What fitness tracker do you use?

I’ve got an Apple Watch but it feels like a jack of all trades, and had being eyeing a whoop or Garmin but don’t know if grass is just greener; what are you using and how are you making it work?

I use an Apple Watch S6 to track outdoor walks/hiking and also to do some Fitness+ workouts. I want to want to workout more so I could justify buying one of those fancy Garmin watches!

I recently started using a Garmin Instinct 2. I’ve never been an Apple Watch fan. This looks and feels more like a “normal” sports watch. I really like it. Battery life is close to 30 days. It does show Apple notifications if you want on the watch face. Activity monitoring is great with the Garmin app.

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What are your activities you want to track? That could make a difference on recommendations.


I run about twenty miles a week (and am slowly increasing that amount) and currently use a non-ultra Apple Watch. I’ve been eyeing the Garmin Forerunner 965, but I’m hoping that next week’s Apple Watch Ultra will have more runner-friendly features. I don’t want to lose the smart watch functionality, but I’m almost ready to move to a runner-centric watch if Apple can’t innovate a bit more.

There are a few limitations that I see with my current Apple Watch S6. Some I’ve found solutions for:

Apple Workouts App

Out of the box workout app is insufficient for serious runners for do complex training plans and want the watch to guide them through.

Potential solution

I switched to using the WorkOutDoors app. It’s a 1-time purchase (though I actually think it should go subscription) with tons of customization and workout planning. Great for the DIY type of person.

Physical Buttons

Lack of physical buttons makes working with the Apple Watch difficult in the rain for cold weather when wearing gloves. Touch interactions just aren’t as good.

Potential solution

The Apple Watch Ultra has the action button which MAY solve 99% of the interaction problems during a run (e.g: toggling a lap or shifting to the next segment in your workout).

Not-so Always-On Display

Always on Display isn’t actually always on, showing you all the live information you may want and doing the arm-raise gesture isn’t ideal. Trying to get a really quick glance at distance, heart rate, cadence etc isn’t 100% reliable or as quick as it was when I had a Garmin

Potential solution

Still working on this…

Despite the AOD issues, I’m still thinking I’ll get an Apple Watch Ultra after the announcement next week. I’ll wait and see but it should prove to be a big leg up on my S6. My wife has the Garmin Fenix 6, and it works well for her, but she never wears it unless she’s tracking a workout. If I’m going to spend that much money on a device, I want to use it more often than that and the Garmin just isn’t as good in day to day uses.

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This is helpful. Thank you. I stopped using WorkOutdoors because of the always-on problem, but I see that it has a new update that supports AOD. That’s a point in favor of the apple watch.

I have a Garmin 245 running watch. It has embryonic but useless ‘smart watch’ aspirations but I use almost none of it. It’s a fantastic running watch and fitness tracker. Garmin training plans are wonderful for stepping up the pace. Their sleep tracking though is woeful (widely acknowledged on the forums etc).

They also track a ‘body battery’, a measure of general fitness and wellness from HRM data. That too is good and scarily on the money as soon as I am ran down or ill. top reason I use this watch and have never seriously considered an AW is battery life. It keeps going comfortably over a week or and 3/4 workouts per week included.

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This is one of the biggest selling features for the Garmin in my opinion. A lot of the guys I work with have them nearly for the battery life and durability.

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I use my Apple Watch Series 7 with this:

  • Strava for tracking runs (5K/10K) and MTB rides
  • Seven for (guiding) 7 Minute Workouts
  • Intervals Pro for timing balance exercises & strength trainings
  • Apple’s default Workout App for everything else (biking to work, lunch walks, etc.)

I think I track very few “activities”, more the general throughout the day with manual labour and walking involved in normal life. apple watch seems great at tracking activities, but hoping for some ideas on how it could give more of a fitness overview for the day (like Oura, Whoop, Fitbit somewhat).

Garmin watches are great hardware but I found their web-based ecosystem kludgy and unreliable (and they were obviously tempted to mine your personal data and make it social unless you kept locking everything down). Getting the data OUT of Garmin in a useful form was not straightforward without buying into someone else’s ecosystem (e.g. Strava) and each has privacy issues and you either like them or not.

The Apple watch isn’t perfect for all the reasons listed above, but if you are an Apple user, it’s a part of your personal data and life in a way that Garmin just isn’t. I recently needed a summary of VO2 over several years and it was just there in Apple Health.

Work Outdoors is a great app and repays the effort in setting it up. I’ve found it less reliable for long hikes and runs (over 10km or so) as the map can “freeze” so I am now tending to use Pedometer++: an app made by a serious hiker for himself is just rock solid and simple to use. At first glance, it seems too simple but the optional subscription opens up everything I need.

how [the Apple Watch] could give more of a fitness overview for the day

Obviously, it depends on what you are looking for in that overview. Getting a scale that talks to Apple Health would be a good step and I find a lot of value in looking at the red “move” ring is as good a metric as any. Setting up the summary screen in Apple Health (with carefully chosen metric that make sense to me) makes it much more useful than the vast lists of data that tend to end up in there.

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I think as others have said, it does depend on what you plan to use it for (and do you actually do those activities currently, or are you just thinking you should… because I have definitely bought aspirational fitness equipment and it rarely results in the activity concerned :grimacing:).

I use my Apple Watch, but I am not particularly hardcore about tracking minutes and don’t need detailed workout info. I like the Apple Watch because it tracks activity throughout the day alongside workouts (and does other stuff of course). I prefer this general view of what I’m doing and it means I don’t have to remember to swap devices. Plus all my data is then in the Apple Health app, where I want it to be.

No-one’s mentioned so I will just say, the Apple Fitness programme is unexpectedly quite good. It integrates with Apple Watch (so Apple Watch metrics are presented on screen during your workout) and the workouts are professional and well-made. (They also do this great thing where they don’t present you with a huge library when you open the app - they make a few recommendations. They said they’ve done this deliberately so you’re not overwhelmed with choice and don’t just endlessly scroll and not actually do anything. I think it’s really well implemented.)


I have used them all. For context:

  • Massive, terminal Apple fan
  • I run about 80-100 km/week (50-60 miles)
  • Generally fairly active outside of that (dog walking, strength workouts a few times a week, have a toddler, etc.)

I have been settled on the Apple Watch Ultra since it came out, and have had a Whoop on an 18 month membership as well during that time that I have worn in fits and spurts. Before the Ultra, I had previously owned a couple of Apple Watches over the years as well as a Garmin.

There are some things that Garmin does better than the Apple Watch – pace coaching based on route during training and races, etc. But the Ultra does 99% as much, and for everything else I find it better. Being able to easily manage music on it based on Apple Music, being able to stream podcasts, using it as a more general smart watch in small ways during the day, etc. all add up to making it a much more enjoyable experience for me.

The Whoop is interesting, and as a “watch guy”, I wish I enjoyed it enough to justify it. I have a watch collection that largely goes unworn because I like the Ultra just that much. The only situation I’d use the Whoop in is if I wanted to start wearing my non-smart watches more again.

Where the Apple Watch really shines is in customizability. It’s default functionality is great, and the Health app is a great companion. But what if you want to visualize workouts or health data in a different way? On Garmin and Whoop, you’re much more stuck with what they offer. With Apple, there’s a whole world of apps that take your Health data and present it in new and unique ways, or push data/workouts to Health in new ways.

Don’t like the default workout tracking? Track with the Strava app, or WorkOutdoors, or countless others. Want a Whoop-like Recovery/Exertion score? Check out Athlytic. Want deeper analytics on runs after-the-fact? HealthFit is better than anything I’ve seen on any other platforms. Want to track HR zones on a weekly basis because you’re trying to stick to 80/20 running? Zones has your back.

In summary: This is the one thing that keeps me in Apple Watch land, and battery life is the one thing that keeps me on the Ultra and is what made the Apple Watch finally stick for me.


My “fitness” requirements are modest and Apple Health on my iPhone meets most of them I believe. The things that would add to my experience are integrated workout records (I only walk I do not go to a gym neither do I run) but at the moment rely on the free GPX Tracker app on my iPhone to record distance/speed/duration, and manual entry of blood pressure readings from a cuff monitor. Having an Apple Watch would cover my first requirement; start the Workout app as I exit the building and stop on my return. It integrates directly with the iOS (and soon iPadOS) Health app, Since the first appearance of an Apple patent for using a Watch as a blood pressure monitor I hope year-on-year that the next Apple Watch hardware release will have thata as a feature. If the Apple Watch 9/Ultra 2 does not have that feature then I am still increasing minded to buy one as soon as available.

There are non-fitness applications that make me want an Apple Watch rather than a dedicated fitness tracker as good as those might be for their intended purpose. First I could not bear the irritation of putting a dedicated tracker on for the short while I exercise, which maybe a minor issue but for …. Second I would use the jack-of-all-trades features of an Apple Watch for text messaging — saves digging my iPhone out of the pocket, mobile calling — again no need to did the iPhone out, music playing, Apple Pay — saves getting my physical wallet out, Maps — saves carry a huge map book around, flight tracker — so I know when the wastrel UK PM is flying over head (my house is uder the usual flight path from DOwning Street to Chequers), and a myriad of other apps. Plus third as a software engineer/computing scientist there are ideas for apps some of which would make the Apple Watch a better fit than an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Long story short I will buy an Apple Watch long before I even consider a dedicated fitness tracker.

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I ended up in a similar area, using the Watch for its general mirroring of the phone and receiving timely Omnifocus and calendar notifications and texts - but added the Whoop band to the mix so now I’m running the goofball look of one on each arm.

I replaced my old blood pressure monitor last year with one that pairs with Apple Health. Like all things bluetooth using it required occasional fiddling to get the data into the Health app.

I found taking 10 seconds to enter the data manually helped me control my BP. :grinning:

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