January means hitting the gym — hard. Your already depleted list of new year resolutions inevitably involves notes to lose a few pounds and raise your fitness levels: the marathon is only four months away and that new road bike isn’t going to ride itself.
It feels a little daunting but there is an upside: new year means new gear. Those miles will go more quickly when you’ve got a personal trainer in your ear and a new pair of smart scales is the incentive you need to push a little harder in the spinning studio.
From jackets that heat up for cold runs to water bottles that glow to remind you to drink, here’s the smartest fitness tech you need in 2018.
There’s no point going the distance if you can’t track your results and feel smug. Fitbit’s Charge 2 is a neat, lightweight option that’ll record all your major fitness stats, monitor your heart-rate and sleep. If you’re happy to pay more, Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch has a bigger screen and offers more: it’ll track your GPS, offer personalised workouts and let you make payments and control your smart lights at home at the same time.
The Apple Watch Series 3 offers many of the same tools but has an enhanced focus on your heart, plotting your pulse readings on handy graphs.
If you’d rather not wear something on your wrist, the Myzone heart-rate belt sits around your chest and links to your smartphone, and the Moov Now is a lightweight fitness monitor you can wear on your wrist or ankle.
Miles pass more quickly with music. Denon’s wireless sport earphones feature special ear-hook technology so they’ll stay secure when you’re on the move. For something more sturdy, the Beats by Dr Dre Mixr On-Ear Headphones have a lightweight, flexible headband that folds away when not in use.
If you’d rather not take your phone running, Samsung’s Gear IconX earbuds let you upload music from your phone so they work as standalone media players.
Sometimes even Dua Lipa isn’t enough of a motivator, so LifeBEAM’s Vi earphones speak to you during your workout, acting as a personal trainer in your ear. She’ll train you on your time, breathing, step count and heart rate as you go, while still playing your music.
If you want to take your wearables even further, Athos’s Compression Capri Tights have embedded sensors which offer real-time biometric tracking, from muscle activity to calorie expenditure. These sync with an app, telling you which muscles are firing and how much they’re being exerted.
When it’s dark, Proviz’s Nightrider LED jacket and Metier’s Beacon Jacket feature LED lights so you’ll stand out on the roads. For cold days, Blaze’s Explorer Jacket (from £200, blazewear.com) incorporates TriZone technology to keep you warm at the touch of a button.
Now even your water bottle has got smart: the Hidrate Spark 2.0 tracks your water in take and glows to remind you to drink. It’ll tell you when you’ve met your daily goal and syncs with your Fitbit or Apple Watch to monitor your hydration.
Release your knots and tension after your workout with Pulseball, which vibrates and feels like a sports massage, then use Fitbit’s Aria 2 smart scales, which syncs with your smartphone to track your weight, body fat percentage and BMI.
If you’ve got all the gear but no idea, FizzUp will act as a personal trainer in your pocket. The app creates tailored workout and nutrition plans, as well as motivational add-ons, which are optional blocks of cardio, abdominal and stretching exercises. You can also use Sworkit for easy guided workout plans on any device, while TruBe takes things one step further and sends a personal trainer to your home or nearby park at the click of a button.