The Best Smartwatches for Training, Ranked by the Professionals

The Best Smartwatches for Training, Ranked by the Professionals
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The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) has announced today that it has collected the insights of some of Australia’s leading sporting experts and released a list of their favourite health and fitness wearables.

In a statement on the survey, the AIF shared that it had assessed a series of smartwatches and sports straps on elements including functionality, user-friendliness, tracking and data capabilities, comfort, form, versatility and overall performance.

Interestingly, the institute shared that in addition to reviewing the range of devices, the survey also highlighted that the majority of Aussie users of fitness tech are not fully informed on the potential of the devices they use.

The statement read that:

“The survey’s overwhelming consensus was that wearable users could unlock so much more potential to help them optimise their health, fitness and performance, if they were better informed on how to utilise their device.”

In particular, this can be seen in the use of heart rate monitoring tech, the AIF shared. Kate Kraschnefski – Head of Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness – explained there’s a lot to be gained from using this function throughout your fitness journey:

“Many users don’t fully understand how HR [heart rate] training zones – which are a staple of many health and fitness wearables – can provide real-time feedback regarding the intensity and energy systems targeted within their session,” Kraschnefski explained in a statement.

“For endurance enthusiasts, utilising this function properly is like having a personal trainer running right beside you telling you exactly how hard you’re working and whether you need to put the pedal to the metal, or pull the gas off a little.”

So, which fitness wearables came out on top?

The AIF split the rankings into two fields: overall performance and best wearable for key categories. I’ve popped them both below for you.

Top 5 best overall performance:

  1. Apple Watch
  2. Garmin Watch
  3. Fitbit Watch
  4. Samsung Galaxy Watch
  5. Whoop Strap

Best wearable across key capability categories:

  • Weight Loss – Apple Watch
  • Improving Overall Fitness – Garmin Watch
  • Learning to Run/Improving Running Performance – Garmin Watch
  • Sleep Monitoring – Whoop Strap
  • User-Friendliness – Apple Watch
  • Form and Comfort – Apple Watch
  • Accuracy of Tracking Data – Garmin Watch

Apple is clearly the leading device here, not only taking out top place in overall performance but getting a nod for its effectiveness in weight loss assistance, user-friendliness, form and comfort. Garmin followed in closely behind (only a 1.7% difference in popularity) taking out second place and gaining recognition for its use in running improvement and the accuracy of its tracking data – not bad!

If you’re keen on either of these devices, it’s worth noting that Kogan has dropped an Easter sale that includes Apple Watches, and the Garmin 010-02173-12 Venu is 22% off on Amazon at the time of writing. 

The survey found that the three most valued features in fitness tech are long battery life; user-friendly display and heart rate monitoring capability. While they didn’t pick winners in those categories specifically, they were considered in naming the top devices in overall performance.

So, our question here is: do you agree? Is the Apple Watch the king of the smartwatches, or are you a fan of a different kind of device?

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