How the Apple Watch Has Become the Ideal Fitness Partner

Photo by Mirae Campbell

As an early Apple Watch enthusiast, I’ve always been excited by the possibilities that this watch offers. From being able to track your workouts, to keeping you accountable with friends by closing Activity Rings to now having integrated some great fitness-related apps, the Apple Watch Series 4 has become the ideal fitness and health partner.

I’ve talked about some of my favourite features of the watch on the website before but am happy to share with you today, some of my latest and greatest watch discoveries.

Photo by Matt Massa

Snoww

Though the season may be coming to an end, it’s with tons of enthusiasm that I tested out a cool social ski and snowboarding app last week while in Whistler. Developed by Eddy Healey, a ski fanatic from the UK, Snoww is a ski and snowboarding tracking app that allows you to follow friends and compare vital ski/snowboarding statistics or even compete with skiers/snowboarders to climb your way to the top of the mountain’s leaderboard. Think of Strava but specifically designed for skiing/snowboarding. You can even add Siri shortcuts to get information about your runs while you’re on the mountain but my utmost favourite feature on the app is being able to track in real time the people you follow on the app to see their whereabouts on the mountain. As someone who lives in BC, where backcountry skiing and out of bound riding are a thing, this could potentially be really helpful if ever you were to be out with a group and lose someone. They also have an augmented reality feature that allows you to track someone and see in more detail where they are. The metrics from the Snoww app will then seamlessly be added to your Activity App once your day on the mountain is complete.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by: Mirae Campbell

Yoga

As someone who does a lot of running, yoga has become a great way to cross-train and also stretch plus take care of my body. Therefore, the new Yoga Workout in the Workout App is a great addition to the slew of activities like swimming, cycling, spinning, hiking, etc. that are already available. It’s a fantastic way to set goals for your practice, measure your heart rate as well as calorie burn during each session. Additionally, a great way of ending your practice is by using the Breathe app, which will guide you through 1 minute of deep breathing before moving onto the next thing on your agenda for the day.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

Running

I’ve been using the Running Workout on the Apple Watch for the past couple of years. Though I’ve already talked about some of the things I love most about the Running Workout, one of the things that I have really enjoyed is being able to run without my phone, thanks to cellular connectivity with the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4. Another plus is being to run wirelessly thanks to my AirPods. I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts and some of my favourite tunes without having to worry about wires. As someone who sometimes forgets to start my workout, having the Automatic Workout Detection is a great reminder to start and stop a running session if ever I have forgotten to do so. Like I’ve alluded to in a previous post, additional features like the rolling mile pace, cadence and target pace are all tools that can help, especially when training for a race.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

In short, these are just some of the many fitness and wellness features that come with wearing an Apple Watch. With all the testing that Apple is continuously doing and the addition of trackers such as the accelerometer, the altimeter, GPS, heart rate tracker, etc., it comes as no surprise that the Apple Watch has become highly coveted by both people like you and I and Olympic athletes like Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist Marielle “Big Air Mar” Thompson and Brady Leman, who is also a Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist.

For more information on the Apple Watch and how it can enhance your workouts, go here.

Apple Watch Series 4 Highlights

I recently received the new Apple Watch Series 4 and after a few weeks with the watch, I wanted to share with you a few standout highlights. I haven’t done a tech review like this in a while so hopefully this will be helpful for those thinking about potentially investing in a watch.

1) Heart Rate Monitor – Something that I’ve used quite a bit while training. The new monitor checks your heart rate throughout the day and also checks for unusually high or low heart rates as well as lets you know if something is irregular. You can also get all your heart rate information via the Health App (which you can also use for sleep, nutrition, activity, mindfulness and more!).

There’s also the new fall detection feature (the accelerometer and gyroscope detects if you’ve fallen plus if you are unresponsive for more than 60 seconds an emergency call will automatically be placed for you) and Emergency SOS feature that allows you to call 911 as well as notify your emergency contact plus send your current location and Medical ID badge for emergency personnel.

2) Updated Workout App – This comes with new workout options such as Hiking and Yoga. Having this new hiking option is a great way to keep tabs on vertical gains and how long you’ve been hiking for.

Another watch improvement is for runners; there are new pace alerts that lets you know whether you’re ahead or behind your desired pace. The cadence metrics also lets you see your steps per minute plus the rolling miles allows you to see the split for your previous mile at any point in time.

If you workout at the gym, you can easily pair your watch with compatible gym equipment, which will help sync accurately heart rate, speed and calories between the machine and your watch. The sync can be done with just a tap of the watch on the machine. (Find out more about the GymKit feature here)

It’s also easy to connect your watch to other fitness apps such as the Nike Training Club, Strava, all of which, will get you credit towards your activity rings.

Finally, the automatic workout detection helps you out if ever you’ve forgotten to start your workout app and you’ve already started to exercise, gone for a walk, etc.

Once you finish a workout, you’ll also now receive an update on your activity rings integrated right into your workout summary, which is neat.

3) Timer – The new version of the timer allows users to repeat their timer as many times as they want once the pre-determined time is up. This is a great update especially when working out because you no longer have to reset the timer, you can just easily press “repeat” on your watch and you’re ready for the next round.

4) Podcast – I love listening to podcasts via the podcast app on my watch and connecting my watch via bluetooth to my Airpods. The bigger watch face allows for greater detail on the podcast that I’m listening to. Listening to podcasts wirelessly while running or working out feels pretty amazing.

5) Watch faces – There are tons of new customizable watch faces available with the new Series 4 watch. You now have access to cool new info such as air quality, UV index, current temperature plus heart rate, music, workout, etc. You can easily customize your watch face from A to Z so you have everything you need right on your home screen and never need to go searching for it!

6) Wallet – Though I have yet to use Apple Pay via my new watch, I love having my boarding passes as well as race confirmations and event tickets directly on my watch. It’s been incredibly useful when traveling or when I don’t have my phone handy.

There are many additional features on this smartwatch but these are some of the ones that really stand out for me at the moment. I really believe the Apple Watch Series 4 to be the best all-around watch out there on the market. It’s really been a game changer for me in all aspects of my life from training to work to every day tasks.

For more info on the Apple Watch Series 4, go here.

#RUN2EXPLORE – Paris

Two years ago this fall, I created a running series as I was traveling across Canada for the television show I was working on. Titled 13 Cities, 13 Runs (you can check it out here), this series was a fun way for me to share some of the discoveries that I made while exploring these cities by foot. I’ve always found running to be such a great means to explore a new city or city that you aren’t too familiar with. Whether running on the streets or on some of the local trails, it’s the cheapest and in my opinion, easiest way to really get a feel for a place when you travel.

So after some brainstorming and with all of the travels I’ve been doing and have coming up in the next couple of months, I’ve decided to revive this series. Now entitled #RUN2EXPLORE, this series will have as a goal to showcase some of the potential trails, routes, etc. that you could explore in one particular city.

I’m kicking-off this new series today with none other than: Paris!

There are lots of different types of routes to explore while in Paris. Though a very busy city, there are still tons of places where you can run uninterrupted around the different neighbourhoods, or “arrondissements” as they call it in Paris.

For this new series, I’ll be highlighting a few notable areas that are worth exploring via running. For Paris they are as follows:

1) Bois de Vincennes – Located adjacent of the 20th arrondissement and right at the Château de Vincennes Metro, this large park and castle is a lovely area to run around in. There are gardens, a lake, waterfalls, lots of trees and even a nudist area, for those who are interested. You can easily run up to 20kms around the park. An enjoyable segment to try out is the following: https://www.strava.com/segments/16329265

2) La Seine – This 777-kilometre-long river runs right through the heart of Paris. There are many of the city’s major attractions that can be seen by running along La Seine; everything from Le Louvre, to Notre Dame de Paris, to the Champs Elysées, Tuileries Garden, Trocadero and even the infamous Eiffel Tower! La Seine can easily be accessed by Metro, there are a handful of stops located just steps away from the river. The following is a worthy segment that runs past some of the city’s main tourist hotspots and that can easily be added to if interested: https://www.strava.com/segments/18330554

3) Versailles – One of the most beautiful areas of the greater Paris; from the gardens to the incredible Palace that dates back to 1682, when it was used as the principal royal residence of France under Louis XIV. You can easily run up to 15 kms around the palace, the Grand Canal, theatre, etc. A good starting point is the following segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/9795698

4) Parc de la Villette – This is my latest Parisian discovery. Located right by the Crimée, Porte de Pantin or even the Porte de la Villette Metro stop, the Parc de la Villette runs right along the canal. It’s home to the Philharmonie de Paris, La Géode movie theatre, the popular concert hall Le Zénith and many other gems. I ran a flat 10k through the park and along the canal. You can get inspired for your own run by looking at the following segment: https://www.strava.com/activities/1885813174

These are just some of the many areas of Paris to explore. It’s such a culturally and historically rich city with a wide variety of landscapes that there’s endless possibilities of segments to explore!

TIP: I definitely recommend prioritizing running through the parks or along the canals and waterways instead of running through the streets of the city as it can be quite hard to constantly dodge people, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, etc. and the sidewalks are usually quite narrow.

CURRENTLY TRACKING RUNS WITHApple Watch Series 3 + Strava App

FOLLOW ME on Strava here.