As the weather cools and the joggers of the island come out onto beaches and roads in full force, cyclists grab their bikes from their racks and the gym classes get over subscribed once again, we take a look at the new gadgets to ease you back into fitness.
Polar V800 The promise: This GPS-enabled training companion for professional athletes and demanding amateurs will track your everyday movements whether you’re training or not.
The experience: Firstly, this is a very impressive-looking piece of training equipment. It has a large face yet fits snugly on even a slim wrist and is comfortable to wear during training sessions. This piece of kit is all about the settings, it takes a little while to play with so you can see all the functions – and there are many, but our favourite is the jump test. The PolarV800 lets you know if you’ve under-trained or reached your optimal training capacity based on your personal details. It’s a busy little device so you do need to keep it well charged, especially if you’re wearing it all day. It also syncs with a heart-rate monitor.
Pros: The device is suitable for a variety of sports, including swimming, running, cycling and ‘multi-sports’, and it’s fully waterproof. The ultimate training buddy, especially for triathlons.
Cons: To be picky, there are times when you can’t get the GPS to work but that’s splitting hairs.
Best feature: It has a range of fitness tests that you can perform and results can be stored on the watch so you can measure your performance
Nathan Lock Laces The promise: May you never have to interrupt your training by bending down to tie up your shoelaces again. The experience: A simple system that replaces your laces on your running shoes. From an aesthetic point of view they’re not the most attractive. Once laced up you trim the excess and clip them with a toggle, which can be moved up and down, allowing you to take your foot out and adjust the tautness. They do work, but just be sure to securely clip the ends of the lace. On our test, the clip came off when tugged.
Pros: No worrying about tripping over untied laces. They’re simple and easy to lace up and lock.
Cons: They’re not as attractive as the laces that come with your trainers.
Slendertone for abs The promise: To tone and firm up your abs using electrical muscle stimulation. It claims to give you a noticeably firmer stomach in four weeks with 20 minutes use being the equivalent of 120 crunches.
The experience: The Slendertone belt takes just a few minutes to set up. Placing the gel pads (that come separately) on top of the metal buttons on the belt, you wear the belt with the gel pads in contact with your skin, connect the hand controller and you’re away. The belt sends an electrical message to your muscles making them contract as they would in exercise. We didn’t give it a full four-week trial but within a few days our abs were feeling more exercised than before.
Pros: You can exercise with the belt on and use it actively or passively. It has a comfy fit so you can wear it under your clothes and sit in front of the TV, and you can feel it working.
Cons: The first try gives you a weird sensation, like a tickle.
Best feature: Its programme settings can increase to as strong as you can manage.
BD97, Sun & Sand Sports, City Centre Bahrain (1717 8364).
Slendertone for bottom The promise: Firmer, more toned glutes using electrical muscle stimulation that triggers the sciatic nerve. The experience: It took a few goes to get the position of the pads in just the right place – at the top and bottom of the gluteus maximus. When on a stronger setting, the vibrations do make your legs feel tingly, so for the first try it’s best to sit or lie down. You can see the muscles twitch during the session and even after the first few days we could feel that the deeper muscles felt tighter. Pros: You can work out while lying down – amazing. The shorts are comfy and fit well around the legs.
Cons: You have to ensure placement is correct to get the full effect, so it may take some repositioning. Best feature: It’s comfy to wear and you get a perkier bottom in weeks
BD129.3, Sun & Sand Sports, City Centre Bahrain (1717 8364).
Jabra Step wireless earphones The promise: You get music on the go using Bluetooth. The headphones pair with your device wirelessly, allowing you to have conversations and listen to music without wires getting in the way.
The experience: They needs to be charged up for about two hours before you start using them, but once they’re up and running, you get hours of battery life. They’re really easy to pair with a smartphone, the design of the headset ensures that it sits snugly around the ear for grip and the earpiece doesn’t slip out easily when you’re running. The earpiece is worn behind the neck so the wires connecting the two earpieces don’t disturb your workout.
Pros: Good design for sports and fitness, since the wires connecting the earphones don’t get in the way.
Cons: None really – it fulfils its promise, it’s just a shame that you can’t get Bluetooth everywhere, so when the connection cuts out, so do your tunes. Best feature: Good sound quality and bass.
BD25, available from www.amazon.co.uk. A selection of other Jabra head sets are also available at Sharaf DG, City Centre Bahrain (1717 2617).