Fitness gadgets are having a big moment recently, for obvious reasons. Are you spending more time at home? Over-eating and not getting enough exercise, but determined to do something about it? Hey, us too, small world! For motivation and help on getting in shape, fitness tech can be a great replacement for gyms and personal trainers.
And so we have rounded up five of the best fitness gadgets for home workouts. They can help with your summer weight loss plan, whether you are building a full-scale home gym or are currently using bodyweight exercises to keep in shape. Or even if you're currently doing no workout at all, but are raring to get started on a home workout program.
1. Fitbit Versa
This has long been widely considered the best Fitbit, despite its lack of built-in GPS. And guess what? If you are tracking activity and exercise at home, you don't need GPS. The Versa has everything you need to track sleep and normal activity.
As well as counting steps, it will detect and log any longer walks you take and can also give you regular reminders to get moving if you remain sedentary too long. This latter feature can be quite annoying under normal circumstances but in a lockdown type situation it becomes genuinely useful.
Versa is far more than a mere pedometer, however. Its surprisingly good heart-rate monitor means it can track your effort during workouts from gentle to vigorous; from yoga to HIIT. It can also give you an overall fitness score, and show you how you compare to other people of your age and gender.
Finally, the Versa is a competent smartwatch, with notifications, reminders and a smattering of apps. Get the most recent Fitbit Versa 2 and you'll find a really stunning OLED screen, and Alexa built in as well. Battery life is excellent at about 5 days per charge, on average.
If you want a Fitbit that does have GPS, the new Charge 4 fits the bill nicely.
• Shop the FIIT store – a 14-day free trial is available, Premium membership costs from £10 per month
You can use FIIT as a free home workout app, and it's got a wealth of workouts from top PTs to get your teeth into… But it really comes into its own when you add a heart-rate sensor and buy a subscription.
FIIT's own tracker – a heart-rate strap rather than a watch – is very good. Movement sensors mean it can count reps during many of the FIIT video workouts, and pulse information seems accurate. This is used to calculate your 'FIIT points' – a measure of the effort your putting in.
The genius of FIIT points is that those with a higher level of base fitness must put in more effort to gain the same number of points. As a result, FIIT is motivational for everyone from beginners to advanced workout warriors, although it does skew moer towards the latter.
The package also includes a simple adaptor so you can plug most phones or tablets in to your TV for big-screen motivation.
Laudably, FIIT does not operate a walled garden, and you can also pair a large number of third-party fitness bands, watches and straps with the app.
• Read more about FIIT
3. Get on your bike
Home cardio machines are in big demand right now, and no wonder. Their appeal has spread beyond those who are in training for competitive running, riding and, er, rowing and, um, cross-country skiing and are selling out fast due to demand from people who need a way to workout at home.
For most people, a bike is the best option, as it is lower impact than a treadmill and demands less effort in terms of form than a rowing machine. And Elliptical trainers, while giving a great workout, are just too silly.
At this time, Wattbike Atom has two huge advantages over the competition: it is arguably the best home trainer you can buy, and a T3 Award winner, and it is also still available to buy and get delivered, as Wattbike handles its own retail and distribution.
One of our best Zwift setups, Wattbike Atom can give an intense workout with detailed feedback on how you're performing, so you can really ace fitness goals. It's also got a small footprint so won't get in the way.
4. Tanita RD 953
If you want to get a deeper insight into how your body is changing as a result of exercise, weight is not a particularly useful metric. That's also true if you're looking to lose belly fat. Tanita's body monitor scales will accurately tell you your weight, but they also offer more interesting insights. These include your muscle mass, visceral fat level, and even an estimate of your 'cardio age' – ideally what comes up here is lower than your actual age.
The RD 953 is also quite attractive as bathroom scales go, and has Bluetooth so it can be connected to the Tanita app on your phone, funnelling your body data into Apple Health or Google Health.
5. Beats by Dr Dre Powerbeats
Music during a workout can be incredibly motivating, so long as it's not some dirge by Sam Smith. Powerbeats Pro remain the ultimate headphones for running and gym, but there is now a more affordable option from the house of Dr Dre, which is ideal for using when working out in your house. The only trade-off with their more spendy sibling is that they are conjoined by a wire, rather than being true wireless.
Powerbeats offers an almost literally unshakeable fit – believe us, we've tried – without compromising comfort, and deliver a sound that is suitably rousing for soundtracking intense workouts. The battery lasts for 15 hours, so if you are thinking of doing a marathon on your balcony, these will see you through it. Do think of your downstairs neighbours, though.
BoxVR VR boxing by FitXR
VR headsets have really got lighter and more comfortable these days, to the point where the idea of working out whilst wearing one is not at all silly. Our favourite current virtual workout is BoxVR, which is compatible with Vive, PSVR and Oculus headsets.
A bit like Wii boxing crossed with Dance Dance Revolution, BoxVR requires you to jab, hook and uppercut targets that race towards you in waves, as well as floating like a butterfly and crouching like a, er, bee to avoid larger obstacles.
It's hypnotic, and a lot of fun, and surprisingly effective as a workout. You don't need a huge amount of space, either, although we recommend not standing directly under light fittings. Boy did we find that out the hard way.
T3 created this content as part of a paid partnership with Wattbike. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of T3. Read more about Wattbike here.