GOODS: The Best Fitness Gear to Jump-Start 2013

by Joshua Goldman, MD, MBA | goldman@myhousecallmd.com

Another year has come and gone and 2013 is just around the corner…along with all of our fitness New Year’s resolutions.  Remember all those lofty promises from last January?  Well, this year we can make them happen!  Our team has discovered a ton of killer new products, bringing health and technology together to help you reach your personal fitness goals.  Whatever your personal fitness level is today, we’ve found something to help keep you fit in 2013.  Remember that it’s the little changes that you make in your daily life (think stairs instead of elevator) that make a big difference down the road.  Now that we’ve gotten that little pep talk off our chest, we think it’s about time you take advantage of all those post-Christmas sales and pick up all the gear you need to get yourself on track for a healthy and happy 2013.


Gym on the Go: TRX HOME Suspension Training Kit
We have yet to find one piece of equipment that can compete with both the compact size and versatility of the TRX Suspension Training system.  Put simply, it’s incredible.  These basic straps can be used, with a little creativity, to exercise almost every muscle in the body.  All you need is a spot to anchor the strap for your workout (think tree, door jam, lamp post). We’ve taken them all over the world and have been able to get killer workouts in with just the TRX.
Why we love it: It’s compact, versatile, dynamic one-stop shop for strength training
Cost:  $199.95 via TRX Training
Bonus Tip: YouTube is packed with free full-length workouts and creative exercises for every muscle group using the TRX

The Training Watch:
Buying a training watch is kind of like buying underwear.  It’s a very personal process.  You want to make sure the watch you pick out meets your training needs.  Training for a triathlon? Make sure it’s triathlon friendly.  Surfing? Find one with a tide monitor.  They can now pack an incredible amount of technology into one tiny watch including GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, cadence sensors and swim stroke tracking.  The key is then translating all of this data into performance improvement!  Below are our favorite picks.

The Cadillac: Garmin Forerunner 910XT
Cost: $399 via Garmin
Why we love it: This is one of the only all-in-one, GPS-enabled device that provides detailed swim metrics and tracks distance, pace, elevation and heart rate for running and cycling making it the ideal watch for triathletes.  You can buy ANT+ accessories to track your heart rate, cycling cadence, and body composition.  It’s pretty fancy stuff.

The Affordable Competitor: Garmin Forerunner 310XT
Cost: $249 via Garmin
Why we love it:  This is the trimmed down sibling of the 910XT and is one of the best kept secrets at Garmin.  With many of the same features as the 910XT for $150 less, this is a great alternative for those looking for a great watch on a budget.  This multisport device has up to 20 hours of battery life, tracks distance, pace and heart rate on land, and goes from wrist to bike in seconds.  It’s updated software can even guesstimate your swim distance (which the 910XT’s beefed up hardware has perfected).

The Home Workout Program:  Insanity
Since P90X exploded onto the home fitness scene a few years ago, copycat products have been popping up every couple of months.  Insanity, however, is in a league of its own.  Insanity is built around the proven interval-training approach to building of strength and power using a series of sequential plyometric drills (scientific research shows that interval training burns more fat and increases your metabolism for a longer period of time than simple cardio or weight training).  The fast pace of the program concurrently keeps your heart rate racing, building in a cardio workout as well.  It’s no wonder Insanity loyalists are seeing such impressive results. Our favorite part of the program is that you don’t need any equipment or weights…just enough mental toughness to make it through their grueling workouts.
Cost: $120 via Beachbody
Why we love it: Fast-paced interval training you can do at home without any equipment

The Personal Monitor:
What we monitor, we have the opportunity to improve.  Any businessman or health care professional can confirm this principle.  This new category of products allows you to track your personal activity level and much more in an attempt to help you to create healthier habits.  Simple changes in your life can additively create a big difference in your health.  Two of the newcomers in the market captured our attention:

fitbit, The One: This little clip-on devices packs a punch for its size (4.8cm x 2cm).  During the day, it tracks your steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you in the morning (without disturbing your bedmate).  The One automatically wirelessly syncs your daily data to your devices (computers and handhelds) giving you real-time access to all of that data on your Fitbit dashboard. Oh, and the Lithium-ion battery lasts for 7 days.  Not bad, if you ask us.
Cost: $99 via fitbit

Basis: Beneath the polished surface of this sleek watch-like device lies some serious technology. The Basis band contains the most advanced sensors on the market, continuously capturing heart rate patterns, motion, perspiration and skin temperature throughout the day and night.  The Basis system takes it a step further, with its intuitive data interpretation technology, and lets you find opportunities in your daily routine to insert take-charge-of-your-health actions like increasing your daily activity or getting more meaningful sleep.  The Basis system even adapts to your schedule, ramping up your activity recommendations when you do well and dialing things back during a hectic week.  Think of it as your daily life coach, just quieter and more attractive than the last guy.
Cost: $199 via Basis

The Running Shoe:
Saucony Kinvara 3
The minimalist running shoe is now here to stay.  Our top pick for this year is the Saucony Kinvara 3 which brilliantly bridges the gap between the traditional heavily cushioned running show and the new minimalist barefoot running show.  Weighing less than 8 ounces and with a miniscule 4mm heel-to-toe offset, this shoe provides enough cushion for a heel strike with the light and reactive feel of a barefoot shoe.  The one piece upper with footmapping technology provides a snug fit with plenty of breathability.
Cost: $100 via Saucony

Time to make those fitness goals a reality.  The only thing standing between you and those goals is mental toughness…find it!

Questions? E-mail the Author: goldman@myhousecallmd.com

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