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The 50 best fitness essentials

Published 26/02/2011

<b>CoolBoard </b><br/>
A nifty new star on the home-workout scene - balance your CoolBoard on a choice of balls to mimic surfing, skating or snowboarding. It promises core strength conditioning results for all users. Possible exercises include squats, sit-ups and press-ups. <br/>
<b>Where</b> <br/>
<b>How much</b> From £97.99
A nifty new star on the home-workout scene - balance your CoolBoard on a choice of balls to mimic surfing, skating or snowboarding. It promises core strength conditioning results for all users. Possible exercises include squats, sit-ups and press-ups.
How much From £97.99
Garmin 310XT
'The training tool of choice for discerning triathletes, Garmin's 310XT is a waterproof GPS sports watch that will record the vital statistics of your swim, bike and run,' says Alison Hamlett. 'You can also train at pre-set heart-rate zones to improve fitness faster.'
How much £329.99
Thorlo Running Crew Sock
There's little point shelling out for great running shoes if you don't splurge on socks too. Matt Roberts recommends Thorlo. 'These socks give fantastic support and help avoid getting painful blisters.'
Where www.specialist
How much £10.43
Vibram Five Fingers
Virgin Active's Nick Hudson is all over the barefoot trend. 'If we exercise barefoot, we are far less likely to encounter limb, back and shoulder aches,' he says. 'These shoes give little support for the base of the foot, enabling the sensation of barefoot while protecting it at the same time.'
How much From £82
Buddy Lee Skipping Rope
'The Buddy Lee skipping rope is the crème de la crème of the skipping world,' says ex-para James Preece. 'Skipping is one of the best cardio workouts due to the intensity. With the right rope you achieve better weight loss and fitness in less time than other cardio pursuits.'
Where www.strength
How much £46.96
Sony Wireless Stereo Headset DR-BT22
There is nothing more annoying than being put off your pace by tripping over useless earphones. Clamp Matt's favourites, these cunning wireless beauties, to your head ? old-school look, yet hi-tech.
How much £79.99
Rapha Classic Softshell Cycle Jacket
A pricey but very popular jacket, the Rapha Softshell is windproof, water-resistant and breathable. 'The best cycle jacket I have found for fit, function and design,' says Matt.
How much £240
Nike CTR 360 Maestri II Elite
'Nike developed the CTR 360 for midfield playmakers,' says Ben. 'But its grippy traction pad on the instep and two cushioned pads on the forefoot will improve your ball control and first touch, whatever your position.'
How much £235
Polar FT80 Heart Monitor
'This is a great gadget as it shows you how hard you're working so you can get the most out of your training,' says Matt. 'It can also guide strength training and develop weekly training plans to keep you motivated and help you to achieve your goals.
How much £239.50
TRX Suspension Training
Who doesn't love TRX? Matt, James and Gary Logan all picked it as a top piece of kit. 'With 300 upper-body and lower-body exercises available,' says James of the portable suspension training equipment, 'boredom is never going to be a problem again.'
How much from £152
Biologic iPhone mount
Turn your iPhone into a useful cycling GPS with this clever weatherproof mount, recommends Alison. 'The case features a touch-sensitive membrane to ensure the phone is fully functional.'
How much £39.99
2XU Compression Tights
Compression clothing is used by top athletes to improve performance and recovery. 'It works by applying pressure to the body in the right places, allowing for a better flow of blood around the muscles,' says James.
How much £65
Saucony Type A4
Ben Ince likes Saucony running shoes. 'Weighing in at a mere 181g, the Type A4 is one of the lightest running shoes available, thanks to its minimal, lightweight upper and an XT-Lite sole.'
How much £75
Bose IE2
'The IE2 from Bose give a natural, warm sound and provide excellent clarity and detail on high-end frequencies,' says Ben. 'They also fit extremely well, thanks to silicone fins that sit snugly inside your upper ear.'
How much £89
NSD Powerball
A nifty gyroscope for working on your hand and wrist strength. 'This is for anyone involved in racquet sports, rock climbing, martial arts or any pastimes where forearm strength and control is key,' says James.
How much 313.99
My Fitness Instructor iPhone App
British Military Fitness runs gruelling classes in 105 parks across the country. If there isn't one near you buy the app and get going on your own.
How much £2.99
XVest 4020
XVest is a weighted vest. Wearers can carry from one to 40llbs of extra weight, and while it might sound torturous, it is safer to strap the weight around your chest than ankles or wrists.
How much £155
Mizuno Wave Nirvana 6
Matt is a fan of Mizuno trainers, picking out the Wave Nirvana 6 men's running shoes as his favourites. 'The best running trainers I have worn,' he says.
How much £94.95
YouW8 Body Monitor
'If you're struggling to hit a weight-loss goal, these scales are sure to keep you motivated,' says Alison. 'Input your goal on the interactive website, then step on.
How much £98
PB Elite Foam Roller
Matt says he would recommend a foam roller to all his clients. Running it over tender muscles will improve flexibility, joint stability and muscle recovery.
How much £12.95
Adidas Sennheiser CX 680 Sports Headphones
'These are absolutely brilliant,' says Gary. 'The special EarFin system allows me to box and circuit train without the irritation of continuously re-adjusting my earpieces.'
How much £65
Gore Cosmo
'On the outside of this reversible cycling jacket, high-vis panels and reflective piping supply 360- degree visibility. Turn it inside out and you'll find a seam-sealed grey design that looks like a smart waterproof jacket, making it ideal for commuters,' says Ben.
How much £249.99
Brooks Cascadia 6
'Some things improve with age,' says Alison. 'Cross-country running is definitely one of them. Pull on these Brooks Cascadia, head for the trails and banish childhood memories of grim school training runs forever.'
How much £87
Pure Cod Liver Oil/ Omega 3 supplement
Don't forget that after exertion your body needs a little TLC. Nick Hudson recommends cod liver oil. 'In liquid or capsule form, this daily supplement helps good joint heath and helps maintain skin, hair and nails.'
How much £5.11 for 100 capsules
Powerbreathe Kinetic 3
'In just five minutes a day, you could become faster in four weeks,' says Alison of this unusual oral fitness aid. 'Clamp down on the mouthpiece and breathe in and out through it. The resistance will build your lung-muscle strength.'
How much £249.99
North Face Gulper Pack
An incredibly small and compact pack given the 55-litre capacity. For a run you can leave it empty apart from the two-litre water bag, with a hose and mouthpiece - or pack out to full capacity for a day hike or cycle.
How much £40
Dans-Ez Minimal Bounce Bra
'A decent sports bra is an essential piece of kit,' says Alison. 'The Minimal Bounce Bra comes in a range of bright colours and a new grey camouflage, which looks great layered.'
How much £22.20
Nike LunarGlide+ 2
'For a relatively lightweight shoe, the LunarGlide blends excellent cushioning and good stability with slick styling. It's also Nike+ compatible so you can record your training, set goals and challenge friends online,' says Alison.
How much £80
Giro Lonos Cycle Helmet
'While it's not the lightest or cheapest helmet on the market,' says Ben, 'the Ionos offers unrivalled ventilation, thanks to 21 enormous Wind Tunnel vents that maximise air flow across your head to ensure a cool ride.'
How much £159.99
DKN Selector Weights and Stand
Dumbbells might be basic kit, but not all dumbbells were created equal. Gary picks this product as the best on the market - you build your own dumbbell from the range of available weights.
How much £299
Torq Recovery Powders
A speedy recovery means you can get on with the next job in hand. 'Torq power are the best recovering drinks I have used,' says Matt. 'They are inexpensive, scientifically backed and tasty.'
How much £31.68 for 1.5kg tub
Sugoi Versa Women's Jacket
'This jacket delivers two pieces of kit for the price of one,' says Alison.'Worn as a jacket in winter, it will protect from the cold, but in spring, remove the arms and it becomes a useful gilet.
How much £70
Newton running shoes push runners to strike on the forefoot rather than heel, which mimics barefoot running and reduces impact and injuries.
How much from £99
Brooks Nightlife LED Light Band
Slap this flashing magnetic wristband around your wrist for visibility and safety when out running at night. The entire strip is reflective.
How much £12
Nick loves ViPR tubes - moulded rubber weighted tubes that work groups of muscles together and are great calorie burners. Available in Virgin Active clubs.
How much from £125.49 for 4kg ViPR
Bobble Filtered Water Bottle
A sleek Karim Rashid-designed refillable water bottle that filters your water on the go - so you can fill up in areas with the worst water and be confident it reaches your lips clean. Comes in blue, pink, red and yellow.
How much £10.95
Reebok EasyTone Trousers
Gym pants that give your bum extra tone while you work out? The science behind this range is linked to compression clothing. It can't promise to take away inches in minutes but after wearing to exercise, muscles certainly feel like they've worked out.
Where How much £52
Garmin Forerunner 110
Garmin is the running addicts' go-to brand, and recommended by Matt. 'A great tool to monitor your pace, lap times and distance covered when you're running outside.'
Where How much £169.99
Inov8 X-Talon 190 Shoes
Both Matt and British Military Fitness rate Inov-8's trail shoes. 'All the support and traction you would expect from an off-road shoe but weighing in at a featherlight 190 grams,' says James. The bright red ones get Matt's vote.
How much £71.95
For Goodness Shakes Sachets
Many of us neglect the recovery part of fitness training, but it's as important as the session itself,' says Alison. 'For Goodness Shakes has handy sachets so you can refuel when out and about.'
How much £1.50
CompresSport Full Socks
Triathletes love compression kit, says Alison. 'CompresSport was the best-loved brand at the 2010 Ironman World Championships. Its new Full Socks promote rapid recovery after a hard run.'
How much £35
BioFUSE Aquatic Earplug
Earplugs? ugh? but regular swimmers should beware of the impact of all that chemically treated water sloshing around in their lugs. Get this ergonomic pair from Speedo; the snug fit means you won't lose them.
How much £5
Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
The Manduka PRO is an expensive yoga mat, but anyone's who has grappled with slippy, wet, worn mats will understand the glory of owning their own good quality one. The extra cushioning supports joints during practice.
How much £75
Nike Free
'These are moderately cushioned but don't support the arch, making the foot work harder and hence providing a vital workout for feet,' says Nick. 'Great for 5-10K runs.'
How much
Body-Solid Folding Utility Work Bench
Gary likes this bench because it comes pre-assembled. It has seven positions and adjusts to your size and comes with a lifetime warranty.
How much £219
Gary is a fan of the ithlete app ? far pricier than most iPhone apps because of its high functionality. 'An easy-to-use app that works with heart rate availability to maximise training goals.'
How much From £31.99
Women's Organic Hoodie
Rock your fashion sense on the track and in the yoga studio with Stella McCartney for Adidas's Cover Up Yoga Hoodie. The voluminous sleeves and cosy hood will add a bit of edge.
How much £80
ASICS Gel Kayano 17 Running Shoes
'A wonderfully comfortable pair of running shoes perfect for those, like me, who overpronate,' says Gary.
How much £107
Malaku Premium Summit Antishock Walking Pole
If you're a keen walker or trekker, start using poles sooner than you think you need to. They spread the impact up from your ankles and knees to your upper body.
How much £64.99 for two
Beaverfit Free-standing Pull-up Bar
'Probably not one for beginners, but Beaverfit has come up with the perfect free-standing chin-up bar,' says James
How much £320

Ditched your New Year’s exercise regime already? Sophie Morris has all the gear you need to get back on track

This week's panel

Alison Hamlett is the editor of ‘Triathlete’s World’ ( and author of ‘Need to Know? Running’;

Nick Hudson is national training manager at Virgin Active Health Clubs (;

Ben Ince is gear editor of ‘Men’s Fitness’ (;

Gary Logan is fitness manager at the Third Space Health Club in Marylebone (;

Matt Roberts is founder of Matt Roberts Personal Training. Clients include David Cameron and Naomi Campbell (;

James Preece is the CEO of British Military Fitness (

>> Click on the image on the right to launch the guide

Source: Independent

Belfast Telegraph

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