If you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you may have experienced issues with your fitness tracker for CrossFit accurately tracking your workout. For years many fitness tracking devices couldn’t keep up with the high-intensity moves that make up a CrossFit workout. Chances are you may have had gaps in the data, which makes tracking your progress and fitness level a lot more challenging.
Fitness tracking devices have been available to consumers since the early 2000s, with the first wearable devices available as early as 2006. While technology has come a long way in the fitness world, there are still some watches that aren’t up to snuff when it comes to the intensity of CrossFit.
In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of using a watch for CrossFit, the major brands and their features, and ultimately answer the question, “what is the best watch for Crossfit?”
What Is Crossfit?
Crossfit is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that combines strength training with gymnastics and HIIT cardio. These movements not only build muscle and strength but also increase stamina and improve flexibility.
This type of fitness regimen consists of functional movements that you do every day – squatting, jumping, lifting, and stretching. However, CrossFit leverages these movements into a workout by increasing speed or distance and adding heavier weights.
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For many, Crossfit isn’t just a workout. It’s a lifestyle and has an almost cult-like following. Perhaps it’s the variety in workouts. Or maybe it’s the sense of community and the spirit of friendly competition that keeps everyone motivated and interested. One thing is certain – CrossFit is wildly popular and a fun way to change up your existing workout routine or begin living a healthier lifestyle.
Benefits of CrossFit
Now that we know what CrossFit is, let’s dive into some of the benefits.
Improved agility and balance
As we age, our bodies need more support in performing everyday activities. Since CrossFit workouts often mimic the movements made in everyday life, this type of workout can improve agility and balance, reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall quality of life as you age.
Manage your weight and burn more calories
On average, CrossFit workouts may help you burn more calories than other workouts. You may also continue burning calories during the recovery period.
If your goal is to lose weight, following a healthy diet in addition to your workout regimen is always a solid plan.
Improves physical strength and stamina
The high-intensity movements may help increase muscle strength and improve stamina. Adding heavier weights to your workouts can increase muscle gain.
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The workout of the day, or WOD, is a CrossFit program signature and provides participants the opportunity to challenge their muscles. Typically, a new set of exercises are posted each day, and your goal is to complete as many repetitions of each exercise as possible in a set amount of time.
Is CrossFit Safe for Everyone?
Since CrossFit is a high-intensity workout, the risk for injuries does increase slightly.
If you’re starting out, it’s best to work with a trained fitness professional. They can help make sure you’re using the proper form, not lifting more weight than you can handle, and ensure that you’re not moving through the movements too quickly. All of which can lead to injuries if you’re not careful.
You should avoid starting CrossFit if you’re pregnant or if you have an injury or other serious health concerns. In these situations, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before beginning CrossFit.
Best Watch Features for CrossFit
When searching for the best CrossFit watch, how do you decide which one is worth spending your money on?
In this section, we’ll discuss the key features to consider when deciding.
If you’re looking to track your fitness, the last thing you want is for your watch to die out mid-workout. And charging your watch every day after your workout will no doubt become a hassle.
No matter the other features you’re looking for in a watch, battery life should be at the top of the list.
On average, the best smartwatches offer around 40 hours of tracking off of a single charge. And some models continue to work well off of a single charge for up to 14 days.
Most CrossFit participants want to be able to properly track, monitor, and analyze their workout data to help improve their performance.
At a minimum, a good quality smart watch should offer heart rate monitoring. There are many wearable tracking devices that can do this but why would you opt to wear additional monitors if you can find a watch that has this functionality built-in?
And although it’s helpful that many fitness watches include a pedometer, you want to be sure the watch you choose tracks the entirety of your CrossFit workout.
That being said, you’ll want to look for a watch that can also track weightlifting metrics such as weight sizes and reps.
With all of the advanced features available these days, it can be easy to overlook that it’s still a watch and should be comfortable enough that it doesn’t feel like a burden to wear.
First, it should fit properly. This is where an adjustable strap can make all the difference because you’ll be able to choose a fit that’s neither too loose nor too tight.
You’ll also want to be sure to choose a CrossFit watch that’s the right weight for your build. Even though watches aren’t necessarily heavy, some do weigh a little more than others and may be on the bulky side.
While most decent CrossFit watches offer a high level of accuracy with their tracking data, not all do.
If you’re simply looking to get a good glimpse of your performance or compare several workouts, most of the watches in this article fit the bill.
If you need your tracking accuracy to be on-point, then you may want to focus on some of the models offered by Garmin, Apple, and Polar.
Since even the most affordable smartwatches can cost hundreds of dollars, the last thing you want is a product that doesn’t stand the test of time. You need a strong and durable watch that will last.
To ensure that you’re getting the most value for your money, you want to look for options like crack-resistant screens, water-resistant, as well as a sturdy band.
And it’s never a bad idea to look for a watch with a warranty, just to be safe.
Rest and sleep are crucial to your body’s ability to recover between workouts.
With the data provided from a fitness tracker, you’ll be able to gain valuable insight into your body’s needs which can help you to kick butt in future workouts or to determine if you need a rest day or a less strenuous workout.
Finding a smartwatch that offers this type of monitoring can be incredibly useful for tracking your recovery and wellness.
How Do I Know Which Fitness Tracker Is The Best For Me?
When considering purchasing a fitness tracker for Crossfit, you need to consider a few things.
First, you’ll want to consider your activity level and your personal fitness goals.
Some trackers like the Fitbit Charge 5 and Whoop 4.0 work well for serious athletes looking to gain insight into their sleep and recovery.
However, you should look for a watch that fits your lifestyle and budget as well as the features that are most important to you.
One thing to keep in mind is that you get what you pay for, generally speaking. Again, decide on your budget and which features you’re willing to compromise on if you decide to spend less.
CrossFit Watch Brands
Now that you know what CrossFit is, its benefits, and the smartwatch features that can help you meet your fitness goals, let’s talk about the brands and what they offer.
Garmin has been a leader in the fitness tracking watch industry for a long time. They began offering high-quality GPS-enabled watches well before most of their competitors.
Garmin watches are typically feature-rich. Even though Garmin may not be the best brand out there, you’d be hard-pressed to find a competitor who can match their innovative products.
The GPS Garmin app offers handy features such as Garmin track and Garmin pay, in addition to other enhanced features, depending on the model you choose.
There are several Garmin watch for CrossFit models. On the high-end of the price spectrum is the Garmin Fenix 7.
This watch comes with the ability to connect to the Garmin Cross Training app which comes with timers that are customizable for CrossFit training and WODs (workouts of the day). It tracks and saves your workouts, allowing you to see your workout and improve upon it the next time you do a similar workout.
The Fenix also has a Pulse Ox feature which monitors oxygen saturation in your body. This particular metric will help you to know when to rest and recover so that you don’t overexert and injure yourself.
Two other models of note are the Forerunner 945 and the Vivoactive 4S. These are more affordable options yet they offer similar features to the Fenix, including the ability to pair with Garmin Connect, heart rate, and PulseOx monitoring.
Apple has been another leader in wearable fitness technology with its watch series since about 2014. They’ve helped folks become more active, motivated, and connected than ever.
The Apple Watch Series 7 features include the Always On Retina display, which allows you to see the display without having to tap the watch face mid-workout. The watch face displays the training session length, the number of calories burned, and your average heart rate.
This Apple watch also has a Functional Fitness setting that tracks and stores your heart rate from multiple workouts, allowing you to track your progress and make adjustments as necessary.
Perhaps one of the cooler features is that you’re able to take an ECG from your wrist!
In the newly released Apple Watch Series 8, you’ll find some new and useful fitness features. This includes two customizable workout screens. There are also optional displays for your heart rate zones, activity rings, elevation, and running power.
Lastly, WatchOS 9 allows you to customize your workouts. You can set goals based on distance or time and add cooldowns to your routine.
Polar is another giant in the wearable fitness tech realm. They’re a smartwatch brand that shines when it comes to accurate tracking. They offer six different series of watches – tailored for athletes of all levels and interests.
Two of the models that stand out for CrossFit are the Vantage and Ignite.
Both the Vantage and Ignite include Precision Prime Sensor Fusion technology which offers the most accurate heart rate monitoring of any brand out there.
And it’s not just accuracy that makes this brand stand out from the crowd.
The Vantage V comes with two awesome programs pre-loaded – Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro.
These apps will provide you with invaluable insights into the intensity of your workouts and your recovery, which will help you to gauge when to take a day off or reduce the intensity.
The Ignite can be paired with the Polar Flow app which will store your last session’s data, monitor and track your heart rate, track your CrossFit workouts, and monitor and track your sleep and recovery.
The Nightly Recharge feature will help you to ensure you don’t burn out, letting you know when it’s time to rest. You can also customize your training sessions.
Fitbit has been a leader in the wearable tech world since 2007. This brand is largely responsible for igniting the wearables trend.
Today’s Fitbit has come a long way from just counting your steps. They’re much more advanced and cater to all levels of users.
On the higher end of the price spectrum, we have the Fitbit Sense and the Versa 3. Both models are feature-rich and offer in-depth exercise and sleep stats, including 24/7 heart rate tracking, built-in GPS, PulseOx readings, water-resistant, and excellent battery life.
The Sense also tracks your mental state as well as your physical activity. This smartwatch offers electrodermal activity (EDA) readings, which is a measurement of tiny electrical changes on the skin meant to indicate your stress levels.
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The Sense can also act as an ECG reader with the accompanying app.
Fitbit also offers several budget-friendly models that offer fabulous activity tracking with basic features, including the Versa 2, the Fitbit Charge 5, and the Inspire 2. You just need to decide which features you can do without, like a big screen or built-in GPS.
Samsung premiered its first wearable smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, back in 2013. Since then, they’ve introduced several new variants but the Galaxy Gear still left a lot to be desired for fitness enthusiasts.
Fast forward to 2018 when the Galaxy Watch series was unveiled. The new watches now offered improvements in style and durability as well as new health and fitness sensors.
Today we have the Galaxy Watch Active as a strong competitor in the fitness tracking world. This watch offers a 1.4″ AMOLED display and outstanding tracking capabilities.
You can easily track your WOD because the Galaxy Watch Active automatically detects up to 7 different exercises. It also detects up to 39 other movements. So this is ideal for CrossFit enthusiasts.
Some other features include heart rate and sleep monitoring, it’s water resistant, and you can pair it with your Android or Apple device so you can access and control your music, all at an affordable price point.
When choosing the best watch for CrossFit, there are many things to consider. Which features are most important? What metrics or activities do you want to track? What’s your budget?
Whatever you’re looking for, keep in mind that smartwatches are supposed to make your life easier so that you can spend less time tinkering with your tech and more time giving it your all during your next workout.