Tracking Workouts from Polar Beat to Apple Watch

We have a new toy…

Yes, DH should have realised that he unleashed a monster when he got me hooked on the Polar Beat. The only problem I had with the Polar Beat was that I would almost always forget to bring it when I worked out away from home which sort of defeats the purpose of having it in the first place. I thought the Apple Watch would solve that problem because you can’t forget something you wear on your wrist everyday.

Did it? Well, yes and no.

The problem with the Apple Watch is not knowing what apps to use. What I really wanted was essentially and app to do exactly what the Polar Beat app does but using the Apple Watch as my heartbeat sensor. Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered an app that does just that and the Polar Beat app only supports Polar Beat.

A quick search online for “activity tracker” and “Apple Watch” brought up a number of apps. I had a play around with the following:

Since I couldn’t have Polar Beat for the Apple Watch, I decided I just needed an app that would let me track the same states I get from Polar Beat – heart rate tracking using the Apple Watch, calorie burn, and a place to key in my distance covered when I’m on the home rower. If I got anything more, I would consider it a bonus.

A lot of apps are made with outdoor runners in mind and they’re great for that. Unfortunately, for the kind of activities I do – yoga, hiking, indoor rowing, pilates – they miss the most important part I want to record – workout intensity and heart rate. The four apps I downloaded looked promising, but only one app came out on top.

Endomondo

This app is probably the best looking for the four apps I checked out. It also looked very propitious with this screen shot that promised so much:

Unfortunately, Endomondo is not friendly with the Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate monitor. At this point in time, Endomondo requires another heart rate monitor if you want to track your heart rate which defeats the purpose of having the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch. While Endomondo allows you to add a workout to it, it doesn’t allow you to import your workout from the Apple Watch’s activity tracker – or any other tracker, for that matter – so you can’t by-pass the heart rate monitor problem. What a pity because Endomondo really does look so pretty.

MapMyRun and Argus both had the same issues as Endomondo – you can’t track heart rate using the Apple Watch – so I didn’t really explore them too much after that. I’m sure they’re both really worthwhile apps but for my intended purpose, they failed.

MotiFIT

MotiFIT

This is currently the only app that I found that could use the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch:

  • MotiFIT allows you to visualize your workout intensity in real-time on your Apple watch as well as on your iPhone and iPad.
  • MotiFIT uses your Apple Watch built-in heart rate monitor for an accurate measure of your workout intensity.
  • Import your old Apple Watch workouts including heart rate records to review and analyze your past intensity and performance.
  • The MotiFIT Apple Watch app automatically syncs your workouts with the app on your phone and to the cloud for easy access on all your mobile devices.

By far the best thing about this app is the ability to import full workouts from your Apple Watch workout tracker. This gives you the option to leave your phone behind and still monitor your workout intensity and performance on the app later when you sync the data.