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Jan 3

Fitness and Nutrition Awards | Best Fitness and Food Products – Runner’s World

One lesson weve learned over the past year: You can get a solid workout done without leaving home. And theres plenty of gear out there to add some spice to your sweat sessions and help take your fitness to new levels. Plus, lots of food options to fuel your every mile.

So we tested the products designed to give you an edge in your fitness, helping you get stronger, more powerful, and faster on your feet. Here, weve selected the best tools to support you through your training and across the finish line with a shiny new personal record.

Getting a cardio workout indoors has its perks. Of course it protects you from the elements, but it can also offer a safer way to exercise when winter hits and the streets get slick. Many machines also provide pre-programmed workouts and enthusiastic instructors to keep motivation high, and by mixing up your cardio method with equipment beyond the treadmill, you also reduce your risk of injurythe beauty of cross-training.

[Cross-training] is good for working the same large muscle groups you use when running, but in different ways, to create variety and better balance and to change the repetitive stress of running, says Brooke Carmen, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at Whole Body Health Physical Therapy in Portland, OR. Many runners get injured from imbalances or overuse, and cross-training can help you mitigate those causes, Carmen says.

Dan Giordano, DPT, CSCS, chief medical officer for Bespoke Treatments in New York City, agrees, adding that activities such as rowing, stair climbing, biking, and using the elliptical all improve your cardio while taking impact off your muscles, bones, and tendons. Doing these other forms of exercise can also help you train different energy systems of the body, he says. You have to work on anaerobic fitnessor quick bursts of energyto improve aerobic. Translation: Speed intervals on the rower or bike could help you check off more miles on the road.

Snag all these benefits by buying your own cardio machine. These three stand out for their value and versatility, particularly for runners.

Courtesy Technogym

Technogym MyRun

$3,450.00

Dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands have been go-to gear for home gyms for good reason: You can find them relatively easily (quality is similar across many brands) and at a reasonable price (especially resistance bands). Plus, you have tons of options for how to use them to build strength and power for better running. But if you want to add new challenges to your at-home routine (think: enhanced stability tests, more intense intervals, and next-level weight training), these three tools should have a place on your mat, stat.

Adam Hoff

FitFighter Steelhose [Weight : 5 lbs.]

$37.49

Adam Hoff

SMARTBAR & WEIGHT SET

$429.00

Adam Hoff

Crossrope Get Lean - Weighted Jump Rope Set

Crossropeamazon.com

Take these workouts with you no matter where you travel. Each app offers a particular specialty thatll keep you moving and getting stronger.

Best For Run Workouts

Nike Run Club

Let coaches and athletes lead you through intervals and tempo runs, and motivate you to work. (Free; iOS and Google Play)

Best for Strength Training

Peloton

Challenging moves, inspiring trainers, tons of varietyyou get it all. ($13/month; iOS and Google Play)

Best for Persoanl Training

FlexIt

Virtual personal training, right at your fingertips. ($40/30-minute session; iOS and Google Play)

Best for HIIT

WOD Generator

Endless options for bodyweight HIIT workouts, like AMRAPs and Tabatas. (Free; iOS and Google Play)

Best for Pilates and Yoga

Alo Moves

A mix of low-impact workouts in scenic locations with well-known instructors. ($20/month; iOS and Google Play)

Best for Meditation

Calm

Choose sleep stories, soundscapes, full programs, and more to relieve stress and rest right. ($70/year; iOS and Google Play)

Best for a Mix of Everything

Apple Fitness+

Meditation, yoga, strength, cardio, and beyond from a stellar class of trainers. ($10/month; iOS)

Turn your home gym into a full-blown fitness studio with equipment that provides both the gear and the instructor-led workout. These machines not only help you build strength and endurance through weight training and HIIT, but also offer up plenty of cross-training options, from yoga to Pilates. Find the one that fits your fitness level, your favorite workout style, and your budget.

When youre first starting out with weight training or looking to hit some PRs, its tough to know what weights to use. But Tonal makes it easyand more fun. Once you get the machine installed at home, youll go through a weight test that includes four exercises: seated lat pull down, seated overhead press, bench press, and neutral grip deadlift. This scores your upper-body strength, core, and lower-body strength based on how fast you move through the exercises, your range of motion and power output, and where you struggle. This test also determines the starting weight for moves across the platform.

Besides helping you get started with weight training, Tonal can also take your current training to the next level, thanks to smart features like eccentric mode, which adds more weight to the lengthening phase of a move. The device also has sports-based weeks-long programs, designed to help athletes like runners train for better performance. You can also choose one-off workouts aimed at improving your strength, endurance, power, or mobility on the run.

In addition to programs and on-demand workouts, Tonal also has live classes scheduled a few times throughout the day. Pick the type that motivates you most, or switch it up depending on how you feel that day. If you already started a program but want something new, the system also suggests workouts that complement what youre doing. ($2,995 plus an additional $495 for the smart accessories, including the handles, bar, rope, bench, roller, and mat; $49/month for Tonal membership)

Mirror incorporates personalization into its platform by offering up a weekly program based on your individual goals and preferences. In addition to live and on-demand classes, you also have the option to book a virtual personal training session ($40/session), which allows for two-way audio and video with a trainer who can then offer feedback on form and also feed you words of motivation to push you through your workout.

If competition drives you, Mirror also has a feature in which you earn points for hitting certain target heart rate zones. Aim to beat other Mirror members numbers or simply try to beat your own. This past fall, Mirror also introduced Mirror Weightsincluding dumbbells and ankle weightswhich pair with the device to count reps, offer up form corrections, and recommend the amount of weight to lift for each exercise. ($1,495 for the device, $50+ for the weights; $39/month for digital Mirror membership)

With the Vault, which links up with the iFIT-connected fitness platform, you get access to hundreds of instructor-led classes in disciplines like strength training, stretching, yoga, Pilates, and boxing.

If you prefer more structure to your weekly workout schedule rather than picking a different workout each day, the Vault and iFIT offer programs to follow day-by-day and week-by-week. From Strength Training 101 and Yoga for Beginners to Next-Level Strength Training and the Advanced HIIT Training Series, you get a full schedule tailored to your fitness level. That means you can also see your progress throughout the program and how far youve come by the time you complete that last workout.

While you dont get direct feedback on form like you will with Tempo or Mirror, you still see the instructor demonstrating moves on theVault, so you have a guide to mimic. ($1,999 for the device without gear; $2,999 for the device plus dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and a mat; $39/month for iFIT membership)

You can still buy the Tempo Studio device, which includes a video screen, stand, and dumbbells ($2,495), but the Move is a much more wallet-friendly option. Opt for this digital home gym if youre searching for the smart training guidance that this type of gear provides, but without the high price tag.

With the Tempo Move, you get dumbbells (with a much smaller, portable stand to store them) and a plug for your iPhone XS/XR (or higher)all for under $500. Instead of using the Tempo Studio camera, the Move system utilizes the camera from your phone and then connects to your TV for a bigger display. Together with the smart weights, the Tempo Move offers feedback on form, counts your reps, and gives advice on whether you should go up or down in weight, depending on your pace through each lift. By pairing with the app, you also have access to tons of workouts to follow, so youre never lost on how to continue progressing your workouts. ($495 for device; $39/month for Tempo membership)

If youve already got the original Hypervolt at home, this newer model might not warrant splurging for an upgrade just yet. Still, this update brings subtle yet important tweaks. Hyperice reshaped the handleits no longer cylindricaland added a series of ridges along the neck. Combined with the lighter weight, we found that this makes for a more comfortable grip during extended sessions on tricky spots like your hamstrings.

Youll be able to squeeze about 60 more minutes of juice from the battery and also get a deeper massage from the longer stroke length. (The top speed now maxes out at a lower rpm, but the overall experience is punchier, since the head extends farther out from the device with each oscillation.)

The very best parts of the Hypervolt havent changed. The second version still has three speeds powered by a whisper-quiet 60-watt motor, plus five interchangeable head attachments, and it pairs fast with a smartphone. For in-depth guided recovery sessions designed by experts, pair the device with Hyperices app and follow along to personalized routinesitll even automatically adjust the speed as you go. ($299)

Adam Hoff

Nano X1 Pursuit Men's Training Shoes

The lightest version of the Nano, the Pursuit makes for a stable service underfoot while youre strength training, and it has plenty of room in the toe box so you can plant your feet or push off when you need to. The shoe also has enough flexibility for moves like box jumps or adding in sprint intervals. Keep in mind the shoe is sized for unisex, listed under mens on the site. ($150)

Best Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Charge 5

$169.89

The Charge blurs the line between running watch and fitness trackerand thats a good thing for those ofus who are just as interested in our weekly running mileage as our daily step count. Our favorite features in the fifth version include the built-in GPS (a must-have for most runners), a VO2 max estimator (though Fitbit calls it your Cardio Fitness Level), and an all-new Readiness Score to assess workout recovery. Plus, its still jam-packed with the goodies youve come to expect from Fitbit, like in-depth sleep tracking and contactless pay, plus a few extras usually reserved for higher-end smartwatches, like an ECG scanner. The battery life wont compete with the Garmins and Suuntos of the world, but the Charge delivers a truly impressive mix of powerful smartwatch, running watch, and fitness tracker features all rolled into one stylish slim band.

Best Smartwatch

Apple Watch Series 7

Certain Apple updates just hit differently when youre a runnertake iOS 10s addition of the new lady jogger emoji, for example. Runner-friendly changes we dig in the Series 7: the bigger, brighter screen, which makes it easier to check pace and mile splits, and a full QWERTY keyboardyes, all emojis includedto text your crew the deets on the group run meetup. The screens front crystal is twice as thick as that of the Series 6, so itll better withstand bumps and scrapes in the gym. Youll still need to plug it in for a charge on a daily basis, but the battery now goes from zero to 100 percent in just 75 minutes.

Best GPS Watch

COROS PACE 2

The Pace isnt Coross newest offering, but its one of the best values weve seen to date in a running watch. Its currently the only timepiece on the planet with a 30-hour battery and built-in power meter that costs under $200 and weighs just over one ounce. A favorite feature is the digital dial that lets you scroll through the menus easily with gloved hands or sweaty fingers. If it looks familiar, you might have seenit on Eliud Kipchoges wrist when hewon marathon gold at the 2020 TokyoOlympics.

Best for Tracking Recovery

Whoop Strap 4.0

Two main ingredients are necessary for becoming a better runner: putting in hard, meaningful training efforts, followed by real recuperation. Thats why we like Whoop. This membership platform distills the complexities of training into two simple, easy-to-understand scoresone for daily strain and one for recovery. Whoops new 4.0 sensor adds an extra three LEDs and three photodiodes to boost accuracy and capture skin temperature and blood oxygen levels. The sensor itself is smaller than the 3.0s, making it easier to slide inside compatible Whoop garments like boxers and sports bras. While the subscription wont appeal to everyone, it can serve as a reminder each month to stay committed to progressand prevent you from ditching the device.

Courtesy of Whoop

Best Simple Sleep Tracker

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

$59.99

As runners, we can get caught up in numbers like pace, splits, and mileage. If adding more digits to your life with a sleep score or daily recovery percentage makes you wary of fitness trackers, check out the Google Nest Hub. Its helped us set healthier wake-up and bedtime routines, without feeling too plugged in. Unlike many trackers, the Hub sits on a bedside table so theres nothing to physically wear on your wrist. Ask Google to read you the weather forecast as you decide your layering strategy for a morning run, and pump in the sounds of chirping crickets or a rainstorm to help you wind down at night. Once you drift off, itll track your sleep by sensing noise and movement. But rather than curating an in-depth analysis of your hours spent in REM vs. deep sleep, the Hub just tracks your total snooze time and how restfully you slept. Take note that its designed to track one person at a time, so it may accidentally catch a pup snoring on your pillow, or your partner stealing the blankets.

Sydney Cummings YouTube Channel

NASM-certified trainer Sydney Cummings has tons of workouts that build strength in your upper body, lower body, and coreor everything at one time. Shell encourage you to pick up the heavy weights to get it done, but also give modifications for those who need em.

Each workout varies in length and intensity, often following circuit-style training, but Cummings always serves up what we want: upbeat motivation, creative exercises, tons of variety, and smart programming. And thats why we love her.

She often has programs that stretch through the month, but you can easily mix and match workouts on her channel, choosing whatever fits your schedule and helps you meet your goals. Challenge yourself to a cardio interval class or follow her through weight trainingeither way, youll finish sweaty and proud. (Free)

Yoga With Adrienne YouTube Channel

Adriene Mishlers voice brings instant calm when you press play on any of her sessions. And by the time youre done with her full flow, your body will feel like it finally got the self-care it needs.

In addition to offering yoga sessions that just feel good, Mishler offers tons of options, with classes ranging from under 10 minutes to over 40 minutes. You can opt for a 30-day yoga challenge (she has several of those to help you create a consistent practice), or go for single sessions with a focus on mental improvements like stress relief, forgiveness, or grounding. The best part: She also has plenty of sequences curated specifically for runners, whether you want to stretch it out before you hit the road or after. (Free)

Prehab Guys YouTube Channel

Every clinician curating workouts for the Prehab Guys has a doctorate in physical therapy and a certification in strength and conditioning. In other words, they know how the human body works and what exercises you need to be a stronger, faster runner while sidestepping injury along the way. Runners will definitely enjoy videos like the best warmup for athletes (and runners, specifically), the best exercises for runners to boost performance, how to deal with toe pain, plantar fasciitis pain relief, and exercises for piriformis syndrome (a.k.a. that literal pain in the butt). Press play to avoid aches when you feel them coming on, or when you just want some fitness knowledge. (Free)

Think of carbs as the first fuel choice, says Megan Robinson, RD, a sports dietitian and RRCA-certified run coach who suggests easily digestible options. This helps prevent your muscles from fatigue, as they run on glycogen, she says. Robinson also recommends cutting back on fiber the day before a long run or big race and eating about two to three hours before you start running. If you have more time to digest, go for a meal with a little fat and protein, too. But if youre running against the clock, focus on a smaller meal made of mostly carbs, or even just an electrolyte drink. You can also opt for something with a hit of caffeine. Granola bars will do, but here are a few upgraded grab-and-go options we love:

VERB ENERGY BAR for a quick hit of caffeine (it has as much as an espresso) and calories to perk you up right before a run (From $20 for 12 bars)

MUSH READY-TO-EAT OATS, made with whole ingredients and plenty of flavor options, and stored in a convenient package (From $39 for 6 servings)

CLEAN ENERGY SMOOTHIE, blended with a mix of fruits, veggies, and flaxseeds to give you important vitamins, minerals, and calories ($24 for 8 pouches)

MAURTEN DRINK MIX 320 for an easy-to-digest dose of carbs with a side of extra hydration and nutrients ($48 for 14 servings)

When youre running for more than 90 minutes, you need nutrition, so start fueling around the 30- or 45-minute mark, says Lindsey Elizabeth Cortes, RD, a sports dietitian and the owner of Rise Up Nutrition. Aim for about 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour, she recommends, and try to take it in slowly. The products that will work for you midrun depend on your flavor preferences and what your body can handle while youre running, so its smart to test out a few options. If you feel like you cant eat on a run, try something and be patient with your GI system as you train it, Cortes says.

Some tried-and-true options many runners turn to include Clif Bloks, Nuun Sport electrolyte tablets, Honey Stinger chews or waffles, GU Energy Gels, and SkratchLabs drink mixes. But if you have a sensitive stomachor youre going the distance in an ultrayoull want to look for some other options. Our favorites:

SPRING ENERGY GEL for those who want real, easy-on-the-gut ingredients or those going for more than four hours and also need a hit of protein and fat ($8 for 2 packets)

UCAN EDGE FUEL TO GO for slower-acting carbs that are easier to digest and keep blood sugar stable ($33 for 12 packets)

UNTAPPED ATHLETIC FUEL made of pure maple syrup, with the option for extra sodium, plus raspberry or cocoa flavors ($10 for 5 packets)

Aim to get in both carbs and protein to refuel your muscles and help build them back up after a run. Robinson suggests grabbing a snack with a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio (or as close to that as you can get) and having it within about 30 minutes of your finish. A glass of chocolate milk will do, but so will these delicious bars, all made of wholesome ingredients:

KATES REAL FOOD BAR for simple, tasty, organic ingredients ($30 for 12 bars)

PICKY BAR, featuring a mix of flavors and lots of nutrients ($28 for 10 bars)

KIND ENERGY BAR, which hits that ideal 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio ($14 for 12 bars)

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Fitness and Nutrition Awards | Best Fitness and Food Products - Runner's World

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