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Best gifts for grads looking to stay fit

Gift ideas to help your high school grad fend off the freshmen 15 and help college grads shape up for the real world.

Josh Miller

There's nothing worse than a big life transition to throw off your fitness routine and put a wrench in your healthy habits. Whether the recent grad in your life is transitioning from home to college life, or college to the real world, here are a few gift ideas to help them stay fit and keep them off the takeout food (on most nights, at least). 

Note that these products and services are independently chosen by our editors, and arranged from least to most expensive. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

A budget smartwatch that does it all: Amazfit Bip ($79)

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Amazfit Bip does all the basics you'd expect from a smartwatch for a price that's hard to beat. It mirrors phone notifications, calendar alerts and reminders to help keep grad on track and doubles as a fitness tracker with a built-in GPS, heart-rate monitor and water resistance. It's not the fanciest of watches, with a plastic frame and simple design, but it makes up for it in battery life. It can last anywhere from one to four weeks on a charge depending on use. 

Read full review.


The eye-catching smartwatch: Fitbit Versa Lite

Sarah Tew/CNET

If looks are important, then the Fitbit Versa Lite might be the better bet. Its $159.95 price tag may seem like a splurge next to the Amazfit Bip, but it's still on the lower end of the smartwatch price spectrum, and it's a more forward alternative. Choose from three metallic finishes and a variety of different watch straps to match your grad's style. Aside from your basic smartwatch and fitness-tracking duties, the Fitbit app also gives user access to personalized dashboard to keep tabs of sleep, exercise, friends' activity and even menstrual cycle all in one place. The Versa Lite is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. 

Read first impressions.


The latest workout buds for trendsetters: Powerbeats Pro ($250)

David Carnoy/CNET

For a sportier, trendier take on the AirPods, try the Powerbeats Pro. Apple's latest wireless earphones are more expensive than their AirPod counterparts at $250, but they boast better sound quality, a tighter fit, and they're sweatproof, which means they'll hold up to those intense workout sessions at the college gym. They come in four different color options and include their own charging case. 

Read full review.


Exercise away from the gym: Activ5 Smart Isometric Device ($140)

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Activ5 is billed as "A tiny gym in your pocket." About the size of a hockey puck, the Activ5 is more sophisticated than it looks. It's designed to create an isometric workout as you apply pressure to either side of the device -- essentially squeezing it -- using various parts of your body.

You connect your iOS or Android phone to the device, and a free companion app (pictured) tracks the amount of pressure you apply to it. With a little gamification, the app guides you through short workouts that you can do anywhere. It seems a little expensive at $140, but it gives you more of a workout than you'd think given its tiny size and simplistic shape.

Watch CNET video.


Strengthen the core: Stealth Plankster Core Trainer ($129)

Sarah Tew/CNET

Love it or hate it, the plank is one of the best exercises for strengthening your core. But actually planking -- maintaining what amounts to a stiff, unmoving push-up, where you strive to keep your whole body rigid, like a plank of wood -- can be a little boring. That's where the the Stealth Core Trainer comes in.  

It looks like a fancy padded board on top, with a sphere on its underside that sits in a base module. The design allows you to swivel from side to side and up and down as you hold the plank position, ideally with your body perfectly parallel to the ground.

The other key element is a little compartment toward the top of the board. It has four sticky pads designed to keep your iOS or Android phone from moving around while you're using the Stealth app, which gamifies your planking workout. And that's why Stealth calls it "an interactive fitness board."

The Plankster is the most affordable version at $130 and should work fine for most people. The Personal version is $180 while more rugged Professional version costs $300 and is designed to support more weight. 

Read preview.


Double-duty backpack: Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack ($128)


Those high school days may be long gone, but not the backpack. Lululemon's City Adventurer Backpack is a gym bag and book bag in one that'll get your grad through a full day of work and play. It's got enough room for sweaty gym clothes and a water bottle, a laptop sleeve and phone compartment to keep electronics safe plus a compartment in the bottom to hide away those dirty tennis shoes. It comes in two different colors and costs $128.

ClassPass: A la carte studio classes (starts at $45/month)

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Give your grad more workout options to choose from than just the local gym. A monthly membership to ClassPass gives them access to hundreds of gyms and studios around the country (or stream classes at home).  It's got everything from cycling classes, pilates, bootcamps and meditation available whenever inspiration strikes. Gift any dollar amount you want on the ClassPass website, or sign them up for a monthly membership, which starts at $45.

Read full review.


Better than microwave ramen, just as easy: Instant Pot ($59.95)

Josh Miller

Grads looking to spice up their menu without the effort can probably find something to cook with the Instant Pot. It's like a pressure cooker and a slow cooker had a baby and added some tech. You can make anything from popcorn to a healthy fish dish in less than an hour and without burning the house/dorm down. Its built-in sensors regulate pressure and temperature while its timer keeps food from overcooking. 

Instant Pot pro tips you should know.


Healthy meal delivery service: Freshly ($49.99/4 meals)

Screenshot Freshly.com

But even with the best of intentions, chances are your recent grad will still need a little help in the meal department. And too much takeout can wreak havoc on the wallet and the waistline -- which is where a meal delivery service can help. There are plenty of options to choose from, but Freshly is a great option for grads because it provides healthy meal choices that are ready to eat (just heat in the microwave). They have a rotating menu of over 30 different dishes to fit every dietary need, with subscription plans starting at about $45 a week.