I’ve actually had an Apple Watch for quite a while now. I got one not too long after they first came out, after all the hype had died down a bit. That was in 2015. It’s very handy to have both for notifications, small tasks, and health tracking. It replaced the Misfit that I had been using. Apple has since then come out with 3 different upgrades in hardware. The one I had was a Series 1, and since then there has been Series 2, 3, and 4. The Series 4 just came out last September. The Series 1 that I had got the job done, but was slow and frustrating to use at times. And then I got a crack in the side of it somehow. But it still worked, and I kept using it.
As most smartwatches have, there is of course, some health tracking functionality with the Apple Watch. There’s an app on both the watch and the iPhone that has 3 rings, concentric circles. In the middle is a blue one, then a green one, then a red one on the outside. Each circle (or ring) measures a fitness activity. The blue ring grows when you stand, specifically for every hour on the clock that you stand for at least a minute. The green one measures exercise, when you complete workouts. The red one keeps track of the calories that you’ve burned throughout the day. The goal is to make each ring grow enough that it closes and completes the circle. The blue and green rings always have the same goal. To close the blue (stand) ring, you have to stand for at least a minute out of 12 hours in the day. To close the green (exercise) ring, you have to exercise for at least 30 minutes during the day. The red (move) ring you can adjust based on your activity by setting a goal of how ever many calories you want to burn during the day. I think for the past few years I usually had mine set around 370 calories as my goal.
Last year, I started trying to lose some weight. Of course, this usually involves some kind of exercise, and I basically hate exercise. I tried off and on to start an exercise program, but I was never all that consistent about it. In October (a very busy month for me), I took a visit back to Indiana (where I’m from) and went to the gym with my best friend Seren. She’s been pretty motivated at going to the gym consistently, and just this one trip helped me a bit too. Also in October, I reconnected with a friend that was here for Ricky’s golf tournament, Dan, and ended up sharing my activity with him since he has an Apple Watch too. Now, let me back up a bit and talk about the sharing functionality on the Apple Watch.
In addition to tracking your own activity with the rings, you can also connect with other people who have an Apple Watch and see their activity too. You get notified if they complete workouts or win awards (because as with almost any good social app, there are, of course, badges to be earned). I’ve been sharing with a few friends for a while, but honestly… I never really saw workouts from most of them very consistently. Dan, on the other hand, is a different story. Almost every morning I get a notification that he’s run 3 miles or done some HIIT burning something like 600 calories. Obviously, I can’t compete with that. It did, however, make me feel lazy and kind of kick my butt into gear. So, since sharing my activity with him, I’ve started to step up my game a bit. I started closing my rings every day and got my first “perfect week” award on the activity app. My friend Michelle also ended up getting an Apple Watch and sharing with me, and together we decided to have the goal of a “perfect month” for the month of December, and we got that award too. (Go us!)
Also, seeing how addicted I was getting to this, and that my old, slow Series 1 Apple Watch had a crack in it, Ricky ended up getting me a brand spanking new Series 4 Apple Watch for Christmas. I love it! It’s so much faster and has a few more features. And there is nothing wrong with feeding my addiction to those rings, in my opinion. So, perfect week award, perfect month award, new Apple Watch… where to go from here? Well, the activity app also has another feature as a part of sharing your activity… competitions. You can challenge anyone you are sharing your activity with to a 7-day competition to see who can get the most points. You earn one point for each percentage of each of the three rings you close. For example, if you hit 110% on your stand ring, 100% on your exercise ring, and 120% on your move ring, you’d have 330 points for that day. You can earn up to 600 points each day. So, being the glutton for punishment that I apparently am, what did I do? I challenged Dan to one of these competitions. Did I mention that his move goal is 1000 calories a day? I know I mentioned that mine used to be about 370 calories a day, but I’ve moved up from that now… mine’s currently 510. I was prepared going in to pretty much lose this competition. But then I decided… you know what? I’m going to try to crush this.
Now, before this, my workout plan had consisted of getting in that 30 minutes of exercise each day by either walking 1.5 to 2 miles a day or doing a workout video usually. I decided that I would tackle this the best way I thought I could, by basically doing both and having two workouts a day (if you count my walk as a workout, which, 2 miles? I do!). So I did that. Get up in the morning, get my 2 miles in. And then sometime in the afternoon/evening, I’d do a 30-minute workout video too. Now, I don’t think Dan expected this whole two-workout thing the first couple of days. It actually put me a decent amount ahead. By that time, it was harder to catch up. I think if he’d realized at first that I was going to put in as much effort as I did, it would have been even harder to beat him. But, I did! I won. (Go me!)
I have to say that the competition aspect of sharing was highly motivating. It really kicked my butt into gear. And the activity app gives you an award for both completing a competition as well as a different one if you win. I think the one if you win is different for each person that you compete with. This one was NOT easy to earn. I worked hard last week! But it paid off. And I definitely want to do it again (I just know Dan wants a rematch). So if you have an Apple Watch and haven’t started sharing or done a competition with a friend yet, what are you waiting for? Get your butt in gear!
[Also – side note, I really want to thank Seren, Michelle, and especially Dan for helping me get my own butt in gear a little more! You guys rock so hard.]