There was a time when we managed to workout without a smartwatch, but those days are long gone. Now, if you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, swimming laps, getting fit with Crossfit, or practicing yoga, the best workout buddy you can have is on your wrist.
One of the best ways to get fit is to set goals and track your progress. That can be difficult to do without a smartwatch. Sure, traditional watches allow you to time yourself, setting alarms and possibly offering stopwatch options for interval training, but to best gauge your progress, a watch that records the time as well as steps, calories burned, heart rate and more can help you to push past the dreaded workout plateau. Most people are driven by results they can see, so things like taking the stairs, walking to work, or fitting in a quick workout on a busy day and seeing your number of steps taken and calories burned is a great motivator to keep making healthy choices.
Many smartwatches come with fitness modes or can run fitness apps, with some smartwatches acting as personal trainers, with hundreds of workouts available at the touch of a screen to help lead you through a great sweat session. Listening to music is another great way to amp up your workout, with many smartwatches enabled with music playing abilities that allow you to cycle through your playlist or in some cases, listen to music through Bluetooth speakers even when your phone isn’t nearby.
We try to stay focused during workouts, but if you’re waiting for an important call, text or email, it’s easy to get distracted by our phones. By sending notifications straight to your watch, you can get back to counting your reps instead of pausing after every set to check your mobile.
Not only are smartwatches great for working out, but they’re also excellent watches for everyday use. It may not be appropriate to wear your gym shorts to the office, but you won’t have any problems pairing your smartwatch with a suit.
Ready to sweat with a smartwatch? Here are our favorite options that will push you to get the most out of your time at the gym.
1. Fitbit Versa Smart Watch
It includes all the features of the Versa Lite Edition plus added features that make it ideal for working out, including the ability to play 300 songs straight from your watch and on-screen workouts that play on your watch face and can coach users through a variety of exercises, from swimming to running and more. Pros of the Fitbit Versa include its wide range of workout modes, its water resistance (up to 50 meters), its ability to both record workouts and connect to your phones’ GPS to give specific breakdowns of distances covered, and a 24/7 heart rate monitor. The Fitbit Versa is also a great watch to use when not working out, with the ability to receive notifications on phone calls, texts, weather, emails, and more. The watch can run for up to four days off a single charge, which is impressive, though not as long a run life as the Amazfit Bip, which can last 30 days. Cons of the Fitbit Versa are its price tag, which is the highest on our list. It also allows users to send quick replies through the watch, but only for Android users. The Fitbit Versa is also the heaviest watch on our list, weighing 11.36 ounces.
2. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
For the adventurous out there, this is the watch for you. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, swimmer or someone who does all three and more, this Garmin can keep up. But what we really love about this Garmin is that it doesn’t just stop at the fitness tracking. Indeed, this is a fully functioning smartwatch that updates you on events, texts, calls and emails. And all of that is happening while you’re getting in-depth data on stride length, pacing and all your most-desired fitness stats.
3. Amazfit Bip Smart Watch
The Amazfit Bip doesn’t boast as many bells and whistles as the Fitbit Versa and TicWatch, but still has a ton of features. One of the biggest pros is its long lifespan, with the Amazfit Bip lasting an impressive 45 days on a single 2.5-hour charge. The watch has all-day heart-rate activity monitoring, sleep monitoring, and a built-in GPS to track steps, distance and calories. The watch does have some cons with regards to its fitness limitations. Only four optimized sport modes (running, treadmill, cycling and walking) mean that tracking other workouts, like weightlifting and yoga, can be difficult. The Amazfit Bip does send notifications from commonly used apps like email, texts, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, and more, but users cannot send replies through the watch.