These innovative creations are your best bet for an active year ahead – and there’s something for every fitness tribe
The urban runner
How much technology can you really put into a pair of trainers? A staggering amount if you’re prepared to splash out on a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost Laceless. The clue is in the name. Yes, these beauties are sans laces, but the really high-tech element comes in the form of breathable Primeknit yarn. It is designed using motion-tracking technology to fit snugly to the feet where needed, and provide room for movement in other areas. If you’re prone to blisters, then the seam-free upper can specifically minimise irritation. So what are you waiting for? The least you can do is run to the shops and back...
With a blood oxygen monitor, song storage, in-built personal coaching and GPS, the first smartwatch from Fitbit leaves nothing to chance when it comes to second-by-second analysis of just how lazy or productive you’ve been. Named Ionic, the aerospace-grade aluminium construction gives off a cool simplicity that belies the devilishly complex work going on underneath. Not only that, but it’s a comfy companion thanks to nano-molding technology that fuses plastic and metal together for a lighter design.
The clean eating gourmet
Steaming your veggies may still bring back bad memories of soggy broccoli in school dinners. Trust the original mad scientist of the British kitchen, Heston Blumenthal, to have come up with a solution. The sleek, sexy and thoroughly modern Steam Zone incorporates new technology whereby the steaming process automatically stops when the water levels get too low. There are natty ‘keep warm’ and ‘sync’ functions too, meaning you can prepare fish, chicken and vegetables to perfection.
The take-no-prisoners gym bunny
Stimulating, serious and slightly short on oxygen, Virgin Active’s new altitude chamber spin class at Cannon Street is a mean and magnificent workout. While not quite giving that top-of-the-Andes breathlessness, it will certainly make you feel you’ve climbed a little further than to the top of the Shard. The room is designed to simulate being at an altitude of 3,000m by removing oxygen from the air, making your workout a notch harder. Probably not the right class to go to if you have a hangover, but perfect if you have a head, heart and hardcore attitude for heights.
Membership from £129 per month, www.virginactive.co.uk
The maverick kit junkie
Comparisons with a rogue tent pole are tempting – but wrong – when it comes to this piece of American fitness creativity. The aim of the ActivMotion Bar according to inventor Derek Mikulski, is to “put resistance that’s active or alive into someone’s hands”.
Replacing medicine balls and hand weights (and enhancing sets of crunches, lunges and squats), the deceptively simple tech behind the pole is the ball bearings inside, which shift when it is held, forcing users to focus on keeping it stable. In this way, more muscles are activated in any exercise.
And you don’t have to go for broke straight away: the pole comes in different weights, starting at 1.4kg. You might get some odd looks if you take this piece of equipment along to the gym, but for a personal training session at home, the bar – and the digital regime that comes with it – makes for a very different and strangely satisfying workout.
From $119.99 (approx. £90), www.activmotionbar.com
The two-wheeled globetrotter
With speed and cadence sensors, a micro SD smartcard and the ability to record every cycling metric you could possibly conceive of, there is a serious new gear change in the humble biking app from leading tech company Garmin. Its new Edge 1030 cycling computer has a gargantuan array of functions including detailed maps, proper turn-by-turn instructions and warnings for sharp bends ahead, while its Strava Live element offers second-by-second, real-time comparisons with personal bests as you’re riding segments. In terms of hard stats and stamina (this beast has a 20 hour battery life), this is probably the most solid bet for any pedal pioneer.