How to Add Workout to Apple Watch Manually (watchOS 9)

Learn how to manually add a workout to Apple Watch if you forgot to wear your watch, how to start a workout, and how to add a new type of workout.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

If you forgot to hit the start button on your Apple Watch or you left your watch behind during a workout, don't worry! You can still manually add a workout to Apple Watch via the Health app. We'll show you how to start a workout on the Apple Watch, how to add a workout to Apple Watch manually, and how to add new workout types to your Apple Watch activities list.

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How to Add a Workout to Apple Watch Manually

To add a workout to your Apple Watch after a workout has concluded, you'll need to enter it in the Health app. If you're actually hoping to learn how to start a workout on Apple Watch, skip to the next section! For now, here's how to manually record an Apple Watch workout:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.

  2. Select the Browse tab.

    Select the Browse tab - add missed workout to apple watch
  3. Tap Activity.

    Tap Data - how to add exercise to apple watch
  4. Tap Workouts.

    Tap Workouts - how to add a workout to apple watch
  5. Tap Add Data in the top-right corner of the screen.

  6. Tap Activity Type and select the activity from the menu at the bottom of your display.

    Tap Activity Type
  7. Next, enter the number of calories and distance. If you need help, you can use a Calories Burned Calculator such as this one

    Next, enter the number of calories.
  8. Finally, select the start and stop times.

    Finally, select the start and stop times.
  9. When you’re finished, tap Add.

    Tap Add.

Now you know how to add exercises to Apple Watch! Did you know that adding workouts manually can help you beat your friends if you are in an Apple Watch competition with them. Learn how to invite friends to compete here.

Now the data from the workout you forgot to track from your Apple Watch will be counted toward your fitness and activity goals on Apple Watch! You can also learn more about iPhone and Apple Watch features by signing up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. To see an example of a tip we would send, check out how to create a custom workouts list on your Apple Watch. If you're wondering how to start a workout on Apple Watch, keep reading.

How to Start a Workout on Apple Watch

If you're about to start a workout and want it to count toward your Apple Watch Activity, you'll need to track it in the Apple Watch Workout app. But first, if you've been having trouble with your Apple Watch not counting exercise minutes properly or another issue, you may want to troubleshoot that issue prior to continuing. Here's how to start a workout on Apple Watch:

  1. Open the Workout app on your Apple Watch.

    Open the Workout app on your Apple Watch
  2. Scroll through the workout types to find the one you want. Once you see the workout you want to start, you have two options.

    Tap the workout to begin immediately
  3. To track the workout without setting time or other settings, simply tap the workout and it will start automatically.

    Your workout will begin after a short countdown
  4. To set time, distance, or calories before you begin your workout, tap on the three dots.

    Tap the three dots to adjust the workout settings
  5. Scroll through the menu to select options like time, distance, or calories.

    Scroll through the options to select options like time, distance, or calories.
  6. To begin a workout based on one of these parameters, just tap it.

    To begin a workout based on one of these parameters, just tap it.
  7. To customize the parameters like distance or time, tap the pencil icon next to the option you want to customize.

    To customize the parameters like distance or time, tap the Pencil icon next to the option you want to customize.
  8. From here, you can make customizations to your workout, enable or disable alerts, or change the way you view your workout on the Apple Watch. I'll show you how to edit the Time setting. 

    From here, you can make customizations to your workout, enable or disable alerts, or change the way you view your workout on the Apple Watch.
  9. Scroll through the hour and minute options to make changes to that setting.

    Scroll through the hour and minute options to make changes to that setting.
  10. Tap Done when you're finished making customizations.

    Tap Done when you're finished making customizations.

Go back to Outdoor Run Suggested view, or whichever workout you prefer, and tap on a workout parameter to follow, or simply begin the workout by returning to the Workout app home page on the Apple Watch. Your workout will begin after a brief countdown. If you have any issues logging your exercise minutes, check out how to troubleshoot your Apple Watch.

Related: How to Improve Calorie Tracking Accuracy on Apple Watch

How to Add a New Workout to your Apple Watch

If you didn't find your preferred workout from the list of activities in the section above, don't panic! There are more activity options that are available on your Apple Watch but they remain hidden because they are less popular and seeing too many in your list can be overwhelming. Read this to learn how to add more activities to your workouts list!

Have you ever wondered, "Why didn't my Apple Watch track my exercise?" Human and machine errors can occur, but now you know how to add a workout to Apple Watch manually! Don't forget that you can see all your Apple Watch workouts in the Fitness app and have your steps displayed on your watch face for even better insight. Plus, check this out to learn how to get better Apple Watch calorie accuracy to maximize your fitness experience.  

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Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.