How to use a watch for fitness training

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To get the most out of your fitness training, consider your goals and use the appropriate tools.
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Using a watch for fitness training to achieve your goals

You can use a watch for fitness training when you want to monitor your exertion rate, track your personal statistics, time your speed, or attend to other needs. You will need a special watch, however.

Where to Buy a Fitness Watch

You typically find a fitness watch in places that sell athletic shoes, sporting goods, or outdoor wear. You may also find them in the jewelry or sporting sections of department stores, though your selection may be limited, if your department store even carries fitness models.

Choosing a Watch

Fitness watches come in all kinds today. Some run on GPS technology; others run on "inertial technology." GPS fitness watches update your stats by your position according to satellites. "Inertial technology" uses a motion sensor on your body to calculate and update your stats. 

Both kinds of fitness watches have their pros and cons, so you should choose based on your needs. In addition to reading the time of day, you can use a watch for fitness training to do one or several of the following:

  • Record your exercise time
  • Discover the altimeter
  • Measure your heart rate
  • Get a compass direction
  • Calculate your speed
  • Track your mileage

Many fitness watches also come with computer software so you can save and analyze data on a long-term basis.


If you need help deciding, check out some sport watches reviews and ask for recommendations from other participants in your particular sport. Training needs, and therefore functions, in a fitness watch, often change from sport to sport.

Focus on the aspects of your training that tie in directly with your fitness goals. Considering your goals before you buy a watch will help you choose the right one. If you need only basic functions, save yourself the money and buy a plainer watch for basic fitness control.

How to Use a Watch for Fitness Training

How to use a watch for fitness training will depend on which sport you participate in, which watch you buy, and which functions your watch offers. The functions you use most will also depend on your training goals. For instance, if you're training primarily to lose weight, you might be more concerned with heart rate than with mileage or your average speed. Monitoring your heart rate helps you stay within a target level of exertion, which can help you maintain the proper level of activity to slim down. But if you're training to build up endurance for a 5k, mileage and average speed might rank higher on your list than heart rate.

If you need help actually programming your watch, the best thing you can do is to read your manual, consult the manufacturer's website, or talk to a knowledgeable salesperson at the athletic shoe store or sports retailer who sold you the watch. Any of these resources should explain how to use a watch for fitness training--and not just any watch, but your particular one.


"Gear Guy," Outside Online

"Fitness Watches," CNET Reviews

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