Health and Wellness

Ab Monster provides crunch on the run, won’t haunt late-night basic cable

Ab-MonsterFor those who prefer working out in the privacy of their own home and don’t feel that they need a human fitness coach to get six-pack abs, Ab Monster offers a workout routine and machine straight out of infomercial land. The item comes with access to online videos, which seem to suggest movements that are somewhat reminiscent of scrubbing the kitchen floor and other cleaning activities. One plus is that the item seems to be compact enough to take on the road, so that late night at the office or traveling doesn’t mean missing out on workouts when the workout of cleaning the house is not an option. Those who may miss out on the $40 early bird special can pick one up for $45. Expected delivery is July of 2014.

Apparel Health and Wellness

WilkWear workout shirt pads sensitive area

WilkWear  b53bdcf3492b003c13ccaca0c8b4272a_large[1]While weight training is one of the best ways to tone and gain muscle, it can sometimes mean enduring some bruising. For those who want the gain but prefer to avoid that type of pain, WilkWear offers a solution. This particular workout shirt has a padded collarbone area and is made of polyester and spandex to keep padding in place and your body comfortable during your routine. For $40, backers get one WilkWear with an expected delivery of May 2014. This offer is $10 off the anticipated retail price.

Connected Objects Fitness

TAO WellShell presses on in quest for smart isometric workout anywhere

editors-choiceThe Premise. Part of what makes staying in shape such a chore is having to go to a gym to work out. Even with home fitness equipment, it has to be lugged out or take up living space and usually takes full attention as well.

The Product. The TAO WellShell is an unassuming, pocket-sized device that can deliver an intense workout. With customizable settings that can be controlled through the companion app, the WellShell can be an invigorating workout for users of all strengths. As users press the TAO with their hands or against a surface, the WellShell vocally advises the user to apply more or more or less pressure until the right zone is found and held. The exercise works on the same principles as pilates or planking. The WellShell can also monitor heart rate and function as a pedometer.

The Pitch. TAO’s Co-Founder, Philo Northrup, demonstrates how to use the WellShell and talks about how easy it is to use the device to get a workout in anywhere. Another video features people trying out TAO for the first time and realizing that for as simple as the device is, working out with it can be a challenge. Adding to the hype is all of the media attention the TAO WellShell has received, from its CES debut to appearances on Live with Kelly and Michael. TAO is looking for $100,000 to contract manufacturing experts and finalized a sturdy, attractive design.

The Perks. Backers can get a TAO WellShell and the app for $149, half the suggested retail price. A $500 pledge is ideal for trainers who want to make their training program part of the app to monitor client activity, and for $1,000 backers can get a designer WellShell with a handmade white leather cover. The TAO WellShell is expected to be delivered in November 2014.

The Potential. Of course, one doesn’t need a machine to do isometric hand presses anywhere and for a portable product and the vocal nature of the WellShell could be distracting in public without headphones; the product is a little on the hefty side for something that might be pocketable. On its own, it might not be enough to find a home in the crowded home fitness marketplace. However, by showing off integration with product remotes, apps, and even potential gamification, the portability and versatility will appeal to those looking for a cloud-trackable exercise in the office, the waiting room, or at the bus stop by next year.

Fitness Smartwatches/Bands

Moov wearable adapts to your workouts, offers coaching to improve them

editors-choiceThe Premise. All those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are already two months old. A small percentage of them are probably still in progress, most have already been given up on, and some never even got started. Of course, it’s harder to turn down a workout with a trainer that can motivate, push, and correct issues with form or impact.

The Product. The Moov is designed to be the personal trainer that it doesn’t feel awkward working out in front of. Pairing with a mobile device (only iPhone 4s or above supported currently), the Moov can be attached or worn anywhere to monitor movement and track stats. More than just a simple pedometer, the Moov can have apps created for virtually any kind of workout, with built-in support for running, body weight workouts, cycling, boxing, and swimming (it’s waterproof). Most of these workouts only require the base Moov, but boxing works best with a second unit, one on each wrist, and up to five can be used in conjunction with each other. This way, not only will distance or reps be tracked, but the device can even provide suggestions to help exercise more safely and effectively.

The Pitch. The Web site for the Moov is pretty underwhelming and just sort of generic 2014 startup with plenty of big pictures and lots and lots of scrolling. The video ads are slick though, and show off the flexibility and possible applications the device could have beyond workouts, though hearing Apple’s Siri as a fitness coach feels less encouraging and more like an Orwellian state-sponsored physical fitness mandate. Moov needs $40,000 to hit the ground running.

The Perks. The Moov can be pre-ordered for $59.95 (half the retail cost), but the product’s creators also offer backers a nifty referral link that others can click through to pre-order as well, earning the original backer a $5 credit for each pre-order. The first batch is expected to ship in the summer of this year.

The Potential.  Moov is a lot more versatile than the average fitness band, and the coaching and multi-device usage really help it stand out; of course, the quality of that coaching remains to be seen. It’s adaptability to different exercises remind one of the Atlas, byt Moov’s approach is quite different. Many people with Fitbit friends know that it becomes all they talk about or post on social media. The Moov looks like the next evolutionary step in personal fitness devices, and will certainly command the same kind of enthusiasm from anyone trying to get or stay in shape.


XBAR creates a portable gym, proves resistance is not futile

xbar2Gyms are big giant scams, but you didn’t hear it here. In addition, many at-home exercise solutions can be costly and not versatile enough for a full body workout. The XBAR is probably one of the smallest and most dynamic solutions to this problem. It consists of a bar (that looks nothing like an X), push up docks and a resistance band. By using the XBAR in different ways, it’s possible to work out your chest, shoulders, back, legs, biceps, triceps, abs, and glutes. XBAR is small and weighs less than 10 pounds, making it very portable and easy to use anywhere. Backers looking to get jacked up can donate $150 towards the $50,000 goal for this product with an estimated delivery date of June 2014.