The latest generation of smartwatches don’t just track performance in the gym. With heart rate, sleep, stress and recovery insights, you can now take charge of every aspect of your health.

Whatever your ambitions, here are the best timepieces to help you train smarter, recover quicker and stay in tune with your body.

best fitness watches Men's Fitness UK

MF BEST BUY:
Polar Ignite
£174.50, polar.com/uk

Knowing what to do – and when to do it – is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to fitness. The Polar Ignite picks up that gauntlet with a budget-friendly watch that won’t just guide you through a decent bodyweight workout on screen, but also tell you how hard you should push. It even recommends if there’s a smarter session you should do, based on your body’s vitals.

The Ignite’s Nightly Recharge feature uses the built-in optical heart rate sensor to monitor your heart rate variability and your autonomic nervous system overnight, and reveals how well your body has bounced back from the previous day’s exertions, be that a 10k run or a full-on day at work.

Those recovery insights, along with your sleep data, then power the FitSpark workout tool that suggests a session your body is ready to tackle, based on what’s actually going on under the hood.

There’s motivational help, too, with different drills across cardio, core or mobility, so you can hit your daily goals while keeping things fresh.

The Ignite is deliberately stripped back and minimal, with just one button to keep it light and comfortable – vital if you’re going to wear it 24/7 to unlock the sleep and recharge insights. As a result, it’s heavily reliant on the touchscreen, which can be fiddly and won’t please everyone.

You get 17 hours of training time in GPS mode from a single charge, though to save battery the screen has a raise-to-wake setup that can be slow to respond. You can switch to always-on mode during workouts but not during general use.

There are dozens of workout-specific sport modes for everything from Les Mills Grit to spinning, swim-proofing plus all the usual activity tracking with steps, calories and continuous heart rate. And for under £180, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more capable fitness tool.
Motivation: 4/5
Ease of use: 3.5/5
Insights: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

best men's fitness watches Men's Fitness UK

MF RECOMMENDED:
Apple Watch Series 5
From £399, apple.com/uk

It’s never likely to compete with the sport-specific running, swimming or cycling trackers, but the Apple Watch’s all-round fitness skills improve with every edition and it’s still by far the best smartwatch you can buy.

The new fifth-generation watch packs plenty of features to satisfy anyone in pursuit of general fitness. That includes automatic workout detection for running, swimming and cycling, clever syncing and stats sharing with your gym’s cardio equipment, the much-loved – and incredibly addictive – Activity Rings, plus an estimated VO2 Max reading that shows whether your cardio fitness is on the up.

It’s also now easier to track your fitness trends with comparisons of your last 90-day averages to performance over the past 365 days. Plus the latest edition comes with an always-on display, so you can see your workout metrics at all times without sacrificing battery life.

Throw in the ECG monitor, built-in music player and access to all those third party fitness apps like Sworkit, MyFitnessPal and Strava, and you’ve got a very talented general fitness tool. (For anyone on a tighter budget, the Series 3 now packs a lot of similar fitness punch for just £199.)
Motivation: 4/5
Ease of use: 3.5/5
Insights: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

best men's fitness watches Men's Fitness UK

Garmin Forerunner 945
£519, garmin.com

The Forerunner 945’s suite of multi-sport features is almost unparalleled. Built-in GPS and optical heart rate track your every move mid-session for up to ten hours.

Post-workout, you get feedback on the training effect of your graft, your cumulative training load, VO2 Max and a suggested recovery time.

Music is covered with phone-free Spotify and it even does automatic rep counting and rest timing, though we’d be lying if we said those were perfect.
Motivation: 4/5
Ease of use: 3.5/5
Insights: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

best men's fitness watches Men's Fitness UK

Fitbit Versa 2
£199.99, fitbit.com

Another smartwatch with fitness skills, the Alexa-enabled Versa 2 is best suited to those dipping a toe into fitness rather than the marginal gains crew.

You get built-in heart rate and GPS, 15 exercise modes and automatic workout tracking for swimming and running, plus training assistance in the form of guided workouts and sleep stage tracking.

Your post-workout stats are sadly a bit limited and there’s no phone-free playback, which is a shame.
Motivation: 4/5
Ease of use: 3/5
Insights: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

best men's fitness watches Men's Fitness UK

Whoop 3.0
£120 for a six-month subscription, whoop.com

Anyone who takes their training seriously knows that recovery is just as important as putting the work in, and the screenless Whoop Strap 3.0 is your wearable defence against strain.

It tracks your cardiovascular output during a session, your resting heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep quality overnight, and spits out a recovery score each day, so you can see whether you’re primed and ready for an intense workout or should dial it back to avoid injury.
Motivation: 4/5
Ease of use: 3.5/5
Insights: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5