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Top Christmas gifts for fitness fans

(Image credit: TechRadar)
Christmas gift guides

We're bringing you a tech-focused Christmas gift guide every day up to the big day itself, to help fuel your present buying inspiration.

Day 1: Apple fans | 2: Photographers | 3: Switch gamers | 4: Xbox gamers | 5: PS4 games | 6: Retro gamers | 7: PC gamers |  8: Lego fans | 9: Music lovers | 10: Mobile gamers | 11: Home cinema dreamers | 12: Home cooks | 13: Smart home starter kit | 14: Tech for kids |  15: Fitness fans 

It's been a tricky year for fitness fans. With the pandemic locking much of the world down and closing gyms, we've had to get a bit creative with how we've worked out over the past 12 months.

Whether your more active family and friends have invested in a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands to make the most of home workouts in these trying times, we're here to recommend some fitness-related treats to help them upgrade their routines.

From fitness trackers to smart water bottles, below you'll find five great gift ideas at a range of prices so you can help the fitness-focused in your life keep up their healthy habits, whether that's in the gym or as part of an al fresco workout. So, as we get ever closer to the big day, here are the best Christmas gifts for fitness fans.

Fitbit Charge 4

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit Charge 4

The best fitness tracker around

Reasons to buy
+Big screen+Light design+On-board GPS
Reasons to avoid
-Monochrome screen

Fitbit is to fitness trackers what iPads are to tablets; for the vast majority of people, they're the products to go with. That's for good reason, too, and the Fitbit Charge 4 tops our best fitness tracker list, with the previous generation model a close second.

It has a similar design to the Charge 3, with its nice light design and large (but still monochrome) screen, but now it comes packing on-board GPS and Fitbit Pay, so you can go out and stretch your legs and leave your phone at home. If you do decide to bring your handset along, though, you can now take advantage of Spotify integration  — all for no price bump compared with the older model.

With it's simple-to-understand UI, affordable price, and breadth of features, the Fitbit Charge 4 is the perfect halfway house between casual activity bands and enthusiast running watches.

Read our full Fitbit Charge 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

A smart, full-featured, expensive option

Reasons to buy
+Decent 2-day battery life+Attractive minimalist design
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Few third-party apps

If you’re looking at smartwatches then you’re probably considering an Apple Watch or a Fitbit Versa 3. They’re good choices, but they’re obvious enough that we didn’t feel like they needed highlighting.

For something slightly different, consider the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. This still comes from a big brand, but isn’t one of the default fitness-focused smartwatch choices – yet arguably it should be, as there’s a lot to like here.

It can track 39 different exercises, including the likes of running, cycling and swimming. It has a heart rate monitor, GPS, two days of battery life (so it won’t die mid-way through a workout), and an ECG feature, although that was added almost a year on from release.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

Hidrate Spark 3

(Image credit: Hidrate Spark)

Hidrate Spark 3

A stylish way to stay hydrated

Reasons to buy
+Looks great+Reminds you to drink
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for a water bottle-Glowy look won't suit everyone

You might not have come across a smart water bottle before, but if you have you’ve probably come across the Hidrate Spark, because it’s one of the best and most famous.

The Hidrate Spark 3 is the latest version at the time of writing, and it will track your hydration using the Hidrate Spark app.

But more than just tracking it will also remind you to drink, with the bottle stylishly glowing when it’s time to take a sip. It also syncs with many third-party fitness apps, so you can easily have your water intake logged alongside your exercise.

Honor Band 5

(Image credit: Honor)

Honor Band 5

A highly affordable fitness tracker

Reasons to buy
+Low price+Tracks lots of exercises
Reasons to avoid
-Screen sometimes unresponsive-Notifications temperamental

If you like the idea of buying a fitness tracker but want to spend less than what a Fitbit Charge 3 would cost, then consider the Honor Band 5.

The Honor Band 5 is one of the best cheap fitness trackers because it has an almost comical number of features, including a heart rate monitor, a color touchscreen, sleep tracking, 7 days of battery life, a waterproof build, and the ability to track numerous exercises, such as cycling, running, walking, swimming, and cross-training, among others.

As with many affordable fitness trackers there’s no built-in GPS, but the Honor Band 5 ticks most other boxes at an impressively low price.

Read our full Honor Band 5 review

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Training Club Premium

A personal trainer in your pocket

Reasons to buy
+Loads of workouts+Keeps you motivated
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Some of the content is free anyway

Christmas presents don’t have to be physical things, and actually some of the best tools for getting or staying fit involve software rather than hardware.

An example of that is Nike Training Club Premium. This is a $14.99/£13.49 (roughly AU$22) monthly or $119.99/£109.99 (around AU$175) yearly subscription to the Nike Training Club app (available on both Android and iOS).

While the core app is free and includes numerous workouts for different fitness levels, the premium subscription adds 4-6 week programs (rather than just one-off workouts) led by trainers, along with on-demand classes, and expert nutrition and wellness guidance.

So it’s a bit like having a personal trainer on your phone, one that you can access whenever and wherever. If the person you’re buying for already has all the hardware they need then this is a great way to help them get the most out of it.

Zwift

(Image credit: Zwift)

Zwift

Virtual runs and rides, when you can't meet up in real life

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Makes indoor workouts fun
Reasons to avoid
-Requires extra hardware-Works best with a bigger screen

Working out indoors can be a real slog, especially if you're pedalling or running while staring at your kitchen wall. That's where Zwift comes in, providing you with virtual cycling and running routes, and a way to join your usual group runs or rides, even when you can't meet up in person.

If you're a runner, you can use any treadmill (including those at your local gym, if it's open). Just attach the tiny Zwift RunPod to your shoe, create an account, and you're ready to start running. Cyclists can use Zwift with their outdoor bike attached to a turbo trainer (for the most authentic on-road experience), or with a compatible static exercise bike

Although you can use Zwift with a phone, in our experience it works much better with a tablet or (even better) a smart TV. The extra screen space not only allows you to see a wealth of stats about your workout, it also makes the experience much more immersive. A brilliant way to liven up dreary indoor exercise.