Best Workout App for Apple Watch

Matt Abras
11 min readJun 10, 2021

Most Apple Watch apps are simple apps. They are basically extensions of your iPhone app, mirroring a small number of features.

This is not the case.

SmartGym is the most powerful Apple Watch app in the world. It’s completely independent from the iPhone, doesn’t require an internet connection to work, runs our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models locally, offers over 130 pre-made workouts carefully created by Personal Trainers, over 690 exercises with instructions and animations, and a lot more. And having all this on your wrist, is a game changer.

App Store Link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartgym/id922744883?ls=1&mt=8

Apple Recognition

  • 2023 App Store Awards App of the Year.
  • App Store Editors' Choice in the US and Brazil.
  • #1 most downloaded Health and Fitness app for iPad in the US.
  • #4 most downloaded Health and Fitness app for iPhone in the US.
  • #1 most downloaded Health and Fitness app in over 30 countries.
  • App of the Day in the US and worldwide.
  • Featured in Apple’s Apple Watch Series 5 Ad!
  • Featured as one of the best apps for iOS 13, iOS 14, iOS 15, iOS 16 and iOS 17.
  • Featured as one of best apps for watchOS 6, watchOS 7, watchOS 8, watchOS 9 and watchOS 10.
  • Featured as one of the best apps for iPadOS.
  • Pre-installed on every iPhone in display on every Apple Retail Store.
  • Featured at apple.com for iPhone and Apple Watch.
  • One of Apple’s favorite Apple Watch apps of the year, for two years in a row.

Why?

To me, everything starts with a why. So why create a gym app? Simple. To improve people’s lives. To help them live a healthier life. To motivate, guide, teach and empower everyone that wants to start working out.

Unfortunately many people are actually afraid/embarrassed of going to the gym. Others might even go, but have no idea how to properly create a good routine (end up doing the same one for years, or doing routines that are actually bad and dangerous for them). Others don’t even bother, because they think this is not for them (either too hard or too complicated). And others would love to start working out from home, but don’t know how.

Another reason is mental health. This is becoming more and more important. And to many, the pandemic only made this issue more prominent. Many studies show how important exercises are to our mind. And how much working out can really help us.

In a world where most people are looking for ways to become healthier, having a tool like SmartGym becomes even more important and essential.

And to be honest, I don’t think that smartphones in general are the best solution to this problem. Think about it. They don’t track our heart rate or calories burn. They constantly distract us. We always need to find a place to put it. If you are a man you probably have pockets, but if you are a woman you need to find a way around it. Some put inside their waist, which might damage the phone, others use an armband, which is extremely uncomfortable, specially when using Plus sized iPhones. But the good news is that Apple has already solved this problem. To me, the Apple Watch is the ultimate Gym device. It’s extremely focused, always strapped to our wrist, comfortable to use and it also keeps track of our heart rate, calories and distance. That’s the reason why SmartGym was created entirely around the Apple Watch from day 1.

Completely Independent

As I said, SmartGym on the Apple Watch is a real app. Full featured and super powerful. It doesn’t require your iPhone to be nearby to work. It doesn’t even require the app to be installed on your iPhone. You can go straight to the App Store on your Watch and download SmartGym from there.

That’s extremely liberating. Seriously, once you start working out with only your Watch, without any other device, there is no going back.

You don’t even need an active internet connection. SmartGym takes care of everything for you and will sync all your changes and workouts as soon as your Watch is back online.

This is the most important feature. The entire app is built around this concept of independence. So, as you read all the details below, keep this in mind. Understanding how important this is, will help you understand why we created SmartGym the way we did.

Everything on Your Wrist

You can do pretty much everything from your wrist with SmartGym.

On the main screen you get a large button to start a workout session and track your calories, heart rate and distance, followed by all your routines.

Routines

You can see the entire list of exercises or each one individually with more details. All the information you need is right there. The name, sets, reps weight. Even the rest timer (that you can add individually to each exercise). You can even learn more and get an awesome 3D animation, with detailed instructions on how to execute this exercise with proper form.

Just one example of how much care and attention we give to our Apple Watch app. Take a look at the first screen below. See the images with the muscles highlighted? These are not a simple images we’re just loading to make the app look nicer. They are dynamic and are rendered locally on device. Every property of the routine and its exercises have an influence in how this image is created. There is a really awesome math behind each highlighted muscle, based on lots of different variables. And each change made on the routine will automatically update it. How cool is that?

Set's counter + Rest Timer with Haptic Feedback

One of the most common problem while working out is getting lost on which set we are currently at. To help with this, SmartGym’s timers are completely integrated with your sets.

As you complete a set, you can log it and start your rest timer. SmartGym shows a beautiful screen, with how many sets you have left and a big timer showing how long you need to rest. When the timer is done, a notification sound and a haptic feedback will be played to alert you that your rest is over and it’s time for the next set. After you’re done, you can move to the next exercise with just one tap.

Predictive Actions

As we said, the experience on the Watch needs to be super quick. One tap to do what you want. That's Predictive Actions. SmartGym is able to do some clever math in the background to predict your next action. Then, dynamically update the interface accordingly. And this is the beauty of this feature. It only shows up at the appropriate time, when needed.

This guides the user to the next step, so they never get lost, and it's super quick. It's literally just one tap.

The end result is an extremely simple, elegant and transparent solution. The user never notices what is going on in the background. It just works.

And if you have the Apple Watch Ultra, then the Action Button will also work as the Predictive Action. No matter what the next step is.

Edit Your Exercises

It's super easy to change the number of reps, weight, add an extra set, or even change your rest. All that from the Watch. And with just a few taps.

Track All Your Progress

When we say that SmartGym for Apple Watch is no baby app, we really mean it! There are so many ways to track your progress with just a few taps.

Monthly Summary and Routine Progress

With just a few taps you can get a summary on every workout you did on a specific month, or every time you did a specific routine. With amazing gorgeous charts. Again, this is always available right from your wrist! Without the need to have your iPhone nearby.

Exercise Progress

It's also possible to get information on each specific exercise. This is extremely handy when at the gym and you want to check how long you've been doing this specific number of sets or reps for example.

Always On Display

SmartGym takes full advantage of Apple Watch’s amazing Always On display.

Sometimes it’s really hard to rotate our wrist to turn the display on, while working out. And these are the times we need the most. We may need to check the remaining time of an exercise, glance at our heart rates and calories while doing some pushups, check what’s the proper execution of an exercise by glancing at the animation, or just check our resting timer.

With SmartGym, your information is always up to date. Even if your wrist is down. And this changes everything.

Artificial Intelligence + Machine Learning

Smart Trainer is our Artificial Intelligence that is able to create personalized routines, based on your preferences and equipment you have around. Smart Trainer will also track your workouts, and suggest changes as you progress.

Smart Trainer drastically reduces the knowledge and time required to create a routine, to just a few simple steps. You can choose which equipment you have, which muscles you want to target, how long and how often you want to work out, your experience level and goal. That’s it! SmartGym will create an entire workout for you, and will constantly give suggestions as you progress, like increasing the weight in a specific exercise, or replacing an entire exercise with another one.

With just a few taps you get an entire workout, personalized to you and based on the equipment you have available. All without the iPhone being nearby and without any internet connection. SmartGym’s entire AI Engine with CoreML runs locally on the Watch itself.

Think about this for a moment. Right from your wrist, this tiny device can understand your choices, your health, your progress and create a complete and personalized workout for you!

History and Measures

It’s really handy to have this kind of information right on the Watch. Specially since it doesn’t get into the way of the user’s experience.

Powered by SwiftUI, SmartGym has a gorgeous History View on the Apple Watch. You get all the information you need, right from your wrist, with lots of amazing charts at the top.

And one of the coolest features: Muscle Recovery. You can see how much you’re currently targeting your muscles. Just like mentioned before, this image is rendered locally on the Apple Watch.

Complications

SmartGym has lots of amazing complications that you can add to your Watch Face. You can add simple shortcuts to open the app with one tap. Or, your workout charts and your weekly workout summary. Or even add your SmartGym Siri Shortcuts to your Watch Face. For example, you can add your routines as shortcuts. With one tap SmartGym will launch, will start your workout session and open the routine for you.

Smart Stacks

As shown above, SmartGym already offers a huge variety of complications. Users can also have even more information inside Smart Stacks on watchOS 10. And just like with complications and widgets, we’re adding a large number of options, so users can personalize their Stacks entirely.

Over 130 Pre-Made Workouts, carefully created by professionals

SmartGym also offers over 130 pre-made workouts, carefully and manually created by professionals. In just a few taps and right from your wrist, you can have a full featured gym experience, with many different pre-made workouts, from different categories and for different experience levels.

Siri

One of the best things about an Apple Watch app is how fast you can do things. Within a few seconds, and a tap or two you get all the information you need.

But it can be a lot better. What if we could do what we want, without even tapping the device? That’s where Siri kicks in.

Without even opening the app, you can say: “Hey Siri, Start Today’s Workout on SmartGym”. And with your voice SmartGym will automatically launch, start the workout session and find the appropriate routine of the day (because it knows which day is today and which routine you should be doing), and put it right in front of you. All without even touching the device.

You could also specify the name of the routine, i.e: “Hey Siri, Start Routine A3 on SmartGym” or “Hey Siri, Start my Cardio Workout on SmartGym” and SmartGym will get the right routine for you.

SmartGym also leverages the power of Siri Shortcuts on the Watch. Those same actions that can be done with your voice, can also be done from the Shortcuts app. They can even become complications and so you can launch it right from the Watch Face! This means users can have their routines as complications!

Workout Session with Heart Rate Zones

With SmartGym, you can start a workout session that will keep track of your heart rates, heart rate zones, distance and calories burned. All your workouts will also count towards your activity rings.

It’s really simple to start a workout session. You can tap Start Workout or use Siri (more on this below). Once you’re done, just tap the End button to stop the session. SmartGym will show you the summary of your session with your Activity Rings at the bottom.

With watchOS 10 SmartGym will color the background based on your heart rate zone. This means that with just a glance you can quickly see how you're doing.

User Reviews and Stories

Seeing how SmartGym is helping people in real life is extremely rewarding. I love getting messages from users telling me how SmartGym has helped them to lose weight, get in shape, deal with the pandemic, reduce stress and much more.

We get thousands and thousands of reviews and stories about how SmartGym has changed their lives.

I'd like to highlight just a few:

  • Several deployed militaries use SmartGym to work out. They told us there is a specific reason why they love SmartGym so much. Tip: Apple Watch! :) We were told they are not always allowed to take their phones with them. Therefore, only SmartGym trully works without a phone.
  • Several American veterans use SmartGym. Many already over 70 years old! They love how easy and straightforward the app is to use.
  • Several users who lost a lot of weight, completely transformed their bodies and now have a healthier life.
  • Garmin user who switched to Apple Watch after discovering SmartGym.
  • Several users who bought an Apple Watch because of SmartGym.
  • Personal Trainer who was able to work and track his students remotely during the pandemic because of SmartGym.
  • (Due to privacy I will not name the specific country) National Paralympic Ski Team uses SmartGym to manage their strength trainings.
Just a few reviews we recently got on the US App Store. From new mom that wanted to lose weight, to users who bought an Apple Watch just because of SmartGym, to Personal Trainers that can continue to manage their students remotely.

Get it on the App Store!

If you like SmartGym, you can get it now on the App Store: htts://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartgym/id922744883?ls=1&mt=8

--

--

Matt Abras

Christian, iOS Developer, Designer, Product Guy. Creator/CEO at SoundShare and SmartGym.