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Apple Watch & Apple Fitness – 1st impressions

Late to the party, but loving it!

Apple Watch Series 8 & Apple Fitness +
image courtesy of author

At Last!

Apple Watch – now I finally really get it.

I only bought my first-ever Apple Watch this year. It was just after the September Apple Event, Far Out, and the release of the latest version of Apple Watch – Series 8, that I made my move.

Of course, all the heat back then was over the Ultra. As I was about to buy my first smart-watch, naturally, I had some interest in it. There was something, though, that made me hold back from buying it. It appealed alright, but it almost seemed overkill to me. So – Apple Watch Series 8 it was then!

Why now?

Dirty secret time – as a much younger man, sport was everything to me.

From 12-21, I chased the dream of becoming a pro cricketer. Once I realised that I was nowhere near good enough, I ditched that dream, but only after a stress fracture to my shin, and a chronic back injury! You see, I am the sort that gives these things all I have. My next sporting goal was as a bodybuilder. Again, having trained and dieted as hard as I could, I could see that I would never make it to the top. I made a few national finals, but that was to be, as good as it got.

Bringing things bang up-to date, all those endeavours really left me with, were some great memories, and a stuffed left hip! Two years ago, I had a long-overdue hip replacement, and it was honestly the rebirth of me.

For the first time in a decade, I was pain free, and could think about exercise again. Although, because of the kind of replacement I had, I can’t do anything that puts impact through it, I can train again. And I do, every morning, heading out the door for 40 minutes of blissful, cardio escape.

And that is why, finally, the time seemed right to buy an Apple Watch.

Joining the dots

I could never work out the logical benefits of an Apple Watch, and I think that is what had prevented me from buying one for all that time.

My advice to you now, though, would almost be that logic needs to be put to one side. While it may be hard to fully explain the benefits, once you start to wear one, it quickly becomes obvious.

Give it time though. Initially, I was still wondering what all the fuss was about, but the more you wear it, and the more data it gathers, the more you’ll derive from it. I made the decision, from day one, to wear my Apple Watch in bed so that it has about as much information on me as possible.

One regret

So far, I have no regrets in not buying the Ultra. I have worn one, and even on my wrist, they are big. They are probably brilliant, if you happen to fall in to that tiny minority, for whom the extra oomph, makes sense.

My only regret, was that I didn’t buy the Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. As it is, heading out in the morning, means I need to take my iPhone with me. Ideally, I’d leave it behind, not only as it’s one less thing to carry, but also I want meaningful time away from as much tech as possible. That said, it now stays firmly in my pocket, as everything else is done from my wrist, and the Apple Watch.

It’s complicated

If you are just getting your first Apple Watch, pick a watch face that allows for Complications to be added. In english, those are shortcuts that you add to the four corners of your watch face, to personalise it.

If you intend to use your Apple Watch while training, getting those right, makes a big difference. I currently have mine set as –

  • Top left – exercise
  • Top right – camera remote
  • Bottom left – remaining battery
  • Bottom right – podcasts

Two of those, the exercise and podcasts, are there purely for my morning cardio workouts. They just about speak for themselves as to why, I have made those choices, but, I’ll explain.

The exercise complication means I can just tap that, and my workout will open, ready to record my session. And as for the podcast one, it again means, I don’t have to open the watch, and search for the app. I simply choose the podacst, pop in AirPods Pro 2…and I am ready.

Deeper & deeper

I had always listened to tech podcasts when out in the mornings.

Just when I thought that I couldn’t become any further in Apple’s hold, this week has seen me think again about that statement.

Apple, not being too shabby when it comes to knowing a trick or two about marketing, give you the choice to use Apple Fitness + for free, for three months, when you buy an Apple Watch. As things started to settle down for me over this past week, I cashed those chips in, and have started to use the service – and first impressions, are good…very, good, actually.

Something for everyone

They have seemingly thought of everyone with this service. Whatever kind of workout you want, you’ll find it. Meditation, yoga, core, cycling, pilates – truly, a workout for all tastes.

And, where once, podcasts had been my go to for company when out doing cardio, this week, I found that Apple have another category, that would suit me perfectly. It’s called Time to Walk. There, you’ll find a series of spoken word, motivational, 30 minute podcasts from celebrities. The first I listened to was Sugar Ray Leonard, but there are others on my list, including Jane Fonda, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Joshua, and Naomi Campbell.

They act as great company, but, my only complaint is that, when the podcast finishes, so does your workout, or walk. Ideally, I think Apple should look at a way to extend the workout after it finishes, or offer you to start another workout, and bundle the data together. But, that’s a minor complaint. Listening to these ‘walks’, has proven a welcome change. I don’t know if I am alone in this, but I love the spoken word using AirPods. It just feels comforting, personable, and safe – that, or I am odd!

All change

I’m pretty good at motivating myself. That has never been a problem for me, and is, quite likely, why I have never hired a personal trainer. I kind of have an idea of what my body needs, then I get to it.

Whereas I normally come back from the cardio session, and do a workout that I have put together, today, I did a 10 minute, core strength workout, from Apple Fitness + (with Gregg and some Latin rhythms). I loved it too. It was different, stimulating, and had me doing exercises that I would not normally be doing. Turns out, and old dog can learn new tricks then!

Wrapping up

If you find yourself in a quandary, whether Apple Watch is for you, from my experience so far, I’d wholeheartedly say go for it!

Don’t expect it to change your life, from day one, though. That, in my experience at least, is not how it works. Give it time. It needs to learn about you, your day, and exercise routines. In fact, while I have been writing today, I have found that Apple Watch requires 180 days to work out your trends.

I now entirely understand why people are raving about the benefits of Apple Watch. Certainly, when I have read stories of users who were once sedentary, and have managed to make serious weight loss – I get it.

For me, it was not a case of needing motivation, but it did give me a fresh look at my workouts and goals. Whether it’s gently reminding you to stand when you’ve been sitting too long, sending your workout to family and friends to serve as motivation for them, or, encouraging you to that bit more each day, Apple Watch just works.

Does that need to come from wearing the Ultra? Nope, I am really happy with my Series 8 Apple Watch. And don’t worry about battery life, either. I know everyone is raving about the three days that the Ultra apparently gives, but for us mortals, the Series 8 is doing me just fine. As I write, having worked out twice, and slept with it on, it still has 39% of battery left – it was last charged at 5pm yesterday – that’ll do me.

Taking my lead from another leading brand to sign off – Apple Watch – just do it!

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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening tohttps://music.apple.com/gb/album/gate-of-dreams/357944521

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