Experts’ top picks for health and fitness technology

Experts’ top picks for health and fitness technology

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Sarah Berry

I am not going to lie.

I’m not into gadgets, trackers or apps. Luddite-tendencies aside, choice overload overwhelms and I exercise for enjoyment so balk at being guilted into it by a gadget.

Besides, I exercise to escape technology.

But, call me slow on the uptake, I did discover the dashboard on my iPhone that tracks your daily steps and liked that no input of data (aka time wasted) was necessary.

Plus, I suppose exercising with your iPhone in tow – purely for music – doesn’t quite constitute escaping technology.

And those in the know insist that the essence of the best technology is to enhance the exercise experience, to make it intuitive and fun.

Fun?

“Carrot Fit is funny and light-hearted and you find yourself really wanting to find out what the app’s robot-voiced PT will say next and so... you press play... and suddenly you’re working out, again,” promises Libby Babet, owner of Agoga and bufgirl.com.

If I – or anyone like me – is ever going to get into gadgets, we want to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, I asked Babet, along with other health and fitness experts for their go-to gadgets, apps, or websites for health, fitness and wellbeing.

Gadgets

The new Apple watch is a favourite among the fit.

“I don’t religiously use a tracker or site to manage food intake or energy expenditure at the moment,” confesses Fitness First national trainer, Michael Cunico. “The closest I get is my Apple watch and getting feedback on movement over a day, week, month, etc and I am looking forward to seeing where app developers will take this product.”

Babet is also a fan.

“I’ve just got my hands on the Apple Watch and it is NEXT LEVEL amazing,” she raves. “I suddenly have a PT on my wrist checking in on my progress and fitness apps waiting for me to press GO on thousands of workouts.

“This has really helped me fit more bite-sized bits of movement into my hectic life and I love it so much! I usually hate fitness watches, this is literally the first time I’ve ever been excited about a piece of fitness tech.”

Another wristy that gets a mention is the Fitbit.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the Fitbit,” says Flow Athletic’s co-owner Ben Lucas. “Set yourself a target of 10-thousand steps a day. It’s proving a great way to keep people motivated and accountable. And there’s the sense of satisfaction when they hit targets.”

Another piece of technology, that I need no persuasion with, and provides satisfaction while working out, is music gadgets.

Scott Gooding, owner of theScott Gooding Project and Paleo Foodies, says he’s “not really a gadget man” but his Sennheiser earphones are essentials.

“I adore adore ADORE my Ultimate Ears Megaboom portable speaker too,” Babet adds. “OK so it’s not officially ‘fitness equipment’ but it is so loud and awesome, I take it to remote parks, roll out my mat and the tunes kick my workout into gear every time.”

Apps

Headspace, an app delivering guided meditations, smartly pegs itself as a gym membership for the mind.

The New Yorker has described it as enlightenment on your iPhone and with its short (typically 10 minute) sessions and options like stress reduction, creativity and clarity, ironically helps minimise the noise often created by technology.

“We highly recommend... Headspace,” Lucas says. “A great way to start your day fresh and focused.”

Babet agrees.

“An app for those who need a little meditation in their lives but aren’t so great with sitting still and ‘just breathing’, this one literally gives you a little time and space for you, in a guided and easy format.”

She also highly rates Zombies, Run! (a running app that tells you stories while you work out and is “the best fun”), Zova (“my absolutely favourite fitness app – guided workouts, set to rhythm, with workouts ...curated by the best fitness minds all over the world.”) and StrongLIfts 5x5, an app “perfect for lovers of weights who want to get super strong”.

Websites

From nerd fitness to how to lift like a girl to how to be a ‘buff’ bride to being a yoga dork, there really is a website out there for everyone.

Guy Lawrence and Stuart Cooke of 180 Nutrition spruik their own podcasts of course, but are keen followers of others around the world.

“I would say Fat Burning Man with Abel James,” Lawrence says. “The Tim Ferris Show and Bullet Proof Radio with Dave Asprey.”

Gooding is also into his podcasts, naming Joe Rogan and Abel James as go-tos. For websites, he names the YouTube channel of biomedical scientist Rhonda Patrick. Ben Lucas is more of a traditional technology man, preferring websites for staying in tune with the rest of the world.

WellandGood.com is his top pick. “[It] gives you the hottest fitness trends coming out of the US.”