Top 10 High-Tech Fit Kits

Writer Zoe Louise Cronk | Published May 15, 2019

As fitness, health and technology increasingly collide, there’s likely a gadget that can track, monitor and improve your favourite workout

  • One

    Optimise Your Run

    For many, listening to music is fundamental to enjoying – or simply getting through – a run, making headphones an important accessory. How about a pair that not only delivers voice coaching to improve your pace, but that will also analyse your stats to optimise run stance and help prevent injury? That’s just what Soul Electronics have created. Their new Run Free Pro Bio Headphones monitors the angle of your head while tracking your gait, cadence, step width, symmetry, shock absorption and vertical oscillations of each leg. This is all the more impressive given that the headphones are relatively discreet, comfortable and wireless. The guidance is based on real-time data from your run and the coach will acknowledge when you make an appropriate correction. Small changes, like not landing heavily, can make a big difference in preventing unnecessary stress on the joints, reducing your risk of injury. Post-run, your stats are transmitted to the Soul Fit App so you can keep note of your form and stance as well as route, distance and time.

  • Two

    Pedal to the Beat

    Seven years ago Peloton disrupted the fitness sector with a whole new brand of home workout. It might sound basic: an exercise bike that you ride at home. But wait. This one has a 22” HD screen mounted at the front that enables subscribers to livestream or download classes, and interact with other members. This is the perfect choice for the well-heeled and time-poor looking to work up a sweat at their convenience. Currently available in the UK, US and Canada, the Peloton offers more than 10,000 downloadable spin workouts as well as 14 live classes per day. Rides vary from 10-45 minutes in length and come in standard or themed varieties like hip-hop, groove and HIIT. In each session hundreds of people around the globe can be found pedalling in time with the trainer and cranking up resistance when instructed. A leaderboard in the corner of the screen displays each participant’s ranking enabling the instructor to motivate you directly (and no slacking off). These bikes are sturdy, sleek and smart in design, with a belt tread instead of a chain, so clanking metal is a thing of the past.

  • Three

    Tone at Home 

    Core work is a fundamental to a good workout, with benefits going far beyond the aesthetics of a six-pack. A strong core helps to improve posture and reduce injury risk, but it takes more than a few crunches to achieve. The key is strengthening your entire core, particularly the transverse abdominis. These, the innermost abdomen muscles, sit beneath the internal oblique muscles and are one of the most difficult areas to target. That’s where products such as the Slendertone Abs8 can work wonders. Hailing from Ireland, Slendertone have been at the forefront of muscle-toning technology and associated medical research for over 50 years. Their most recent launch – the Abs8 toning belt – features an improved ergonomic design that hugs the natural curve of the waist for optimal compression and targets the entire core. It’s worn under clothes and is surprisingly comfortable and easy to use thanks to the face-up OLED display and 10 pre-programmed sessions. Seven are intended for use during daily activities while the remaining three can be used during either cardio or core exercises. Each session lasts 30 minutes, during which electrical muscle stimulation technology transmits impulses via three conductive gel pads on the inside of the belt. These impulses trigger muscle contractions to mimic the results of a moderate to advanced ab workout, and can be adjusted to be more or less intense depending on how hardcore you’re feeling that day.

  • Four

    Glow, Sip, Go 

    Ask any wellness professional to name one of the best things you can do for health and well-being, and they will unanimously respond – drink more water – yet the majority of us still fail to consume as much as we should. Meet Hidrate Spark: the latest generation of smart reusable water bottle that tracks fluid intake and serves as a glowing reminder to stay hydrated. It works via a sensor that tracks how much water you consume from the bottle throughout the day; information it then transmits to the Hidrate app. When it registers that you haven’t had a drink in some time, the LED lights up prompting you to take a sip. As for how much you should be drinking, it calculates this via a number of variables including height, weight, age and activity level. Allow the app to access your location and it will even adjust your daily goal based on the temperature, humidity and elevation of your surroundings. The Hidrate Spark comes in matte and metallic hues, and its battery lasts up to a year.

  • Five

    Hit The Slopes

    Taking to the slopes is often considered the ultimate outdoor pursuit, combining adrenaline-fuelled excitement, breathtaking views and a serious core and leg workout. Now, bringing skiing into the 21st century, comes Swiss brand Snowcookie, and gives skiers as much insight, if not more, into their activity as a gym-goer would get on on any machine. The revolutionary device captures the motion of the body and each ski independently thanks to three discreet cookie-sized sensors, one attached to each ski and one strapped to the chest. A total of 105 different parameters including body position, turn quality, balance, stamina and terrain are measured during each run. These then upload to the AI-powered app, which delivers feedback and creates 3D-rendered maps so you can examine and even replay. Being able to zoom into every turn, get actionable insights and compare speed and technique is not only heaven for data-lovers, it allows experts and recreational skiers to improve their skiing abilities more efficiently. As the world’s first and only smart ski system, it’s no surprise this innovative device is taking the mountain-loving set by (snow) storm.

  • Six

    Punch it Out

    It’s time to unleash your inner Rocky. The full-body, high-intensity boxing workout has been gaining popularity for the last decade and shows no signs of slowing. This stress-busting exercise made the jump from ring to mainstream gyms, and now enters the home workout arena thanks to a year-old brand called FightCamp. Their compact, mobile home boxing gym was initially designed for athlete training, but with its combination of quality equipment and subscription-based on-demand workouts, at-home boxers can pull on their gloves whenever suits. Training sessions are led by elite athletes – all of whom are professional boxers or fighters – and last 15-45 minutes, with new classes added each week and options such as HIIT available for those who like to mix it up. The tech doesn’t stop at streaming workouts. Gloves are equipped with motion and punch-tracking functionality that calculate punch rate and effort output and deliver live stats to the app. You’ll get a detailed performance record at the end of each session which displays your technique, strength and how hard you’re working.

  • Seven

    High-Tech Zen

    Imagine a line of on-trend yoga wear that has the ability to read your body and deliver a personalised guided yoga experience. That’s exactly what makes Wearable X some of the smartest stylish activewear on the market today. Looking first at the clothing itself, the four different styles of Nadi X legging are smooth to the touch with comfortable flat seams and four-way stretch fabric to ensure there’s no restriction through asanas and inversions. Now for the technology. Embedded sensors woven into the knee, ankle and hip detect your physical position and identify each yoga pose, then sync with the app to provide real-time feedback. Wearers will feel vibrations in the relevant sensors that act as gentle reminders of where to focus your attention or make an adjustment to ensure you’re performing each pose correctly and safely. This is a win for those not always able to practice yoga in a class setting. Home yoga can do wonders for our well-being, but with no instructions can be an easy route to injury. The app contains a selection of yoga sequences and delivers coaching tips, tracks progress and enables you to create customisable yoga sequences.

  • Eight

    Futuristic Footwear

    The humble sock just got smart. Promising to improve your run technique, Sensoria’s Smart Socks are designed to help counter the more than 65 per cent of runners who are injured every year due to poor form. As well as tracking multiple elements of a run (including GPS, cadence, pace and gait), this intelligent footwear provides real-time coaching from the feet up, with the main focus on what they call ‘foot landing technique’. Socks are fitted with textile pressure sensors (that you can’t feel while running) which transmit data to the app about how and where your foot strikes the ground, i.e. heel or ball first. Afterwards, the app shows a visual heat-map of where your feet feel the most impact. Then there’s cadence monitoring. Sensoria research shows that even a subtle increase in step rate can significantly reduce pressure on the hip and knee joints – a common cause of running injuries. In response, the smart socks not only count steps but also deliver cadence feedback with a metronome feature and voice commands to keep up your desired steps per minute. The coach function also provides advice on landing position and correcting  balance to optimise form. In case you were wondering, the socks themselves are made from sweat-wicking, antibacterial and anti-blister fabric offering maximum comfort as well as intellect.

  • Nine

    Breathe Right, Eat Right

    After much anticipation, a new device arrives on the market this year with the technology to measure your metabolic rate, reveal whether you’re burning more fat or carbs and recommend a nutrition plan based on how your body is performing that day – all with a single breath. Until now, accurate at-home calculations of metabolic rate have been tricky, but no longer, thanks to the scientists and engineers at Lumen. Enter height and weight stats and specific goals, then simply breathe into this pocket-sized device. By measuring the CO2 production and oxygen uptake in each breath, it will determine your metabolic rate and then calculate how much energy is being burned from fat and carbs. This data syncs with an app that tailors advice on how to balance your macronutrients for the day and also suggests meal ideas and snacks based on your recommended intakes. The more regularly you check in with the device, the more accurate and up-to-date the tips will be. For example, breathing into it in the afternoon might deliver the message: ‘You’re running low on energy – eat a high-carb snack before your run’.

  • Ten

    Rest And Recover 

    Workouts are great, endorphins are great, feeling stronger is great. The morning-after muscle ache that can make a flight of stairs feel like Everest? Not so great. PowerDot was created to help enhance post-exercise recovery using electric muscle stimulation therapy. By placing electrode pads on specific points of the body, the PowerDot transmits electrical impulses to the targeted area. Its ‘active recovery’ mode is particularly ideal for rest days; the idea being that by continuing to keep a low level of lactic acid in your muscles, you’ll maintain good circulation, accelerate healing and aid muscle repair. The device also has a ‘massage’ mode designed for warm-ups and cool-downs that promotes blood flow and helps to relax and lengthen the muscles. Ahh. That feels better.