Holiday Gift Guide: Fitness

Do you have a friend or family member that spends more time in the gym or outside excercising than on the couch? Are you looking for a gift that will help someone lose a few pounds packed on during the holiday season? We've compiled a list of great fitness gifts and gadgets that may be exactly what you are looking for this year. 

Tracking Your Progress

Nike+ FuelBand: Tracking your life with your wrist

The Nike+ FuelBand tracks your activity through a sport-tested accelerometer, then translates all that data into charts and graphs about your daily routines. The water-resistant device tracks running, walking, dancing, sports and dozens of simple activities.

Users can set daily goals for themselves and the FuelBand tracks that progress. The device displays a red to green light transition throughout the day as a measurment tool. Get to green and you've hit your goal.

Users can cycle through steps taken and calories burned on the FuelBand. They can also wirelessly sync the Nike+ FuelBand or plug it directly into a computer's USB port to sync. When using the Nike+ FuelBand mobile app to sync wirelessly, users can compete with themselves or share results with friends to compare fitness levels. The Nike+ FuelBand can typically be found around the $150 range.  

Nike+ FuelBand

Fitbit One: Taking steps to a better you 

Similar to the function of the FuelBand, the Fitbit One helps you track your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed throughout the day. The small unobtrusive device clips to a pocket or waist band in order to record the data. 

At night, the Fitbit One measures your sleep cycle to help you see how to sleep better. In addition, the device can help wake you in the morning without waking your partner using a silent vibrating alarm.

You can upload stats wirelessly via computer or through select mobile devices. After analyzing your fitness stats, you can set goals. You an also connect with friends for support and log other information like food intake or workouts. The Fitbit One is priced around $100, but other devices in the line (Fitbit Ultra, Fitbit Zip) can be purchased as cheap as $60. 

FitBit One / Ultra

Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale: Keeping an eye on your weight  

Desgined by the same company that created the Fitbit, the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale measures your weight, body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI). Transmitting over your home's Wi-Fi, the scale will automatically upload wieght information to a personal Fitbit account for tracking.

This Wi-Fi enabled scale lets you set goals as well and track your progress throughout the month. The Aria scale can be set up to automatically recognize up to 8 users. Also, weight data is kept private unless the user chooses to share it. You can check your progress from your computer or with a free smartphone app. In addition, the Aria scale is available in both black and white.

Right around the $130 mark, the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale is a good gift for someone looking to shed a few pounds. For a less expensive option, keep an eye out for discounts on Wi-Fi scales developed by Withings. They just released a new model (the WS-30) and the previous model (WBS01) is being discounted.

Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

Unique Equipment

Schwinn Loop Folding Bike: Perfect for hiding under a desk

Made for saving space, the Schwinn Loop 7-Speed Folding Bike folds away for easy storage when you're not using it. This would be an ideal gift for people that would like to ride a bike to work, but don't have any space to store the bike at the office.

Utilizing an alloy frame, the bike is strong and durable. 

The Schwinn Loop also has a built-in rear carrier so that you can strap on a bag, basket or box in order to transport items like groceries, school books or a briefcase. The Loop offers 7 speeds with a 3-piece single-speed crankset for shifting. The 20-inch alloy rims and city tires are ideal for riding on streets and the sidewalk.

In addition, the fenders protect your work clothes from getting dirty from dirt and debris. The front and rear linear pull brakes offer speed control and precise stopping power for safe riding. The folding bike also  comes complete with a nylon bag for storage.

Schwinn Loop Folding Bike

FitDesk Stationary Bike Desk: Pedal while you work or play 

Ideal to anyone that spends lots of time in a sitting position, FitDesk allows you to work on a laptop while pedaling throughout the day. This low intensity exercise can improve cardiovascular health significantly as well as help you lose weight during the process.

The design of the FitDesk provides comfortable placement of your forearms on a padded desk surface. This also offers a place for use of keyboards or game controllers. In order to keep a laptop on the top of the desk without falling, a strap is included to wrap around the base of a laptop. This would also be an ideal space to strap down a tablet or e-reader like a Kindle.

The desk surface is also removable in case it gets stained or simply needs washing. The FitDesk is currently priced around $250, but deals can occasionally be found around the $200 area. If you prefer walking over pedaling a bike, look into the TrekDesk treadmill desk at around a $500 price point. 

FitDesk Stationary Bike Desk

Xbox 360 Kinect: Getting active a few feet from the couch 

It's no surprise that the Xbox Kinect has been latched onto by the fitness industry. The Kinect sensor is perfect for interpreting user movement and helping users understand positioning when it comes to excercise. 

The sheeer amount of fitness games available for the Kinect is overwhelming. While Kinect users can burn a few calories by dancing in front of the TV with the Dance Central series, more serious workout titles like Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, EA Sports Active 2 and the Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout are perfect for living a healthier lifestyle.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect sensor can typically be found for about $100, but look for the $150 holiday bundle at $100 for a better deal. If you don't have an Xbox 360 and prefer a less expensive option, look into the Nintendo Wii with balance board for another video game exercise option.

Xbox 360 Kinect

Audio Motivation 

Motorola MotoActv: Using GPS and tunes to stay active

The Motorola MOTOACTV is a GPS location tracker, heart rate monitor (with heart sensor) and smart MP3 player packed into a small, waterproof device that wraps around a wrist. Using the GPS function, a user can track distance traveled during a cardio workout like running or riding a bike. This information is uploaded to Motorola's training portal and the user can analyze the data.

The 8GB MP3 player syncs with both iTunes and Windows Media Music in order to transfer songs for your workout. Motorola has also built a function into the watch that detects your pace depending on the song. Using that information, it can play higher intensity songs for extra motivation while you work out. 

The audio coach will give you brief updates on your timing, distance and pace as you work out. In addition, the watch can connect wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled headphones for your tunes. The MotoActv can typically be found around the $150 price point, but look for sales around the $125 to $135 area.

Motorola MotoActv

iPod Nano: Perfect size for a strenuous workout

About the size of a credit card, the new, 16GB iPod Nano is the thinnest iPod ever made. In addition, the 2.5-inch display is nearly twice as big as the display on the previous iPod Nano. With 30 hours of music playback when fully charged, users can listen to music loaded from iTunes, FM Radio or podcasts. 

There's also a specific fitness application built into the device for your workouts. The Nano has a built-in pedometer to keep track of steps and the Nike+ technology includes voice feedback on the workout. Bluetooth connectivity also allows the user to connect wirelessly to headphones or a heart rate monitor.

Since this iPad Nano is a fairly new device in Apple's line, the price won't sway much from the $150 price point. However, you can look for deals on the previous Nano for around $100 or simply check out the less expensive iPod Shuffle 

Apple iPod Nano

Pear Square One: Listening to a coach

PEAR is a smart biofeedback training system that uses a wireless heart rate monitor and foot pod to measure your body's response to a workout, and delivers real-time coaching to keep you on track towards meeting your goal.

PEAR formulates individual training plans, designed by a team of world-class coaches, based on your age, gender, fitness level, aspirations and the latest training science. Using interactive audio coaching, PEAR tells you when you're off goal and motivates you to stay on track according to your custom tailored plan.

Alongside real-time coaching, PEAR delivers on-demand workout stats. With one push of a button your music fades, and you get heart rate, pace, cadence, time, distance and calories without having to look down or break stride. 

The price point of the Pear device is right around $250, however an iPod Shuffle added into the mix is an additional $50. 

Pear Square One