Secret tweaks for Apple Watch Workout app [Cult of Mac Magazine 266]

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Get ready to make your Workout app work for you.
Get ready to make your Workout app work for you.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

If you’re an Apple Watch fitness freak and you’ve never tweaked the Workout app’s settings, you’re in for a treat. You can heavily customize the way it displays data, so you can make the most of your workouts.

We’ll show you how in Cult of Mac Magazine. Also in this week’s free issue, find out everything you need to know about Apple’s big Sept. 15 event.

Download the iOS mag to read it on your iPad or iPhone. Or head below to get the headlines in your browser.

Discover the secrets of the Apple Watch Workout app

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Have you found the right Workout app layout for you?
Have you found the right Workout app layout for you?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the Apple Watch Workout app seems pretty simple. You just tap the start button and get all sweaty. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. A lot more.

You can customize its layout in hundreds of different ways, changing the text size, position, metrics and even adding a chart of your progress. Even if you use the app every day, chances are you still haven’t discovered all its secrets.

So check out our top 10 Workout app tips and get set for a more effective workout.

How to get back in shape after lockdown with Apple Watch

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Time to dust off your Apple Watch and start closing those rings again
Time to dust off your Apple Watch and start closing those rings again.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you’ve let your fitness slide during the lockdown, you’re not alone. The Activity app’s constant nagging to close your rings is not very helpful when all the gyms are closed and you’re stuck at home.

Skipping workouts for a few months is understandable under the circumstances, but you don’t want to become a permanent couch potato. So now that we’re all adjusting to the “new normal,” it’s the ideal time to dust off your Apple Watch and get back in shape.

20 Apple Watch home workouts you can do during lockdown

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No excuses! You could be doing one of these workouts right now.
No excuses! You could be doing one of these workouts right now.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch supports a huge selection of workout types, but most of the popular ones, like running and swimming, you probably can’t do right now thanks to the coronavirus lockdown. Fortunately, if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find plenty of Apple Watch home workouts you can choose from that require little or no special equipment.

So why not take the opportunity to master a whole new kind of exercise? Here are 20 Apple Watch indoor workout options you can do at home right now.

How to get six-pack abs at home with Apple Watch

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Our essential guide to building rock-hard abs (with a little help from Apple Watch).
Our essential guide to building rock-hard abs (with a little help from Apple Watch).
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Your fitness doesn’t need to suffer just because you’re stuck indoors during the coronavirus quarantine. In fact, now is the ideal time to start working on your six-pack. The lockdown won’t last forever. If you put in the work now, you’ll be looking like a ripped ex-con by the time we’re all allowed out again.

This post covers everything you need to know to build rock-hard abs. We’ll dispel a couple of myths that stop you from blasting your belly fat. And, in the video, I’ll show you the two essential types of core exercise you need to know.

Why you shouldn’t skip leg day (and how Apple Watch can help)

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If you want to get in shape, definitely don't skip leg day
Don't skip leg day or you'll regret it.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Bodybuilders have given us more than their fair share of memes. Who can forget “sun’s out guns out” or “do you even lift, bro?” and one of the all-time weightlifting classics, “Don’t skip leg day.” But unless you’re a dedicated gym rat, you might be wondering what exactly “leg day” is and why you shouldn’t skip it.

Let’s take a closer look at leg day — and how Apple Watch and various apps can help you build great “wheels” (bodybuilder talk for “legs”).

Strava finally adds support for Apple’s Workout app. But there’s a big but …

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Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Strava is a brilliant app for sharing your workouts and analyzing your fitness activity. But its Apple Watch app is not so great. That’s why I prefer to use Apple’s built-in Workout app and then view my data afterward on the Strava website.

The trouble is, up until now, the only way to do that was by relying on third-party apps such as HealthFit, which provide the missing link that syncs Apple’s workouts with Strava.

Strava has been promising to come up with a solution for years. And this week, the company finally delivered. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but I won’t be deleting HealthFit just yet. Here’s why.

Get your Apple Watch and Strava in sync again with this essential app

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Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Before iOS 13, if you wanted to sync Apple Watch workout data with Strava, you had an excellent option: a brilliant third-party fitness app called HealthFit. Unfortunately, Apple’s strict new rules in iOS 13 broke the app’s syncing functionality, leaving Apple Watch-wearing members of the fitness social network in the cold.

Luckily, today’s HealthFit update brings the welcome return of this Strava-syncing capability. Cult of Mac has been testing a beta version of HealthFit 5.2.6 and can confirm that it works really well again. Strava sync is back and better than ever. Here’s what the new-and-improved fitness app can do for you.

How to log interval workouts with Apple Watch

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Use segments to log your rest intervals doing HIIT workouts
Use segments to log your rest intervals doing HIIT workouts
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Interval training has become very popular these days, thanks to high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Proponents of this type of exercise say it delivers many of the benefits of a much longer workout in a short, sharp burst.

The great thing about intervals is that you can do them with pretty much any type of exercise, including running, swimming and cycling. Interval training is also ideal for indoor workouts, like the cardio machines at your local gym. Or you can get creative and mix things up with a jump rope or weights.

Want to give it a go? If so, Apple Watch is the perfect workout companion for interval training.

Why Apple’s Thanksgiving Day Challenge could change your life

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Are you up to the challenge this Thanksgiving?
Are you up to the challenge this Thanksgiving?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple is sending us mixed messages this Thanksgiving. On the one hand, it’s encouraging Apple Watch owners to get active with the Thanksgiving Day Challenge 2019. But on the other hand, it’s serving up new episodes of Apple TV+ shows a day early, so we can collapse onto the couch with full stomachs and do nothing all day.

If the couch sounds more tempting than a chilly November workout, you should think again. If you accept Apple’s Thanksgiving Day Challenge, it could be the most important workout you do all year.