Opinion: How Not to Work Out with Apple Watch

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Intro

I've had my Apple Watch for about ten months as of the time of this writing. I got it for a few reasons, but a major one was fitness. I wanted my movements and exercise to be tracked, I wanted calorie burn estimates, I wanted heart tracking, and I wanted to be reminded to move every so often. Plus, I wanted a simple way to log and track my workouts so I would have the data and so I could look back at trends.

The Watch has done all that, and done it well. But at the end of the day, it's still a computer, not a personal trainer, and it can't know or do everything. Here are the fitness-related traps I've found while using the Apple Watch as a health and fitness companion. Hopefully, these will serve as warnings and/or reminders, so you don't make the mistakes I did. I don't have all the answers; in fact, I'm still in the process of changing my own fitness habits even as I write this. I just wanted to share my experiences, to help others not follow me off the path we should all be on.

Disclaimer

I'm not a health expert by any means. My sister has a dietetics degree and takes an intense interest in fitness, and a good friend of mine is a fitness nut studying to be an adaptive physical education teacher. Both of them have helped me with this post, and given it their okay.

That said, please don't consider anything in this post to be medical advice. Check with your doctor/trainer before taking any of my suggestions, and don't think that just because something works/doesn't work for me, it'll work/not work for you. Everyone is different, and you know yourself the best. Basically, I'm not a professional, and I don't intend to sell myself as such here. Check in with real health/wellness pros before listening to me.

Quick Watch Primer

In case you aren't familiar with how the Apple Watch tracks activity, the system is simple. Your "move" goal is how many calories you burn, your "exercise" goal is how many minutes you spend with your heart rate above a set threshold, and your "stand" goal is how many hours during which you are active for at least one minute. Apple wants you to do at least thirty minutes of exercise, twelve hours where at least a minute was active, and--by default--350 calories burned per day, though you can raise or lower the calorie burn goal if you want to. These three metrics are displayed as rings on the Watch's screen, and your job is to fill those rings in each day. For VoiceOver users, the percentage of each goal is spoken aloud, such as "Moving, 50%, exercising, 27%, standing, 75%". When I talk about "rings" or "numbers" in this article, this display is what I mean.

While the Watch can track several types of workout, it has a limited set. Weight training, body-weight exercises, yoga, marshal arts, and other common forms of exercise simply aren't available. Instead, you use the "other workout" setting. This monitors your heart rate more closely than normal, like any other workout type, but doesn't do any additional customization to its algorithms as it can for workout types it knows about. Instead, it credits you with the same work you'd do during a brisk walk. Not a perfect system, but there it is. Plus, your heart rate and movements are factored in (as far as I know), so it's not like this "other" kind of workout is completely generic. It's just not as tailored as the specific ones are.

Working Out Isn't One Thing

The first, and perhaps biggest, trap I found is the idea that exercise is exercise. It's just one number on the screen, so as long as you do some form of exercise, you're good. So says the Watch, at least.

The truth is that workouts are different, and target different muscles. A long walk is nothing like lifting weights, yet both will help you meet your goal on the Watch. That leads to not doing a good balance of exercises. For instance, I try to take a walk every day when the weather allows, which fills the exercise and move rings easily. However, since I meet those goals on those days, I think to myself, "Okay, done. No more exercise for me!" On days with bad weather, I'd head to the basement and do some bodyweight and free-weight exercises and, again, I'd consider myself done so long as the rings got filled.

That's a very bad idea. You see, a walk is great, and weight training is great, but you can't do just one or the other if you want to get/stay in decent shape. I never understood why the odd weight training session never got easier. It took a while for me to realize that consistency was lacking, so, like you would be on a new instrument you only pick up every few weeks, I was never getting better. I simply wasn't doing it enough to let myself get used to, and then improve on, anything. Sure, I could fill the rings every day, but I was only solving a part of the overall problem.

The best way to do it is to alternate. Take a good, long, brisk walk one day, and do a strength-centric workout the next. If you need to do some walking to finish up a goal, go for it, but don't make it a long or fast one. Similarly, you can do weight-based workouts every day, but focus on different parts of your body in each one instead of doing everything every day. By doing this, you give the muscles you work one day the next day to rest and recover.

Replacing the Calories

As with most things humans do, when we get more, we use it. Make a more powerful computer, and we get more resource-hogging software to max it out; make light cheaper to produce, and we'll leave the lights on longer; make food more available, and we'll eat more of it; increase the amount of calories we burn in a day, and we'll put those calories right back in, with interest. That last one is, I think, what happened to me.

As I increased my move goal, and kept hitting it consistently, I thought that I was burning more and more calories. Thus, I had room to eat more than I used to, which worked out as all the new exercising made me hungrier. However, I overdid it. The odd bag of chips with lunch turned into not feeling guilty about grabbing a dessert or three from the break room at work. I started to eat more fast food, since it was so convenient with the new job I started not long before I got my Watch. I thought I was fine, because my goals kept being met, so in the terribly inaccurate estimations my brain made, I was fine.

Over the last year, though, my pants have told me otherwise. They've gotten just a bit tighter every week, and other clothes that used to fit have started to feel oddly uncomfortable. Sure, I'm still hitting those goals, but my Watch has no idea what I'm putting into my body, only what activity I make that body do. It can't up my calorie goal because I had Burger King for dinner, or lower it because I had some nuts and an apple for lunch. All it can do is give me an approximation of what I'm burning. My mind ran with that, assuring me I had way more leeway in my food choices than I really did. I'm not one to weigh myself all the time, but my pants don't lie.

Beating the Competition

A feature new in watchOS 3 is the ability to compete in fitness with your friends. If you opt into this with someone, the two of you can see each others' activity rings, get notified when the other person does a workout or hits a goal, and so on. This is great if you're doing this with people who share your approximate level of activity, but it can be a huge problem if you're not relatively evenly matched. This didn't happen to me personally, but I do use the activity sharing feature, and I can see how it could be a problem.

The friend I mentioned earlier, for instance, does a lot of working out. Gym, treadmill, outdoor running, skiing, hiking, and the list goes on. Were we sharing activity data, I would see my competition's rings getting full, then going way past full, while my own numbers stayed lower. Even if I were getting my own goals, watching my level of activity be dwarfed by someone else would be partly motivating, partly discouraging. Whatever my reason--to combat the negativity toward myself, or to simply try to win--I would feel like I had to do more. Not only would this make it far too easy to do too much of one type of exercise, as mentioned in a previous section, but it could make me go too far, as we'll talk about in a moment. I'm not a runner, and I could seriously injure myself if I suddenly decided that, to beat my friend, I needed to start running every day. Or I could dramatically overdo it on the weights. Or I could simply do so much exercise that I'd be too tired to do my job effectively. The point is that friendly competition is great, but if you're going to take it seriously, you should think twice about going up against someone who is a great deal more or less active than you are.

Going Overboard

When I started to notice what I was doing wrong, I thought I'd fix it. I'd start standing at my desk at work, instead of sitting all day; I'd do weight training workouts every day, in addition to walks on days the weather would let me walk; and I'd just stop eating desserts altogether. Don't ever do this.

You see, I went too far, too fast. The "no desserts" thing lasted a few days at most, and my back and shins started to hurt quite badly from all my standing. My muscles weren't getting much better, so workouts never got any easier, which was very discouraging. Worst of all, my pants told me I wasn't making progress. Instead of starting the strength training slow and building it up, plus resting when necessary, I dove straight in with no idea how to swim and no chance to learn. My goals weren't just getting filled, they were getting crushed. Yet, the numbers on my wrist didn't tell the whole story. I was doing too much, too fast, but my Watch couldn't know that.

No Days Off

On the Apple Watch, you get credit for every day of activity, but you also get special achievements. For instance, if you hit all three goals every day for a full week, you get a badge. You get another for a full month's worth of goal-meeting, another for going more days than you have before while making a goal each day, and so on. The point is that a lot of the achievements you can earn are centered around never missing a day of meeting or exceeding your goals. That's not the most healthy way to approach fitness, though.

People need a day off. It's the reason we have weekends and vacations built into school and work, and it's why diets tend to work better if you can have a non-diet day every so often. Even if you alternate your workouts every day, sometimes you just can't do everything. You had a hard day at work, you're exhausted, and you have to be up early the next day, but those rings are sitting there on your wrist, tauntingly un-filled. If you fill them, you have a terrible day tomorrow, but if you don't, you break that streak you had going. If you break the streak, you start to feel demoralized, like you shouldn't even bother. Soon, that feeling builds, until you disable the activity data altogether and simply give up on staying fit.

Obviously, it's not that dramatic for everyone. Still, small defeats can add up in our minds, and the Apple Watch can supply more of those defeats than you realize. It will encourage you to keep trying, but it won't tell you that having a day off now and then is fine. That streak is broken no matter what you do, with no regard for your mental wellbeing or your motivation. We all need a relaxed day now and then, and the Apple Watch simply won't let you have one. It should, but it doesn't. So ignore it and take one anyway, because you need one every now and then, and that's okay.

This isn't to say that you should veg out on the couch from dawn to dusk once a week. On days you determine you can't meet your goals, try to fit something in. Some stretching or yoga, or a much lighter version of your normal routine, is perfect. The idea here is to let your mind forget that constant, nagging worry about keeping up your fitness, and to let your body recover and repair itself. This way, you're ready to go when you get back to normal the next day.

Why Bother?

With all this negativity, some of you might be wondering why you should bother to track your fitness at all. The answer is going to vary from person to person, but for me, it's simple: motivation. The Apple Watch gives me a simple way to know that I'm doing something healthy--filling the rings--and it rewards me when I do something extra good, like doing twice the exercise I need to. Without it, I know for certain that I wouldn't be doing nearly as much exercise as I am, and I credit it for that.

At the same time, I have to keep in mind everything I've written here. I can't just do whichever exercise type I want to, and say I'm done, especially if I don't vary it for weeks on end. I have to know that just because I'm burning calories, I can't go adding more to my daily intake. I have to remember that it's okay to take a day every so often where I don't worry about any of it, because doing that reminds me why I do worry about it the rest of the time.

The Apple Watch is a great fitness aid, and I would hate to go back to not having one. But it's only that--an aid. You have to be aware of your body and how best to take care of it. Let the Watch motivate and inform you, which is what it's good at, but don't let the numbers take over completely.

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8 Comments

good stuff

hi there, I'd just like to point out, that much of what you have said, stands as much for any activity tracker. some of them, of course, can help to track food intake as well as outgoing energy, but never the less, this requires you making sure you record *everything* you eat. and I do mean, every little thing. on the other hand, doing so, helps you to learn what you are doing, and where you are going wrong. even if you only do a food log for a couple weeks outside of an app, as a notebook or digital file, it helps you to understand just what you're doing. some people though, find that hard, or they think they are logging everything, when they actually don't. so far, I've managed to keep myself probably about 90 to 95% logged. I don't always log everything, specially if something is super low. like snacking on some raw green beans or something, where in 1 or 2 beans is pretty much nothing.
anyway, another point here, is a mistake a lot of people make. and it's partly to do with how these sorts of devices are marketed. they are, actually activity trackers, not *fitness* trackers. and that is a very, very important point. they are actually hopelessly bad at tracking fitness. they are good, at giving you an idea of how much you're moving every day though, and sometimes, this is actually more important then so called fitness. as we are finding out these days, fitness, IE working out with weights for 30 / 60 mins a day, and taking a walk, either outside or on a treadmill, for lets say 30 mins, is all well and good. but, this is pointless if you then go home, and say that's it. my day is done, now I can relax for the rest of the day and watch netflix. ... uh oh. suddenly, you've burned plenty of calories for an hour or 2, and for the final 22 hours, you sit down or lay down or what ever. so the important thing an activity tracker can do for you, is help to get you up and moving around more. and here is an interesting point. standing for hours, is actually no better then sitting for hours. sure, there is a very slight increase of your caloric burn from supporting muscles helping you to stay on your feet, but nothing much really. the tip here, is something I'm sure a lot of mothers are going to hate. LOL. I don't know how many times I got told, stop pacing. .. no, don't do that. in fact, keep doing it. as much as you can. because, as it happens, our bodies are designed to move a lot. they are built to move all day.
and as a handy point, pacing around all day, or at least for several hours, burns through your so called 10000 step per day count. in fact, yesterday, I blew past it, to nearly 19000. LOL. and that was without even attempting to do so.
of course, this doesn't mean that exercise isn't important. as it is. how ever, we are learning now that it only plays a part. it isn't the end all and be all of how you stay fit / active.
in my case, I work out 3 to 4 days a week in the gym. working weights for about 45 to 60 mins, going through the hole lot in one day. then, I break for a day, then work out again. and so on. so I currently have workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. then the weekend off. I also walk / pace around the house a lot when I can, when my mother isn't here. :P
on top of that, if I am listening to a podcast, or youtube videos or something, or anything really that doesn't require me to be actually typing / interacting with my computer, I am now trying to get myself to get up and pace around my room. sure, it's not a walk in the sense of going some place, but it's movement.
and yes, I too have experienced the pants thing. ... excepting, the other way around. in about febuary of 2015, I started to think about controlling my intake of sugar through coke / pepsi. so I moved to pepsi max. and yes, I know I'm going to get some people saying, "get off that, it's not much better than the sugar." how ever, it has so far worked for me. I will be working on getting off even the diet drinks, but at the moment, I'm doing ok.
at that time, I was, around 168 cm tall, IE 5 feet 6 inches for those Americans unable to convert on the fly, I weighed in at about 86.5 kg, 190 pounds, and my waist was bulging out to about 92 to 95cm, 36.2 inches to 37.4 inches. as you can imagine, if you have researched such things, I wasn't happy with where I was. I was aiming straight towards metabolic syndrome / diabetes type 2. if I wasn't there already. I thought, not doing this. can't do this. I have to stop and do something here.
so that's when I moved to pepsi max, and started to *sort of* control my diet. I didn't take it too far at that point, but I wanted to see what happened. well, what happened, is I dropped from 86.5 kg, to 72, inside 3 to 4 months. that's 190 pounds, down to 158 pounds. wow, I thought, ok, this is going good. how ever, I got a little stuck at this point, my body didn't seem to want to go lower. so I started to focus on dieting more. at this point, I really had no way of working out, so I left that alone. anyway, I dropped down another 7 or so kilos in the next year and a half or so I guess.
then, in august last year, I got the chance to get into a gym that had opened up locally. this meant that I was now able to work out regularly, as long as the tropical rains we get here don't try washing me down the street. :P
so I have now been working out for a good 3 or 4 months. the reason I say 3 or 4 months, and not closer to 5 or 6, is because I went away travelling at the end of September, and I couldn't find a way to get into a gym to do my normal weighted workouts. mind you, I didn't put on weight either. I maintained my controlled, calorie restricted diet, and kept my then current 62 kg weight pretty much level.
I have now been home for about a month and 2 or 3 weeks, and have been continuing to work out with weights, and get as much movement as I can. as well as messing with my diet to find a way to keep the weight off in that regard as well. my weigh lifting has maintained a continual increase in weight lifting ability, and my walking is now getting to the point where I can walk for hours sometimes, and don't notice much.
my breathing doesn't even increase much, unless I push myself to maximum walking speed, which for me used to be about 4 to 5 km/h. but now, is up around the 6.8 km/h mark. so I can walk very fast now. but if I maintain about a 5 to 6 km/h speed, I can do it for ages.
where am I now in terms of weight / measurements? well, my height hasn't increased or decreased, * as far as I know* :P
how ever, my weight is now, as of this morning, 60.3 kg, 132.9 pounds. so that's a loss of 26.2 kg, or 57 pounds! and my waist has shrunk down from 92 to 95 cm, 36.2 inches to 37.4 inches, to 75 cm, 29.5 inches!
As for my clothing, I had to replace my shorts and shirts about 6 months ago, as the ones I had at the time, were baggy after losing weight and toning up. ... uh, one problem. I now find myself having to do so again, as in the last month or 2, I've shrunk even more, and now the clothes I purchase barely 6 months ago, are falling off me!
and I found myself fitting into clothes I hadn't been able to wear in years.
at this point, I don't have an apple watch, though I have been thinking about getting one. I've got a fitbit charge HR, and find it very very good at tracking steps and walking and such things, how ever, I'm not happy with the caloric burn it's giving me for exercising, as it seems to be giving me totally wrong data. IE, a walk of 10 mins giving me a burn of about 40 cals. I wish! try closer to 20 to 25. anyway, outside that, I've found it handy to give me an idea of what I'm doing. or, not doing.
I'd really like to get hold of an apple watch, so I as I can run it through some tests to see how accurate it's caloric burns and tracking is.
I'll leave you with this. I could go on for ages about these devices, as I find them to be very good at helping some people, but unfortunately, they do have that side effect of throwing people off and making them think they can eat more and so on, destroying any progress they have made. if you have the information and can control yourself, then you can keep yourself from doing that, and they are then quite handy tools. but if not, I'd actually think you'd be better off without one, or at least not using the apple watch for fitness / activity tracking. as the information it gives can be miss leading.
I'm going to be doing a DEXA scan next week, to see where I am in body composition. unfortunately, I didn't do one before I started all of this, as I'd like to be able to compare them. but never the less, I'll be interested to see where I am now, and just how much good this set up of exercise / movement / dieting / tracking has done for me.
and of course, as said before, don't take this as a statement of how everybody needs to do things. as everybody works differently, and doing things this way might actually not work so well for you. it's just how I do things at the moment. and that's of course another point. you actually find that quite a lot, you need to change how you do things as your body changes. what works for us now, won't necessarily work in a years time, or in 5 years.

Thanks for the great post.

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hello mehgcap,
Thanks for the great blog post! As always, a well balanced approach. I love it! I am inspired. :-)
This may be a bit OT... Any apps you might suggest for someone who only has an iPhone, but no watch? I am also mostly home-bound from light sensitivity, but have floor mats and some stationary exercise equipment, plus some hand-weights.
Thanks again for the great post!

Great Post

Fantastic post. I, too, got an Apple Watch to be more active and track my fitness. I also got it to be lazier about taking my phone out of my pocket so often. So far, I've found it pretty decent at accomplishing both tasks. I've only had my watch for a week, though, so we'll see as time goes on.

I go to the gym 5 days a week. I am a heavy lifter/olympic style lifter. I have a good program in place to make sure I can maintain this level of activity without overdoing it. I've been going strong for 6 months, now. I have to admit, my self-control when it comes to eating, isn't very good. I burn a ton of calories, I eat a ton of calories. In some ways, this has actually helped. I eat a lot of bad stuff, but eating poorly also means I get loads of protein which has equaled a great deal of muscle gain. I know food logging helps, but, particularly when it comes to home-cooked meals, using something like MyFitnessPal is tedious in the extreme. An app I'm trying now is Streaks, which lets you track six goals at once for developing into positive habits.

It's an odd feeling to have your body visibly changing shape, yet to have your core, i.e., my gut, stay close to the same. I started this mess with a 44 inch waistline, and now I'm down to a 41 inch waistline--not as drastic a change as the person above after six months. In short, I, too, am struggling, and I'm hoping the watch will help me stay on track better. For cardio, targeting heart rates is far more effective than targeting distances. A long time ago, when I was in much better shape, I wanted to be a runner, and a friend who is a fantastic runner gave me that advice, and it worked. I targeted 160 bpm for 30 to 45 minutes per run, and as time went by, I had to work harder and harder to get to 160 bpm.

Anyway! Goodluck, and thanks for the great post.

Food Logging

I do not have an Apple Watch. I do use my iPhone to track exercise and food. For food logging, I use My Fitness Pal, and for exercise, SWorkit.

At first, as noted above, logging everything into My Fitness Pal can be tedious, but since it logs your food history, adding food becomes easier as time goes on. It can create frequently paired foods, recipes and common meals to make things even more efficient. It interfaces with the Health app to track work outs and steps. For me it is now,, after almost two years of continuous use, just a part of my daily routine.

SWorkit is not fully accessible, but, it is usable. I work with the stretching, strength, and Fitness Plan options to keep myself moving and motivated.

In nice weather, I use Run Keeper when walking to keep me mindful of my distance and pace.

All this has added up to almost 150 pounds lost in two years, and I am successfully maintaining my weight loss.

I am intrigued by fitness trackers, and while I think a Fit Bit of some flavour would be useful, I have so far avoided the purchase as I feel I am getting enough information from my self monitoring, and, I'd really rather have an Apple Watch, but don't feel I need to buy yet another device.

Good luck to all on your personal fitness journeys.

sometimes no information is good?

hiya, here's an interesting point to those considering getting an activity tracker. i've actually noticed myself, and read a lot of reviews and reports that show the same, that having the activity tracker, can actually go the other way. what happens is, the information it's working with is offen wrong to start with. on top of that, sensing heart rate, unless done by a chest strap, is so way out it's not even funny. plus, with each one having their own slightly different ways of calculating caloric burn for the exercise you do, they don't even all match up. now, throw that on top of a human problem. and that human problem is this. we have a tendency to want to balance. IE, ok, lets say your bmr is about 2000 KCAL for the day. your activity tracker says you've burned about an extra 500 in dayly NEAT, and or exercise. ok, so now you say to yourself, i have 2500 calories i can eat today! ... ahh, but do you? firstly, how right was the device / software at calculating your caloric burn. we are, after all, different, and our muscles are different. so where as a person my size with very very little muscle mass, loads of fat mass, and very little toning will take perhaps, larger amounts of over all energy to perform a task, I, on the other hand, would perform said task a lot easier. IE, the caloric burn, is different. how ever, these sorts of systems don't really take any of that into account.
so suddenly you'll find yourself over eating, even without knowing it, simply cause you're following the info the device has given you. i've seen this in myself, and ended up having to correct for it.
It's for this reason, and many other reasons, why some people, thinking that they are going to get a device that will help them to drop the weight / fat, and tone up, end up ... gaining weight / fat. it's not all bad, if you can learn to stick to your diet, your set caloric burn for an average day, and not shift from it, you'll do ok. then just count those days when you happen to burn 500 calories extra, as an extra weight loss day and a bonis. but very few of us do so. specially when there is a lovely pizza in front of us, or that super creamy chocolate ice cream, ... or name your poison. i've actually been thinking about ditching the activity tracker, and see how i go.
I don't know. perhaps an apple watch would do things a little better in some regards. in that it's more focused on movement, then exercise, which is quite right to do. but i still think it will face the same problem of helping people to over estimate how much they can eat. because again, these aren't medical devices, they aren't calabrated to you properly, only on a very basic level, and they can only give you so much information as a result. what i would love to see, is things like the apple watch be able to analyze your blood glucose, insulin count, although i think that one's a ways off, and other such bio markers. as they can actually give you really good info about how your body is performing.
but i dout that we'll see such things just yet. soon i think, but not yet.
I really would like to test an apple watch fully, to see how it does things in the newer OS, and how it compares to things like fitbit.

Apps

Yes, I forgot to list the apps I use thus far. I actually like the built-in workout app quite a lot. I also use an app called intervals. This app allows you to create several different timers for different types of exercises. This app is useful for general fitness, but is designed specifically for people who do things like sprints, tabada, and other types of high intensity interval training. This app also tracks heart rate and logs to the health app, helping you close those rings each day.

The Apple Watch definitely isn't essential for training and getting extremely fit. People have been doing it for decades with magazines and then web communities. I do feel like the watch does help, though, as long as you make sure to educate yourself through those other traditional means. As I said in my above comment, being able to track your heart rate is invaluable. Obviously, you can do that with a Polar heart rate sensor for $70, but the Apple Watch offers other benefits completely unrelated to fitness that I've been enjoying.

I feel, if you are a fitness buff, and you can afford the Apple Watch, go on and get one. Put it through its paces, really get into the other features, too, and be aggressive about your criticisms. If you don't like it, return it. I've done this with so many products. In this age of online shopping, you kind of have to.

Other things I do with my watch: check the time, check the weather, quickly read phone notifications, answer my phone, respond to text messages, control the music app, record voice notes, send quick voice messages in the fb messenger app, and lastly, use it for reminders. You can do all these things on your phone, but, for me, since it is on my wrist, I just do all of it more often. I used to hate the reminders app. But, on my watch? Now it works for me.

As for food logging: I need to give it another go. I know it helps. I know it's useful. I just need to get over my hangups. I like the idea of, after a certain period of time, the app knows and saves the meals you eat to the point where it's fairly effortless.

Dallas: I have read that, too

Dallas: I have read that, too, but I've always read it in the context of: I compared the apple watch to my chest strap, and they didn't match. That, by no means, is scientific or definitive. Medical professionals, for example, for a quick reference, will use wrist pulse to measure heart rate on the fly. Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone would or could make the argument that the watch is as good as medical grade equipment, but it is good at what it does, which is giving you a baseline. Most people don't even have that.

Let's take your example of low muscle mass, but high fat. The health app does ask for your height and weight, which then allows it to use a bmi calculation to determine approximately how much your resting caloric burn is. While bmi sucks in a lot of ways, what it does do well is give you an average, which, again, is better than nothing. For example, you could be 5 ft 9 inches and weigh 220 lbs, but you have virtually no fat and all muscle. Someone like that would have an extremely high resting caloric burn. But, few people are going to ly on those extremes. And, even if you do, this circles us back to heart rate. Heart rate and movement are very good ways to determine fitness in an objective way. For example, if I am 400 lbs, standing up and walking to my fridge and back will most definitely burn way more calories than if I were 200 lbs, and my heart rate compared to my movement would show it.

I do get your point, though, in that too much info isn't necessarily a good thing. It really, really depends on how you use that information, and whether you are willing to educate yourself enough to use the information wisely. But then you have people like me, who know darned well what I should be doing, but have difficulty resisting chocolate and beer. But even in my situation, I have been finding the watch to be a motivating factor, but I can see how it would be overwhelming.

yep

hiya Sam, yeah, there is that. not sure about the beer, but the chocolate, yummyy! lol. yeah it's always a matter of we know what we should / shouldn't be doing, but maintaining that, is often where things fall apart. but yes, this is what makes weight loss, or should I define that better. fat loss, as you don't want to lose muscles, is sometimes so hard. it's a matter of us being the problem more often then not, not the tech. I do wish we had advanced to the stage where in I could order up a replicater produced, perfectly set meal. IE x amount of fat, x amount of carbs, and x amount of protein. that would be totally awesome. as it is, if you're not a good cook, or not one that wants to do it all the time, you end up falling back to highly processed meals, which we all know, aren't good for us. but right now, they are more likely then not to be what we pull out of the fridge / freezer.
bring on the day when I can tell siri via my watch to order me up a particular meal. :P
or, better yet, have meal services / take away that's actually, *gasp* healthy!
I do love myfitness pal, it works really well, and isn't that much of a problem. I use the camera to scan in bar codes of foods when I can, so I don't have to enter things manually. and if I tend to have certain things regularly together, I put them in a meal so I can add just one thing to add 2 or 3 items. also, if it's a home cooked meal, I have started to put the ingredients in to recipes, thus making it a lot easier to track things. and that also adds it as one item, rather then every vegetable, scrap of meat, and so on as a separate entry. it's not very easy to set up recipes on the web, I've had trouble with that. but on iOS, it works well.
I did try the very first apple watch, and wasn't to happy with it. partly that was because of me, {my arm wasn't used to having something on it,} and partly it was how slow the interface was. but now that a lot of that second thing has been fixed, or at least as best as they can for now, I'd really like to get one and run it through it's paces. pun intended. just haven't got the money for it at the moment, they aren't cheap over here in Australia. they want $579 for the 42 mm, which is the only one I'd consider for a couple of reasons. that's $438 US dollars right now. compare that to in the US apple store, where the exact same watch is $399. ug. apple, stop charging us so much more then Americans. it all comes from china, after all. anyways, when I have enough money aside I'll be looking at getting one, and give it a second going over. hopefully this time I'll be able to stick with it, and find it more useful.
I do hope that apples continues to work on it, as they are making great inroads into the activity tracking world.
Also, as a side note, actually, apparently the heart rate tracking on the apple watch is fairly good. not too far off a chest strap. and chest straps are within 1 or 2 beats of an ecg much of the time. so that's actually doing really well. let's hope they don't mess that up. fitbit on the other hand ... uh. bad. just bad. rofl. checked my blood pressure this morning, which showed me a heart rate of 33, {resting rate, hadn't moved from bed yet.] I used an app on my phone to run a secondary test with the iPhone's camera, which showed 34. damn I thought, that's good. the camera is showing the same as a bp monitor. then from curiosity, I checked what my fitbit charge HR was showing, which took a bit, as it didn't seem to even want to see my heart rate. then after a little bit, it showed me a result, .... 60? uh! so I ran a bp test again and camera heart rate check, as well as a manual check by hand, all of which showed my rate to now be 35 or so. 35 on both machines, around the same by my hand estimation. so yeah. fitbit's is just wacky. I will be very interested to see what apple makes of my heart rate. as long as it don't get confused thinking it can't find my pulse when it knows it's on me, and starts locking me out all the time, or even calling the emergency services as the watch can now do! lucky they haven't configured it that way, as I'd for ever be ending up with a watch calling an ambulance for me. ahaha
and that is actually one other reason i do like the idea of the watch now, it means it can now actually provide a very handy service to people, in that if you're in trouble, you're no more then an arm raise away from calling for help.