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Fit in Body and Wallet

Price-conscious fitness gear for men.

September 03, 2009|Content Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

We all know that dudes like gear. Whether it's the latest titanium driver wowing your pals at the golf course or the newest, high-tech mountain bike, men like to impress other men with the newest, latest gear. But with the recent economic troubles, shelling out hundreds, or even thousands of dollars just to have the latest gear seems a little impractical.

Take advantage of the advances and innovations in workout technology without breaking the bank. Here are some new items on the market that will help:

Real deal

FitDeck exercise playing cards: A deck of coated, illustrated playing cards imprinted with instructions for various exercises, such as squat thrusts, push-ups and bicycle crunches.

Likes: It's an instant personal trainer. Shuffle the deck and get a new workout every day. Each card includes simple, easy-to-understand drawings, explanations of exercises, and various reps for beginning, intermediate and advanced users. Take it anywhere. Wide variety of workout decks, including Bodyweight, Senior, Yoga, Navy Seal, Travel, Kettlebells and a dozen other types of exercise; most require some gear. The deck is contained in a clear plastic snap case.

Dislikes: None.

Price: $9.95 to $16.95. (800) 226-6022; www.fitdeck.com.

Arms race

Armpocket Aero 10: Small zippered cargo bag with 10 cubic inches of storage space that can be worn on your upper arm during athletic activities.

Likes: A comfortable, convenient, light (3 ounces) and unobtrusive way to secure small essentials such as phone, wallet and keys. No irritating bounce, as with a fanny pack. I particularly liked it for quick access to a small digital camera while mountain biking. Includes a soft neoprene arm strap with Velcro closure, three interior sleeves and an exterior pocket that holds an energy bar. Handy in the gym; switch it to your ankle while lifting upper-body weights. Great for tourists.

Dislikes: Some rubbing of the armband in the armpit area while running.

Price: $22.99. Larger models up to $31.99. (877) 276-7628; www.armpocket.com.

Time's up!

Gymboss Interval Timer and Stopwatch: Tiny (2- by 1.5-inch) clip-on countdown timer that beeps at desired workout intervals.

Likes: Quite useful for runners, cyclists, kettlebellers, crossfitters, martial artists and other athletes who make use of interval training and timed rounds. More accurate and convenient than having to look at a watch. Easy three-button setup. Set interval duration from 2 seconds to 60 minutes and alarm duration from 1 to 10 seconds in beep or vibration modes -- or both. Loud beep is audible 10 to 20 feet away. Intervals repeat without re-pressing when in auto mode.

Dislikes: None.

Price: $19.99, shipping $2.95. (877) 496-2677; gymboss.com.

Sticking with it

KT Tape: Elastic "kinesiology" athletic tape with one-way stretch.

Likes: Being elastic in one direction, it supports sore muscles and joints without restricting motion, in theory aiding recovery and performance. Comes in convenient pre-cut 10- by 2-inch strips, 20 per roll, so no cutting or tearing required. Waterproof, so you can wear it while swimming.

Dislikes: Expensive compared to traditional non-elastic athletic tape.

Price: $12.99. www.kttape.com.

Fitness writer Roy Wallack contributed to this article. Wallack is the co-author of "Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100" and author of "Run for Life." Roywallack@aol.com

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