The 50 best fitness essentials
50 Run 10k
Just the app for newcomers to running, and a new year is the
perfect time to pick it up. Sign up to a 10k three months hence,
then follow the workouts on this app and track your progress.
Where:www.apple.com How much: £1.99
How much: £65
49 Run Backpack
A slim backpack with reflective piping. But the style has not
compromised the substance: there are two bottle pockets, a Camel
Pack flask and the storage space is adjustable so you can pack the
Where: sweatybetty.com How much: £65
How much: £215
48 ASICS Men's LB Tight
This ASICS tight has good wicking properties and elastic panel
inserts at the waist, lower back, thighs and knees for cushioning
and support. Pop a pair of shorts over the top to protect your
Where: asics.co.uk How much: £215
How much: £27
47 Manduka travel mat
Keep up your yoga practice on weekends away. Many mats are heavy
and bulky but this is the best travel option on offer, less than
1kg. The mat is compact and its anti-slip properties are
Where: yogamatters.com How much: £27
How much: £95
46 Veja Domingo
Veja works with environmentally sound rubber producers and
organic cotton growers in Brazil. Hard to choose a favourite
colour, but London Red and Grafite Moutarde stand out.
Where: crookedtongues.com How much: £95
45 Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30
Health and fitness starts with a decent night's kip. If you
struggle to switch off and on at the right time, try this alarm
clock which simulates a 30-minute "sunrise" that gradually
brightens the room before it goes off.
Where: lumie.com How much: £59.95
How much: £21.99; £39.99
44 Trigger Point Massage Ball
Matt uses Trigger Point products to relieve his clients' aches
and pains. Foam-rolling is used by athletes and physios to relax
muscles, and the Grid, according to Matt, takes the process to a
whole new level.
Where: runners-edge.co.uk How much: £21.99; £39.99
How much: £40
43 Nike Football Training Shirt
Stand out in Nike's bright yellow Elite long-sleeved shirt made
from dri-FIT material and fitted with mesh panels for extra
breathability. Technically for footy, this shirt is as suited to a
run or countryside cycle.
Where: store.nike.com/gb How much: £40
42 CC Vectran Tubular Tyres
"I prefer tubular tyres because you can inflate them to high
pressures," says Matt. "Getting a puncture can end your race, but
these are reliable and quick." Continental competition tyres are a
pro cyclist favourite.
Where: sigmasport.co.uk How much: £56.99
How much: £100
41 FitFlop Supersneaker High
These daring leopard print
hi-tops from the brand that started out making fitness flipflops
will keep your pins working after you've left the gym. Also
available in a more conservative blue.
Where: fitflop.com How much: £100
How much: £150
40 Suunto M5 Black/Gold
The best looking sports watch and perfect for those who prefer
not to be baffled by an array of complex features. Choose from
improving fitness, weight management and free training and let the
M5 guide you .
Where: sunto.com How much: £150
39 Oakley Jenny Jones Goggles
"Jenny Jones is the UK's most successful snowboarder and she has
collaborated on these high-spec goggles," says Louise. "While I
realise that they won't turn me into as good a boarder, I'll still
love wearing them."
Where: oakley.co.uk How much: £100
How much: £215
38 Arc'teryx Alpha SL Pullover
It's 2012. There's no excuse to be stuck with an underperforming
pac-a-mac in changeable weather. This handsome jacket is light,
packs up small, has a structured hood that will reach over a helmet
and a slim-fit cut.
Where: arcteryx.com How much: £215
How much: £1,295
37 VersaClimber Home
If you don't like gyms or the great outdoors, Matt recommends an
effective piece of kit which was developed in 1981 for NASA
astronauts to achieve and maintain peak physical fitness as quickly
Where: versaclimber.co.uk How much: £1,295
36 Carnation Silversock
"Made from silver-coated fibres to eliminate bacteria and reduce
static, the new sports version has extra padding in the sole to
provide protection when our feet are working their hardest," says
Where: firstaidfast.co.uk How much: £7.99
How much: £179
35 Nike+ Sport Watch TomTom
If you like futuristic aesthetics, this watch, a favourite of
James's, is for you. You can record up to 50 runs, which are
tracked instantly with the TomTom GPS sensor, and the watch plugs
directly into a USB port.
Where: store.nike.com How much: £179
34 Knog Boomer USB Light
"The coolest bike lights on the market, these ultra bright
silicon lights charge from the USB port in your computer," says
Louise. "They are also 100 per cent waterproof and come in a great
range of bright colours."
Where: evanscycles.com How much: £31.99 to £33.99
33 Moving Comfort Vixen Bra
"The US market has always had a greater choice of sportswear,"
says Louise. "So I was super excited when I discovered that Moving
Comfort was heading to our shores. I'd happily wear any of the
great flattering styles."
Where: sweatshop.co.uk How much: £24.99
32 John Lewis Hand Weights
"Sometimes the simplest kit is the best," says Julia. "Featuring
polished walnut handles and chrome , these weights are one piece of
fitness equipment that I don't mind leaving lying around the house
when visitors call."
Where: johnlewis.com How much: 3kg £60; 5kg £75
31 Xtenex Elastic Laces
"Elastic laces are essential," says Matt, "these feel like
traditional laces and don't compress your feet." The knots in the
laces disappear when stretched to fit through eyeholes, before
expanding to prevent slippage.
Where: runnersneed.com How much: £8.99
30 Quarq CinQo Power Spider
"British Triathlon's physiologists spend hours looking at data
from training and racing," says Matt, "I can read my output on this
power meter, so I can train at specific intensities and measure my
Where: velotechservices.co.uk How much: £1650
James sells this nutritional powder through his website. "The
blend of protein, antioxidants and fat burning elements has been
specifically designed to detoxify and spark the fat-burning
process," he explains.
Where: bodyism.com How much: £60 for 500g
28 Nike Vapour Flash Jacket
"Not for wallflowers, this running jacket will get you noticed,"
says Louise. "Designed to be worn on early morning or late night
runs, it has 360 degree visibility. It's also reversible, making it
Where: nikestore.co.uk How much: £200
How much: From £899
27 BeaverFit Monkey Bars
Monkey bars are used by the military, mixed martial arts centres
and rugby clubs to get users to develop upper body strength in a
realistic environment while having fun, recommends James.
Where: beaverfit.com How much: From £899
How much: £70
26 Nike Free TR Fit Shoe
James says this is the shoe of supermodels worldwide. Why? It
bridges the gap between flexibility and support, combining a
structured internal support system with barefoot-like flexibility
and foot strengthening.
Where: store.nike.com/gb How much: £70
25 Jabra SPORT Headphones
"A sporty pair of cans with wireless Bluetooth connection and a
built in FM radio," says Julia. "Comes with a free app, the
Endomondo Sports Tracker, which offers updates on speed, distance
and lap time."
Where: buyjabra.com How much: £99.99
24 Bamboo Gym Towel
"This little gym towel is made from bamboo fabric," says Julia.
"Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial so it won't smell, even if left
at the bottom of your gym bag. It's ultra-absorbent, super soft and
100 per cent organic."
Where: bamboo-textiles.co.uk How much: £4.25
23 Momentum Bra Anita Active
"Awarded the Red Dot prize for design, the Momentum offers
fantastic support and is so comfortable," says Julia. "The soft
fabric, flat seams and padded straps are perfect even for running
Where: lessbounce.com How much: £45
22 Home Workout Bands
"When used with other exercises, band sequences activate the
core as well as the hip and shoulder area," James explains. "This
is our secret weapon for a tight, perky butt. It was worn by the
cast of the new X-Men film."
Where: victoriahealth.com How much: £12 or £35 for three
21 On Cloud Tec
"On CloudTec has patented the sensation of running as if on
clouds," says Louise. "The result is a simple, highly functional
cushioning element which reduces impact force by 25-30 per
Where: on-running.com How much: £120
20 Garmin 910XT Forerunner
Garmin has a reputation for the dedicated eventer. "It's easy to
keep an exact pace on trails and to check open water swimming
distances in the pool," says Matt.
Where: tfn.uk.com How much: Starts
19 Bern Helmets
"Inspired by its action sports heritage, Bern's latest bike
helmet takes its lead from the original skate style," explains
Louise. "The helmet is available in on trend colours including
turquoise and neon yellow."
Where: cyclechic.co.uk How much: £59.99
18 Adidas AdiViz Vest
"The luminous colour and reflective details ensure you won't
vanish while running on dark winter nights," says Julia. "The
fabric is water-resistant and breathable, with two handy zip
pockets for keys."
Where: shop.adidas.co.uk How much: £45
17 Burton Custom Snowboard
"The Custom incorporates the most progressive technologies and
board design philosophies. You have a board that reacts with
unrivalled spring and responsiveness, amplifying movements."
Where: burton.com How much: £455
16 Vivobarefoot Neo Trail
"Ticking off two trends in running right now – trail and
barefoot," says Louise. "The Neo has been designed specifically for
trail running and comes in five colourways, but the light grey and
crimson is my favourite."
Where: vivobarefoot.com/uk How much: £89.00
15 Bupa Smart Runner
"This app adds fun and variety to running," says Julia. "Choose
hill runs, sprints or cross-training, set your time and ability
level and let the audio guide you. Sync with iTunes to create
personalised running playlists.
Where: bupa.co.uk How much: Free
14 Aqua Sphere Swim Goggles
"The curved lenses provide a 180-degree field of vision," says
Julia. "Other features include UV protection, leak resistance, and
anti-fog. The best goggles on the market."
Where: shop.swimmingwithoutstress.co.uk How much: £1.49
13 FROM Organic Cotton Sweat
"I love the range the ethical label FROM has for pilates and
yoga," says Julia. "This sweater is deliciously soft. The wide,
relaxed cowl neck has a cotton draw cord to keep the chill out on
the way home from class."
Where: fromclothing.com How much: £65
12 Bobbin Bicycles
"These bikes are beautifully designed, fun and well priced,"
says Louise. "Mudguards, covered chains and carrier racks mean you
can ride in normal clothes, carry all your stuff and remain
Where: bobbinbicycles.co.uk How much: From £300
11 Nike Air Pegasus + 28
"The Pegasus has been Nike's leading running shoe for 25 years,"
says Julia. "The latest in the line improves upon the classic.
Choose your mesh, outsole, cushioning and more for personalized
Where: store.nike.com/gb How much: £75
10 Nike Training Club App
Since it launched this app has been downloaded by over 5 million
users," says Louise. "There are more than 60 workouts plus bonus
sessions. Download to your phone to make staying fit easier than
Where: itunes.apple.com How much: Free
How much: £100
9 Rapha Grand Tour Gloves
Don't neglect your hands on winter bike rides. Rapha is one of
the smartest cycle gear labels, and these sheep leather gloves with
thumb and forefinger padding will suit the serious and the style
Where: rapha.cc How much: £100
8 Jasper Crew Neck Sweatshirt
James loves this 100 per cent cotton sweatshirt, which is so
soft it feels like cashmere. If you're after relaxed workout gear
that you can wear off-duty, this is the product for you. "It's
comfy, and it doesn't stink," he says.
Where: orlebarbrown.com How much: £135
7 TRX Rip Trainer
"Here's one for the six pack," says Julia. "The fitness industry
has begun to shun bulky machines . This has a 40-inch bar attached
to an elastic resistance cord. Use to build explosive strength and
a killer core."
Where: escapefitness.com How much: £150.00
6 Saucony Hattori
"In response to the trend for minimalist running, brands
produced stripped-down footwear for a natural stride," says Julia.
"Saucony's Hattori features a mitten-like toe box to give toes room
to arch, grip and push off."
Where: saucony.co.uk How much: £75
Fitbug is a gadget that records every step you take, calories burned and more. It plugs into Fitbug's unique coaching website to set personal weekly targets, motivating you to achieve your fitness goals.
4 Mule Bar
"MuleBar believes in natural energy," says Louise. "They are
nutrient-rich, 100 per cent natural bars providing a mix of high GI
sugars from organic brown rice syrup, medium and low GI for
sustained energy, protein for muscle support and essential fats.
And they now come with compostable wrappers."
Where: evanscycles.com How much: £1.49
3 Sweaty Betty Jacket
"When it comes to sportswear that both functions and looks
great, the first port of call is Sweaty Betty," says Louise. "The
All Weather Jacket is waterproof and breathable with a flattering
feminine silhouette. Not only does Sweaty Betty make great kit but
its Fit 4 Free campaign encourages women to enjoy sport.
Where: sweatybetty.com How much: £155
2 Reebok Easytone Step
"Steps have been around for 30 years now, but this brand new
version from Reebok brings it bang up to date," says Julia. "The
platform rests on air chambers with adjustable pressure to create
an unstable surface to work core muscles and balance. You can do
hundreds of exercises with it. Comes with an instructional
Where: johnlewis.com How much: £79.99
Where: prodirectrunning.com How much: £75
1 Puma FAAS 500
"Suitable for running or working out in the gym, but with retro
styling so you can wear with your jeans," says Julia. "They
incorporate PUMA's new lightweight system called BioRide. This
technology has integrated parts that work together to create a more
natural running rhythm".
Where: prodirectrunning.com How much: £75
Struggling to to kickstart your New Year regime? Sophie Morris has the hottest gear for working up a sweat this winter
Julia Buckley is a fitness writer (fitnessrocks.co.uk);
James Duigan is author of the 'Clean and Lean Diet';
Louise Hudson is co-founder of Sportsister magazine;
Matt Sharp is the Under-23 triathlon world champion. He trains as part of British Triathlon's UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class programme.
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