How to Customize Apple Watch Workouts

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While any compatible fitness app can be used to track activities on the Apple Watch, the native Workout app provides a plethora of options. However, the default settings may not always be to your taste. This is especially true if you’re following a training plan, have specific goals in mind, or want to customize which metrics appear on the screen during your activity.

The good news is that you can completely customize the Workout app to meet your specific requirements. Here’s how to get going.


When you start an activity in the Workout app, it will default to a “open goal” session, which means you don’t have a specific goal in mind. And, because it’s the most adaptable option, there’s a reason it’s the default. However, it is not very useful if you want to work out for a specific amount of time, distance, or calorie goal.

To set a goal for the majority of activities:

  1. On your Apple Watch, launch the Workout app.
  2. Scroll down to the activity you want to do.
  3. Select the three-dotted button in the upper-right corner.
  4. Choose from Calorie, Time, or Open goals.
  5. Make the necessary changes to achieve your desired result.
  6. Press the Start button.

Distance goals can also be set for certain activities. Outdoor and indoor running, outdoor and indoor walking, outdoor cycling, outdoor and indoor swimming, and hiking are examples of these activities. The procedure is the same as described above.

You will also be able to set a Pace Alert while running outside. After one mile, this feature will notify you if you are ahead or behind a preset pace. You can do this for both your average and rolling speeds. Your average pace is the average of all the miles you’ve run. The term “rolling” refers to your current pace.

To enable this feature, go to:

  1. On your Apple Watch, launch the Workout app.
  2. Choose Outdoor Running.
  3. Select the three-dotted button in the upper-right corner.
  4. Scroll down to see the Open, Calorie, Time, and Distance objectives.
  5. Set Alert is the option.
  6. Choose your preferred speed.
  7. Choose whether you want the average or rolling pace alert.
  8. Choose from the Open, Calorie, Time, and Distance goals.
  9. Press the Start button.


If you swipe right during a workout, you’ll see the option to immediately begin another activity. Image courtesy of Apple

If you’re the type of person who does back-to-back workouts, you can save time while on the go. Instead of having to finish one activity before beginning another, you can jump right into it.

  1. Swipe right during a workout.
  2. Choose the “+ New” option.
  3. Choose the next workout you want to do.
  4. These steps can be repeated as many times as necessary.
  5. Swipe right when you’re done for the day.
  6. Choose the End option.
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of your workout summary.
  8. Done with the hit.


While some activities record splits automatically, these are usually at predetermined distances. As an example, consider running. The Workout app automatically records your mile splits. You may, however, want to mark your own segments. For example, if you’re doing fartleks, a type of unstructured speed training, you might want to keep track of when you changed speeds. Perhaps you’d prefer to know how you fared when running up a hill versus a flat stretch. Perhaps you’d like to keep track of laps on a track. This isn’t just limited to running. This may be useful for other activities such as cycling, HIIT, or even strength training.

Whatever the case may be, here’s how to make segments:

  1. Raise your wrist and double-tap the screen during your workout.
  2. A synopsis of that segment should appear.
  3. Rep as many times as necessary.
  4. Finish your workout as usual.
  5. Following the workout, you can view segment details in your iPhone’s Fitness app.


When you first launch the Workout app, you may be disappointed to discover that your favorite exercise isn’t included. Sure, you could select “other,” but Apple doesn’t show all of the possible workout types by default. So you can keep track of your barre class, a game of cricket, or even a session of Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure.

To view and add workout types, follow these steps:

  1. On your Apple Watch, launch the Workout app.
  2. Scroll down to the very bottom of the list.
  3. Select the Add Workout option.
  4. Choose Audio Workout if you want to try Apple’s Fitness Plus audio workouts, such as Time to Walk. (You must be a Fitness Plus subscriber to participate.)
  5. Alternatively, scroll down the list and choose your desired activity.

Keep in mind that there is no way to reorder the activities in the Workout app manually. Apple will automatically move your favorite activities to the top of the list over time.


When you check your progress during a workout, you may notice that you don’t like the default metrics chosen by Apple. That’s fine! You can change the default metrics to ones that are more appropriate for your needs. For example, if you’re on a hike, you might prefer to see your current elevation and pace rather than active calories and elevation gain.

To change the metrics displayed, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, launch the Watch app.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select the Workout app.
  3. Choose Workout View.
  4. Scroll to the desired activity.
  5. Tap Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  6. Tap the “-” icon to the right of the metrics you want to replace.
  7. Tap the Remove button.
  8. Tap the “+” icon for the metrics you want to include in the Do not include list.
  9. When you’re finished, press the Done button.

To change the order of the metrics displayed, do the following:

  1. Take the first five steps outlined above.
  2. Select the three-bar icon next to the metric you want to reorder.
  3. Drag the metric to the top or bottom of the list.
  4. When you’re finished, press the Done button.

That’s all there is to it. You should now be able to completely customize the native Workout app to your liking. Have fun working out! 


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