This fitness tracker helped me find the balance between movement and rest—and it’s up to 46% off

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Tracks my sleep, steps, intensity, activities and more.

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I have a slight obsession with fitness trackers. I adhere to the habit of sorting out performance: that if you track something, you can improve it. I like to externalize my athletic motivation to a device and find that knowing which days to rest and which days to push helps me stay active. At this point, I tried a few – the Whoop, the Apple Watch and a borrowed FitBit – but settled on the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music as a good choice that boosted both my performance and recovery. More than even tracking my fitness, this device actually forces me to listen to my body and relax. And for a limited time only, the smartwatch is on sale for up to 46 percent off.

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To buy: $190 (was $350);

First and foremost, in my search I was interested in my smartwatch having step and workout goals. I find that completing my rings, getting my check box, or whatever motivational feature a particular brand uses keeps me moving throughout my day. Next, as a relatively light sleeper, I wanted a device that would collect data to help me build a useful nighttime routine. I also love the validation when I’ve had a bad night’s sleep; it allows me to be kinder to myself about resting and calming down. As I researched different fitness devices, I also realized that I didn’t want to charge my watch every night and I didn’t want to pay into a monthly fee system.

While Garmin offers a variety of watches designed for everyone from the average person to the ultramarathoner (not me), I chose the Garmin 245 Forerunner Music as a comfortable middle ground. My exercise regimen varies. At heart, I’m a runner hoping to complete a marathon this year, so the device has built-in training plans and metrics to track my pace, GPS, heart rate, training status, and more. Still, the watch has activity settings ranging from yoga to cross-country skiing to boxing, so there’s plenty of room to explore.

:How to start working out—and find a fitness routine that sticks

The watch itself is stylish enough with a larger footprint which I prefer. Five buttons arranged in a circle control the device, and the main side shows me the time, date, my mileage and battery life. Throughout the day, texts and calls will pop up thanks to its connection to my phone. I leave the watch on all the time except in the shower. After setup, I downloaded the Garmin Connect app, a dashboard that shows me a holistic view of my data and learns about my body over time. There are third-party apps I can add to my watch as well, but I’m happy with just my Spotify tracking and downloads.

I love his sleep tracking. Every morning I check how well I slept, a score that includes my sleep duration, stress, sleep depth, REM and any periods of wakefulness. Most helpfully, the device gives me a recommendation based on my recovery, telling me that my excellent sleep means I’m ready to take on the world, or that my sleep was particularly restless, which could indicate that my environment sleep is too noisy or too bright. The overall information is consolidated into a “body battery score” that shows how my energy levels fall or rise throughout the day. When it gets too low, I know I need to take a break and not burden myself with a long to-do list.

Fitness tracking is solid. When I’m ready to start an activity, I’ll click on my watch to the screen that contains all of my preset workouts. I can add or search for a custom activity if I choose, but overall their assortment gives me what I need. For example, a strength training setting might show me my reps, time, heart rate, and more, while a skiing setting would show me runs, elevation change, and other data more relevant to that type of workout. Finally, I’ll save my workout and get on with my day. When my workout syncs with the Garmin Connect app, it’ll show me my steps, how many minutes I’ve spent doing vigorous activity for the week, and more. The watch is most useful for runners, as it will track stride length, vertical ratio and more, with a built-in training aid that will tell you to slow down or speed up your pace depending on your goals. If you have workout status enabled, the watch can tell you that you’ve maxed out during high-impact workouts. Why not try some stretching or yoga to have a well-balanced routine? This variety keeps me from burning out, reminding me not to hit the ground running by pushing myself too far.


Sometimes I find the watch can be a bit clunky. While I prefer the depth of the Garmin device, I miss the Apple Watch automatically launching activities when it detects motion. If I forget to hit the start button, I can miss important data from my day, so I have to make a habit of it. Saving workouts can also be frustrating, as it’s easy to accidentally exit the screen without saving.

I settled on the musical option that I took advantage of this winter. I can sync multiple Spotify playlists to the watch and connect wireless headphones for listening. It’s useful when I want to conserve my phone’s battery over long distances.

Although I bought the watch myself, I recently received the companion Garmin Index S2 scale from the brand to expand my experience. It connects to the app to track my weight, muscle mass, and more. The smart scale has been more than useful and satisfying as I’ve been trying to put on more muscle, as those results take a while to show up, and I love that it works in tandem with my watch.

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To buy: $130 (was $150);

Overall, I like the specificity and variety of the Garmin system. It’s a little less easy to use than the other options—or, rather, requires a steeper learning curve—but it’s worth the investment, whether you’re hoping to manage your stress or working to perfect an activity or skill. Since it’s a one-time purchase, I won’t have to pour money into it like I would with other devices, and it lasts for days without charging. The app is nice and thorough and having music is an added bonus.

Most of all, I value responsibility in looking after my well-being. There are still so many features to discover, which makes me feel like I’ve unlocked a new world of movement and learning. Join the journey and get motivated in 2023 by shopping the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music while it’s on sale for 46 percent off.

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