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Top Fitness Gear Recommended by LIVESTRONG Readers

By KELLY PLOWE

Whatever their activity, LIVESTRONG members know their fitness gear. Runners are loyal to their shoes — often buying the same brand and style over and over (or even a few pairs at a time). For Crossfitters it's their jump ropes and swimmers, their goggles. Tried and tested, anyone who engages in fitness becomes a little bit fanatical about their gear.

We created a weekly Reader-Recommended Gear Contest to reward the people for telling us about their favorite fitness must-haves — from yoga mats to activity trackers. Each week we select our top reader-submitted review, and the winner receives a $50 VISA gift card! Have a piece of gear you can't live without? Make sure to enter this week's contest.

Need some inspiration to enter? Or perhaps you're in the market for some new fitness gear? Here's a roundup of our weekly winners and their top picks.

Reader-Recommended Gear Contest Winners

Reader-Recommended Gear Contest Winners

1. LIVESTRONG member Sharminmeadows wrote:
The FitBit One is easy to set up; you just turn it on and synchronize it to the profile you create on fitbit.com. The FitBit tracks calories burned, steps taken, stairs climbed and sleep. The information then synchronizes to your computer and to your smart phone where you can see all of your activity. From the website or the app, you are able to see the FitBit tracking information. You can also log food and workouts making the FitBit the ultimate activity tracker.
PRICE: $99.95 WHERE TO BUY: Fitbit.com 

2. LIVESTRONG member TiwanaLoves2Run wrote:
The Nathan Shadow Pak is my go to fitness gear for my outside runs. It’s has a power stretch mesh pocket that is able to hold my iPhone w/case, as well as my id and bankcard or money if I need to. It also has reflective accents for visibility, and fastens with a very secure featherweight buckle. The waistband can be loose or tight to fit any body shape/size and is solid enough to attach a water canteen, your music device, and whatever else you want to clip onto it. It is stable and does not jiggle or move around as you run. This Pak also comes in a variety of colors to suit your individuality. Safety first, now let’s get moving!
PRICE: $19.99 WHERE TO FIND: Nathansports.com   

3. LIVESTRONG member Coda628 wrote:
Favorite gear is this Camelbak Groove water bottle! Perfect when going for a hike, don’t need to stop and unscrew the top to drink, doesn’t spill, and it has a built-in carbon filter. Best water bottle ever!
PRICE: $ 20.00 – $22.00 WHERE TO FIND: Camelbak.com

4. LIVESTRONG member Caldera_1128 wrote:
GAIAM Super Grippy Yoga Gloves — I love these yoga gloves! They are a must have for anyone that does Hot or Bikram yoga, or if you just sweat a lot during those long yoga stances. The gloves absorb the sweat, and the grippy part at the palm grips on to the mat. Sometimes those “NON-slip” mats just don’t cut it. You don’t need to go to a special store or website to buy them. I bought mine at the Barnes and Noble. They’re also very inexpensive at an average retail price of $9.98. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone can focus on their breathing when they’re slipping about in Hot yoga. I machine wash mine too. Easy!
PRICE: $9.98 WHERE TO BUY: Gaiam.com  

5. LIVESTRONG member WorkIt_WorkIt wrote:
I have to share this awesome bag I found and love. The Adidas Squad Duffel bag is cute AND functional. Its a little on the small side but that is what I like about it. I have no trouble getting it into a locker at the gym. There is a shoe tunnel with ventilation for those with stinky feet. Now my feet aren’t stinky but I like to keep my shoes separate in case they get dirty it won’t dirty my clothes. There is also an easy to access water bottle holder. It comes in several great colors but my favorite if the grey and pink. No more accidentally picking up the wrong black bag again. I am pretty sure the name implies that it is meant for a cheer squad but it is perfect for my trips to the gym and makes me feel popular! Go team!
PRICE: $45.00 WHERE TO BUY: Adidas.com

6. LIVESTRONG member Dish1965 wrote: 
I love my Jamis bike! It's a Jamis Commuter 1 and it is a great commuter bike for beginners. The comfy saddle and swept-back handlebars get high marks for being beginner-friendly, and the suspension seat post provides a smooth ride. The aluminum-framed comes in multiple sizes for men and women. It comes with full fenders, a micro bell and pant guards so you arrive looking good. Big 700c tires, a twist shifter, big-platform pedals make the ride fun and easy. And I love the Sangria red!
PRICE $ 440.00 WHERE TO FIND: Jamis.com  

7. LIVESTRONG member crawfordae wrote:  
My favorite running shoe is the women’s ASICS Gel-Kayanos. I’ve been a runner for 20+ years and for the past 15 years I’ve worn these shoes. They are light, very supportive, and very comfortable. I’ve never had issues with the gel kayanos, they fit my foot well and provide the necessary support I need in short or long distance runs. I’ve always liked the style of this shoe as well. Some of the colors chosen for different years I’ve liked better than others, but overall it’s an attractive running shoe. I know that is not the most important thing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt from a fashion standpoint.
PRICE: $160.00 WHERE TO BUY: Asics.com 

8. LIVESTRONG member Yerdadsayshello wrote:  
I’m loving the Polar FT4 calorie counter/heart rate monitor. The watch comes in several fun colors. Just input your height, weight and age into the watch, strap the heart monitor around your chest, hit the start button, and see how many calories you burned. You can also monitor your heart rate, when and for how long you were “in the zone,” and the duration of your workout. Little is more rewarding than seeing how many calories you've actually burned, and little is more motivating than learning you burned fewer calories than you thought. It is fairly affordable, especially in relationship to other heart rate monitors/calorie counters on the market. Highly recommend.
PRICE: $ 99.95 WHERE TO FIND: Polar.com    

9. LIVESTRONG member Dlums wrote:
The TradRad Beanie is one of the best running purchases I’ve ever made and I’d highly recommend it to any other out-door runners. My constantly changing schedule often results in very early or very late running, and this hat with built-in light keeps me warm, helps illuminate my way regardless of where I’m running and the back light ensures I’m visible to others. Happy trails all!
PRICE: $39.95 WHERE TO FIND: Nathansports.com   

10. LIVESTRONG member rungrrrrl wrote:
Having the perfect blend of comfort and style can make or break work-out gear for me, and I always feel great heading out the door for a long run in something I’m excited about wearing. My GapFit shelf-bra tank is my favorite tops to run in ever! It comes in fun, bright colors and is a great price for high quality. It's great for a variety of bust sizes for ample coverage and support. It wicks sweat away from my skin, so I come back from a run feeling cool and refreshed. The bra part also has mesh ventilation, which keeps me feeling cool throughout a long run. I love the fit – it’s more tight-fitting around the chest and fits close to the skin but loose enough to avoid any unflattering lumps around the belly. So many running tanks that I’ve bought are too loose around the stomach or way too tight- this one is just right. Extra bonus: it’s got light padding (removable)! Highly recommended!
PRICE: $34.95 WHERE TO FIND: Gap.com    

11. LIVESTRONG member Adt53 wrote: 
My favorite fitness gear is my iPhone 5. I use it for several parts of my fitness. These include tracking my diet, weight and exercise on Livestrong. I use it to enjoy music or an audio book while I am working out. I also make reference to my exercise routine on it showing videos and photos and descriptions of workouts also found on Livestrong.
PRICE: $199.00 – $399.00 WHERE TO FIND: apple.com  

12. LIVESTRONG member Maryhealy76 wrote: 
I’ve been LOVING my new running shoes I picked up at Coscto – only $45 for my new Asicis Gel Lyte33 (normally $75). Not only do they match my UCLA alma matter colors, but it is like running on pillows! Great for hiking my pups, trail running, and soft enough to absorb shock on the sidewalk runs (even with the few extra holiday lbs. I’ve put on). But not for long, these have motivated me to get out and RUN! They are so comfy, I even picked up a pair for my sister – her favorite gift she says.
PRICE: $45 (Costco), $90.00 WHERE TO FIND: Asics.com    

13. LIVESTRONG member SusySedano wrote: 
I’ve never been able to rock the cool headbands for working out. They would always just slide right off – boo! Not anymore ladies! Sweaty Bands are found on my head during all my workouts now – Crossfit, running, yoga – heck even house cleaning!
PRICE: $15.00 – $20.00 WHERE TO FIND: Sweatybands.com    

14. LIVESTRONG member Ellegeedee wrote: 
Since the holidays are coming up, I thought I’d share something that is on my Christmas list every year–a new pair of the Mizuno Wave Alchemy shoes. I’ve been running in this shoe for about a decade and I hope they never ever discontinue it. It may just be the lightest motion control shoe available (9.7 oz?!) and it’s incredibly smooth from strike to finish. Doesn’t hurt that it comes in fun colors, too so it doesn’t look like a control shoe. I had a few surgeries that gave me pretty weak knees but these shoes let me run again. And again. If you’re looking for great cushion and stability without the clunkiness and heaviness of a lot of the other motion control shoes, give these Mizunos a try. They let me race again! Enough said.
PRICE: $104.95 – $135.96 WHERE TO BUY: Amazon.com  

15. LIVESTRONG member Kzinrret wrote:  
As a very well-endowed woman, I used to avoid ‘athletic wear’ since it never was even remotely close to my size. Valmont’s Zip Front Sports Bras luckily are not your typical sports bras. They are well padded on the wide straps so chaffing and digging aren’t an issue. The front zip is actually quite easy to handle, far easier than the back hooks of regular bras, and the fact it isn’t one piece means you aren’t contorting yourself to get it on. The fabric doesn’t bunch or pinch like many one-piece versions and is comfortable enough to wear all day long. It makes doing yoga poses much easier and drastically reduces sweat rashes during more extensive workouts.
PRICE: $14.70 – $20.98 WHERE TO FIND: amazon.com

16. LIVESTRONG member Rburrell22 wrote:
I recommend adjustable dumbells. They work well because of the combination and the versatility of a complete dumbell set in a space-saving design. Adjustable dumbells are especially useful for a home workout when access to a full-sized gym is not possible. PRICE: $55.95 - $427.78 WHERE TO FIND: amazon.com 

Readers - What’s YOUR favorite piece of fitness gear? What can you absolutely not train without? Tell us more about your must-have gear and why you love it by posting a response in this thread and you will be entered to win a $50 VISA gift card.

Kelly Plowe, MS, RD, CSSD is a nutritionist and food and health communications specialist. As a registered dietitian and certified Sports Nutritionist, Kelly helps consumers put health and nutrition research into practice. She believes diet is at the center of a healthy and fulfilling life and is dedicated to helping others be their best. Kelly lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé and their bulldog, Sunny. She is an avid runner and CrossFit enthusiast. Living in SoCal, Kelly spends most of her free time outside ocean swimming, riding her beach cruiser and going to concerts.

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