For swimmers, MySwimPro is as good an app as you can get. The free app will let you create and track swim workouts (instead of just tracking how many lengths you’ve swum). If you’re actually trying to train rather than just get some exercise in, this makes a big difference.
There’s also an Elite subscription plan ($20/month) that will give you customized coaching if you want it.
Price: Free, optional Elite from $20/month, which adds coaching and other features.
Best Apps for Outdoor Activities
Continuously using the GPS on your Apple Watch will drain its battery more quickly than regular day-to-day use, so if you’re planning a multiday backpacking trip, you’ll need to bring a battery pack. For most casual half-day hike or skiing sessions, however, it should do fine.
WorkOutDoors adds vector maps to your Apple Watch that can even be stored for offline use. If you’re hitting the trails for a hike, run, or ski tour, you can add a GPX route to follow so you don’t get lost.
Basically, it’s the app that turns your Apple Watch into something closer to one of Garmin’s adventure watches.
SkiTracks is the ultimate ski tracking app, at least if you’re skiing lift-accessed slopes. It can track how many runs you’ve done, your average speed, and of course the vertical you’ve managed to ski so far that day.
Afterward, you can look back over the day’s skiing and see it all laid out on a 3D map of the terrain on your iPhone.
Best Apps for the Gym
One area where the Apple Watch excels is in the gym. If you want to track your weights, reps, and sets, or sweat hard in an interval workout, there are apps that make that easy to do.
Strong allows you to log your full workouts, including all your exercises, reps, and sets, without your phone. It’s great if you want to avoid the distraction of Twitter during rest periods by leaving your phone in your locker.
With the free version of the app, you’re limited to three custom routines at once—which is enough to save a push/pull/legs split. If you want more custom routines, Strong PRO starts at $5/month.
Price: Free, optional Strong PRO from $5/month for more custom routines and other features.
If high-intensity interval training is more your kind of thing, Seconds Pro is one of the best apps out there. You can create as many brightly colored and easy-to-read custom timers for your workouts as you need to get your sweat on.
And Get an External Heart Rate Monitor
Wrist-based heart rate tracking, like you get with an Apple Watch, isn’t as accurate as chest straps, and it gets worse the harder you’re training. If you want your Apple Watch to be able to log your heart rate when you’re deep in the pain cave, an external heart rate monitor will go a long way.
Check out our guide to the best heart rate monitors for a few suggestions.
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