Health and fitness are two of the biggest areas of focus for the Apple Watch, and the company hasn’t been shy about reminding us of that.
Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel flaunted the watch on the cover of Self magazine’s March issue, in which she talked about how the Apple Watch could help her stay in shape.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also recently called sitting “the new cancer,” referring to the detrimental effects sitting for extended periods of time can have on your health.
The Apple Watch, which starts at $US350 and launches this April, certainly has a lengthy list of features that can make it appealing for health enthusiasts. It reminds you to stand up at least once an hour, it suggests goals for how many calories you should burn each day, and it keeps track of your exercise.
But many cheaper fitness devices and wearables offer similar features, so it’s unclear whether or not the Apple Watch will have the impact Apple hopes. We asked a few personal trainers how they feel about the Apple Watch to gauge whether or not fitness experts are excited about it.
Here’s what they had to say based on what they know about the Apple Watch.
(Note: These are answers based on initial impressions fitness experts had after learning about the Apple Watch through research and Apple’s website. None of the fitness experts we interviewed have actually tried the watch. For an overview of the Apple Watch’s features, check out our gallery here).
- Most of the fitness experts we spoke with didn’t know much about the Apple Watch and what makes it different than other fitness trackers and smartwatches on the market. A few of them weren’t even aware that the Apple Watch hasn’t been released yet.
- Even though they weren’t very familiar with the Apple Watch, three out of five of the fitness experts we spoke with seemed enthusiastic about it. Joshua Stolz, a personal trainer at Equinox who was deeply familiar with the watch and its features, said a few of his clients are planning to buy it.
- The Apple Watch and other fitness trackers are generally most useful for those looking to get in shape rather than experienced athletes, says Kirstin Kapustik, an independent private personal trainer. “It’s really great for clients and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle to see how little exercise they’re actually getting,” she said.
- The Apple Watch seems a bit expensive to Kapustik. “I don’t see a really high investment because it’s more than anything just a marker for the individual,” she said. “Something to recognise where you are in your fitness level and where you want to be. I don’t know if a high priced item is gonna be that much more beneficial than your iPhone that can monitor your steps.” The Apple Watch is much more than a fitness tracker, which is why it’s more expensive than devices like the $US150 Fitbit Charge HR and the $US100 Jawbone UP24. It’s priced about the same as the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear S, but those who mainly want a gadget specifically for fitness may want something cheaper like a Fitbit, Kapustik said.
- Nearly all of the personal trainers we interviewed agree that the ability to measure your heart rate is one of the most important features a health-focused wearable should have. “If you think you’re out of breath and you’re really not, you can push yourself more and that’s when you’re really going to lose weight,” Jill Hanner, a certified personal trainer at the YMCA in New Rochelle, NY, said. Hanner also said that although she’s curious about the Apple Watch, she’s not “too excited” and doesn’t plan to rush out and buy it immediately.
- But it’s not just about measuring your heart rate while you work out — you need to know your resting heart rate to determine the state of your health. “People sometimes don’t know when they are in a danger zone because they’re pushing themselves,” said ShaNay Norvell, a brand ambassador for Nike that previously worked as a personal training director for LA Fitness. Many fitness bands have heart rate monitors, including the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR, and Basis Peak among others.
- The Apple Watch will ultimately succeed because Apple has a history of making great products, according to Christine Lusita, a personal trainer and fitness expert that previously worked with Planet Fitness. To Lusita, motivational notifications and reminders to hydrate are the most important features for a health-focused fitness wearable. That’s why the Apple Watch’s standing ring caught her attention.