to use the Average pace (your one-mile pace averaged over the time you’ve been running), or Rolling pace (your one-mile pace at that moment) and then start your workout as usual.

• Once you have set up Pace Alerts, they will stay the same for every Outdoor Run until you change them or turn them off.

• You can change the selected pace in the future by tapping on the pace you’ve set and following the steps above.

• You can turn Pace Alerts off by tapping Off below Average and Rolling.

• Scroll down and tap Workout.

• Here you can toggle Start Workout Reminder and End Workout Reminder on or off depending on your preference.

 

4. Track Your Cadence & Pace When Running

One of the best things about the Apple Watch is that you can customize the specific metrics shown on the workout screen for each type of workout you commonly do. If you are a runner, you’ll want to use this tip so you can take advantage of the new cadence and pace tracking metrics Apple added in watchOS 5.

• Open the Watch app on the iPhone and make sure you are in the My Watch tab. Scroll down and tap Workout.

• From there, go to the Workout view.

• Here, make sure Multiple Metrics is selected. This will allow you to see more than one metric while you are working out. Next, select the workout type for which you’re customizing the metrics.

• Tap Edit.

• Add metrics by tapping the green circle next to the metric type. Remove metrics by tapping the red circle. You can select up to five metrics. When you are finished, tap Done.

 

5. Compete with Friends

If you’re sharing activity with a fellow Apple Watch wearer, you can now challenge them to a seven-day workout competition. To share your activity, open the iPhone Activity app, select Sharing, tap the +, enter the name of a contact who also has an Apple Watch, and then tap Send. Once the person accepts your activity sharing invitation, you can challenge them to a seven-day competition. Competitions are one-on-one, but you can have multiple competitions going at the same time. You can start a competition from the Apple Watch or from the iPhone Activity app. To start a competition on your watch:

• Open the Apple Watch Activity app.

• Swipe left to see the list of people you’re sharing activity with, and tap on the name of the person you want to compete with.

• Scroll down and tap Compete, and then tap Invite [person’s name]. To start a competition on your iPhone:

• Open the iPhone Activity app and make sure you are in the Sharing tab.

• Tap on the name of a friend you wish to challenge, and tap Compete with [person’s name].

• Tap Invite [person’s name].Your friend will then have 48 hours to accept your invitation, and the competition will start two days after that. Each competitor can earn up to 600 points per day for adding to their activity rings. The person with the most points at the end of the seven days wins.

 

6. Listen to Podcasts on the Apple Watch

Apple finally added the Podcasts app to the AppleWatch in watchOS 5 for those of you who enjoy catching an episode while out on the trail or using the elliptical. Podcasts are synced to the Apple Watch in much the same way music is synced; choose the podcasts you want to sync and they will be added to your watch next time your Apple Watch is charging and near your iPhone. To choose which podcasts to add:

• Open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to Podcasts.

• Under Add Episodes From, you have two options:

1. Listen Now: adds one episode from each show in the Listen Now tab in your iPhone Podcasts app.

2. Custom: Adds up to three episodes from the podcasts you have selected.

• When you are ready to listen to a podcast, make sure your headphones are paired, open the Podcasts app on the Apple Watch, and choose a show to listen to. Episodes should auto-delete after playing, but you will need to make sure they play through to the end in order to ensure they delete. If not, you can delete the episode from your podcast app and then sync your watch and phone again.

Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

From the beginning, the Apple Watch has been a fantastic motivational tool for those of us who want to live a more active lifestyle. With watchOS 5, Apple has expanded its fitness tracking capabilities, so you can measure your workouts with greater precision and control.

 

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of iPhone Life magazine.

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          Sarah Kingsbury's picture

          Sarah Kingsbury is the Senior Web Editor of iPhone Life magazine. Previously she wrote for savvyvegetarian.com and was the Associate Editor of the Iowa Source for many years.