Yes, we are recommending a candy bar as fitness food.
Yes, we are recommending a candy bar as fitness food. (Photo: Wes Judd)

The Fitness Gear Our Editors Can’t Live Without

From pasta makers to candy bars, these eight items have totally transformed how we get after it

Yes, we are reccomending a candy bar as fitness food.

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At Outside, we practice what we preach. We spend our weekends running, skiing, climbing, or riding in the mountains adjacent to our Santa Fe office. In the process, we test a lot of fitness-oriented gear—too much, our bosses sometimes say—and form some outrageously strong opinions on what we like best. Here are eight items currently at the top of our list.

Snickers ($1)

Last year, during the annual Plaza2Peak race here in Santa Fe, I noticed executive editor Axie Navas, who was leading the race at the time, chomping down on a Snickers bar. I was perplexed—as an ultrarunner and a fitness editor, I’ve experimented with countless gels, goos, powders, mixes, pills, and bars in the name of hydration and nutrition. But a candy bar? Was Axie on to something? I gave it a shot on my next long run, and it is not an exaggeration to say that my life was changed. With plenty of sugar and carbs from the nougat and caramel, caffeine from the chocolate, and a bit of protein and fat from the nuts, Snickers, I’ve learned, is the ultimate bonkproof food. I find it more effective and tasty than any cutting-edge nutrition supplement. I eat them on long runs, rides, and skins, and even have crew members hand me one during races. —Wes Judd, online fitness editor


iPhone 7 Plus ($869)


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No piece of gear has had a bigger impact on my fitness than my iPhone 7 Plus. Sure, it tracks steps, sleep, and miles run and biked and hosts countless coaching and nutrition apps, but it’s the accountability factor that has made this phone such an effective tool. Without it, I would have likely skipped countless morning ski tours, mountain bike rides, and runs that my friends guilt me into over text every week. Having an app tell me to go on a ride is one thing, but when I’m worried about leaving a real person hanging, that’s all the motivation I need to get out of bed. And the 7 Plus has an incredible camera, so I know those tough morning outings will result in a great ’gram. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is. —Bryan Rogala, video production manager


Skratch Labs Drink Mix ($20)


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I ride a lot in the Santa Fe heat, and I find myself using hydration mixes religiously on long rides. But drinking fluorescent sugar water under the desert sun causes one thing: horrible gas. I find gas—especially the doubled-over, cramping-and-explosive kind—rather unpleasant, on and off the bike. Enter Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix (preferred flavor: Lemons + Limes). It’s kosher, GMO-free, and delicious. Most important, it’s basically just a pinch of sugar and salt. The combo keeps me hydrated and forces me to fuel with real foods (preferably nuts and sardines) instead of trying to get all my nutrients from the supposedly gut-busting maltodextrin. Plus, it’s pretty expensive, so I’m never tempted to waste precious calories on short spins. The result? A good belly and an outrageously fine figure. —Scott Rosenfield, digital editorial director


Vitamix 5200 Series Blender ($450)

I don’t know if your kids hate vegetables, but mine do. My wife and I constantly worry that our little ones will get sick because they’d much rather put down carbs and sugar than anything green. But last year, my in-laws gave us a Vitamix, which turned out to be the best Christmas ever. Thanks to a high-powered motor, strong blades, and lots of torque, that blender will liquefy anything—including greens like kale. Now we get to sneak all kinds of goodness into yogurt and fruit smoothies that our kiddos will readily drink. We feel like better parents, and they get the benefit of a healthier diet. —Jakob Schiller, associate editor


Brooks Ravenna 7 ($70)

I got a pair of Brooks Ravenna 7 running shoes at last year’s Winter Outdoor Retailer after taking part in the company’s Stride Signature test, and they fit my feet to a T. They provide a lot of support for a lumbering, high-arched, moderate-striking big dude like me, and I feel so much less wear and tear after unlacing them at the end of a long haul. Even though those shoes are a year old now and I have the Ravenna 8 (I know, entitled gear editor), I still wear the 7s every time I go for a training run on pavement. They’re basically the reason I can put up with a mind-numbing hour-and-a-half of left-foot-right-foot. —Will Eginsteiner, associate editor


La Croix ($16 for an 8-Pack)

I started drinking La Croix religiously about two years ago during a healthy effort to cut out sugary drinks. Within a few weeks, I didn’t crave the iced teas and lemonades that I occasionally enjoyed before. It tasted good and wasn’t nearly as boring as water—not to mention the hydration and hipster points. I now take a rack of La Croix everywhere I go. Go-to flavor? Pamplemousse. Always. —Nick Kelley, associate editor


Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones ($200)


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For those of us who grew up before the advent of the earbud—when the only alternative to heavy head-huggers was a pair of rigid, loose-fitting earphones with tinny sound quality—it’s hard to imagine a friendlier running companion than Beats’ new wireless in-ear headphones. Wraparound fixtures on each bud make them stable enough to endure the arhythmic pounding of feet on ground, so I won’t miss a second of my favorite podcast or derail my cardio with constant pauses to fiddle with my headgear. Long solo runs have never been more pleasant. —Greg Thomas, associate editor


Imperia Pasta Machine ($67)


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As far back as my first cross-country practice in 1999, spaghetti with tomato sauce has been held up as the most perfect meal a runner could eat: a simple, easy-to-digest source of protein and carbs that doesn’t take long to prepare. I’ve never regretted making a bowl of it the day before a long run. Dried pasta still does the trick, but if I really mean business, I break out my Imperia Pasta Machine. With only a little more effort than usual, I can crank out ribbons of fresh dough that are infinitely tastier and more satisfying than anything that’s been sitting in a box on a shelf. And once I’ve cut the dough into linguini, I have no choice but to slow down and savor my meal. —Reid Singer, associate editor


Lead Photo: Wes Judd

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