The Apple Watch's Workout app is designed to track and measure your speed, distance, heartrate and calorie-burning performance while walking, running, cycling or using various exercise machines. Here's how to use all of its features and get fit fast.

We look at the Apple Watch's Activity app elsewhere, which tracks time spent moving, exercising, sitting and standing and helps you to aim for daily and longer-term goals. But for a specific cardio* workout, you need the, er, Workout app on your Apple Watch. We show how to use all the functions of Workout in this tutorial.

We'll show how to set a target in time, calories burned or distance, how to change the distance measurement from miles to kilometres, how to view your stats after the workout is complete and much more.

* Perhaps something has been lost in translation, but when I hear the word 'workout' I always think of a weights session. While there are a range of activity options in the Workout app, they're all cardio.

See also:

Apple Watch review | Complete guide to Apple Watch | Best Apple Watch apps | Best Apple Watch games

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Get started

Open the app (press the Digital Crown to go to the Home screen, then tap the green icon with the running man on it) and select the type of activity: run, cycle, row or whatever. Just tap the option you want.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Select type of workout

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Set a calorie target, time or distance to aim for

This takes you to a screen where you set the calorie-burn or (if you swipe left) the time target for the workout. Set the figure you want to aim for by scrolling up and down with the Digital Crown.

In certain cases (the walking and running options, basically) you can also set a distance to aim for - the Apple Watch can't tell how far you've gone on the rowing or elliptical machine for obvious reasons. If you want to set a distance rather than time goal, swipe left once more and specify the number of miles you plan to run or walk.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Set target distance

In future you'll be able to select the distance you ran last time without having to scroll through the numbers again.

(Want to know how to set a distance target on the Apple Watch in kilometres instead of miles? Press firmly on the display while you're on the distance set screen and then tap the KM icon.)

How to change Apple Watch Workout app from miles to kilometres

Swipe left one more time to start exercising without a target to aim for - a sort of free session. Your performance will still be measured, of course.

Tap Start to begin your workout.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: View progress during your workout

By default the Workout app shows progress towards your goal (if you specified one) as a ring on the lefthand side of the screen - as on the Activity app, the ring fills in clockwise and a complete ring represents a completed target.

The time of day (rather than the time you've been running for) is show at the top right, the type of workout is shown top left, and your current running/walking pace, as a time per mile, is shown at the bottom.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Default stats

Above: the little bliue dot on the left is the beginning of a ring that will indicate progress towards your goal

But these are the default settings. Here's how to change the measurements shown on the Workout app's display.

If you want to show the numerical measurement of your progress towards the goal rather than the ring, you need to open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, scroll down and tap the Workout icon, then tap 'Show Goal Metric' so that it turns green. The ring will be replaced with a number, in miles, calories or minutes.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Change visible stats

Changing the other information displayed around the screen during your workout is much easier - simply swipe left or right on the bottom element, or tap on the top-right element, to see other options. Tapping the time of day at top-right, for instance, will cycle through speed (in time per mile again) and the time you've been exercising.

The Workout app will automatically remember the display options you select. The next time you start the same type of activity, the Apple Watch will show the same metrics.

Read more Apple Watch tutorials:

How to set up a new Apple Watch | How to make Apple Watch battery last longer | How to use Siri on Apple Watch | How to use Digital Touch on Apple Watch | How to reply to a text on Apple Watch | How to answer a call on Apple Watch | How to change watch faces on Apple Watch | How to use the Music app on Apple Watch | How to use Maps on Apple Watch | How to use the Apple Watch Activity app | How to use the Apple Watch Workout app | How to take a screenshot on Apple Watch

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Pause or finish a workout, and see how you did

At any point you can press firmly on the screen, and you'll get the option to End or Pause.

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: End workout

This screen also shows your goal, and how close you are to completing it, which may help motivate you to keep going for a bit longer.

If you've paused, you'll be starting again in a bit; but if you've finished you can scroll down (using the Digital Crown) to view full stats for your workout: calories burned, average pace and heart rate, and the rest of it. Scroll right to the bottom and tap Save if you want to add the data to the Activity app. (It will also be sent to the Health app automatically.) 

How to use the Apple Watch Workout app: Do I need to take my iPhone with me on my workout?

Not necessarily, but Apple recommends it for accuracy. (After you've done a few runs with both iPhone and Apple Watch, the latter will apparently start to learn your stride and running style and will be able to make accurate estimates of distance run without bring the iPhone along.)