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Workouts and exercises on Fitbit: A practical how-to guide

Learn how to tweak exercise shortcuts, customize workouts, and more on your Fitbit tracker.
By
August 5, 2022

Fitbit smartwatches and trackers are little powerhouses for those looking to improve their health and fitness levels. These devices track several activities, from running to swimming (if your Fitbit is waterproof) and beyond, and provide solid guidance and analysis post-workout. But how do you track exercise and activities on a Fitbit device? We explore the steps below, including additional information and tips to help you get the most out of Fitbit’s exercise tracking features.

QUICK ANSWER

Open the Exercise app on your Fitbit smartwatch or tracker, find the activity that matches your planned workout, then start the workout on your device.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS


How to start a workout on your Fitbit

Fitbit Versa 2 apps

Your Fitbit tracker can monitor your workout progress for various activities using its Exercise app. Initiating a workout differs slightly from tracker to tracker, but we’ve included instructions for all the major devices in the Fitbit lineup below.

See also: The best Fitbit smartwatches and trackers

Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

  1. From the home screen, swipe left until you see the Exercise app. Tap it to open it.
  2. Scroll through the exercise shortcuts and tap one to begin it.
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access exercise settings and adjust exercise goals.
  4. Tap the play icon to begin your workout.

After initiating an exercise, the Versa 3 and Sense feature a nifty three-second countdown feature. Additionally, you may see a “connecting” dialog on the screen before starting some workouts. This is the watch attempting to lock on to a GPS signal. There’s no need to wait for the devices to connect to GPS, but we recommend that you do.

Our verdict: Fitbit Sense review | Fitbit Versa 3 review

Fitbit Versa 2, Versa, and Versa Lite

  1. From the home screen, swipe left until your see the Exercise app. Tap it to open it.
  2. Scroll through the exercise shortcuts and tap one to begin it. Tap More if your exercise isn’t listed.
  3. Tap the Goal button to set a goal. You can choose between Active Zone Minutes, Distance, Time, or Calories.
  4. Tap the Gear icon in the top-right of the screen to adjust more settings, including Show Laps, Zone Notifications, etc.
  5. Tap Start to begin the workout.

Notably, you’ll need to have your phone on hand for some workouts if you own a Fitbit Versa 2, Versa, or Versa Lite, as these three devices feature connected GPS support.

Fitbit Charge 5 and Luxe

  1. Swipe left or right from the home screen until you reach the Exercise app. Swipe up to open it and browse through the available exercises.
  2. Tap an exercise to select it.
    • You can also swipe up to access additional settings on this screen, including GPS and Heart Rate Zone Alerts.
  3. Tap the play icon to begin the workout.

See also: Fitbit Charge 5 review

Fitbit Charge 4

  1. Swipe left or right from the home screen until you reach the Exercise app. Tap it to open it.
  2. Swipe right to browse exercises and tap to select one.
    • You can also swipe up to access additional settings, including GPS and Heart Rate Zone Alerts.
  3. Tap Set Goal to adjust your exercise goals (Distance, Time, Calories, Zone Minutes), or tap Start to access the workout’s start screen.
  4. Tap the play button to begin the workout.

Fitbit Inspire 2

  1. Swipe right from the clock until you reach the Exercise app. Tap it to open it.
  2. Swipe right to browse exercises, and tap on one to select it.
  3. Tap the play icon to begin an exercise.

Which exercises can my Fitbit track?

fitbit versa 2 exercise shortcuts
Andy Walker / Android Authority

Fitbit’s exercise app tracks more than 20 activities. The full list is as follows:

  • Bike
  • Bootcamp
  • Circuit training
  • Elliptical
  • Golf
  • Hike
  • Interval workout
  • Kickboxing
  • Martial arts
  • Outdoor workout
  • Pilates
  • Run
  • Spinning
  • Stairclimber
  • Swim
  • Tennis
  • Treadmill
  • Walk
  • Weights
  • Workout
  • Yoga

While Fitbit recommends choosing an activity that best suits your planned workout, you can also select the catch-all Workout option for general activities.

See also: The best workout apps and exercise apps for Android

How to activate automatic exercise tracking

fitbit sense review gps connecting
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

We’re forgetful creatures, so, understandably, sometimes you may forget to activate a walk or running exercise. However, most Fitbit smartwatches and trackers can automatically track some activities even if you forgot to select that exercise on your device.

The Fitbit Sense, Versa series, Charge 5, and Charge 4 open the Exercise app automatically if they detect running activity.

To adjust which exercises are automatically tracked:

  1. Open the Fitbit app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down to the Exercise tile, and tap it.
  3. Tap the Gear icon in the top right of the display.
  4. Here you can adjust auto-recognition settings for each workout. Here, you can also change the amount of time before an exercise is automatically recognized.

Activities automatically tracked by Fitbit devices include:

  • Aerobic workout
  • Elliptical
  • Outdoor bike
  • Run
  • Sports
  • Swim
  • Walk

How to customize your Fitbit exercise shortcuts

Fitbit’s trackers can monitor more than 20 exercise activities, but it’s unlikely you’ll need to have them all readily available. That’s why Fitbit lets users add up to seven exercises to a shortcuts list on some devices.

To customize your Fitbit exercise options:

  1. Open the Fitbit app on your phone.
  2. Tap the Today tab.
  3. Tap your profile picture, then select your device.
  4. Tap the Exercise Shortcuts option.
  5. Finally, tap the + icon at the top-right of the screen to add exercises to your shortcuts list. You can also remove exercises you down need by swiping left on that shortcut and tapping Delete.

Organizing your exercise shortcuts will make finding and initiating your commonly used workouts easier and quicker.

Notably, the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3 do not feature this option, as these devices do not have a shortcuts list. Older Fitbit Versa models also list all exercises within the Exercise app.

See also: The most common Fitbit problems and how to fix them

FAQs

Theoretically, yes. Using the Interval Workout option in the Exercise app, users can set up high intensity and rest intervals. To adjust the length of these intervals, open the Fitbit app on your phone, tap your profile image, and tap your device. Scroll down to Exercise Shortcuts, then tap Interval Workout. Here, you can set intervals for Move and Rest periods or the number of times those intervals repeat. Fitbit Premium, the company’s subscription service, also includes designed HIIT programs for beginners and more serious users.

Yes. Within the Fitbit app on your phone, tap the Discover tab. Scroll to the Workouts tab and tap See All. Scroll down to Free At-Home Workouts, and tap See All once more. Notably, Fitbit Premium includes several additional workouts, but you’ll need to pay $79 per year to access these programs.

Yes, you can use a Fitbit smartwatch or tracker for weight loss. They feature exercise monitoring for a bevy of activities, as well as a food consumption and calorie intake log.

Fitbit Premium offers subscribers premium workout videos, guided programs, insights into your health, the Daily Readiness Score, and a more granular Health Metrics dashboard. These are great value adds for those keen to better their fitness, but they’re by no means necessary especially considering that $79 annual fee. However, several Fitbit devices come with a free trial — the Inspire 2 includes year-long access to Premium.

Our favorite Fitbit fitness tracker is the Charge 5, with its excellent color screen, new sensors, and comfortable fit. We believe the Fitbit Versa 3 is the best value-for-money Fitbit smartwatch, but the Sense is great for those who crave even more sensors and data.

Yes – popular apps like Strava and Apple Health can be synced with your Fitbit so your activities are accessible there, too. Some popular apps don’t sync, though, like Nike Run Club and Garmin Connect.