Fitness Rings on iPhone

Silly question. I seem to think I had the Fitness app with iOS 15, but I noticed it again after the update to iOS 16. But I don’t really get it.

Apparently it’s not retroactive. It sees the Garmin Connect app where my bike rides, hikes and walks are recorded. I can see dots on the Rings calendar that correspond to workouts in Connect, but the rings started last Thursday after the update.

Thursday I went out for a ride which was calculated at 340 calories. My 200 calorie move ring is closed at 252 calories. ???

I haven’t used the Garmin since but I have been busy. On Sunday for example, I accomplished 112/200calories per the ring, but did 2 miles working around the yard with a total of 1400 calories for the day.

I thought it was assuming I burned a certain amount of calories per day just by being awake (1288 by Sunday’s numbers) but it’s not the same base number per day.

How does this really work?


Using the Fitness app without an Apple Watch is new for IOS 16. Perhaps you were using an app associated with your Garmin device before. Anyway, here is discussion of how the Fitness app works in IO 16 without an Apple Watch:

Thanks! Google wasn’t helpful, it kept bringing up Watch articles. I don’t have a watch and have been using Garmin Connect for a few years, only because the Ascent on my laptop no longer connects with my device.

I have everything set correctly per the article. The app tells me Trends won’t start until I’ve been using it 180 days. Interesting concept if it works correctly.


Those of us with an Apple Watch know this well. The red move ring is the number of “active calories”, the calories you burn above your basal metabolic rate because of how much you are moving around.

Apple has some more info: Track daily activity in Fitness on iPhone – Apple Support (AU) and for Apple Watch info (but it more fully explains what the move ring is) Use the Activity app on your Apple Watch - Apple Support

It wasn’t calculated, it was guessed. Calorie “measurements” on these devices are mostly guesses, and can vary a great deal between devices. The one exception is if you have a power meter on your bike, in which case the number of total kJ your Garmin shows you is close to the number of calories you actually burned to produce that energy (by a numerical quirk, the body is about 23% efficient in turning metabolic energy into power at the pedals, and 1 Calorie = 0.238 kJ). (The other exception is if you’re carefully measuring the gases in and out with lab equipment, which is the only real way to measure calories.) Garmin in the last year or so has taken to polluting its calorie numbers with “metabolic calories” (the energy you burn just by existing) rather than just showing you it’s guess for the extra calories you burned during the ride/run/etc as it previously did.

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I figured that, but wouldn’t your BMR be the same every day?


BMR is probably not the right term. I guess Apple calls it “inactive calories” and the amount of time you are sleeping vs awake, standing but not moving, etc., are part of the estimation of “inactive calories”.

Not necessarily. BMR does vary, although over time, not overnight.

For example, if you do regular exercise, your BMR will be higher than if you are a total couch potato. (Which is another reason why even a little bit of regular exercise is good - that higher BMR means you’re burning more calories when resting.)

I would expect BMR to change with increasing muscle mass, but neither Garmin or Apple have a place for body fat in their data. It’s just age, gender and weight. So I’d expect (and obviously incorrectly) that the base calories burned daily according the apps should be the same until your birthday, or if you changed the weight in the app.

I’m still really curious as to how Fitness pulls from Garmin but not the same calories for a workout.

Thanks for the interesting discussion! Maybe some day Apple will add other things like getting up from your desk to the phone.


What’s really funny is when you notice dramatic changes (not necessarily inactive calories, but I’ve noticed this with the VO2Max calculation and range of values for high vs low) on your birthday, as if everything changed for you on that one day rather than gradually over time.

haha!! It’s like the old heart rate formula of 220-your age. Because exactly on your birthday every year your heart says “nope don’t go there! That was yesterdays”


I had some interesting stats show up in my ring today.

I went out for a ride that duplicated my ride last Thursday. Same bike, same route and pretty similar weather conditions.

Last week I had 252 calories and closed the ring.

Today when I got back, I made sure that Connect uploaded to my phone and I got the notification that I moved enough to close the ring. I opened Fitness and watched that circle go round and round. It was something like 800 calories! I checked Connect and the rides were nearly identical, right around 340 calories. I figured Fitness had added steps to my count due to the phone moving in my pocket and thought that tonight I’d sit down and take screen shots to send to you.

I ran a couple of errands this afternoon and when I came back home I see Fitness now says I’ve got a whole 237 calories (100 less than the workout was).

Has anyone seen this before? I’m hoping it does it again so I can take a screenshot right away this time.


I sat on the couch for awhile after my last post and then went to bed. This morning, yesterdays stats are now at 511 calories, which makes more sense based on the ride plus my errands - though probably a little inflated for errands.

Also the awards aren’t even close to working. I acquired one overnight saying I have a new move record of 182 of (various) calories. None of the ones that say 0 of XX days have even started.

Is this how the watch works, that you can’t get anything accurate until the next day? Or is this just extremely buggy?

Not that I need to track my workouts as I have other methods for that, but I’d hoped this would be a good tool to capture random moving for the day.


No, and has never been in 5.5+ years of ownership.

All right then, I’m going with “extremely buggy”. Maybe in another update.


The iPhone has motion sensors, so it can get a decent estimate of your activity if you keep it with you consistently. Pedometer++ has used this for years. It’s not as accurate as an Apple Watch.

There’s a body fat percentage entry in Health if you search for it. My Eufy scale measures my body percentage and sends that to Health.

My suspicion is that Diane’s issue is that the Garmin Connect app is syncing exercise data to the Health app, and the Health app is importing that and reporting the data as new movement, but then reconciles the data with movement data already collected (e.g., the time stamps were the same) and corrects the extra movement data in the move ring. There was a time when I would exercise while wearing my Apple Watch not running a workout while I wore a Garmin Forerunner on my other wrist and collected exercise data with it, but I don’t recall having this same issue. But I just may be remembering wrong (or, more likely, I just didn’t pay it that much attention.) I’ve long since stopped wearing two watches and just use the AW for workout tracking.

I think you’re right Doug. I just did a mountain bike ride. I took screenshots and will post them tomorrow because I’m curious to see how my end of day vs tomorrow morning add into this.

But a quick summary is that the phone does recognize that I’m moving but then gave me the option to add my to my rings with the Connect data. When I did that the calories shot up to nearly 1000. A few minutes later they were back down again.


The basic data used by Fitness can be viewed through the Health app and its corresponding settings. Settings>Health lets you see the data contributed by various apps and devices. The settings for each app (in this case, Connect) can also help you figure things out.

I’ve never recorded workouts on any of my Apple Watches, but in the past when I was doing a workout, the AW simply ceased to record anything connected with fitness. (Whether that was done by the watch itself or that Health rejected the lower quality data of the AW when it had something better I don’t know). In particular, no heart rate data was taken at all by the AW until it noticed I had finished. Now (and I don’t remember when the changed) my Ultra occasionally records during a ride, but not at the usual rate. Certainly it never reaches the 1 per second rate of a Garmin device (I have an HRM-Pro connected to my Edge 830), although I’m sure it would if it were actually recording.