Fitness Buff Buyer’s Guide | Top 25 Best Exercise Programs, Equipment and Accessories
This year, give the gift of fitness and keep everyone on your list healthy and happy. We've gathered our Top 25 recommendations from all the fitness products reviewed this year into one buyer's guide for the holiday season.
Organized into four price ranges, there's a gift on this list to match every fitness level and budget. Many are simple but effective products chosen for their value and affordability, while others represent the highest levels of technological innovation.
We hope this guide will help readers who may be overwhelmed by the vast array of fitness products available online. Most of these selections are among the top reviewed, best-selling or highest consumer-rated products currently on the market.
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Fit Plus, released on October 4, 2009, is a sequal to the 2007 original that adds new routines, features and enhancements to the existing workouts. It works with previous Wii Fit files so owners of the original game can access their saved profiles and workout history. New users will get everything in the original plus the enhancements.
Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Since the introduction of Tony Horton’s P90X Extreme Home Fitness System, multifunction workout bars have seen skyrocketing sales. This product is a lower-priced alternative to the P90X Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar commonly used with P90X.
After simple assembly the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Bar can be installed in standard doorways in just seconds. Using your body’s own weight as leverage the bar mounts securely without the use of brackets, screws or fasteners.
The SurfShelf - Treadmill Laptop Holder and Shelf
Google and Dell have installed SurfShelfs into all of their fitness facilities. Jason Chen, Editor of Gizmodo.com called it “one of my favorite inventions ever.”
Nathan Speed 4 Waist Pack with Four 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks
The belt includes four separate easy access flasks fitted in molded holsters.Each 10 ounce flask can be used for water, energy drinks or nutrition gels. The separate front and rear stash pockets can carry cell phones, mp3 players, keys, wallets or snacks.
GoFit Ultimate Wobble Board
Wobble boards, also known as balance boards, are gaining popularity as a mainstream form of fitness training. Benefits include improved balance, coordination, core strength, agility and stability. Wobble board use also encourages communication between the left and right halves of the brain, resulting in an increased sense of body awareness.
Gold's Gym Circuit Training System
With the recent explosion in popularity of doorway pullup bars, rotational pushup devices and ab/core trainers, Gold’s Gym has created a fitness kit that neatly incorporates all three into one package.The 3-in-one set includes a grip-lock doorway gym for pullups and chinups, rotating pushup stands, and ab straps that can be attached the the pullup bar for core training.
Bodylastics Heavy Duty Exercise Resistance Bands System
Bodylastics Resistance Bands have been an alternative to expensive home gyms & health clubs since 1998. The average person who joins a health club spends $500 per year for their membership. Bodylastics is an affordable system designed to provide workouts that rival the best and most expensive exercise machines. The compact system is effective for muscle building, body toning, and weight loss.
EA Sports Active
Developed in collaboration with Bob Greene, known for his Best Life Program and association with Oprah Winfrey, EA Sports Active offers fun, easy to learn exercises and activities to help users stay focused on fitness.
EA Sports Active gives an unparalleled introduction to virtual exercise for those new to the concept, or a step up for those who’ve become bored with the routines included in the Wii Fit and other third party titles.
Joist Mount Chin Up Bar
As opposed to the wildly popular screw-less doorway chin up bars, this device mounts in a more traditional fashion by anchoring into wooden joists, the horizontal beams that support floors. This creates a “permanent” workout solution that’s sturdy and safe. The bar can be installed in any room but is ideal for an out the way corner in a garage, workroom or basement.
Tony Horton's 10-Minute Trainer
Best known for his P90X system that has exploded online and through infomercials, Tony Horton has gained a massive following for his popular library of fitness programs. We like P90X but have heard numerous comments about how advanced and DIFFICULT it is for some.
The 10 Minute Trainer, sold through Beachbody, is a good choice for those looking for a less rigorous program. But don’t expect to breeze through these DVD workouts. They are challenging.
Impact Sports ePulse Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Watch and Calorimeter
Don't like uncomfortable and annoying chest strap heart rate monitors? Don’t trust pulse rate monitors built into your exercise machine? The Impact Sports ePulse offers an intriguing alternative.Wrapped snugly around your forearm the ePulse accurately calculates pulse and calories burned using light sensor technology. The advanced microchip easily regulates workout intensity and manages specific fitness and weight loss goals.
Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer
Perfect for the casual cyclist who wants to stay in shape in bad weather or can’t afford a gym membership or expensive exercise bike
INSANITY with Sean T. 60-Day Total Body Conditioning Program
With the highly anticipated release of Insanity with Shaun T., Beachbody may have a program that rivals P90X in popularity, intensity and results. P90X is a 90 day program (hence the name), while Insanity aims to put you in the best shape of your life in just 60 days. It’s also differs in that it requires no weights, resistance bands or extra equipment.
Confidence Foldable Stow Away Exercise Bike
We’ve rarely seen customer ratings so high for such a reasonably priced piece of equipment. This exercise bike provides a great low-impact, cardiovascular workout and folds away compactly for easy storage. It’s great for apartment dwellers.
The Confidence Foldable Bike includes an on-board computer that monitors Riding Time, Speed, Distance & Calories. It utilizes Adjustable Magnetic Resistance for an efficient workout. An easy-to-read instruction manual and all the necessary tools for easy home assembly are included.
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a wrist-mounted GPS receiver, but first and foremost it’s a training tool.The 305 delivers real-time information and alerts on an unprecedented range of data, including multiple heart rate variables, speed, distance traveled, calories burned, elevation, terrain grade and route direction. It’s suitable for runners, cyclists, cross-country skiers, marathon competitors and other outdoor athletes.
GoWear fit Lifestyle and Calorie Management System
The GoWear fit Lifestyle and Calorie Management System is the same device from the same manufacturer as the BodyBugg V3 featured on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. The name change came after 24 Hour Fitness bought the rights to the BodyBugg.
Ironman ATIS 1000 AB Training System Inversion Therapy Table
The ATIS 1000 uses a Smart Gear System, rather than a tether strap to safely lock the table in place in 10 different positions. The Scale Locking System increases ankle security and the table is designed around an extra-wide steel frame with a 300 pound weight capacity.
Schwinn Active 20 Series Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Schwinn Active 20 Series Recumbent Bike is not what you’d expect to see in a commercial gym, but the solid design, respected brand and essential features make it a good choice for those on a budget looking for an effective cardio workout.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
The 2009 version of the Bowflex Selecttech Dumbbells features an updated design, greatly increased strength and durability, and new aluminum alloy and polymeric safety tabs.
As with the previous version these dumbbells pack a rack full of results in a very compact, adjustable lifting system that gives you 15 sets of free weights in one. You can change resistance from 5 to 52.5 pounds in 2.5 pound increments with a quick turn of a dial. The wide range of available resistance lets you effectively work arms, chest, shoulders and back at your desired level of difficulty.
Horizon Evolve SG Compact Treadmill
This trendy treadmill distinguishes itself with a sleek, streamlined, space saving design and incredibly easy setup. It ships folded and fully assembled — just pull it out of the box, unfold and start treading.
After a workout the 99 lb assembly can be folded to just 59″ x 10″ and stored under a bed or vertically against a wall or in a closet.
Schwinn Airdyne Evo Comp Exercise Bike
The original Schwinn Airdyne has been around for over 20 years and remains a top seller among upright exercise bikes. The next generation Airdyne Evolution Comp stays true to the original concept but incorporates a more efficient design.
The fan wheel is smaller and uses wider contoured blades for increased resistance, while the operation is much quieter and smoother with less vibration. It’s built with newer technology and higher quality components for an increased life span. It’s a leap forward from the original Schwinn Airdyne.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The rowing motion on the Model D is impact-free, smooth and easy on the joints. The sliding seat compresses and extends your legs with every stroke to work the entire body, including arms, legs, chest, back and abdominals while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout. A spiral damper lets you can choose between simulated rowing in either a sleek, fast boat or a slow, heavy boat.
Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer (2009 Model)
The beautifully designed E95 offers a stable, smooth workout with ample top-end resistance. The heavy 30-lb flywheel and long 20-inch stride length increase the stability and efficiency of your workout.
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