Future of fitness apps lies in understanding human movement

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Can the Workout app's
Can you log a weightlifting workout with the Workout app's "Other" option? Not really.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Some Apple Watch users are apparently confused over what types of exercise the wearable’s Workout app can track. Many people are using it to log weightlifting or stretching sessions, even though Apple only claims the app is suitable for “dedicated cardio workouts.”

Fortunately, a new breed of fitness apps is emerging that uses the accelerometer access enabled by the recently released watchOS 2 to track strength and flexibility workouts more effectively.

Where are all the watchOS 2 fitness apps?

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Runtastic's text is sometimes too small to read while running
Runtastic's text is sometimes too small to read while running
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

WatchOS 2 offers cool new features for third-party fitness apps. But a week after its launch, most leading fitness apps have yet to go native and take advantage of the Apple Watch update.

So what’s up? The answer may lie in Apple’s new workout API, which does not provide the GPS coordinates required for apps to map your run or cycle ride.

Has Apple Watch helped you get in shape?

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Join the Cult of Mac club on Strava and share your fitness story
Join the Cult of Mac club on Strava and share your fitness story
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch has been on our wrists for just five months and yet it is already having an amazing impact on many people’s lives.

We want to find out how Cult of Mac readers are using Cupertino’s fitness tech to get in shape, so we’re inviting everyone to share their inspiring stories. Plus, we’ve set up a new Cult of Mac club on Strava so you can connect with other readers who are into fitness.

Fitness apps are not for beginners

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Fitness apps can tell you how to do an exercise, but they can't check whether you're doing it right.
Fitness apps can tell you how to do an exercise, but they can't check whether you're doing it right.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

New research suggests that iOS fitness apps stink at giving you a complete workout. As the developer of one such app, you might think I would disagree. But I don’t. In fact, the only thing I would challenge is the researchers’ conclusion that app developers could do better. They can’t.

Fitness apps can be indispensable if you already know what you are doing, but If you are new to exercise, you should not rely on them to get you started.

Why Apple’s Active Calories don’t add up (and how you can change that)

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In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Have you ever noticed that some of your workout data is missing from the Health app on your iPhone?

Apple’s Health app is designed to provide a central hub for all your fitness apps to save and share their data. You might assume this means all your Active Calories are added together, regardless of which app you use to log them. But the truth is not that simple — although you can tweak some hidden settings to customize what you see.