Holidays are edging back onto the agenda. If that means lying on a sun lounger, sipping cocktails and pressing pause on your regular fitness routine, then we’re right beyond you.
After all, quality rest is what keeps us physically and mentally primed to pursue our goals. But with more time and less pressure, holidays can also be the perfect time to train.
So whether you wind up in a Spanish villa or on a Cornish campsite, we’ve lined up the best travel-friendly fitness tech to keep your training – and resting – on track.
MF BEST BUY:
Polar Ignite 2
With built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring, plus a 20-hour GPS battery life, the Ignite 2 packs all the required fitness watch skills to track your regular holiday cardio sessions.
Indoor and outdoor runs, rides and swims are covered with the usual features and real-time insights such as heart-rate-zone training, and pace and distance tracking.
FuelWise provides feedback on your carb, protein and fat fuel usage for every session, and you can now broadcast your heart stats to your hotel gym cardio machines and some of the other remote training platforms below.
All that makes the Ignite a great all-round fitness tracking tool way beyond a two-week getaway, but what really boosts the Ignite’s travel-companion creds is the FitSpark workout recommendations tool.
The watch serves up daily cardio, strength and mobility workout suggestions, all tied to your recent training load and your current recovery state – based in part on your sleep and how well your autonomic nervous system has bounced back overnight.
Each workout comes with basic but easy-to-follow animated drills on the watch, that guide you step-by-step through your sessions without the need for a phone or tablet.
Polar has also added a wonderfully simple weekly training summary screen that shows how your workouts from the past seven days spread out across the different intensity zones – so it’s easy to spot when you’re doing too much of a good thing. All your info is brightly presented on an always-on colour touchscreen display with an ambient light sensor for OK readability in most light.
The Ignite is also waterproof to 30m, offers linked-smartphone music controls and basic notifications. At 35g, it’s on the lighter side for a fitness tracker, though fans of more robust timepieces might find the stripped back design a little too minimal.
However, if you’re looking for a simple, reliable and well-featured fitness tool, to keep your work rate ticking over without the stress of training plans or the need for additional kit, this has a lot to recommend it. (Not least that sub-£200 price tag.)
Apple Fitness (+ Apple Watch)
£9.99 per month, apple.com
A recent newcomer to the growing line-up of remote-training options, Apple’s fitness platform offers a familiar package of video-guided, trainer-coached workouts on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
Sessions last anything from five to 45 minutes, with HIIT, strength, core and yoga you can do anywhere, plus a range of cycling, rowing and treadmill running workouts – ideal for the kit you’ll find in most hotel gyms. All sessions also come with a handy trainer preview of the fate that awaits you.
What makes this different, though, is the Apple Watch. Partly because you’ll need a Watch Series 3 or later to use the service, but also because all your vital Watch-tracked metrics are beamed onto the screen for added live insights and motivation.
You can customise the on-screen stats and choose to watch your Apple Rings close, or battle the Burn Bar, comparing your effort to others who’ve done the same workout. If you already own an Apple Watch you can also tuck into a free month-long trial.
£12.99 per month, onepeloton.co.uk
You don’t have to own or have access to a Peloton bike or treadmill to make the most of Peloton’s live and on-demand coached training sessions.
The digital-only membership gets you access to all the indoor cycling, running, walking, bootcamp, strength and outdoor (audio-only) classes on phone, tablet or beamed to a TV.
You can pair a heart-rate monitor to track your stats, jump on any stationary bike or treadmill, or just follow strength and conditioning sessions wherever you’ve laid your beach towel.
From £10 per month, fiit.tv
Fiit was one of the early pioneers to make boutique-style, trainer-led sessions mobile. It pairs an app with a rep-counting chest strap to deliver on-demand, expert-coached fitness sessions on your tablet, phone or TV.
The strong selection of classes range from strength and cardio, to mobility with pilates and yoga.
Difficulty ratings, along with a breakdown of the drills you’re about to do, make it easy to see what you’re signing up for before you start sweating. And the simplicity of firing up an app, sticking on a strap and smashing out a workout pretty much anywhere offers ideal holiday convenience.
The first EGC-style chest strap and optical arm strap in one, the Switch’s unique versatility makes it perfect for packing on holidays: where your fitness pursuits might range from HIIT sessions in the hotel gym, to open-water swims.
For motivation, MyZone’s app gamifies workouts by quantifying your heart-rate capacity and assigning you a golf-style handicap.
During each session, your work rate is converted into points to propel you up (or down) a range of leaderboards and competitions with friends, family or total strangers.
Fast-foot rope sessions make for brilliant low-impact workouts that test your cardio engine and improve coordination and balance. In fact, studies show that ten minutes of skipping is as effective as half an hour’s running – plus you can do it poolside.
This lightweight, stashable smartrope takes rope jumping to the next level. Embedded LEDs and the motion of the rope float your jump stats in the air in front of you, in real-time, like a holograph.
You can track sessions, set targets and follow guided interval workouts, too.
TRX Training Club
£19.99 per month or £10 per class, club.trxtraining.com
You can stick a TRX in a backpack and use it anywhere trees grow – so unless you’re holidaying in the Arctic, it’s a very useful travel fitness tool.
Having said that, putting together an effective suspension session can be a tad daunting if you’re new to this training method. The new Training Club solves that problem.
A bit like Peloton, you get access to live daily classes and a library of on-demand sessions. You can also pay extra for one-to-one personal training, or just enjoy a seven-day free trial.
From £76, addsfit.com
At just 360g and not much bigger than a Coke can, this travel-friendly, three-speed portable massage gun provides over six hours of portable percussive muscle therapy.
You get two attachments, a gentler flat head, and a thumb-style add-on that’s ideal for getting into tricky knots and tight places.
It kicks out 3,000 percussions per minute, with less than 40 decibels of working noise, so it’s pretty quiet, too. And it conveniently charges via USB-C, so there’s no need to save space in your bag for a bulky charger.
Bose Sleepbuds 2
Whether you’re shooting for quality shuteye or dozing on a lounger, banking sleep in strange – and sometimes noisier – places can prove tricky. Bose’s Sleepbud can help you silence the hubbub and secure some much-needed rest.
The earphone-like buds play preloaded, soothing sounds that mask up to ten hours of unwanted noises, helping you nod off faster and stay asleep longer. They bring happy silence to planes and trains, too.
Words: Kieran Alger