Time Out says get off the couch and onto the treadmill with these electronic fitness coaches
Garmin Forerunner 305, Dhs1,500 Strap this pocket-sized gadget around your wrist while you’re running or biking to monitor your heart rate, speed, pace and distance (via GPS), then save the results to track your progress. To add some healthy competition to the mix, the Forerunner allows you to compare your stats with those of a ‘virtual partner,’ which you can program to be a faster, fitter version of yourself. All in all, it’ll have you competing with a hypothetical figure and losing weight. Sound strange? It’s currently a number-one seller in the US and already kicking up a storm in Dubai. For more info, go to www.garmin.com.
JumpSnap, Dhs350 Designed for athletes with two left feet, this ropeless jump rope – essentially handles attached to balls – houses a tiny chip that estimates the number of calories you’ve burned (supposedly up to 100 in five minutes), based on your height and weight. Unlike the standard recess favourite, it can also keep track of your hops, inspiring you to aim for a higher number with each new session. What’s more, it produces a realistic snapping sound effect as if you’re whipping the floor. It’s probably not one to try after a heavy night on the tiles – the repetitive movement can be a bit nauseating – but great if you’re a bloke who can’t stand the idea of skipping about like a little girl. For more info, go to www.jumpsnap.com.
Tanita IronMan BC558, Dhs1,200 There’s no more sobering or compelling reason to do some cardio than following a date with your scales, but this high-tech version upgrades weigh-ins by tracking your body fat, muscle mass and water percentage. Its best feature, however, is its ability to pinpoint the flab on your arms, legs or torso by sending a low-level electrical signal throughout your body, letting you know what areas need more work. Plus, you can record measurements for up to four people. Just don’t buy one if you’re a little sensitive about your wobbly bits – it’s as brutally honest as they come. For more info, visit to www.tanita.com.
PumpOne Mobile, from Dhs7 Turn your cell into your personal trainer with these mobile, downloadable sessions. Delivered via text message or accessible by your phone’s web browser for up to two weeks, these programs offer step-by-step visuals that tell you how to properly execute each exercise, whether it’s a gruelling ab routine or general body conditioning. The programs can be read on models including the, RIM BlackBerry, Motorola Razr and Samsung Blackjack, and for the white-earbud crew, PumpOne offers a version (from Dhs10) downloadable onto any of Apple’s colour-screen iPods. If for nothing else, it sounds pretty cool. For more info, go to www.pumpone.com.
While an automated machine may be the answer for any reluctant gym-goers, there’s still no substitute for a bit of hard graft. ‘People can make as many excuses as they want for skipping the gym, but the only way to get properly fit is to get that heart rate up and sweat it out,’ says Dan Harrison, personal trainer at U Concept.
If you’re unlikely to warm to a 6am cardio routine, a personal trainer is the way to go – nothing quite beats someone barking at you to lunge, jump, push and stretch your way to a lithe body. For more information call U Concept (04 344 9060).