THE TASK: Apple wanted to get their new Series 3 watch in front of women and highlight its many different functions.
THE RESPONSE: A ‘Feel Better In A Week’ challenge, where five influencers and writers, each with a different need – be it sleep deprived, stressed or in an exercise rut – put the watch and its features through its paces and recorded what happened.
THE CREATIVE: The influencers/writers tested to see if the watch could help them sleep, walk, exercise, feel calmer and more organised in seven days. The campaign included pre- and post articles where the writers compared their results at the end of the challenge. Each one recorded their week on their personal social feeds (a daily diary on Instagram Stories, Twitter and Instagram updates), in tandem with The Pool UK social feeds. The Pool UK Instagram also featured highlights of each of the diaries throughout the week.
CAN A SMARTWATCH HELP ME DO MORE EXERCISE?
The wintry weather combined with a busy patch at work has left Lucy Dunn in a fitness rut. Can Apple Watch motivate her to get out there and workout more?
Just before Christmas, I had a rare running high. It was a crisp, sunny morning and I was out with my dog, Spud, crossing the fields near my house, and, for once, I was running. Not jogging. Not walk-jog-shuffling; not stopping to pretend I had a really important text so I could walk for a little bit. No, I was actually running, with some really good music blasting in my ears.
I must confess, though, this doesn’t happen very often. In fact, in the 10 years since I’ve been running, I can count these highs on one hand. But I don’t care – I love getting out. I love being in the fresh air, the feeling of accomplishment – of having “done” something with my Sunday morning.
I wish I could run every weekend but, more often than not, life gets in the way. Sometimes I have a three- or four-week gap between runs, and leaving it so long between outings makes my next run creaky, hard and not very enjoyable at all. If only I could just get out a little more, it would feel a little easier and maybe I would have more running highs. Maybe…
It hasn’t helped that this winter has been particularly bad. Recently, we’ve had four big dumps of snow where I live and this, combined with a busy patch at work, has meant my motivation levels are currently at an all-time low. I hate not exercising. I walk past a gym on my way into work every day and feel guilty every time I go past. I know I will always feel better if I do something, which is why I was first to put my hand up and volunteer to test Apple Watch for John Lewis for seven days – I’ve been told there are all sorts of functions and exercise apps I can upload for it that will encourage me to hit the gym with a spring in my step.
I am still too busy to run during the week – there’s never any time and we don’t have a shower at work – so I’ve also signed up to ClassPass, with the intention of trying out some new gym classes. The idea is to fit in a couple of 30-minute workouts – during my lunch hour and/or on my way home from work, so my next weekend run doesn’t feel quite so creaky. I am thinking kettlebells, maybe some TRX Suspension or some mini trampolining, but whatever my mood takes. And, maybe one morning this week, I will even get up half an hour early to do some yoga. Could Apple Watch be enough to get me out of my warm, cosy bed and onto the mat? Here’s hoping…
Apple Watch Series 3 is available at John Lewis, with prices starting at £329
CAN A SMARTWATCH HELP ME TO EXERCISE MORE? THE VERDICT
Last week, Lucy Dunn challenged Apple Watch to help her get out of a winter exercise rut. Here’s what happened
I love exercising. I love getting sweaty, the feeling that I have accomplished something and – it probably sounds perverse to say this – I also love the aches and pains the next day, because this tells me I have actually done a proper workout and not done my usual lurking at the back of the class, pretending to tie my shoelace. My only bugbear is that I don’t get to do it enough. Life very often gets in the way and this has especially been the case recently – after weeks of rubbish weather combined with a busy patch at work, working out has been put to the bottom of my priority list.
I feel slow, sluggish and not very good. Which is why, when John Lewis challenged The Pool to roadtest Apple Watch and see if we would feel better in a week, I jumped at the chance. Would it help me get more active? Would it genuinely help me or would it be another piece of tech I don’t need and that just gets in the way? Here’s how I got on:
I USED APPLE WATCH TO KEEP TRACK OF MY RUNNING
Firstly, let me say that I found Apple Watch comes with an excellent Workout app, which logs your timings, distance, heart rate, calories burnt etc of lots of different workouts. When it comes to running, however, I already have my favourite workout App called Strava, on which I have built up a history of runs. I like looking back on these from time to time, so I opted to use my Strava app on Apple Watch for my weekend run with Spud (my dog).
Apple Watch comes with its own Workout app or you can stick to one you already use. Using third-party apps still counts towards your Activity rings (see below), as they are all seamlessly integrated I’ve got running with the dog down to a fine art these days – I strap his lead to my bum bag, put on some music and off we go – although, when you’re all layered up to combat the cold, and are trying to run with iPhone, bumbag, headphones and dog lead, sometimes you can get in a bit of a tangle. So, on this occasion, just having to take out Apple Watch and some (wireless) Bluetooth headphones with me changed my run entirely!
It was so freeing, it almost made me run a bit faster – I stress, almost! And because I have the cellular version of Apple Watch Series 3, I
could still get important messages and calls on my wrist without taking my iPhone with me if I wished to.
I TREATED MYSELF (AND SPUD) TO A POST-RUN TREAT
I live near the centre of town and run past this lovely Italian deli on my way home that always has gorgeous coffee and baking smells wafting from it. Torture! I don’t like to carry money around with me, as it jangles in my bumbag, and if I carry notes or a card, I’m worried I might lose them. So, I found Apple Pay a total life changer – one touch of your Apple Watch on the contactless machine and you can pay for a coffee and cornetto (Italian croissant) and, of course, a dog biscuit for Spud, again without having to take my iPhone with me.
I FITTED IN WORKOUTS DURING MY BUSY MIDWEEK
I love starting the day with a bit of yoga, but I don’t love getting up early to do it. So, I tried this trick – as soon as you wake up, swing your feet out of bed and put them on the floor. This way you’re more likely to actually go through the motions of getting up. Also, rather than power up the computer to do my YouTube yoga video, which always seems to take an age, I downloaded an app called Pocket Yoga. While my phone talked me through the practice, the app on my wrist timed each pose. It meant I could listen and concentrate on what I was doing, rather than having to stop, come out of a pose and check my phone.
WHEN I COULDN’T WORK OUT, I MOVED
Apple Watch’s famous “Activity Rings” are a grower. The idea is that each day you have three rings to close – each ring represents how much you are standing, moving and exercising – the more you move, the more the rings shut. At first I couldn’t see the point, but early into the week, on a day when it looked like I wasn’t going to close the rings, I decided to walk home from the station instead of taking a taxi. Suddenly, I was hooked. Apple Watch will also remind you every so often to get up and move, and this helped when I had been stagnating at my desk too long and my concentration levels were waning, but my stress levels were growing.
I DID A GYM WORKOUT AND MONITORED MY HEART RATE
With the world’s-my-oyster feeling I got from signing up to ClassPass, I decided to give a workout called Rebounding a whirl. This is basically bouncing around on a mini trampoline to loud music for 45 minutes and really quite fun. Before I began the workout, I started up the Workout app on Apple Watch and checked my heart rate during my workout and also my recovery heart rate afterwards (which is a great indication of fitness levels). I’ve never got round to looking at, or working out, my heart rate before, so this was a first – I’d always thought it was just for people who are properly into working out (ie not me), but – lightbulb moment! – I found that it is a good way of just quickly checking how hard you are working out and if you need to push yourself a little more.
So, was Apple Watch a good fitness buddy? Yes, it was. It didn’t shout at me like a personal trainer would, but it enabled me to push myself a little more, freed me up so I could move faster and, most importantly, motivated me to move throughout the day. What’s more, I fitted more into this week than I have done for a long time. It got me out of my winter fitness rut and, for that, I have a lot to thank it for.
Apple Watch Series 3 is available at John Lewis, with prices starting at £329