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Garmin Forerunner 735XT
When it comes to fitness wearables, Fitbit is the top dog. However, for weekend warriors and hardcore athletes, Garmin is the hands-down industry leader. The company produces essentially a product (and in many cases, several products) for every consumer and most major endurance sports. Runners, swimmers, and cyclists all seem to find their way to Garmin in one way or another, but it’s triathletes that overwhelmingly end up with Garmin. But given the complexity in accurately managing triathlons and the requisite training for triathlons, Garmin was slow to refresh it’s product line up here. The Forerunner 920XT was the gold standard for a few years, but now we have the Forerunner 735XT, which for the most part makes it whole unnecessary to look elsewhere if you’re a triathlete.
For starters, Garmin updated the form factor of the 735XT, making it sleeker, smaller, and more lightweight. They also added a wrist heart rate monitor and gave it the latest and greatest in terms of specs and internals. It’s without-a-doubt one of the most comfortable watches I’ve ever tested and it is exactly what you’d want in a triathlon watch.
The 735XT is water resistant down to 50 meters, has battery life of 14 hours in GPS mode (6-7 day on average), and has GPS, GLONASS, and UltraTrac Mode. Even more, it has an activity and sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, and smartwatch all built in. It pairs with all of the latest accessories and sensor from Garmin including the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim heart rate monitors for heart rate data during swimming workouts and the HRM-Run and HRM-Tri for your advanced running dynamics.
The 735XT really brings the best in terms of hardware, functionality, and performance. If you’re a triathlete, it has to be the 735XT. If not, don’t buy it; save your money, email me, and we can find you the right fitness wearable.
Monkii bars 2
You’re probably familiar with TRX and if you don’t already have a set, don’t buy one! Why? Because monkii bars 2 is changing the game. Think of monkii bars 2 has a more portable, thoughtfully-designed, functional version of TRX at a similar (if not cheaper) price point.
The only bummer with monkii bars 2 is that it won’t be in your hands until late 2016, as The Wild Gym Company (the company behind monkii bars 2) is crowdfunding this project. I personally, however, have had a chance to monkey around with monkii bars 2 and it is the real deal. In the world of fitness equipment it is among the most versatile and ‘no-brainer’ purchases out there. You can sling it over a door and use it for everything from rows to push-ups and darn near everything in between. You can also take it outdoors and secure it to essentially any solid structure for pull-ups, muscle-ups, and more.
The other thing that gets me with monkii bars 2 is portability. You can get the Adventure Kit that makes it incredibly convenient for travel and to workout anywhere. The Adventure Kit is a little more, but completely worth it if you ask me. There also is a stripped down version of monkii bars 2 that is a great option as well. Lucky for you, monkii bars 2 is heavily discounted starting in mid-July during the Kickstarter campaign.
I give monkii bars 2 a firm must buy rating.
These very likely are the best wireless workout headphones on the market. But, you’ll have to pay up. At $200 the Jaybird Freedom 5s are not an impulse buy, however, if you end up with them I sincerely doubt you will have to worry about any return policies.
These are impressively small, lightweight, and comfortable headphones with music quality that is just ridiculous. Even more, they are semi-modular; you can change the ear fins and ear tips to find the best fit for your ear. There are silicone and foam ear tips depending on your preference (I use the foam ear tips, which are heavily underrated). There’s also an inline mic and full remote system that has great compatibility.
The fit in your ear is so low profile that there’s a surprising drop in wind noise when you’re cycling and running too. On the downside, however, Jaybird was able to achieve a smaller earpod size by moving the battery to the remote and that means less overall battery life. You’ll get around four hours of playback on average with the Freedoms, but if you attach the charging cradle you can get another few hours out of them or just a quick charge during your trip to the gym. It’s definitely a compromise, but I actually like the charging cradle idea.
The other thing that’s a upshot if you ask me is that Jaybird has an app that allows you to change the sound preferences for your Freedoms (it actually changes the firmware on the headphones so you can delete the app and your customized sound preferences remain the same). If you like more bass or treble or just want to mimic the sound preferences of your favorite Jaybird-sponsored athlete, you can do that with the app. Seriously awesome stuff.
I said it before, but the word that comes to mind with the Freedoms is impressive.
Jeff Rizzo is a health and fitness enthusiast who reviews active equipment and other products on his website, www.rizknows.com. He also has a YouTube Channel where he creates full length reviews on everything from fitness trackers to footwear.