How to track your fitness with an iPhone or Apple Watch


Want to get fitter in 2023? Your iPhone can help. It has a fitness tracking app preinstalled called Fitness.

Let’s take a look at how this app works, how you can can track workouts with your phone, and how you can use the Apple Watch or other apps to fully track workouts like runs, bike rides and gym sessions.

What is Apple Fitness?

Open the Fitness app on your iPhone and you’ll see summary of your health data gathered during your day, including how far you’ve moved, how many times you’ve stood up that day, steps taken, and distance travelled.

The iPhone gathers this information using accelerometers and other sensors on your device, supplementing this with additional information from your Apple Watch. If you have one.

To help pester you into better fitness habits, the app also gives you awards for meeting goals on a weekly and monthly basis. Each month Fitness sets a new challenge and rewards you with a new icon if you meet it.

What are Activity goals and how do I change them?

You can set your own Activity goals. On iPhone, open the app in Summary view and tap the rings to get to today’s data. Scroll down the page and tap Change Goals.

On Apple Watch, open the app and turn the Digital Crown to scroll down the screen to find Change Goals. Tap Change Goals and you can raise or lower your targets. The Apple Watch will automatically suggest goals based on your performance so far.

What are Activity rings in Fitness?

The Fitness app keeps track of your daily exercise accomplishments using three activity rings. The red ring tracks your movement, measured in calories, the green tracks exercise and the blue one represents how many times you stand each day.

You do need an Apple Watch to get the most from the app, as without one your iPhone can only display the move ring. Its sensors can’t capture exercise and stand metrics.

Tap the Summary tab, and you can get to deeper metrics, including information about heart rate, weather conditions during the workout, maps to show where you walked or ran, weekly summary data and more.

How to track a workout on iPhone or Apple Watch

While you don’t need an Apple Watch to track your daily activity, set a move goal and see your progress, you do require one to fully track workouts. With an Apple Watch, Fitness can track all sorts from running to Pilates and swimming.

If you don’t have an Apple Watch you’ll need to download a third-party app to start tracking runs and other exercise sessions. Among the best are Strava, Nike Training Club and Runkeeper, and the data from these sessions can be pulled into the Fitness app too.

How to compete with friends

You can share fitness stats with friends and family to keep an eye on each other’s progress and, the real fun part, get a bit competitive. Tap Sharing in the Fitness app, and then the small round icon at the top right of the display to invite a friend who also uses an iPhone/Apple Watch to share their data with you.

Once they agree, their activity statistics will appear in the Sharing tab on both the watch and iPhone. If you wear an Apple Watch, you can send motivational messages to your friends from the watch while working out.