This Is the Ultimate Gift for the Fitness Lover in Your Life

This article was produced in partnership with WHOOP. 

a close up of a cell phone: WHOOP Strap 3.0

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WHOOP Strap 3.0

If you’re shopping for the fitness lover in your life, the WHOOP strap really can’t be beat. Fitness is often a numbers game: How fast did you run? How far did you ride? How many pounds did you lift? What gets lost in pursuit of those numbers, though, is how well you recover. After all, that’s where the magic happens—when the body’s immune system repairs the micro tears in the muscles caused by exercise, which helps build them back stronger than before.

As recovery has become one of the fitness industry’s biggest buzzwords, technology has risen to meet the occasion. Wearables (the top fitness trend of 2020, according to an annual report by the American College of Sports Medicine) no longer track just steps and calories burned, but recovery time, energy reserves, and stress levels to provide a more holistic look at health and fitness.

And while many have started including recovery metrics, WHOOP has always been about optimizing recovery to make gains, perfect for someone who loves tracking their fitness but may need a reminder to chill when it counts. The fact that athletes like Michael Phelps and LeBron James wear the band, and it’s the official wearable of the NFL Players Association, well, that just makes it even more lust-worthy.

WHOOP measures three key metrics: strain, sleep, and recovery.

WHOOP Strap 3.0

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WHOOP Strap 3.0

Gallery: What Staring at Your Phone Every Day Does To Your Body (ETNT Health)

Strain translates to the cardiovascular load—tracked via 24/7 heart rate monitoring displayed on a scale of 0 to 20—achieved during a workout or over the course of the day. Exercise can be a good stressor, but piling on additional stress (whether it’s from overtraining, work, parenting, or just the state of the world) can tip someone into detrimental territory. Wherever that number falls at a given moment, the app’s Strain Coach provides personalized insight into how much additional strain is optimal for the body to take on, with goals that can be monitored in real-time during a workout.

On the flip side of strain is recovery. WHOOP quantifies recovery by tracking how the body adapts to strain via heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and sleep performance. Every day, the device provides a daily recovery score (on a scale of 0 to 100 percent) to clue the wearer in to how ready their body is to perform.

And then there’s sleep. Quality shuteye may be the single most important factor in exercise recovery, according to new research from the International Journal of Sports Medicine. Not only does the WHOOP strap track standard metrics like sleep stages, disturbances, time spent in bed, and how long falling asleep takes, it uses that personalized data to determine how much sleep someone needs each night to make up for missed shuteye or extra stress. The whole idea is to prevent the accrual of sleep debt,

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Our Fitness Editor Shares the 5 Best Alternative Chest Exercises for Building Bigger Pecs

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In England at least, gyms are back open, so some of you can stop relying on press-ups and floor presses to build your chest. Hurrah. But now you’re back in the gym, don’t just replace your tired old chest exercises with more tired old chest exercises, or, at the very least, learn a couple of new moves to keep your workouts fresh.

To help you out, our fitness editor, Andrew Tracey, has selected five alternative chest exercises to add to your chest-day arsenal and get your pecs seriously pumped. You’ll find the moves below. As with all workouts, technique is key, so check out the video above to see Tracey performing the moves as they were intended.

Before you hurry off to watch, just one word of warning. When it comes to your chest, smashing out fast reps is unlikely to deliver the muscle-building stimulus your chest requires. A study published in The Journal of Physiology found that slow, controlled lifts performed to fatigue resulted in greater rates of muscle growth than the same movement performed rapidly. So go slow, go steady, and go for huge pecs.

a man holding a sign: Add these to your chest day arsenal and watch your gains multiply

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Add these to your chest day arsenal and watch your gains multiply

5 of the Best (Alternative) Exercises for a Bigger Chest

We’re not advising you to ditch the bench press, and if you want an extensive guide to building your chest, we’ve put that together for you too, but here are five alternative exercises to add to your chest-day routine.

  • Dumbbell Squeeze Press
  • Incline Press to Fly
  • Banded Crossovers
  • Guillotine Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Press

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Top 6 Outdoor Workouts: Grit Fitness in Horsham

Temperatures may be dropping but that doesn’t mean you can’t sweat it out.

Top 6 Outdoor Workouts: Grit Fitness



I am counting down the top six outdoor workouts.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait, it’s an entire gym being pulled in a trailer! It’s called Grit Fitness, an idea that came at the end of July from owners and head trainers Lauren Rothfeld and Christina Wilson.

“We had been through the shutdown and quarantine, so I think everyone was trying to figure out how to work out by themselves. I just happened to have a trailer,” said Wilson.

So they spruced up the outside of the trailer, stuffed it full of barbells, hand weights, slam balls, and off they went!

They take their gym on wheels to approved park spaces in Horsham and Upper Dublin, creating a safe, outdoor workout space.

Anyone can join and pay per class for a bootcamp style workout that will keep you fit.

“Anybody can sweat from home,” said Rothfeld. “It’s just being around other people, and you’re all going through the same pain because these aren’t easy workouts.”

Yeah, no kidding!

I gave it a try and it was difficult, but encouraging and fun. I was the most excited to have access to a barbell!

“We want to get people that 45 minutes, that hour that is solely to them; it’s not their kids, it’s not their boss, it’s not their work or their husband, their wife – it’s just for them,” said Rothfeld.

Wilson added, “We have the same things as the gym, without the four walls. (We have) the community, the equipment, you just come, you just bring your water.”

They really thought of everything!

For information on class schedule or to book a class, go to

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8 Fitness Gift Cards For Your Virtual Workout Crew

The new year is so close we can taste it. Only thing is, we’re not so sure how 2021 is going to satiate our annual wellness-resolution cravings. If you’re also missing good-old-fashioned group fitness classes (you know, the overpriced ones awash in dim lighting and bumpin’ tunes), then we’ve got a sweaty stand-in for you and your workout crew — one that also happens to make A+ holiday material: the virtual-fitness gift card.


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Since 2020 has shifted life as we know it, we’ve swapped cramped studio rooms and nearly-impossible-to-book classes for streaming computer screens and down-dogging it in our living rooms. And, you know what? We are actually feeling our new in-house workout clubs where the classes are never overcrowded and the subway never stops us from making it on time. So, in celebration of continuing to get physical come 2021, we’ve rounded up every awesome virtual-fitness gift we could dig up ahead — including everything from Classpass to trendy resistance-based training and beyond. Grab your sculpting leggings and tell Alexa to put on Olivia Newton-John.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Why You Shouldn’t Set New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

NY running goals

I wish I could say that I’m immune to the allure of setting New Year’s resolutions. But I think just about as long as I can remember, I’ve set some kind of goal come the first week of January. And like so many who make a list of wishes and goals, I set at least one fitness-related resolution.

For the last five years or so, one of these goals (if not more) has been centered around running: run a 10K, then a half marathon, then a full marathon, then get faster, qualify for international races — the list goes on. Some of these goals I’ve attained, others I haven’t. But as the year ends and it comes dangerously close to the time to make new goals, I find myself less than enthusiastic about setting any fitness goals — namely running goals — for 2021.

There’s, of course, the practical reason: we simply don’t know what will happen in the coming months, so setting goals tied to organized racing seems impractical. But beyond that, there’s the mental weight of it all. Typically, setting my New Year’s fitness goals is fun for me. I’ve spent a whole year working toward my goals and I’ll spend the next working toward the new ones.

However, I’ve learned to adjust to canceled races, a fully remote work life that’s caused me to adapt my home into a fitness studio, a living space, and an office, and socially distanced runs where I actively try to avoid others — not to mention a forced training break. I’m not the same runner who sat down this time last year with a laundry list of boxes to check off. I’m not faster. In fact, I’m much, much slower. I didn’t run a single race this year — a first for me in eight years. I haven’t been able to tick off any of my “big” goals for the sport.

I’m a runner that’s no longer motivated by setting PRs at races, collecting medals, and sub four-hour marathons. Sure, those will still be things that I strive for one day long in the future. But not now. Instead, I’m a runner who just misses her sport. Like so many, I’ve had to take a break from the thing I love. While there have been some highs (no one likes a 20-mile training run, trust me), there have also been some lows. Seeing what you love no longer look like it once did is hard. At first I thought it was just my training plans that were changing, but I soon realized that it was me who was really changing.

Running, in some capacity, will always be there for me if I seek it out. The way in which I enjoy my sport and the milestones that surround it may look different, but the consistency and mental clarity that lacing up my trainers and running gives me will always be there — with or without a marathon on the calendar.


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Indoor Workout Classes Are Now Banned in DC. How Are Fitness Studios Dealing?


When Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on November 23 that she would enact new restrictions that cancelled—among other things—indoor fitness classes, DC studio owners were taken aback and confused.

“It came out of nowhere,” says Maddie Watkins, who owns the downtown DC strength studio 202 Strong. As Covid cases rose in the region, Watkins had a suspicion that some restrictions were inevitable. She just didn’t think they’d target her business so specifically.

While studios are no longer allowed to host indoor classes, traditional gyms can still operate. And, perhaps most vexing to studio owners, indoor dining is allowed to continue, albeit at a lower capacity.

“I don’t understand the logic,” says Watkins. “I know that the mayor is trying to do what’s best for the city, but to me, the science and the facts didn’t match up.”

Watkins argues that working out in an indoor studio is safer than dining inside, as her clients are masked the entire time and confined to specific zones. At 202Strong, no equipment is shared, she says, and everything is thoroughly cleaned between sessions. And, for what it’s worth, Watkins says she hasn’t had any known Covid cases pop up at her studios.

Neither has Elevate Interval Fitness owner David Magida, which makes him equally frustrated by the new restrictions.

“I understand what the city was attempting to do. They were attempting to deal with bad optics and an assumed source of spread,” he says. “But the only thing they accomplished was effectively hurting small fitness studios without actually increasing safety.”

In an open gym format, it’s harder to control where folks go, how they sanitize their equipment, and to ensure they’re always wearing masks, says Magida. But because it’s the only viable way for fitness spots to operate right now, Magida has transformed his 14th Street studio into an open gym-style space, allowing clients to use the equipment in shifts. Watkins has done the same.

Meanwhile, other studios like Logan Circle’s Cut Seven or Park View’s Sweat DC are surviving by hosting outdoor classes, which are now capped at 25 people. And then there are those who flouted the rules: Solidcore owner Anne Mahlum publicly denounced the Mayor’s new restrictions last week, and continued to operate classes at her DC studios. After a visit from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Solidcore announced Monday that it would temporarily close its DC locations.

No matter the studio’s response, the verdict is the same: These restrictions will hurt the small, locally owned businesses. “We will take a hit financially,” Watkins says. And this is on top of the impact the pandemic has already had on her downtown DC location, which used to be frequented by office-goers.

Magida agrees. Just over a week into the new restrictions, Elevate has already seen an “exodus” of clients, he says, which is especially troubling when folks should be prioritizing their health.

“If anything is an essential business [during a pandemic], it’s fitness. It’s keeping people healthy, and their immune

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Onnit’s Chief Fitness Officer Discovered His ‘Non-Negotiables’ in 2020

This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of Men’s Health.

Onnit Chief Fitness Officer John Wolf shares some of the most important lessons he's learned while adjusting to the challenges that arose in 2020.

© Kyle Hilton
Onnit Chief Fitness Officer John Wolf shares some of the most important lessons he’s learned while adjusting to the challenges that arose in 2020.

JOHN WOLF’S job is all about thinking in new ways to break away from conventions—but 2020 was still an unprecedented challenge for him.

The man tasked with leading the fitness curriculum at Onnit, the company behind some of the most unconventional, versatile workout gear on the market, had to adjust the ways he approaches both his work and family.

He wound up building stronger connections than ever before.

Now, in his own words, Wolf shares the lessons he’s learned through a period that was challenging and isolating—but which ultimately led to deeper connections and a renewed sense of focus.

background pattern: breaker

© .

I think fitness is taking on a little more of a mental-emotional aspect during this pandemic. It is a thing that people have doubled down on in a variety of different ways, but it looks and feels so much different than it did before.

The availability of the equipment is a big issue these days. It’s forced kind of a Spartan and minimalist mindset, like, ‘How creative do I have to be to get the job done?’

Some of the coaching I’ve gone through for personal improvement is what I lean on in this larger group environment because it’s not like everybody looks the same. Not everybody has the same interests—except for everybody feels that they’re alone, to some degree, that their circumstances are uniquely theirs … Then through breaking down the barriers in the group, and me also being vulnerable to my experiences live and being forthright with them about those things, hoping that we’re facilitating an environment where people realize okay, the circumstances might all be really different, but the subjective experience that we’re all having is very consistent as human beings.

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Click here to join for more exclusive health and fitness stories.

In this day and age, right now, the sense of feeling seen and feeling heard—to feel validated on some platform in some way—takes on a greater meaning and grander meaning than it ever has before… That’s really the biggest message, you show up here and you are seen and you are heard, and that even just that the act of showing up is enough to participate.

If it’s a nice day, we create a space where we can go for an hour-long walk as a pack. Walking together creates either quiet time, being around each other, being okay being quiet, and/or the perfect storm, the perfect opportunity to be able to converse about things that matter and observe the world around us at a tempo where there’s actually time to see something. You drive down the same street, you don’t see the detail on that flower. You might not even notice that those flowers bloomed between yesterday and today.

If you’re

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Fitbit Versa 3 review: A happy medium of health features and fitness tracking


  • Up to six days’ battery life
  • Bright, always-on AMOLED display
  • Advanced sleep tracking
  • Onboard GPS
  • Mic and speaker for text dictation

Don’t Like

  • Relies heavily on mobile app
  • Slow to sync
  • Health metrics are hard to find
  • Notification replies are Android-only

The Fitbit Versa 3 is Fitbit’s best smartwatch for most people. With an always-on display, built-in GPS, blood oxygen and temperature tracking during sleep, and a battery that lasts six days, the Versa 3 holds its own against some of its pricier competitors like the Apple Watch SE and even the Fitbit Sense. While you don’t get the stress tracker and FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) like the Sense, the rest of the Versa 3’s smartwatch and fitness features are similar. As an added bonus, the Versa 3 costs $100 less than the Sense.

Better design all-around 

The Versa 3 still has the same square-ish watch body and metal frame as its predecessor the Versa 2, but it now has a larger 1.58-inch AMOLED screen with slimmer bezels. It’s bright, crisp and easy to see in direct sunlight. It can stay always-on (as a toned-down version with fewer metrics displayed) to give you a quick glance at the time without moving your wrist. And since Fitbit supports third-party watch faces, you have hundreds of different options to choose from. 

Despite its aesthetic improvements, the touchscreen and Fitbit interface still aren’t as responsive as what you’d get on an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch, which also have AMOLED screens. The Versa 3 lags a bit between swipes and takes a while to load apps and display information.

Instead of a physical button on the side of the watch like its predecessors, the Versa 3 now has an indented haptic side button. In theory, this works exactly like a real button, but the haptic feedback is nowhere near as satisfying as pressing a real button and it takes some getting used to. 

Fortunately, not all the design changes have a learning curve. Fitbit has also overhauled the strap mechanism on the Versa 3 and now all you have to do to swap out bands is press a button. It’s so much easier than previous models, which had a tiny, fiddly clasp.



Better training tools for fitness tracking

At this point it’s safe to assume most Fitbit devices can handle your basic fitness-tracking needs, measuring steps, distance, calories burned and heart rate. The Versa 3 covers the basics well and has the same fitness features as the more expensive Sense. It tracks 20 different activities including indoor and outdoor swimming and has automatic workout detection for some exercise types like running if you forget to start a session. 

It’s also the first Versa smartwatch to have built-in GPS, although not the first Fitbit, as the Charge 4 and Sense also have built-in GPS. As a runner, not having GPS on earlier Versa models

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B2Digital Reports 126% Q/Q Topline Growth, Projects Current Quarter Acceleration, Major Expansion in Fitness Facility Strategy

Tampa, FL – ( NewMediaWire ) – December 03, 2020 – B2Digital Incorporated (the “Company” or “B2Digital”) (OTCMKTS:BTDG), the premier development league for mixed martial arts (“MMA”), is excited to update shareholders on the Company’s outlook and the accelerating organic and strategic growth underway in its Gym segment, as well as its performance related to this strategy during the three months ended September 30, 2020, and its expectations for related performance during the current quarter ending December 31, 2020, and beyond.

Note that projections and guidance outlined below assume an absence of further regulatory lockdowns related to Covid-19 as well as the widespread distribution of a safe and effective vaccine during 2021.

“Based on the strategy we have in place – and the assumption that we don’t see major new pandemic-related shutdowns that impact the business – we are targeting $4-5 million on the topline over the rolling forward next twelve months,” commented Greg P. Bell, CEO of B2Digital. “This is based on the growth we are seeing now and the continued successful implementation of the company’s roll-up strategy in our Fitness Facility segment, which is the real breadwinner in our broad vision. We are already on pace to more than double the topline on a sequential quarterly basis into year-end.”

During the three months ended September 30, 2020, B2Digital saw a 76% jump in Gym revenues on a sequential quarterly basis. In addition, the Company increased overall revenues across segments totaling topline growth on a sequential quarterly basis during the quarter of 126%. Management also notes that, based on performance thus far and an assumption of no new pandemic-related shutdowns relevant to its current fitness facility operations, it projects a pace to achieve double the top line revenue in Q3 compared to Q2 of this year for the three months ending December 31, 2020.

In addition, the Company plans to continue its roll-up strategy in the fitness facility market over the coming twelve months. The Company’s objective is to acquire one to two new gym facilities every quarter with our goal to increase these acquisitions as the spread of Covid-19 decreases nationally. Thus far, each acquisition the Company makes in the fitness facility space is believed to represent at least $400K per year in rolling forward next twelve-month revenues based on past historical performance.

At this pace, given current metrics and assumptions, including no major return of mandated pandemic-related shutdowns relevant to its current fitness facilities, the Fitness Facility segment could achieve just shy of $4 million in revenues over the rolling forward next twelve months if the company’s acquisition objectives are executed as planned. Paired with a conservative assumption of $75K – $100K in monthly revenues from its live MMA events, encompassing 3 planned fights a month at current revenue achievement rates per fight, the Company believes it has the potential to achieve total revenues of at least $4 to $5 million over the rolling forward twelve months.

“Each acquisition we make in the Fitness Facility space is

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The best fitness classes in London

The fitness scene in London is booming and the new year is the perfect opportunity to explore a new studio or challenge yourself with an entirely new workout.

Mixing up your workout will keep it interesting, learn a new skill like boxing while you’re at it or complement your usual cardio with weights, the capital has plenty to choose from.

From hybrid classes to reformer pilates and rowing – here are some of our favourite fitness classes in London.


a person holding a baseball bat: Another Space

© Provided by Evening Standard
Another Space

HIIT 45 at Another Space

This class combines strength training and high-intensity work on the punch bag all in just 45 minutes. It’s designed to fire up your metabolism and burn some serious calories.

Price: £20 for a single class

Location: Covent Garden, Bank

a dining room table: Orangetheory Fitness LondonMark Robinson

© Provided by Evening Standard
Orangetheory Fitness LondonMark Robinson

Orange 60 at Orangetheory Fitness

Tech fiends should head to one of Orangetheory’s five London studios for the HIIT-based workout that focuses on getting your heart rate up. While strapped up to a chest monitor, you’ll work across treadmills, rowers and floor work while screens display which heart rate zone you’re working in (= ie how much effort you’re putting in), thus encouraging you to push harder or scale back to achieve the best workout. The workout is huge in the States and is apparently a favourite of Michelle Obama.

Price: from £25 for a drop in

Location: various ​

Hollywood at F45

The Australian phenomenon is taking London by storm. The cult workouts merge HIIT, circuits and functional training into one and are guaranteed to leave you sweaty. While most classes are 45 minutes, Hollywood is a full 60-minute blast that happens every Saturday and it’s the perfect way to kick off your weekend. You’ll snake your way around 27 different stations of cardio and strength training, then do it once more with a minutes’ rest in between.

Price: from £25 per class

Location: various

Total Body at Barry’s Bootcamp

Is any fitness class list complete without a mention of Barry’s Bootcamp? Set in the infamous “Red Room” these cult classes, split between cardio intervals on the treadmill and strength training on the floor, can burn up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute class. Each day of the week focuses on a specific part of the body, be it arms & abs or chest, back & abs, opt for Friday’s Total Body if you want to cover all bases.

Price: £23 per class

Location: various

Sweat It

© Provided by Evening Standard
Sweat It

Pillar Killer at Sweat IT

Sweat IT is another strength and cardio interval training studio which offers high-intensity, 50-minute workouts. Classes vary on a daily basis to target specific body parts, Pillar Killer is the workout specifically designed for your abs and core.

Price: from £21 per class.

Location: Aldwych

Reshape Full Body and Abs at 1Rebel​

Reshape Full Body and Abs at 1Rebel is a physically

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