Technology can help. After all, since muscle weighs more than fat, you could be getting towards your goal and not know it because your bathroom scales don’t reveal your muscle mass or fat content.

And knowledge is power: just guessing that you’re walking or running more is nowhere near as useful as being able to know that your step count has doubled or your calorie burn is 20% up.


This is an important feature and all the trackers and smartwatches here are suitable for swimming or showering. Some are waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, but all are fine at surface water levels.

Best smartwatches

The smartwatch is the most discreet way to wear a fitness tracker, masquerading as a regular timepiece but offering much more health monitoring.

Apple Watch Series 4

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This is the best Apple Watch yet and the best fitness wearable, thanks to its stunning design, ultimate usability and simple but rich fitness capabilities. Apple has created a three-ring design. The inner ring is blue and ensures you stand at least once an hour. If you’ve been sitting, you’ll get a nudge at 50 minutes past the hour. The middle ring is green: to complete this ring you need 30 minutes of brisk exercise. The outer ring is the toughest to complete. You need to burn a number of active calories during the day. Active calories are the ones you burn in addition to, you know, breathing, eating, talking and so on. You set the target yourself but it can still be a challenge to do it seven days a week.

Fitbit Versa

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The second smartwatch from Fitbit is slickly designed and elegant. It has much smoother edges and the rounded shape is a big improvement on the Fitbit Ionic which came first. Fitbit is known for its accurate measurements. The Versa is more affordable than the earlier Ionic and, though this is subjective, better-looking.

No surprise that this watch focuses on exercise and fitness, including onscreen workouts and accurate outdoor run tracking, for instance, thanks to the GPS chip. It also has advanced heart-rate monitoring capabilities. You can store songs on the watch as well, to listen via Bluetooth headphones. The Versa is also lightweight enough to wear overnight and has good sleep tracking features. Battery life is three to four days.

Withings Steel HR Sport Black

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Though this is a smartwatch, it has real analog hands on a proper watch face. Both of which make it an elegant and attractive timepiece, and perhaps the subtlest gadget to wear, as it looks like a regular watch. A second dial on the face measures your steps (in percentage terms so nobody can see exactly what your step target is. There’s also a small digital OLED screen which shows your heart rate and other measurements. There’s a sensor here to measure VO2 Max which relates to how much oxygen you use when you’re exercising. Not many smartwatches have this feature.

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