The summer is slowly drawing to a close, so hopefully you haven't waited until now to start working on your dream beach body.
For those of you who've procrastinated far too long and still think that a full day of exercise includes dozens of dumbbells and a pull-up bar, here's a few pieces of equipment that just might change how you look at getting in shape.
Titan T1 Gym
If you want to go the all-in-one home gym route, you can't do much better than the new T1. The intimidating mass of metal and pulleys is designed to fit in rooms as small as 9' x 13' making it a perfect candidate for the garage or an unused bonus room.
This can provide you with over 50 exercises to ensure that you wake up the next day unable to move a single muscle, and it can support up to 800 pounds of weights. Although at that point you may be better off just dead-lifting cars.
If you can't make it to the gym on a regular basis and are wary of investing in multiple sets of barbells, weights and so forth, a complete gym system like this is a good space-saving alternative.
Powerblock adjustable dumbbells
Most exercise-equipment companies have some form of adjustable dumbbell set in their lineup these days, but Powerblock is one of the originals and still makes some of the best. The system replaces traditional large, cluttered sets of dumbbells of all sizes with one set, allowing you to select what weight you'd like to work with.
The best feature of the Powerblock line is the expandability. You can start with the cheaper Stage 1 set, adjustable up to 50 pounds per dumbbell, until you're comfortable with more lifting. Then, you can purchase expansion sets as needed to increase the maximum weight.
Since dumbbell exercises can not only be done just about anywhere, but can also be tailored to work most muscle groups, an adjustable set is a welcome addition to any home gym.
If you're a serious runner, you've no doubt already heard of Nike's excellent pairing with Apple's (AAPL) iconic music player. What you may not know is that now the system is compatible with several other workouts such as elliptical machines, stair steppers or stationary bikes.
For traditional running, your special running shoes communicate with your iPod, telling it how far you've gone and at what pace. The iPod can then download that information onto your computer and keep track of workouts in an included program, as well as create custom workout playlists with your music.
Recently,Nike (NKE) and Apple went a step further and rolled out fitness machine tie-ins. Now at select gyms that carry the proper equipment you can plug your iPod into the machine and have it keep track of stats unique to that particular exercise.
Workout tracking technology isn't limited to just the runners anymore.
In this age of technology, it was only a matter of time before people started turning to video games to get in shape.
Given how unhealthy it can be to sit on a couch mashing buttons all day, though, Nintendo (NTDOY) very well may be onto something with their new addition to the Wii game console. Using a balance board the "game" measures a player's weight, body fat and other vital statistics and then allows them to design and participate in workouts covering 40 different activities from yoga to strength training.
While it doesn't come close to an actual gym-style workout, it's a nice deviation for days when you just don't feel like fully exerting yourself. Even better, get it for the kids and let them think they're playing a game. They'll never know the difference.
Mini Exercise Bike
If you can't break away from your desk long enough for a short workout a few times a week, then maybe buying the right fitness equipment isn't your biggest problem.
Still, there are some of us that spend a good bit of time behind the desk or in some other area not suited to strenuous activity. For those people, the mini exercise bike may come in handy. Picture a full-sized stationary bike, but remove everything but the pedals. Its miniscule size lets you place it under your desk to use while you work, and an adjustable resistance allows you do dial up the intensity while the onboard screen displays various statistics.
You can even place it on the table and use your hands to "pedal," getting an upper-body workout while also looking mildly insane. Explaining to the boss why you're pouring sweat at the weekly meeting is entirely your problem, though.