Apple Watch is getting better at fitness tracking, but it still sucks for running

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Activity app rocks. Workout app sucks.
Activity app rocks. Workout app sucks.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At WWDC this week, Apple all but confirmed that Apple Watch is really just a health gadget. Tim Cook described it offhandedly as a “device for a healthy life,” and most of the watchOS 3 segment of the keynote was devoted to health and fitness.

This focus on health makes sense. As an activity tracker, Apple Watch is arguably the best on the market, and watchOS 3 will make it even better. Apple’s wearable is ideal if you are simply looking to live a healthier day. But, despite some minor improvements, Apple Watch still sucks if you are into running.

Put your fitness to the ultimate test with Apple Watch

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Get set to test yourself to the limit with your Apple Watch.
Get set to test yourself to the limit with your Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you want to get in shape, the best way to get started is with some fitness testing. That might sound challenging, but luckily your Apple Watch is all you need to test yourself to the limit.

Fitness tests enable you to establish a baseline so you can see how your physical condition improves over time. And if you are already a fitness fanatic, regular testing enables you to identify areas of weakness and optimize your training program. Here’s how to make the Apple Watch a part of your essential fitness testing.

How watchOS 3 could fix Apple Watch and end ‘wrist rage’

Does your Apple Watch give you wrist-rage?
Does your Apple Watch give you wrist rage? If so, watchOS 3 might help.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

My biggest gripe with my Apple Watch is not the sluggish hardware, the lack of GPS nor the dependance on my iPhone. These are all problems to be sure. But it is the bad user interface design that often drives me so mad that my force-taps turn into force-thumps of frustration.

With an update to the Apple Watch operating system expected at the Worldwide Developers Conference next month, here’s my top 10 list of interface improvements I’d like to see in the upcoming watchOS 3. These essential changes would spare my wrist from future incidents of wrist rage.

Why fitness apps use calories to help you lose weight

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According to Einstein there are 644 billion calories in this doughnut.
According to Einstein there are 644 billion calories in this doughnut.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Most fitness apps seem obsessed with calories. Go for a run, and your Apple Watch tells you how many calories you burned. Scan a barcode and MyFitnessPal tells you how many calories are in the food you are about to eat.

So what exactly are calories, and does counting them really help you achieve your fitness goals?

How to get ripped with Apple Watch weightlifting apps

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Gymaholic plugs the gaps in Apple Watch's fitness offering
Gymaholic plugs the gaps in Apple Watch's fitness offering

Fitness is not just about walking, running and cycling, despite what your Apple Watch may have you believe. Strength training is also important. Without it, your fitness routine is like a one-hand clap. Whether you are aiming for a ripped beach body or just to improve your overall health, you need to lift some weights.

Apple Watch and iPhone do not offer built-in support for strength training, but the good news is there are plenty of third-party apps that can plug the gap. Apple Watch weightlifting apps can help in three ways: by telling you what to do; showing you how to do it; and keeping a log of what you’ve done.