I am a big fan of data-driven fitness. I’ve been using some sort of a fitness tracking ecosystem for almost five years. Nothing motivates me more than a correctly recorded workout. This is why I was excited when Peloton1 finally announced integration with Apple Health.
I’ve never really explored the intricacies of Apple Health and usually each time an app that I use asked for access to it I just tapped “Turn all categories On” and moved on. The problem with Peloton, however, was that I tracked all of my Peloton workouts using Apple Watch for a year. The moment I enabled Apple Health integration, the Peloton app ended up recording all of the past exercises and it created duplicates in my Activity log:
This went back well over a year and I was pretty upset about it. I am very pedantic about the accuracy of my workout reports. Not to mention the confusion this oversight may create for other people that use 3rd party apps to analyze Apple Health data.
What is Apple Health?
Before we continue, it is worth explaining what “Apple Health” is. When I first switched from Fitbit to Apple Watch, I was disappointed in Apple Health. Fitbit’s app seemed so much more refined.
The difference, however, is that Apple Health is a hub that securely stores you Health Data. While you can use it to browse your data, it is not meant as your primary interface for analyzing it. Contrary to the typical Apple practice of locking users into its ecosystem, Apple relies on third-party apps to provide user interfaces for health data. Over time, I realize that it makes Apple Watch the most customizable and most powerful fitness tracker out there.
Configuring Apple Health data sources correctly
While the workout records are indeed duplicated, the health metrics data is not. Apple Health gracefully resolves duplicate metrics by prioritizing sources.
Find “Active Energy” screen in Apple Health under “Activity” and tap “Data Sources and Access”:
You will see a screen like this:
The Health app states that in case of duplicate data it prioritizes sources. In my case Apple Watch takes precedence. That means if I tracked the workout using my Apple Watch, as I usually do, the heart rate data and active energy metrics would be supplied by the Apple Watch only. The calorie count and heart rate data for the day will not be duplicated.
Let’s see what happens with the workout data. Go back to the main screen of the Apple Health app and tap “Sources.” Find “Peloton” and tap it:
Note that this screen shows up when you first configure Peloton (or any app) to access Apple Health. I personally prefer to track my workouts using Apple Watch, because not everything I do is on Peloton. If I paid attention the first time, I would’ve turned “Workouts” off for Peloton but enabled everything else. On the other hand, if you use an HR monitor band and you don’t track the workouts using Apple Watch it makes sense to turn Workouts on for Peloton.
Some final thoughts
I am still on the fence whether I want Peloton writing to my Apple Health. I am a power user, and I track everything using Apple Watch just the way I want. In the interest of exploring new features, I am keeping all categories turned on for the time being. Peloton does publish “mindfulness” minutes from meditation workouts, so even if I turn workout synchronization off completely, I am going to keep mindfulness data on.
- I am going to have a whole series of posts on data-driven fitness with Peloton ↩︎