A lot of fitness coaches will say that if you’re serious about improving your physical fitness, it is necessary to track your progress and count your calories. This is especially true if you have a time limit for reaching your fitness goal. These tasks may be tedious to do, but thankfully, fitness watches — such as the Suunto 9 and Casio G-Shock — are here to solve that problem.
Simply put, these fitness trackers are like digital coaches on your wrist. They keep track of the calories you’ve burned, your heart rate, and even count the steps you’ve taken. In fact, depending on the model, some sports watches give out motivational quotes for you to keep on going when workouts get tough.
That being said, having a fitness watch is a great tool to maximise your workout routine.
What to Look for in a Fitness Watch
Before swiping that credit card for that new fitness tracker, ask yourself first if it’s the perfect fitness watch for you. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for the best fitness watch for your physical fitness goals.
A lot of people overlook this factor when deciding on a watch. Apart from the features, it is also important to like how your watch looks. If you’re not feeling the aesthetic of a watch, chances are you won’t wear it despite its high-tech functions. Conversely, if you get a watch that you can’t stop looking at, it can act as a motivation for you to get off that couch and exercise.
Reliability and accuracy
When it comes to sports and fitness, reliable timing is important. A few instances are when you have to count your calories or when you have to time a sprint for practice. There are a few times when miscalculating can lead to undesirable results.
To ensure your fitness tracker is accurate, take note of which movement it is using. There are a lot of sources on the Internet where they state the accuracy rating of the calibre.
Even if you’re not a swimmer, a water-resistance rating is important in sports watches. There may be times when you can get caught in the rain while jogging or cycling on an open road. Apart from that, the watch also has to be resistant enough to combat excessive sweating. For those kinds of conditions, a water-resistance rating of 50m is sufficient.
However, if you’re more on water-based activities, a higher rating should be considered. Particularly, you should get watches with a rating of at least 100m. A good example is the Seiko Prospex with a solid 200m water-resistance.
Perhaps the most important question to ask is, “does it have what I need?” Indeed, a fitness watch might have all the cool tech, but it might be useless to you if it doesn’t have the one thing you want. To make things easier, list down all your fitness goals. Compare it with the specs of the watch and see if it fits all of your needs.
A few basic things to look out for are a stopwatch feature, heart monitor, fitness tracker, and a sleep monitor. These are the most common things that you will need to get your physical fitness goals on track.
Like mechanical timepieces, the price of sports watches can range from under $100 to above $1000. With that said, it is important to set a budget and stick to it. Prioritise all your must-have features if you have a limited budget. We suggest estimating the ratio of performance to price so you can get the most value from the fitness watch.
Last but not least, you have to consider the durability of the watch. It is a given that while exercising, your watch will be subject to harsh conditions. If you love exercising outdoors (e.g. cycling, trekking), you should get a watch that has a scratch-resistant dial such as the TAG Heuer Connected Modular with scratch-proof sapphire crystal, as there’s a chance you will accidentally scratch it against a rough surface.
Do remember that you can get more value from your watch the longer it survives. Apart from that, you wouldn’t want to lose important features in the middle of a workout.
Useful Fitness Apps and Features You May Need
The perfect fitness watch varies from person to person. What the other person needs may be different from yours. With that in mind, here are a few useful fitness apps or features that you should take note of when researching about the best fitness watches.
Heart rate monitor
A heart rate monitor is one of the most important features of a fitness tracker. In fact, a lot of data can be derived from this number. With it, you can calculate if you’re in the ‘fat-burning’ zone. Apart from that, knowing your heart rate also gives you a more accurate count of burned calories.
Furthermore, this feature will also let you know if you’ve been overworking yourself. Some watches allow you to set an alarm in case you go over your limit, thus keeping you extra safe.
As its name suggests, a steps tracker counts all the steps you’ve taken throughout the day. This is one of the most basic features a fitness tracker should have. It is extremely useful as a lot of people use walking as a way to exercise due to its convenience and effectiveness.
Getting enough rest or sleep is necessary to meet your physical fitness goals. A watch with a sleep tracker, such as the Suunto 3, lets you know how much sleep you’ve been getting. If your sleep tracker is more advanced, it can even analyse your snooze and break it down into a chart that shows your deep sleep, REM, and light sleep. This lets you figure out which habits to improve on when it comes to recovering from a training session.
Many exercise routines are time-sensitive. For instance, HIIT requires participants to do intensive exercise and rest for a particular number of seconds. Apart from that, a stopwatch is also used when testing your abilities like balance and endurance.
Having an activities log is useful when you want to be meticulous about tracking your progress. This feature allows you to view all the data you’ve gathered from previous days. A few of that information are the calories burned, steps made, and even your sleeping patterns. This feature can let you pin-point where you started making progress and when to increase the intensity of your workouts.
Learn How to Get Into the ‘Fat Burning’ Zone
Sometimes, burning fat is not just as simple as sweating. If you want to take your fitness to the next level, you also have to measure the intensity of the exercises. In other words, you have to get into the ‘fat-burning’ zone. Getting into the fat-burning zone is a way to maximise your weight loss and physical fitness.
Why do you burn more when you’re in the fat-burning zone?
When working out, you get into one of the four different heart rate zones depending on your intensity. These zones determine where your body will get the energy from (e.g. sugar, basic carbohydrates, fat). And this often affects the number of calories you burn from a workout session.
Here are some of the steps to take if you want to get as much as you can from your exercise routine:
1. Find your maximum heart rate.
The first thing to do is to calculate your maximum heart rate. A lot of fitness trackers can calculate this for you. But if you do not have a fitness watch or a heart rate monitor, the formula to getting it is quite simple. You only have to subtract your age from 220.
So for example, you’re currently 30 years old. If you subtract 30 from 220, you get 190 which is your estimated maximum heart rate. Easy peasy, right? Take note of this number as it is the average maximum number of times that your heart should beat per minute when exercising. You should also remember that going above your maximum heart rate for long periods of time can be dangerous to your health.
2. Find out your sweet spot.
Now that you know your maximum heart rate, the next step is to find your sweet spot or your ‘fat-burning’ zone. Take note that this varies per person as it is dependent on your maximum heart rate. With that said, the fat-burning zone is around 70% of your MHR. But if you want something more specific, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying in the range of 64% to 76% of your maximum heart rate.
Again, using a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker will be a lot more convenient in determining whether you’re staying in the zone. But if you do not have one of those, you can use what fitness enthusiasts call the “talk test”. A way to estimate if you’re in the fat-burning zone is when you are slightly out of breath but can still hold a conversation.
3. Choose a workout that suits you.
Finding the best workout for you depends on a lot of things. One of the most important things to consider is your fitness level. For example, if you bike regularly, then chances are you’re already used to that workout. Thus, you have to pedal more intensely than someone who is just starting out.
Here are a few examples of workouts that can help you reach the fat burning zone:
- Cycling under a speed of 15 km/hour
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Slow, long-distance jogging
- Ballroom dancing
Remember that there is no one way to break a sweat and we all have our different ways to workout. Some sports may be more boring to you than others and that’s okay. The most important thing is to choose the workout routine that is the most convenient for you and most importantly, the most fun!
10 Best Fitness Watches To Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals
More than just a fitness ally, you want your fitness watch to look great and feel good. You want something that will not only help you with your physical fitness journey but also you can wear fashionably outside of the gym. In that regard, here are 10 of our highly-recommended fitness watches you should check out:
1. Suunto 9 G1 ZH Baro Lime
If your workouts can get intense at times, look at the Suunto 9 G1 ZH Baro Lime. One of the robust watches from Suunto, this sports watch is built to last.
Among the key features of this fitness watch is its long-lasting battery. The Suunto 9 can deliver up to 120 hours of recording time with GPS tracking on. With that said, you don’t have to worry about running out of battery when you’re out for a long-distance run. You will also appreciate the built-in weather function that will alert you if there’s an incoming storm. This allows you to set a more feasible outdoor workout schedule in advance.
Apart from that, it uses Suunto’s own FusedTrack algorithm to improve the accuracy of calculating track and distance. Meanwhile, its training functions include heart rate, training recovery, and training load. It also has various dedicated sports modes to better calculate your heart rate when working out.
Whether you’re a swimmer or a cyclist, you will appreciate the technology of the Suunto 9. It will serve as an excellent alternative to a coach as it has almost everything you need to keep track of your workouts.
2. Seiko Prospex Land Fieldmaster
If you’re looking for reliable watches, Seiko should be on top of your list, particularly the Seiko Prospex Land Fieldmaster. With its rugged exterior, this digital watch is made to handle harsh environments that you might send on its way.
Like any other fitness tracker, the Seiko Prospex has the basic timing features that you will need while running or even cycling. It has a stopwatch that can even show you the elapsed time. Apart from that, it has a diving bezel that can act as a timer.
Speaking of water activities, this is where the watch truly shines. While it doesn’t have an ISO 6425 certification, it has a water resistance rating of 200m. That means you can use it to swim laps at the pool or even use it while jet skiing.
Overall, this watch is more than capable of being your triathlon companion. Apart from the basic timing features and water resistance rating, it is indestructible. Thanks to its silicone rubber strap and rugged case, you wouldn’t have to worry about pushing it to its limits while training or while in the middle of a competition.
3. Suunto 3 ZH Slate Grey Copper
The ZH Slate Grey Copper watch from the Suunto 3 collection was inspired by Nordic nature. Indeed, its design is minimalistic and uncluttered and its user interface is easy to use and tinker with.
One of the watch’s highlights is the adaptive training guide which comes in three different modes. These modes allow you to maintain your fitness level, improve your fitness moderately (default), or improve it intensely. Each mode comes with a 7-day training plan that also states the optimal duration and intensity for the exercises.
Fitness coaches would say that getting proper rest is just as important as exercising. So with that said, this watch tracks your sleeping pattern, too. It can analyse how long you’ve slept and how well your sleeping pattern affects your recovery.
All in all, the Suunto 3 ZH Slate Grey Copper is a practical watch for those who need help in tracking their physical fitness journey. A bonus is that it comes in a simple design that you can easily pair with your casual wardrobe.
4. Tag Heuer Connected Modular Processor
Tag Heuer has always been a master when it comes to mechanical watches. This time, they also tried their hands at making the best fitness watches in the market. Staying true to their word, the Tag Heuer Connected Modular Processor is something worth checking out.
Impressively enough, the brand has even designed its own fitness tracking app. That application can support various sports like golf, cycling, or running. Additionally, the data collected from your workouts can be synced to popular apps like Strava, Apple Health, or Google Fit.
In terms of durability, the engineers designed the watch with high-intensity activities in mind. The dial is protected with sapphire glass to combat scratches and cracks. Meanwhile, its rubber strap is made for optimum breathability, comfort, and grip.
In conclusion, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular is perfect for fitness junkies who are watch enthusiasts at the same time. This model will still let you enjoy wearing a luxury watch while working out and without worrying about damaging it.
5. Casio G-Shock Rangeman Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping
When it comes to rugged watches, the Casio G-Shock line is a staple. Just one look at the Rangeman Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping watch and you know that it takes its job seriously. This is why it’s a good watch to wear while doing intense physical activities.
Its black resin case is bulky and can resist a few bumps and scratches. Apart from that, it uses a scratch-resistant mineral crystal to protect the dial. Meanwhile, its water resistance rating can handle up to 200m of water pressure. That is enough to handle a dip in the pool or lake.
In terms of performance, this robust watch from Casio features a digital compass, thermometer, altimeter, sunrise, and sunset data. Additionally, it has a 1/100 second stopwatch with Direct Access. It can also measure elapsed time, split time, and 1st to 2nd place times.
With its durability, this watch is perfect for outdoorsy people like hikers and mountain climbers who will inevitably hit their watches against rocks or rough surfaces. Apart from land explorers, this is also ideal for recreational scuba divers due to its ample water-resistance rating.
6. Apple Watch Nike Series 5
If you’re deep into the Apple ecosystem, you might want to get the Apple Watch Nike Series 5. As its name suggests, it is the 5th iteration of Apple’s famous smartwatch and it has a few fitness updates built into it.
In case you didn’t know, Apple partnered up with giant sports brand Nike to create the perfect fitness companion. The watch is connected with the Nike Running Club app, which features various workouts and coaching. It also has most of the things you need in a fitness watch like a heart rate sensor, GPS, and a built-in compass.
Just like a fitness coach, the Apple Watch can also motivate you by reminding you if you’ve been on the couch for too long. It also features an achievements system where you get awards for completing basic goals. And if you’re the competitive type, you can also challenge friends or even strangers who are also in the Apple community.
All things considered, the Apple Watch Nike Series 5 will help you crush your fitness goals in style. It is available in different bands that are optimal for working out. Apart from that, you can also customise your watch using exclusive watch faces, including one that is inspired by classic Nike Windrunner jackets.
7. Casio G-Shock Origin Tough Solar
Another Casio G-Shock watch to add to your list is the Casio G-Shock Origin Tough Solar. While it has the same durability as the previous one, this one has a more refined look. Indeed, its rectangular case shape has caught the attention of many people.
The highlight of this watch is its durability. And in case its tough exterior hasn’t gotten the message across, this watch is shock-resistant as well. Additionally, it has an above-average water resistance rating of 200m. This is more than enough for recreational diving and swimming.
Apart from durability, this watch also takes pride in its accuracy and precision. This is thanks to its atomic timekeeping abilities. With it, it has an hourly time signal and a 1/100 second stopwatch. You can also set 5 alarms and 2 timers.
Overall, the Casio G-Shock Origin Tough Solar is mighty fine for an outdoor watch. It is best suited for cross-country cyclists, spelunkers, and trekkers. In addition to its super strength ability, it is also an attractive watch that you can wear casually if you’re not training or doing sports.
8. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
For the person who has included running in their lifestyle, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is a perfect match. Based on its name, it is specially made for runners who love blasting music through their headphones while on a run.
As for the basic running needs, this watch has a GPS and a wrist-based heart monitor. It can track the intensity of your training and your recovery so you can prepare for an upcoming race. Apart from that, it has a feature that evaluates your exercise to indicate if you are training productively. Lastly, it can get your biomechanical measurements like stride length, ground contact time, and cadence. These data will help you understand and correct your running form.
Apart from those features, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music also makes running a lot more fun for you. For instance, you can save up to 500 songs right into your watch so you can listen to your favourite workout playlists for motivation.
Furthermore, it provides a more convenient running experience. As long as your watch is paired with your smartphone, you are connected with your friends. You no longer have to bring out your phone in the middle of the workout just to check on messages and notifications. Apart from that, it features Garmin Pay, a contactless paying solution that lets you pay with your watch. That’s handy in case you need to buy a bottle of water in the gym and you left your wallet at home.
9. Casio G-Shock DW-5750E-1JF
Another Casio model to consider is the Casio G-Shock DW-5750E-1JF. Like the previous watch on this list, this one has a less aggressive design compared with the Rangeman. However, it still shares the iconic black resin case that gives the watch a monochrome look.
For your timing needs, it has a stopwatch with a split time feature. Apart from that, it has a countdown timer and a multiple alarm option. This is extremely useful if your exercise routine involves a set of burpees or lunges for a specified amount of time. It is also helpful for HIIT exercises where timing is important.
Swimmers and divers will also appreciate its water resistance rating of 200m. This watch is tough enough to go on a few freestyle laps in the pool or even a scuba diving session. In addition to its water resistance, it is also shock-resistant and can handle a lot of bumps while doing your exercises.
This watch is ideal for people who love a monochrome look that can handle tough situations. It is a no-frills watch that has the basic timing capabilities that you will need for an improved workout session. At the same time, it is simple enough to use, even for non-tech savvy people.
10. Polar Vantage M Fitness Watch
The Polar Vantage M Fitness Watch is perfect for people who love setting new records. This practical watch features a lot of things that you need to improve your training and performance. Indeed, it is one of the most value-packed fitness watches that you should check out.
When it comes to fitness features, this model has all the basics and the extras. It has an onboard GPS and a heart rate monitor that uses the Precision Prime sensor fusion technology. This new tech provides more reliable readings by combining optical heart rate measurement with other sensor technologies. Apart from that, it features over 130 different sports modes for you to choose from. You can also customise these modes to better suit your needs.
With this watch, you also have access to Polar Flow, a free online training, and workout log. This is a program that helps you plan your workouts and get personalised feedback. It can give you a detailed analysis of things like training sessions, test results, activity, sleep, and recovery data. You can also doze well knowing that all of these training programs are backed by scientific research and validation for you to achieve more.
To conclude, any person who is serious about stepping up their game should check out the Polar Vantage M Fitness Watch. It is like having your own personal coach on your wrist.
Whether you’re already a gym rat or just starting out, the benefits of having a fitness watch are undeniable. It is like keeping a personal assistant on your wrist that tracks all your activities and sleeping patterns. Whether you like it or not, nitpicking these details can help you reach your goals a lot faster.