download (4)Almost all of us would look in the mirror and say that we would like to weigh a little less, or at least be physically fitter.

But how do we go about this?

For many, it means joining a gym, which often constitutes a either a reasonably sized one off payment, or a monthly commitment for six months or a year.  We then work out how often we would need to attend the gym so that we get ‘true value’ from our membership.  Upon joining, we go along to the introduction day, they introduce you to a fitness trainer, and they put together a training program for you and show you how everything works.

We all know what happens next.

Over the coming days and weeks, your motivation weans, you realize you do not have the time to head to the gym, and you feel like you wasted your money.  You might even go to the gym a few times, but find the people there already ripped and look to you like Olympic athletes intimidating, or be disheartened by the fact that you are so far behind them in terms of fitness and health.

No matter, however, for help is at hand.  The market for fitness gadgets has exploded in recent years.  While some mobile applications, such as Endomondo and Nike+, have proven popular in terms of tracking how we workout, they usually involve dragging along your iPhone or another handset while you take to the roads.  In addition, they are not much good for everyday life or as a standalone resource.  After all, looking after yourself is something you should consider at all times, right?  It is not just something you do for an hour every day.

Check out our list of the top three fitness gadgets, and find out why you need one in your life today.

Fitbit Flex

For us this is the undisputed market leader.  Fitbit is already a hugely popular brand with a whole range of products, so look out for the Fitbit Flex when it releases later this year.  These gadgets often sell out in an instant, so you will need to be quick!

The new product brings together all of the great features present on their existing fitness gadgets, allowing users to track their calories burned, steps taken, and even how much quality sleep they had just by looking at their wrist.  The real benefits of Fitbit come to life, however, when you access the mobile app or download the trackers onto your desktop.  Here, all of the data comes together to give you a breakdown of everything you have done in relation to your targets.  That means if you are sitting on the bus on the way home and see you are way behind on your footsteps count you can get off a stop or two earlier, or make plans to go running or play squash with a friend if your ‘daily calorie burn’ is not where it should be.

For a small additional yearly fee you can also go ‘premium,’ which will give you access to a larger range of reports and digital trainer and benchmarking options.  If the gym is not for you, then Fitbit Flex is going to be the next best thing in 2013!

iBitz by GeoPals

If you are looking for a fitness and weight loss gadget for the whole family, then iBitz has much to aid you on your quest.

The unit itself closely resembles a pedometer, but tracks much more and can even tell you your BMI if you own the adult version.  The child’s version looks the same yet has many differences, and is based somewhat around the ‘Tamagotchi’ virtual pet craze of the 1990’s.  A child’s iBitz unit has a creature that you keep healthy with lots of physical activity, which is a clever and unique, as far as we have seen, take on a fitness gadget.

Another aspect of iBitz for kids is that you can configure the unit with certain rewards.  For example, your child can trade 5,000 steps for 20 minutes on their Xbox, a great way to encourage kids when all they want to do is sit around!

Unlike Fitbit, unfortunately, there is no way to view your progress without looking at your smartphone, which is a real downer for us.  Similarly, the reports you can get on your smartphone are limited, and you are not able to view them on a bigger screen or print them, for example, as you can with Fitbit.

A fun fitness gadget and definitely one to help get the whole family active together, but not something that will push you harder on an individual level.

HAPIFork

If you are a tech junkie as well as keeping an eye on the latest health news, then you might have already seen this brilliant gadget.

As you know, losing weight is not just about the exercise you do, but your eating habits, too.

This is where HAPIFork comes in.  Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, it tracks everything about your meal; from the time it takes you to eat start to finish, to the amount of food on your fork, and the time between bites.

The result?  A gadget that vibrates and sounds an alarm whenever you are eating too much, or too quickly, to train yourself to eat slower, meaning feeling fuller quicker, having a healthier digestive system, and losing weight.

Clearly, it remains to be seen whether this will be as great as it sounds, but it could represent a real change in the way we approach our personal fitness.  HAPILabs also have a tracker and watch device slated for release in 2013, so could soon find they sweep the board when it comes to fitness gadgets.

Getting in shape without going to the gym has never been easier.  If you choose to invest in one of these devices, your life could change forever.