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I just bought an applewatch 4 and I want to use it for exercise. So I am scouring the online resources. However, the workout apps allow you to "set a goal" and "show a report".

What I want to use it for is to help me regulate my effort continuously so that I can burn the desired level of calories, run the desired distance or run for the desired length of time **while maintaining the ideal HR **.

I remember from gym class that you could get better conditioning training by actually relaxing the tempo so that the aerobic metabolism and respiration exchange was breaking even. For someone who is not in good shape, this would mean to slow down to a walk preemptively.

Was this a myth? Why isn't this a thing with all the smartwatches? Why do I have have to set a target HR? Shouldn't the workout apps figure this out by measuring my efforts?

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    I have never been a fan of basing workouts on a metric that can be affected simply by having extra caffeine or similar trivial variance. Calorie burn in running is pretty much weight and distance based. All other factors are basically irrelevant. Running a mile means you burn X calories, whether you do that in 6 minutes or 16 minutes. – JohnP Apr 4 at 14:03
  • Sure, if the goal is calorie burn instead of cardio. And, yes, just two numbers don't seem enough for such an application to "coach" somebody. But an intelligent application should be able to identify a constant offset (caffeine) and still see when you are ramping over to anaerobic and such. – Tormod Apr 6 at 9:16
  • anaerobic will last for a max of 20-30 seconds. Your hr won't really even have time to respond. And, as you get tired, hr climbs. Does that mean you are burning more calories at the end of a workout that the beginning, just because your hr is higher? – JohnP Apr 7 at 12:41
  • Precisely why I want the app to watch multiple exercises and learn where I am at. And also why a hard limit that doesn't consider the training session as a whole sounds sub optimal. – Tormod Apr 8 at 12:47
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By conditioning I assume that you are talking about VO2 max which is approximated nicely by the Cooper test. Interval training is the best way to increase your Cooper score. Here is my heart rate as a function of time from an interval training session I did: enter image description here
The software that comes with my pulse watch (Polar) classifies this as interval training and states that this workout increased my VO2max. I believe the criteria for this is the amount of time spent in yellow and red pulse zone. The way I use the pulse watch during workout is that I make sure I enter the red pulse zone (90 percent of max pulse) towards the end of each interval.

  • Yes, I am talking about cardio benefits. My confusion is that it seems that the available applications are mostly about allowing you to manually set target zones etc. It surprises me that there is so little recommendations/smartness/coaching utilities listed on the feature lists. – Tormod Apr 4 at 9:47

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