Garmin Instinct App: Full Review

If you own a Garmin fitness tracker or any other Garmin smart device, you will have access to an impressive fitness app called Garmin Connect.

Garmin Connect is similar to other popular fitness apps and even offers some features that other apps don’t. Learn all about the Garmin Connect app and what you can do with it if you have a compatible Garmin fitness device, such as any Garmin Instinct smartwatch.

Note: If you purchase a Garmin smart device, know that you are not limited to using only the Garmin Connect app. Garmin devices are compatible with many other fitness apps on the market. Hopefully, this article will help you choose whether to use the Garmin Connect fitness app with your device.

Home Garmin Connect

When you launch the Garmin Connect app for the first time, it defaults to My day Page. Here, you’ll see each of your health stats listed in order. Depending on the activities you want to track with your Garmin, there’s a lot of information to scroll through.

You’ll see information and stats like:

  • Cardiovascular stats like average heart rate, maximum heart rate and calories burned
  • Your whole day is resting and your heart rate is high
  • Daily steps
  • Calories you’ve burned and consumed (if you’re recording calories)
  • Statistical history of the previous day and the previous week

You can tap any of the statistics boxes on this page to see more details.

For example, choose the Cardio page that shows you calories burned for the day, total active time, and average heart rate. On the graph page, you can view the day’s details on heart rate, altitude climbed, and more.

Likewise, the heart rate and step count pages show you how those health stats change for specific activities of your day.

If you just want to see a log of all your activities, select the menu from the main page and select the type of activity you want to see the log for.

Or you can choose All activities to see a log of everything, including the date and time of your activity and calories burned.

You’ll see several menu choices at the bottom of the main page.

  • Challenges: Join the challenge to get a new badge
  • Calendar: See a visual display of all your workouts on the calendar
  • News feed: Review the log of all your previous fitness activities
  • Notify: Retrieve app notifications

These quick links are a convenient way to access some of the same information that you can find by pressing through the menus.

Garmin Connect Health Stats

In the main menu you will see another section named Health stats. In this section are all the core statistics that your device tracks.

You can select each of these to drill down into more detail about your tracking data. Option Sleep to see your sleep patterns, including deep sleep, light sleep, REM and time awake, along with your Pulse Ox data.

Option Calories to view a history of calories consumed, broken down by calories you burned at rest and calories burned during your activities.

The only two health stats that Garmin Instinct smartwatches calculate and track are Stress and Body battery. We will explore each of these in more detail in the next section.

Stress stats and body battery health

There are many types of data that Garmin uses to calculate these stats for app histories and graphs.

  • Stress level: If your Garmin smart device supports the stress feature, it will measure the variation of your heart rate throughout the day. Since your nervous system regulates the time between each heartbeat, a very steady and predictable heart rate means you’re under less stress. More variation means more stress.
  • Body battery: Like the Stress stat, Body Battery is also calculated using heart rate variability, but it also combines your stress and activity levels to calculate your body’s energy reserves at any given time of day. This is rated from 1 to 100%. This calculation is strangely accurate.

These two unique stats help you manage your daily stress levels and ensure that you get enough rest to achieve what you want to achieve each day.

Garmin Connect Training Features

Under Training of the menu you will find various features that will help you take your workouts and training to the next level.

Clap Practice to search the library for various exercises. You can filter by muscle group, activity type, goal, etc. Tap a workout to see a workout sequence and tap each activity to see workout steps.

Just touch Next to start the workout. You can also create custom workouts.

Clap Training Plan from the Exercises menu to view training plans that focus on running or cycling.

Each plan will help you train for a specific goal like running a 5K or completing a 100-mile bike ride.

You can save the courses you run or cycle for exercises you already do regularly. To do this, select Courses from the Training menu. In the course type, just choose an exercise you do, like Cycling or Trail Running.

On the next page you will have the option to create Automatic course using your GPS location or Tradition a place where you can draw your way on the map.

Saving your courses to the Garmin Connect app allows you to display your course for tracking with your Garmin device whenever you attend our courses and trainings.

Clap PacePro pacing strategies in the Training menu to use the tempo feature. This feature will help you maintain a healthy pace while racing (running or cycling) by showing your speed against the speed target on your Garmin device.

Set your pace by choosing a course or race distance, choose a race type, then set your target time for the entire race in Time target field. You will see the calculated speed in Target Speed field.

Garmin Connect also has Details feature (in the main menu) that uses your stats and history to customize tips and advice on improving your health and fitness.

After enabling Insights, simply give the app time to analyze your current stats and history. You’ll then start seeing new tips and tricks on the Insights page.

Other Garmin Connect Features

In the main menu, you will also see some other features to choose from.

Connection: You’ll have the option to see if your friends on Facebook, Google, or in your phone’s contact list are also using Garmin Connect. You can invite them to join your group if they want.

Groups: You can search for public groups of people who want to collaborate with others on training activities.

This is a fun way to add a social aspect to your exercise. You can see where your performance matches the performance of others on the team. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to see how others are doing and maybe even try to compete with them!

Safety & Tracking: Select this option to access the LiveTrack feature. This is a great way to let family or friends know your exact position during a workout.

To set up LiveTrack, simply give the app permission to use your location and then select your contacts to share your live workout location.

Connecting devices and apps

You are not limited to just one Garmin device when using the Garmin Connect app. You can choose Garmin devices from the main menu to add any Garmin devices you may own.

You can also get health and activity tracking data from any compatible fitness app you have installed on your phone. You can do this by selecting Setting from the main menu and select Connected Apps.

If you have apps installed on your phone, you’ll see them appear below Applications are available. Select the application and then select Agree to connect it to Garmin Connect.

The Settings menu allows you to configure how Garmin Connect will issue notifications from your Garmin device. For example, you can enable SMS, email, or app notifications.

Remember that you can tap the image of your Garmin device at the top of the home screen at any time to view device status information.

This includes the status of your device-specific sensors and the ability to adjust settings for your Garmin device such as vibration alerts, notifications, and do not disturb.

Should You Use the Garmin Connect App for Instinct Devices?

The Garmin Connect app comes in very handy for the Garmin Instinct smartwatch. It allows you to view your data and customize the settings for your watch. However, it may not be as useful as a standalone fitness app if you don’t own a Garmin device.

Even so, you don’t have to give up your favorite fitness apps if you use Garmin Connect as it integrates with most other popular fitness apps.

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