The Ultimate Fitness-Tracking Guide: 12 Best Apple Watch Workout Tips

The Apple Watch has many awesome features and useful capabilities. One of the standout features of the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Workout app. These 12 Apple Watch fitness-tracking tips can help you achieve a better level of physical and mental health by making full use of the Apple Workout app. 

Related: How to Easily Access Music While Working Out on Apple Watch with WatchOS 4

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Apple Watch Fitness-Tracking Basics

Let's start with the basics. You can track most kinds of workouts on the Apple Watch in the Apple Watch Workout app. Here's how to get the most out of the Workout app's different features.

1. How to Track a Workout in the Apple Watch Workout App

Before you can use any of the other tips in this article, you need to know how to start and stop tracking a workout on your Apple Watch.

  • Tap the Apple Watch Workout app icon to open.

  • Scroll through the list of workout types to find the one you want. 
  • There are four ways to track a workout: with an open goal or by calories, time, or distance (this will only appear with workouts like running, walking, or cycling.) Tap on the workout name if you want to use the tracking metric shown below the workout name. The workout will automatically begin.

  • Tap on the ellipsis in the upper right to change the tracking metric.

  • Tapping Open Goal will immediately start the workout. Otherwise, tap on your preferred tracking metric, and adjust the number of calories, minutes, or miles/yards/etc. by turning the Digital Crown, and then press Start. 

  • When you are finished with your workout, swipe right on your watch face and tap End.

2. How to Add Another Activity to Your Apple Watch Workout

Want to cool off after your run with a relaxing yoga session? Or follow your strength training session with some cardio? Since watchOS 4, the Apple Watch Workout app has allowed users to track another workout type without ending the workout session.

  • When you are ready to start the next part of your workout session, swipe right from the workout screen and tap the + symbol above New.

  • Find and start tracking your new workout activity.
  • When you are finished with the second part of your workout, you can add another activity or end the workout.

3. How to Lock Your Watch During a Workout

If you're doing a workout that involves water or a lot of arm movement, you can always lock your Apple Watch screen to prevent accidentally tapping or swiping on the screen. If you forget, you can even lock it while doing your workout. (Your watch will automatically lock if you are tracking a swimming workout.)

  • While tracking a workout on your watch, swipe right on your watch face.
  • Tap Lock.

  • To unlock your watch again, turn the Digital Crown until the screen tells you the Apple Watch is unlocked. If you have been tracking a swimming workout, this will also eject any water from the watch.

4. How to Set Do Not Disturb to Start Automatically When You Start a Workout

One of the ways you can get the most out of every workout is by turning off notifications. You can enable Do Not Disturb to automatically switch on whenever you start a workout.

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone and from the My Watch tab tap General. 

  • Next, tap Do Not Disturb and then toggle Workout Do Not Disturb on.

5. How to Add a Workout Complication to Your Watch Face

If you work out a lot, finding and opening the Apple Watch Workout app every time gets old, fast. Adding a Workout complication to your watch face allows you to open the Workout app right from the watch face. You can do this right from your Apple Watch. Just follow these simple steps:

  • 3D Touch the watch face on your Apple watch.
  • Stick with your current watch face or swipe through the watch faces until you come to a watch face that you like.

  • Tap customize, and then swipe left on the face until you reach the final screen of customization options. That will be your complications menu.

  • Choose one of the complication locations on the watch face and tap it.
  • Rotate the Digital Crown until you find the Workout complication.

  • Press the Digital Crown again to exit the customization menu and then press it again to finish.
  • Now you can go straight to the Workout app from that watch face.

6. How to Customize the Metrics Shown on the Watch Face for a Specific Workout

One of the best things about the Apple Watch is that you can customize the specific metrics that are shown on the workout screen for each type of workout you commonly do. 

  • Open the Watch app on the iPhone and make sure you are in the My Watch tab. Scroll down and tap Workout.
  • From there, go to workout view.

  • Here, make sure Multiple Metrics is selected. This will allow you to see more than one metric while you are working out. Next, select the workout type for which you're customizing the metrics.
  • Tap Edit.


  • Add metrics by tapping the green circle next to the metric type. Remove metrics by tapping the red circle. You can select up to five metrics. When you are finished, tap Done.

7. How to Sync Your Watch to Your Gym's Workout Equipment

When there is compatible gym equipment within range, you can use Apple Watch GymKit to transfer data both to and from the elliptical, rowing maching, stationary bike, or other equipment that you are using. Before you can use this feature you should enable the Detect Gym Equipment setting in your Watch app on your iPhone.

  • Open the app and make sure you are in the My Watch tab.
  • Go to Workout and toggle Detect Gym Equipment on.

  • At the gym, if the workout machine is GymKit-compatible, you'll see the words Connects with Apple Watch and the display should feature a contactless reader. Hold your Apple Watch close to the reader until the watch and machine pair. 
Photo Source: Apple
  • Start and end your workout using the controls on the equipment.
  • After you end your workout, it will appear in the Activity app on your Apple Watch and iPhone, just like it would if you had tracked it only on your Apple Watch.

8. How to Share Your Apple Watch Activity with Others

Accountability to someone beside ourselves can be a major motivator in getting fit. If you are looking for a way to include some outside accountability in your workouts or just want to enjoy some friendly competition, follow this process to share your activity with others via the Apple Watch. You can only share activity with friends who also have an Apple Watch.

  • Open the Activity app on your iPhone and then select Sharing.

  • Tap the +, enter the contact's name in the To field, and then tap Send.

  • Once your friends have accepted your invitation to share activity, you can monitor each other's progress and send encouraging messages via the Activity app!

Power Your Workouts with the Apple Watch Music App

Music is a great way to make workouts easier and more effective. When we can get lost in the music and away from thinking about powering through the workout in front of us, the time passes more quickly. Playing music directly from your Apple Watch means you can work out without the extra bulk of your iPhone. 

9. How to Add Music to the Apple Watch

If you have a cellular-enabled Apple Watch Series 3, you can use it to stream music without syncing music to the watch. If you want to avoid using your watch's cellular data or you don't have an Apple Watch with cellular capabilities, you can sync music from your iPhone to your Apple Watch in order to play music from the watch during your workouts. You will need to plan ahead and sync the music from your iPhone when your Apple Watch is charging.

  • To sync music from your iPhone, first choose an existing playlist or create a new playlist in the Music app on your iPhone.
  • Next, make sure your iPhone and your Apple Watch are paired via Bluetooth and put your Apple Watch on its charger.
  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app and in the My Watch tab, tap Music > Add Music and select the album or playlist you want to sync.

10. How to Pair Earbuds with an Apple Watch

Listening to music on your Apple Watch requires pairing your watch with Bluetooth headphones. 

  • Make sure your headphones are in discovery mode
  • Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and tap Bluetooth

  • Tap on the name of the headphones you want to pair. In the future the headphones should automatically connect to your watch whenever they are powered on and in range of your watch.

11. How to Set a Playlist to Autoplay When You Start an Apple Watch Workout

Next up on our list of Apple Watch tips is all about getting the music flowing without any extra effort on your part.

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone and select My Watch at the bottom of the screen.
  • Go to Workout > Workout Playlist and tap the playlist you want to autoplay when you start a workout.

Pro tip: At the time of this writing, it's not possible to assign different playlists to different workout types. But you can get around this on the occasions you're in the mood for something different by starting a different music playlist before starting your workout. That playlist will continue to play instead of the designated autoplay one.

12. How to Access Music Controls without Leaving Your Workout App

Before watchOS 4, you had to leave the Workout app and open the Music app in order to in order to access the music playback controls. That's not always an easy feat mid-workout! Fortunately, the music playback controls are now accessible directly within your workout.

  • From the main workout screen while tracking a workout, swipe left.
  • Use the controls to adjust your music volume or skip a song and then swipe right to return to tracking your workout. 

  • Another quick and easy way to access music controls while using your Workout app is to use the controls on your earbuds.
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Becca is a blogger, freelance writer, and iDevice addict. She lives in the middle of the Arizona desert with her husband and two boys, and can't imagine life getting any better. Read about her crazy life at, or connect with her on twitter @BeccaLudlum