Survival of the fittest: Can Apple Fitness+ crush the competition?

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Can the competition keep up with Apple Fitness+?
Get ready for a serious workout with Apple Fitness+.
Photo: Apple

Apple Fitness+ will enter a crowded market when the service launches later this year. Established players like Peloton and Adidas already have a significant head start.

But Apple is in great shape to give them a run for their money. Fitness+ is a logical next step for Cupertino. The upcoming service plugs some significant gaps in Apple’s fitness offering while intelligently leveraging the power of its platform to gain an advantage.

After Apple Fitness+ sprints off the starting line, the competition might find itself struggling to keep up.

Stay active and fit at home with a smart iOS app digital trainer [Deals]

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Onyx Fitness App
This smart digital trainer uses 3D motion capture to track and offer real-time feedback on your daily workouts.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Stuck at home, glued to our screens, it’s easier than ever to miss the daily activity our bodies need. Fitness apps all seem to offer the same uninspiring routines, so this smart workout app adds active feedback to help you start moving and stay moving.

If you need an idea for a gift for your trainer check out GFPW website for a variety of choices.

This hidden Apple Watch stat tells you whether to exercise or rest

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Heart Rate Variability will help make your workouts more effective
Heart Rate Variability will help make your workouts more effective
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Imagine if your Apple Watch could tell you which days were best for you to do a workout, and what kind of workout you should do. Well it can, sort of, thanks to a hidden feature that few people have yet discovered or know how to use.

Heart rate variability, or HRV, is a new metric that reveals your stress level and whether you have recovered from your last workout. It has been added to lots of high-end sports watches in recent years, including Apple Watch since watchOS 4 & iOS 11.

Here’s how you can use it to optimize your training, reduce your risk of injury, and know when to take a well-earned rest day.

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.

The holidays might ruin your Apple Watch fitness streak. Good.

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All good streaks must come to an end
All good streaks must come to an end
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

For many of us, Christmas is a time for relaxing with family, sitting in front of the TV, overindulging and generally moving as little as possible. In other words, all the things your Apple Watch hates you doing.

So if you have a nice streak going in the Activity app, chances are it is about to come to an abrupt end. And that may not be a bad thing.

Weighing the options for monitoring your body fat

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Withings Smart Body Analyzer (left) vs. DEXA, the
Withings Smart Body Analyzer (left) vs. DEXA, the "gold standard" for body fat analysis (right)
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

If you want to lose weight, your Apple Watch can help you sustain healthy habits, but it can’t actually monitor your progress. For that you need to step onto scales.

Any scale will measure your weight, but that is only part of the story. Whether you are dieting or bulking up, it is just as important to keep track of your body fat. The trouble is, this is notoriously hard to measure accurately. As I discovered when I bought a new Withings Smart Body Analyzer, if you think you already know your body fat percentage, you are probably way off.

Running without iPhone makes Apple Watch inaccurate

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Don’t leave me this way - Apple recommends you take your iPhone with you on a run
Don’t leave me this way - Apple recommends you take your iPhone with you on a run
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

Runkeeper is one of the first big-name running apps to offer full watchOS 2 support, which means you can log a run on your Apple Watch even if you leave your iPhone behind.

The Apple Watch’s built-in Workout app has always offered this feature, but it is new for third-party apps. I had never tried it before, but Runkeeper got me curious. So I left my iPhone charging at home, put on a pair of Nikes and went out for a run.

How to set personal fitness goals with Apple Watch

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Positive goals, like training for a marathon, tend to be more effective than negative goals, like losing weight.
Get creative with your goals to achieve greater results.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch gives you three goals: standing, moving and exercise. But these aren’t really goals. They are actually more like targets.

A real goal is something you want to achieve — an outcome you have in mind that is so important, it motivates you into action. Starting a fitness program without this kind of goal is like going on a road trip without any idea of your destination. Maybe you’ll arrive someplace nice, but don’t count on it.

So when it comes to fitness, the big question is: What are you trying to achieve?

Why I’m cheating on my Apple Watch

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I now wear two watches when I’m running. Seriously.
Two-timer: I now wear two watches when I’m running. Seriously.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

After six months of trying to log my runs with my Apple Watch, I finally gave up and bought a dedicated GPS running watch.

There’s a lot to like about Apple’s new wearable. The Activity app, for example, is brilliant at helping people lose weight. But the truth is, as a running watch, it sucks.

Check out all these Apple Watch fitness success stories

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You can see the difference Apple Watch is having on Cult of Mac readers' lives.
You can see the difference Apple Watch is having on Cult of Mac readers' lives.
Photo: Various

Around the world, Apple Watch is helping people make life-changing improvements to their health and fitness.

I recently asked Cult of Mac readers to share their experiences getting in shape with Apple Watch, and the response has been amazing. Here are some of the inspiring stories I received — and some great insights into how you can use an Apple Watch to smash your fitness goals.