Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Your Essential Fitness Gear

1/10 James Worrell
Invest in these must-haves--we promise they'll never end up in your I-can't-believe-I-own-that pile.
Our pick for a lightweight waterproof jacket, weighing in at a gossamerlike 7.1 ounces, The North Face Diad ($199, thenorthface.com) stuffs easily into a small pocket, but once you shake her out, she's all business. With sealed seams (a waterproof must), three pockets, and Velcro cuffs, this "Teflon Don" protects you from everything Ma N. tosses your way.

What to look for
Nylon covered with a waterproof coating is the fabric of choice for most lightweight jackets. For maximum AC, look for pit zips and mesh-lined pockets, which allow air to circulate and wick away sweat.

2/10 James Worrell
Anti-chafing bike short
Our pick Zoot Sports CycleFit BioWrap Shorts ($80, zootsports.com) make any bike seat feel like a Caddy. What's more, they eliminate sausage leg with hems that keep your shorts in place without cutting off your blood supply.

What to look for
Ample padding where it counts most. The chamois (rhymes with whammy) should be no thicker than a deck of cards, says Jennifer Skorcz, a former bike mechanic and owner of Cycling Essentials in Colorado Springs.

Tip: Go commando in the shorts--"Not even a thong," Skorcz says--and try Ozone Protect chamois cream ($20, worldcycling.com).

3/10 James Worrell
Barely there music player
Our pick The SanDisk Sansa Clip ($60, shopsansa.com). The size of a Tic Tac box, this player has 2GB of storage (enough for about 500 tunes) and clips onto your clothing. Browsing tracks is a snap, and a built-in FM transmitter can even pick up channels on the TV at your gym.

What to look for
Flash memory (a traditional hard drive is less durable), minimal buttons to fuss with, and one or two gigs of storage, says Tracy Wilson, a technology writer for the website howstuffworks.com. You also should be able to attach it securely to your body, and it shouldn't break the bank (you'll be tossing it into a gym bag, after all).

4/10 James Worrell
7 Gym bag that doesn't scream "jock!"
Our pick With as many pockets as Katie Couric's reporting-from-a-war-zone vest, the Sherpani Blaze ($65, sherpanipacks.com) has spots for your water bottle, deodorant, and gym shoes, and even a fleece-lined pocket for scratch-free sunglasses stowage. Carry it as a duffel or pull out the tuckaway shoulder straps and wear it as a backpack.

What to look for
Something that isn't black, rectangular, and plastered with an obnoxious logo. Even better: plenty of small pockets and a waterproof pouch to separate wet and dry items--handy if you soak through sports bras.

5/10 James Worrell
Durable exercise band
Our pick With four narrow tubes braided together, snap-resistant Spri SportCords (from $25, spriproducts.com) come in five resistance levels. Beginners should pick up a level two for upper-body work and a three for total-body; more regular exercisers should go for a three and a four.

What to look for
Comfy handles and a rugged design. Gregory Florez, CEO of FitAdvisor Health Coaching Services in Salt Lake City, recommends buying two bands: a lighter one for upper-body buffing and a heavy-resistance one for full-body moves.

6/10 James Worrell
Light, nontoxic water bottle
Our pick Holding a little over 32 ounces of water, the Sigg Think Green aluminum bottle ($25, mysigg.com) practices the environmental awareness it preaches. After hundreds of uses, it still won't leach any chemicals. If you're a cyclist or runner and want something to fit in your hand or bottle cage, go for one of their .75-liter versions ($20).

What to look for
Anything but polycarbonate plastic, which is indicated by a number "7" in a triangle on the bottom. Although the jury is still out on their safety, bottles made of this stuff contain bisphenol A, which some studies indicate can mess with estrogen levels. We'll play it safe, thanks.

7/10 James Worrell
Spine-friendly daypack
Our pick With a wide and comfy belt, Mammut's Energise Duo pack ($139, mammutusa.com) distributes weight gently. Plentiful pockets hold everything from maps to hydration bladders, and a rear mesh panel presses the pack away from your back to help wick away sweat.

What to look for
A hip belt to direct weight off your spine and shoulders (yes, it can look dorky, but you won't care come mile six up a mountain). "If you're under 5 foot 10, consider a woman-specific pack," says Alex Gilman, a product trainer at REI in Fairfax, Virginia. "The back is shorter and the shoulder straps are narrower than on a unisex pack."

8/10 James Worrell
Sweet shades
Our pick The Oakley Endure (from $155, oakley.com), the company's first stab at sports shades specifically for women, is spot-on: The lenses not only reflect all evil rays but also repel water, so rain won't muck them up. And the grippy nose and ear stays keep the specs in place no matter how much you sweat.

What to look for
Shatterproof lenses that protect you from 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. They should be snug enough to stay on when you bend down to tie your laces (but not so tight that they pinch).

9/10 James Worrell
Does-it-all running shoe
Our pick The Brooks Glycerin 6 ($120, brooksrunning.com) is designed to delight most any foot. Its midsole has up to 40 percent more cushioning than other running shoes, and it has gel-like balloons under the forefoot and heel that absorb shock. A roomy toe box completes the fab fit.

What to look for
A very cush fit. You should be able to wiggle your toes and have about a thumb's width of room between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, especially if you're a trail runner or climb a lot, so your toes don't jam to the front on the downhills, says John O'Neill, manager of the Colorado Running Company in Colorado Springs.

WH readers say running shoes are the No. 1 piece of gear they need to be fit.

10/10 James Worrell
10 A bicycle fit for you
Our pick The Giant OCR AOW ($1,800, giantforwomen.com for stores) offers a more upright position than other road bikes and accommodates wider hips, narrower shoulders, smaller hands, and other anatomical specs of the female body. It may seem pricey, but it's such a comfy ride, you'll want to keep it forever. Made of stiff aluminum (which translates your pedal prowess directly into speed) and lightweight, bump-dampening carbon fiber, this 20-speed horse has gears that make climbing a cinch, while its chick-specific design means descending is way less shriek-provoking because your weight is distributed evenly. (Giant also makes the woman-specific OCR A1W, with slightly less-fancy parts, for $1,400.)

What to look for
A ride you can sit on for three hours, no prob. When picking a road bike, "pay attention to your reach, or the extension from your hips to your hands," Skorcz says. Men typically have longer arms and torsos than women, so riding a guy's bike would stretch you out, making it hard to react safely on the fly. Also--shocker--the typical female pelvis is wider than the male counterpart, so we need a wider, shorter saddle. General rule: If you're under 5 foot 10, shop for a woman-specific bike.

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