The Gift Of Health: Fitness Essentials For The New Year
The only true wealth is good health, and this last year has seen quite a downturn for me, personally. But the good news is that I have already started my journey back to fitness. No loud resolutions, no public proclamations, just a simple, concerted effort to be fit and strong. And nothing makes us stick to a plan than new gear to ensure we at least look good on the said path to personal fitness.
ASICS Nimbus 22 TMM Edition
ASICS is a cult running brand and patrons rarely switch, save for upgrading to the next model. I have spent a considerable amount of time in various ASICS versions, and find them great to train in. The Nimbus has been a particularly solid option for long runs, combining both foam and gel tech. The Flytefoam midsole and the gel cushioning is a good safe bet to ensure injury-free long runs. The mesh uppers are light and breezy but overall, the shoes feel a tad weighty (well, most ASICS are) and this precisely makes them great as a training pair, building strength and conditioning you for a fast finish. What makes this pair special is that this is a special Tata Mumbai Marathon edition, so no better way to show your support as well as strut the colours at India’s biggest marathon, which will happen later this month.
Adidas UltraBoost 2020
The shoe that changed the way amateurs run has been one of the most successful launches from the three-stripe stable. Five years and many versions, collabs and special edition releases later, we now have the 2020 variant launching, and while a lot has remained the same, the subtle changes over time have only made this shoe even better — grippy uppers, more stable heel tab, bouncier Boost foam, and yet the same unchanged price. The shoe is definitely a great New Year investment — be it breaking the bad habits and enrolling for a ‘Couch to 5k’ program, to aiming for your next marathon PB.
Skullcandy Method ANC wireless earbuds
Sports earbuds are all the craze and you can’t be a serious runner if you don’t have a set that can take the jolts, sweat and grime and still keep playing. The Method ANC has three things going for it: it is loud with decent noise cancellation, it is sturdy and stays put through a run no matter how sweaty it gets, and it has a decent battery life to see you through. I just wish it was a tad lighter, compact and USB-C based. It is priced in the affordablebut-not-cheap category, which makes them a great gift set for others, but also, for yourself.
Under Armour Rush
Of all the performance-clothing that I tried last year, Rush by UA was among the finest, and not just for running but also for general crossfit type sorties. From the fit and length to chafe-free seams, and most importantly, the wash cycle durability, I have thoroughly enjoyed them on my training and race-day runs.
Compression socks is a moot point in the running industry. Some swear by it while others just find them constricting and rough. Personally, I am fine with most socks as long as they work well with the shoes at hand, and compression wear is largely used for post-race recovery sessions. CEP is one brand which I have found to be sturdy and reliable — others being 2XU, Skins, X-Bionic — and most pertinently, locally available. So get a pair and wear them in before you take them out for your PB performance.
I am a self-confessed Oakley fan and in spite of having tried many other brands out there (which are also pretty great, viz. Roka, Rudy Project, Carrera, Bollé, and Julbo), these still come out on top for me. Just get their proprietary Prizm lens in a frame that fits your activity format and know that you are at par with the best in the sport when it comes to equipment.
Although the gap narrows with every model released or upgraded and depending on the intended result, both can be ideal for monitoring a fitness regime, there is still a fine line, which distinguishes the smart training watches from fitness bands. Garmin remains the market leader, monitoring your running metrics (heart rate, pace, stride length, average speed, recovery time), as also documenting and charting your progress. Choose a model that fits your precise routine and budget, although I’d recommend the Forerunner 945 and 645 or the Phoenix range. For the fitness band fanatics, Amazfit is the place to park themselves. What they lack in features and metrics, they make up in price and battery life. Both the GTR and GTS are great options — tracking basic fitness data, clocking miles and steps with in-built GPS as also other activities (which the GTR learns to ‘recognise’ intuitively over time), and managing to display all notifications and other phone-connected features. The GTS is a tad basic but built sturdy with a metal casing, super light and yet with battery-life aplenty and manages to lock in enough data for anyone willing to train and get fitter