It used to be that a pair of running shoes and some clean workout clothes were all the fitness gear you needed.
These days, a beats-blasting playlist and a fitness tracker are as essential to a good workout as anything else. Whether you or someone you know is just starting out on their fitness journey, or they're seasoned athletes looking to take their training to the next level, here's our recommendations for the best fitness tech to enhance your workouts and help you hit your fitness goals.
Fitbit Charge 2
When it comes to fitness trackers, Fitbit still reigns supreme. They've become so ubiquitous, chances are everyone has a co-worker, family or friend obsessed with tracking their steps and other fitness stats on their wrist. If you're unfamiliar, Fitbits track steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, and calories burned throughout your day.
Fitbit's latest wrist accessory, the Charge 2, is their absolute best yet. First, there's the vertically-orientated OLED display, which you tap to cycle through the different statistics and modes. The Charge 2 features Fitbit's PurePulse continuous heart rate monitor, which lets you quickly check your current heart rate at any moment, and also features the convenience call, text and calendar notifications that you'd expect from wearable tech.
Built-in GPS is missing, but Connected GPS allows you to use your phone's GPS to map your outdoor runs when tethered to your phone via Bluetooth. The silicone strap is sweat resistant, but you'll want to make sure to clean and dry it after each workout. It's also not waterproof, so don't even think about swimming with it on.
See at Amazon
Moto 360 Sport
The Moto 360 Sport is a smartwatch that combines many of the functions people want in a fitness tracker with the style and added functionality that's included with Android Wear.
As the name implies, this is the sportier version of the second generation Moto 360. Differentiating it from the non-sport is the inclusion of built-in GPS (a nice feature that's even missing on the FitBit Charge 2) and a body wrapped silicone strap. These two features, along with the heart rate monitor, make the Moto 360 Sport ideal to wear during workouts. The Moto 360 Sport's built-in GPS means you can leave your phone at home and go for a run, while still being able to wirelessly listen to your music via Bluetooth headphones. And the silicone strap, while a magnet for lint and dust, is also sweatproof and easy enough to clean.
Above all else, you'll get a piece of wearable tech you'll feel comfortable wearing from the office to the gym, with all the usefulness that Android Wear offers.
See at Amazon
Withings Body Wi-Fi scale
Take complete control of your weight using the Withings WS-50, the smart scale that's designed to accurately measure your weight, BMI, heart rate, and even monitor the indoor air quality of your living space.
Allowing up to eight users on its personalized display, each person in your household can track their weight securely and monitor their goals using the Health Mate app (available for Android and iOS). As you weigh yourself each day, the WS-50 will display the weather and average temperature, giving you a heads up on how to dress before stepping outside and getting active. This smart scale is also compatible with a variety of other health apps including Google Fit, Apple Health, Runkeeper, LoseIt!, MyFitnessPal, and more.
See at Amazon
TuneBand Go armband
There are hundreds of armband smartphone cases out there for bringing your phone with you on a run or a workout. This is because manufacturers typically designed a bunch of different models to fit specific phone makes and sizes. This means you'll end up having to get a new armband when it's time to upgrade to a new device.
That is, unless you get a TuneBand Go. This armband offers universal compatibility, as its rubber hooks are adjustable to fit phones from 5 inches to 6.5 inches in size. It also accommodates cases, and it's actually recommended you use one if you're concerned about the clips making direct contact with your phone's display.
See at Amazon
NorthFace Thermoball Etip gloves
Winter is coming, which means it's time to haul out your cozy winter gear — lest you choose to stay indoors until spring. But you really ought to be heading outside and making the most of things, whether that means sledding, snowboarding or skiing, or simply walking through a winter wonderland.
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors — even when the temps are downright frigid — and still stay connected to your phone, you'll want to get a pair of touchscreen conductive gloves that are first and foremost warm and reliable. The North Face makes quality outerwear, and these gloves will keep your hands nice and toasty while still allowing you to use your phone's touchscreen via the conductive fibres in the fingers. The palms are also grippy, so that you don't accidentally drop your phone into a snowbank. Whoops!
These would make a great gift for pretty much anyone with a phone, and are available in styles for both men and women.
See at Amazon (men's)
See at Amazon (women's)
GoPro HERO5 Session
Getting active with technology doesn't always have to be about tracking steps or keeping your phone accessible. Sometimes you just want to head out there, strap an action cam on you and show the world how you have fun.
The GoPro HERO5 Session is a portable, rugged little 10MP camera that can shoot still, burst and time-lapse photos, as well as 4K video (also capable of shooting high-speed footage at 90fps in 1080p, and 120fps in 720p). It features voice activation as well as one-touch controls, and can be mounted pretty much anywhere, so you can just tap and go out and record all of your outdoor adventures. Whether you know a cyclist who's talked about wanting to document their daily commutes, or a budding action sports superstar looking record epic footage, the GoPro HERO5 Session is a gift choice that they'll cherish. Do note that they will also need a microSD card.
See at GoPro
Jaybird X3 Sport
An ideal pair of workout headphones are going to be wireless, sweatproof, and comfortable while still delivering solid sound quality and adequate battery life.
Jaybird has been in the Bluetooth headphone space since 2007, and their latest pair, the Jaybird X3 Sport earbuds, are an ideal option for the runner or athlete in your life that always seems to be complaining about their headphone situation. The two earpieces are tethered together, with a three-button remote for controlling playback and volume, and each pair come with several silicone and foam tip options, along with fins that help keep them secure in ear no matter how intense your workout gets. The size is small and compact, and yet the batteries are capable of delivering you great sound quality for up to eight hours.
See at Best Buy