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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
The Fitbit Versa includes a wide range of workout modes and water resistance up to 50 meters. It can record workouts and connect to your phones’ GPS to give specific breakdowns of distances covered, and it has 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.
Pros: Good for workouts and on-the-go use.
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.
Pros: Sporty design. Good for cyclists, runners or swimmers. Notifications and music controls.
Cons: Some options may be more economical.
3. Fossil Men’s Collider Hybrid Smartwatch
This hybrid smartwatch from Fossil will ensure you stay smart in more ways than one — heart rate tracking, notifications and music controls provide smart technology features, but the discreet analog face and leather band will ensure you look smart, too. It syncs with the Fossil app for iPhone and Android, so you can view in-depth metrics.
Pros: Stylish design looks like a traditional watch. Fitness tracking, weather and notifications.
Cons: As a hybrid watch, it does not have as many features as full smartwatches.