December 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm EDT | by Gerard Burley
Fitness-related items make great gifts
fitness equipment, gay news, Washington Blade

Every year the fitness industry promises game changers with their latest products. But shop smart and don’t get stuck with something you or your recipient will never use.

As you brainstorm for your shopping list this year, keep in mind that the number one New Year’s resolution each year invariably is to lose weight. Last year about 40 percent of Americans vowed to be healthier with some weight-related resolution.

The best gift you could give could be something fitness related. Here are some ideas.

Fitness trackers are popping up everywhere in all forms. There are watches, arm bands, chest straps, phone devices and more. So many options make it hard to figure out which is best for you. If you’re shopping for the hardcore fitness guru who enjoys outdoor running and you aren’t afraid to spend a little change, the Fitbit Surge is your best bet.  This watch tracks GPS running routes, heart rate, steps, sleep patterns, calorie burn and even takes your calls and text messages. Overall this is one of the hottest on the market, but it comes at a hot price of nearly $250.

If you love the tracking ability, but want something a bit more budget friendly, go old school with a classic heart rate monitor or pedometer. For the former, I choose the Polar FT7.  The watch looks good, accurately tracks heart rate and calories and saves your last 10 workout numbers so you can compare how hard you’re working. At just under $70, it really is a great find. The only downfall is it requires a chest strap, but Polar has improved the material making it more comfortable and easier to get on and off than earlier models.

Unless you’re getting a top-of-the-line or high-end monitor, I trust the heart rate monitors with the chest strap better for accuracy than the mid-grade options. If you’re getting a gift for someone who needs to just get moving and don’t want to invest a lot of money, go for a pedometer. Most are very accurate and you can find them for less than $20. People are usually surprised at how effective they can be for making people conscious about getting up and moving. I suggest getting one for your whole family and starting a walking challenge. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

I’m passionate about only buying fitness equipment that is effective and has multiple uses, having seen the endless stream of new devices that come out each year that claim they’ll revolutionize fitness.

My top piece of equipment is still the TRX functional training straps. The versatility, durability, light weight design and super portability make it amazing in my books. The great thing about it is you can literally work every muscle in your body and all you need is a sturdy door to hook it to. The straps are a bit of an investment at $150 on Amazon but, TRX did come out with a new thinner strap system that retails for $99 online. So before you splurge on that $2,000 elliptical which takes up a lot of space but then becomes a coat hanger next year, seriously consider the TRX system.

If you’re looking for a new twist on an old device, the Smart Rope by Tangram Factory is the way to go. This jump rope is full of LED lights that display your jump rope number in the air while you’re jumping. It also interfaces with an app to record your jump workouts and tell you your calorie burn. This is the coolest product out there, but it starts at $80 and offers pretty much just one exercise. If you have extra money and want to look cool in 2017, which I’m not above, this is your gadget. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, I say go for your traditional jump rope. It’s still a great cardio exercise and you can find good ones for less than $20.

Every year people spend millions in fitness gadgets and new equipment that by February has never been taken out of the box. It takes a lot of discipline to work out on your own, so also consider studio or trainer gift cards. Getting someone a gift card to a studio or trainer can be the jump start they need to build in accountability to a new safe workout plan. We sometimes forget that the hardest part of every workout is getting there.  Have an amazing healthy holiday season.

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