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Best Fitness Gadgets for Athletes

A few of the best fitness apps and gadgets for every athlete


Updated December 10, 2010

Exercise training gadgets seem to get fancier every year with high-tech phone apps and portable fitness trackers that keep tabs on your daily workout details and tell you what to do next. But there are still some basic low-tech gadgets that help you build fitness the old fashioned way. Will these fitness gadgets and devices will make you a better athlete? Maybe so, maybe not, but many athletes find their workout motivation increases every time they get a 'shiny new toy.'  Here are a few fitness gadgets to play with.

1. Garmin Fitness Devices

Garmin Forerunner
(c) Pricegrabber

Garmin offers a long list of portable  personal trainers that have it all: a GPS receiver, a wireless heart rate monitor and it records your workout time, distance, pace, calories and heart rate. The simple user interface provides immediate feedback, and you can store and analyze all your workouts over time. The Garmin is not cheap -- the latest models run about $350 -- but for the elite athlete, Garmin still leads the pack with a training gadget for runners, cyclists, and now even golfers!

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2. Apple iPod Shuffle

Apple iPod Shuffle
(c) Pricegrabber

I admit I'm a big fan of the iPod Shuffle. I use mine while running, doing cardio or weights at the gym or just walking through the urban jungle. This little portable music device let's me customize a playlist for every mood, or workout type and tempo. Load it up with 2GB of music and it keeps a charge for about 10 hours. It clips right on your collar, hat or jacket and is so small and lightweight that you'll forget all about it.

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3. Timex Triathlon Watch

Timex Ironman Watch
photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

The Timex Ironman series of sports watches are loaded with features for any active person. A variety of timers, and countdown clocks, plus multiple alarms and all in a water-resistant exterior -- what's not to love?

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4. Heart Rate Monitor

Polar F11
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber
There are a variety of new heart rate manufactures this year, but Polar is one of the first and, consistently, one of the best. They have a variety of styles and features and price ranges so you are sure to find the right heart rate monitor in this group. Prices range for $50 to $300.

5. CardioTrainer

CardioTrainer is a free Android application that is perfect for runners and cyclists. It tracks your workouts with GPS, records mileages, pace and calories burned. You can use Listen to your favorite workout mix and control playback with the Music integration features, and get voice notification feedback during your workouts to keep you on pace.  CardioTrainer is one of the coolest free fitness apps out there.


6. Door Way Pull Up Bar

Pull Up Bar
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

With one of these fitness gadgets you'll have no excuse for avoiding pull ups, one of the most overlooked exercises for building upper body, back and core strength. The best bet is a bar that attaches and removes easily (not drilled into the door frame) and has multiple grip positions, and supports your weight. Iron Gym offers a great, basic bar for around $30.

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7. Instant Heat - Hand Warmers

Do you or your favorite athlete head for the mountains or play in the snoa all winter? Instant hand and toe warmers are a must-have emergency items to keep in you pocket or pack. These little pocket warmers are air-activated and provide up to 5 hours of heat for your toes and hands.

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8. Finis SwiMP3.1G MP3 Player

Finis SwiMP3
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

Swim workouts can get monotonous, but with the Finis waterproof MP3 Player, you can enjoy your favorite workout tunes to the pool. The technology behind the SwiMP3 uses bone conduction, so sound vibrations are directly transferred from the cheek bone to the inner ear, giving the swimmer clear audio lap after lap.

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9. Wii Fit

If you can't get outside to train and your standard gym workout isn't cutting it, you can always turn to Wii Fit to get a little heart pumping cardio exercise, join a yoga class or work on your balance.
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10. The Stick Massager

The Stick Massager
Photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

While many may argue that it's not technically a gadget, this small portable self-massager is a must-have for any athlete. Use it to massage tight, stiff muscles and perform simple myofascial release when using a foam roller is just not practical.

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