A new year has begun, and while there’s never really a bad time to start paying closer attention to your health, resolutions and the “clean break” from the year prior make January as good a time as any.
Whatever your goals are for the year, you may have more luck sticking to them with a variety of Apple Watch apps. After all, having a reminder on your wrist to get up and stand for a minute, or get 30 minutes of exercise, is a powerful motivator - and the ‘three rings’ saw the Apple Watch capture a legion of fans that have kept streaks going for years.
Still, the apps on this list will help you get even fitter, stay hydrated, and complement your Apple Watch’s basic functions, too. If they help you feel better for even one day, they’ve achieved something — so let’s get to it.
The basic Apple Watch apps
While we’re about to jump into the world of third-party Apple Watch apps, it never hurts to familiarise yourself with the core offerings Apple packs into its wearable via the stock apps.
Whether it’s Activity and the aforementioned three rings, setting a decent sleep schedule to help you rest overnight, or checking your BPM with the Heart Rate app, there’s plenty that your Apple Watch can do for you right out of the box. For everything else, there are the following.
Strava needs no introduction for many. It’s a running/cycling app that doubles as a social network for fitness enthusiasts, and once you connect your contacts you may be surprised to see who’s on there.
Whether you’re giving Kudos to pals or going it alone, Strava is a great Apple Watch app that’s perfectly capable of tracking your workouts and then syncing them to the iPhone app once you get home - meaning you don’t need to take your phone with you if you don’t want to.
Strava’s free tier is very good, too, so while you can unlock additional metrics and training plans for $11.99 / £8.99 a month, there’s no real need to which makes Strava an ideal app for starting out.
Streaks is an app for, as the name suggests, logging Streaks, and while there is a workout-focused version, each is built with a lovely interface that’s simple but quite compelling.
It can tally how many times you walked the dog this week, what days you avoided fizzy drinks, and how many days it’s been since you smoked or ordered takeaway, but what I’m using it for is much simpler.
While Waterful is an option, I’m using Streaks to manage my water intake throughout the day. I set myself a target, and tick off increments throughout the day.
As someone with a bit of a caffeine and fizzy drink addiction, it’s been great at helping remind me throughout the day when I need to chug some H2O.
Having it available on your wrist makes it much easier to simply tick those increments off, too - although Streaks does let you edit prior days if you forget to log your activity of choice.
I’ve enjoyed lifting weights for around 12 years so far, and while I still enjoy hitting the gym, I’m not as young as I used to be, and recovery times after a workout are much longer in my thirties than they were in my twenties.
Despite that, I lifted over a million kilos in 2023. That’s thanks to Fitbod, and it’s not an exaggeration, either - Fitbod’s ‘Spotify Wrapped’ style roundup showed just how far I’ve come.
To me, Fitbod is better than Apple’s own Health app when it comes to recovery (something I’ve written about at length before) — and it comes with the added benefit of being customizable for just about any gym setup. It has cardio options, and a variety of goals for bulking, toning, slimming, Olympic weightlifting, and much more.
It also works great on my Apple Watch, presenting itself as something akin to a task manager where you can tick off exercises off the list as you go. You can even watch an instructional gif of your next exercise on your watch!
If you also want to see Machine Learning in action, letting Fitbod build you a workout plan is a sight to behold.
Which apps are you using to make and set your fitness resolutions? Let us know in the iMore Forums if you've got another New Year's resolution you're determined to achieve for 2024.
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Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.
Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.
He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.
- Daryl BaxterFeatures Editor