Now well-established, the fifth-annual Health magazine awards for fitness and gear for active people include a number of core manufacturers from both outdoor and fitness.
Called “America’s Healthiest Fitness Awards,” the awards pick top products in six categories, including fitness equipment, apparel, shoes, gear, fuel and DVDs. They were announced June 29, 2009, and appear in the magazines July-August issue now on newstands.
A total of 24 pieces of gear won accolades from the magazine including fitness equipment (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, weight system), gear (watch, bag, pedometer, reflective device, hydration), apparel (bra, jacket, pants, shorts/skirt, top), footwear (run, walk, trail run, light hiking), fuel (bar) and DVDs (Pilates, yoga, dance, strength, cardio).
A couple of new faces showed up in the awards. LifeSpan by PCE took the treadmill category with its TR4000i, and Torque Fitness topped the weight system segment with its F7 Foldaway Strength Trainer. The magazines top pick for a stationary bike was Diamondback Fitness’s 900Sr and its top elliptical trainer was the 18.0 AXT Ascent Trainer by AFG.
The category was judged by Lynn Allen, who has been a consultant for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
A rather all-inclusive category title, this area covers, well, stuff that folks who workout need but that doesn’t fall into the other categories. Timex took the pedometer category with its Fitness Tracker and was the only repeat winner from last year. The Tracker is a pedometer reads the steps and other figures on a normal-looking watch for a more discrete step-counting experience. Gym bag was topped by Timbuk2’s Arnold, while the reflective category was won by newcomer GoMotion for its Sport Runner LiteBelt. Hydration went to CamelBak’s Podium ChillJacket Insulated bottle, and the watch segment was awarded to the Mini-Axio by Highgear.
For the record, SNEWS editor in chief Therese Iknoian and President Michael Hodgson judged the gear category for the second year.
Deciding to award only one area this year, the best bar was given to PowerBar for its Energize Citrus Fruit Smoothie bar. This category’s judge, Katherine Beals, is the nutrition-clinic director and a clinical associate professor of nutrition at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Top trail runner was given to another newcomer, Oboz, for its Ignition II, while the best light hiker was awarded to Teva’s Aniso eVent. The Ryka Muse was named the top walking shoe, and Asics Gel-Kayano 15 was the top running shoe.
Lisa Halbower-Fenton, a former designer and developer for Nike and Reebok, ruled the footwear category.
In apparel, Brooks was named best bra top for its PR model, and New Balance won for best short-sleeve top for the NBx Burnout Tee. In a category now called shorts/skort, Pearl Izumi’s Aurora Low Rise Short was considered tops. In pants, Athleta’s Organic Salamba Pant was named the best, while among lightweight jackets – certainly a growing area – the Lucy Breakaway Jacket was given the nod.
Apparel was judged by Jessica Matthews, who is a personal trainer and the continuing education coordinator and apparel reviewer for the American Council on Exercise.
With a lot on the market, this can’t be easy to sift through. In the cardio category, Results Fitness’ 10 Days to a Better Body was tops; among strength entries, Kathy Smith Total Body Lift was called the best. In Pilates options, Exhale’s Core Fusion Pilates Plus was given the gold, and among yoga DVDs, Flow Yoga for Beginners by Shiva Rea won. In something called “dance,” the winner was Dance and Be Fit’s Brazilian Body.
Michele Olson, an exercise physiologist who teaches exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala., judged DVDs.
To see full results with comments, photos and descriptions, click here.