Ditch the gym
These days, you don't need a gym membership or a personal trainer to tone up and shed pounds. You can get everything you need to make the most of your workouts by streaming it online or ordering it with the click of a button. Here are all the apps and gadgets you need to get in shape in the comfort of your living room.
Daily Burn Apple TV/iPhone app subscription
If you want a trainer to scold you into shape, you don't have to pay for a pricey gym membership or splurge on boutique workout classes. You can stream on-demand videos from Daily Burn for $19.95 a month, and in my experience, these classes are intense. You'll definitely feel your muscles aching after Daily Burn programs, which range from cardio classes and strength training to yoga and dance. There's something for everyone, and if you get bored with one program, you can switch to another one.
Aukey Latitude EP-B40
There are few exercises cheaper than running, which requires just a decent pair of sneakers. But if you want some extra motivation, you'll need some tunes. At $26, Aukey's Latitude Bluetooth earbuds won't break the bank, and they offer 8-hour battery life, sweat resistance and solid sound. An array of extra fins and tips ensures that you'll find the perfect fit. These are my favorite cheap Bluetooth running headphones by a mile.
Bodygym resistance bands
Resistance bands are a solid way to increase the difficulty of your workouts. Bodygym's $50 kit, which includes a latex resistance band and a bar, offers a full-body workout with the help of two instructional DVDs (you also get a travel bag). This kit has rave reviews on Amazon for being easy-to-use no matter your fitness level; you can adjust the resistance band by rolling the bar toward your body. This kit's portability is a bonus; the bar snaps apart, and both the bar and the band fit in the travel bag, so you can take your workouts on the go.
Polar H10 chest strap
Wrist-worn fitness trackers offer heart rate monitoring, but the gold standard for accuracy is still the chest strap. Polar's H10 is my favorite, because it's comfortable to wear running for short or long distances. The Polar Beat app syncs the H10's data from the strap's snap-on Bluetooth transmitter and displays it in colorful graphs alongside advanced metrics like the training benefits you're getting from each run. If you want the most-accurate heart rate data possible, the H10 is the way to go.
Nokia Body+ scale
You don't really need a scale to tell if you're shaping up. You'll see it in the way your clothes fit, or you can use a tape measure to check if you're losing inches. But weight provides a more quantified way to view your progress, and Nokia's Body+ scale offers a little more insight than your cheap digital scale gives you. The Body+ syncs with Nokia's Health Mate app to graph your weight over time. The scale also measures BMI, total body fat and water percentage as soon as you step on it, giving you more metrics to think about on your fitness journey.
Need someone to talk you through your weight loss goals? Amazon's Alexa could be the fitness coach you've been looking for. It integrates with some of our favorite workout apps and services, so it can help you log your calories, give you personalized workout tips and play motivational music using the Echo as a portable speaker. These are the best Alexa skills for weight loss.
Garmin Forerunner 25
There are a number of affordable GPS watches, but Garmin's Forerunner 25 is the one to beat. It doesn't offer much more than an always-on watch face and accurate location tracking, but if that's all you need for neighborhood runs, then this device will get the job done. You'll see your speed, distance and pace, plus mile alerts, making this device perfect for beginning runners. The Forerunner 25 also offers lengthy battery life, lasting nearly 10 weeks in watch mode.
Fitbit Aria 2
The best smart scale for Fitbit fans is the Aria 2. It's not quite as good as the Body+, because it's a little slow to display your weight, and Amazon users have reported some issues with Wi-Fi connectivity. But if you want to see a dashboard of the activity tracked by your Fitbit alongside an overview of your weight over time, all in the Fitbit app, the Aria 2 will get the job done. The scale also displays your BMI, body fat percentage and lean mass, but the selling point is the Fitbit integration.
My fourth-gen Apple TV is my favorite way to stream workouts, either free videos from YouTube or paid classes from services such as Daily Burn. The device has a full-fledged App Store where you can find workout apps to install and guided fitness videos that you can follow from the comfort of your living room. Those apps are also typically available for iOS, which means you can pick up where you left off on your iPhone or iPad while traveling.
TRX Training full-body workout kit
TRX workout classes are popular with gym-goers, and now you can replicate the intensity of circuit training at your house. This all-in-one kit includes a suspension training strap, a suspension anchor, a door anchor and a book filled with workouts that make use of all that equipment. This body-weight-based exercise program is intense, but you'll definitely see results.
Fitbit's latest device is a stylish entry-level smartwatch that can do much more than just count steps. The Versa tracks a variety of workouts, from basics such as running and spinning to advanced options like martial arts and boot-camp workouts. It's also water-resistant, so you can use it to track swims. Fitbit's app store features useful third-party workout apps and watch faces that you can install on the device. There's also on-board music storage for syncing tracks from streaming apps such as Pandora.
Credit: Tom’s Guide
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS is the best smartwatch you can buy, and you don't even need the cellular model. To track at-home workouts, you can use the watch's built-in Workout app. You can also take the watch in the pool to track laps, load music onto it via iTunes or Apple Music, and view notifications from your iPhone while you work out. It's a little more expensive than other fitness-tracking devices, but the fact that the Apple Watch does so much more than most of its rivals makes it worth the splurge.
Bowflex SelectTech 560 dumbbells
Bluetooth-enabled dumbbells might seem like overkill, but Bowflex's SelectTech 560 Dumbbells track your reps and sets and sync them to your smartphone without any work on your part (aside from the heavy lifting, of course). This is useful for those on a weight-training program who need to keep track of their progress. The dumbbells have 16 weight settings, from 5 to 60 pounds, and the app guides you through more than 30 workouts. You can snag a cheap pair of hand weights to tone up at home, but if you're serious about putting on the muscle, these smart dumbbells are worth a look.
Peloton's home-gym equipment is expensive; there's no getting around it. But if you're addicted to spin classes and want to re-create the experience in the comfort of your home, Peloton's $1,995 bike is worth the splurge. In addition to on-demand workouts, Peloton streams spin classes live from its Manhattan studio to the mounted screen on your bike, so you can spin along with your favorite instructors and dominate the leaderboard by putting in the most work. At 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, the Peloton takes up more space than more-portable home-gym equipment. But if you have the space and the money, it doesn't get much better than this.
NordicTrack X22i incline trainer
After using NordicTrack's sophisticated treadmill, I could see why people devote entire rooms to their home gyms. The X22i incline trainer is incredibly expensive, but it makes running kind of fun (or as fun as running can be). The treadmill has a 22-inch touch-screen display, so instead of looking at a tiny built-in TV or, even worse, just staring at the towel you draped over your stats, you can pretend you're actually running on terrain in far-off locales. NordicTrack has filmed runs on every continent — yes, including Antarctica — so you can't possibly get bored. If you prefer a more traditional workout environment, you can also stream guided treadmill sessions from NordicTrack parent company iFit's studio. Don't have close to $3,000 to spend on a piece of equipment? NordicTrack also makes $600 treadmills that have positive user reviews.
Credit: ICON Health & Fitness