Just over a month ago I strapped a 42mm black Apple Watch Sports to my wrist. It was a wrist inexorably connected to my 20kg overweight frame and I was determined to do something about making it lighter. Today that same watch is still on my wrist but with its help I have taken 3 inches off my waist and dropped 4 kgs.
Now I am not going to tell you that the Apple Watch did all the work. It didn’t, as I am sure some swivelled eyed conspiracy theorist would have you believe, use some secretly developed radio pulse to melt away the fat and nor did it hypnotise me into eating sensibility on a daily basis.
What it did instead was motivate me in a way that no other smart watch can.
In a previous article I mentioned that it was the health and fitness aspect, as well as the watch’s design, that won me over in the end. But nothing could have prepared me for the changes the watch would make to me, my habits and my body. But more about that later.
So what, in practical terms, is so great about this little watch? What is so wonderful about a watch that isn’t even waterproof, and that only lasts one day on charge? Well the first couple of things that make the Apple Watch so great is the fact that both those statements are wrong.
For starters my watch is used all day everyday, in ways I will describe later, and screen is off and on all day. At the end of the day the battery is never more than 50% dry so to my mind that is two days out of a single charge.
Secondly, and I cannot vouch for this personally, the Watch appears to be waterproof. According to several tests made by various bloggers from all over the world, people have been swimming in the sea, the family pool and wearing it in the shower to no ill affect. In my book that makes the Apple Watch, in every practical sense, waterproof.
So it appears Apple sold the Apple Watch short but that doesn’t mean it’s any damn good, it doesn’t mean it’s in anyway practical. Does it?
Well I will be the first to admit that the 3rd party apps available for the watch are rubbish and I have removed them all from my home screen. Later this year this promises to get better with the new WatchOS 2.0 allowing these apps to be more independent of your iPhone and use the power of the watch. So for now I am stuck with what Apple wrote.
I find quickly responding to messages very useful, very easy to do and it instantly eliminates those times when you fish out your phone to view a message, only to find out it’s a tweet about Beyoncé and not that your car finally ready for pickup. Also, being reminded of events is also a lot better when it can be done by simply raising the wrist rather than fumbling for the phone while trying to recall whether you are shopping for plain or self raising flour. (apparently there is a big difference)
Let me illustrate with a real world example.
I had messaged to my daughter asking her when she might be home because I was about to start cooking dinner. A few minutes later, when my hands were covered in beef mince and onions (I was making apple crumble) I felt a message arrive on my wrist. Obviously I was keen to know the answer and in pre Watch days I would have had to rinse and dry my hands and then locate my phone to find out. On this day however, I simply raised my hand and the watch displayed “Home in 10 mins”
As for making phone calls on the watch… well, as this article is entitled “The Reality of owning an Apple Watch” I am here to tell you that while you can indeed make a call using the watch you probably shouldn’t. This is not so much because you look like a weirdo talking into your wrist, because the mic is so good you can leave your hands by your side and still be heard, but rather because the speaker is not yet loud enough to hear the person on the other end – unless you hold it up to your ear that is.
Music, with the aid of some bluetooth earbuds, is an easy prospect and feels remarkably unencumbered. Podcasts are a bit of a faff but possible but Audiobooks are right out – for the time being at least.
However, at the end of the day, for me, the reality of the Apple watch has been the way it motivates me to move and to exercise more. It’s simple and yet affective method has spurred me on to park my car blocks away from clients, walk 6km everyday and recently teach myself how to run.
What is this simple little method… I can also hear you ask, well its no more than three little rings!
With a mere glance I can see how much I have moved, how much I have exercised and how much I have stood up. And my goal is simple; do whatever it takes to fill them everyday and trust my body to react accordingly.
I said at the beginning that it’s not a magic bullet, because you have to do the work, but when the feedback is this clear and unambiguous it is easy to get in the game. Other fitness devices give out meaningless figures or graphs that can be easily misread, misunderstood or conveniently misinterpreted. The circle, I find, is unequivocal – it’s either full or it isn’t.
Now for this to work you need to be a bit obsessive, but isn’t that what fitness is all about?. You either love exercise (in which case you’re mental) or you are forced to exercise to maintain your health (which is normal but no less mental)
I have found that taking the open rings as a sign of failure or resignation the only way to force me to get out and walk in the rain or when its 2 degrees outside or do laps around the kitchen bench.
It also helps if someone else in the house has an Apple Watch so you can play the “how are your rings doing today” game.
If you are at all interested in losing weight or just keeping fit I urge you to think about getting an Apple Watch, setting your goal and obsessing about those little rings until they are full.
Trust me it works… I have four bags of sugar on my desk to prove it.