It used to be that a pair of running shoes and some clean workout clothes were all the fitness gear you needed.

These days, a beats-blasting playlist and a fitness tracker are as essential to a good workout as anything else. Whether you or someone you know is just starting out on a fitness journey or a seasoned athlete looking to take your training to the next level, here are our recommendations for the best fitness tech to enhance your workouts and help you hit your fitness goals.

Fitbit Charge 2

FitBit Charge 2

When it comes to fitness trackers, Fitbit still reigns supreme. The company has become so ubiquitous, chances are everyone knows a few co-workers, family members, or friends obsessed with tracking their steps and other fitness stats on their wrist. If you're unfamiliar, Fitbits track steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, and calories burned throughout the day.

Fitbit's latest wrist accessory, the Charge 2, is the absolute best yet. First, there's the vertically-orientated OLED display, in which you tap to cycle through the different statistics and modes. The Charge 2 features Fitbit's PurePulse continuous heart rate monitor, which lets you quickly check your current heart rate at any moment, and also features the convenient call, text and calendar notifications that you'd expect from wearable tech. Built-in GPS is missing, but Connected GPS allows you to use your phone's GPS to map your outdoor runs when tethered to your phone via Bluetooth. The silicone strap is sweat resistant, but you'll want to make sure to clean and dry it after each workout. It's also not waterproof, so don't even think about swimming with it on. Available starting at $149 on Amazon

See at Amazon

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple continues to do more with less when it comes to its Apple Watch wearable. The latest Apple Watch Series 3 manages to include LTE connectivity without creating a bulky monstrosity on your wrist. Available in both 38mm and 42mm, this is a great fitness accessory if you've bought into Apple's ecosystem and are looking to get into better shape. Apple has continued to refine the user experience and as always there are useful fitness features built right into the watchOS including the fan favorite ring system for tracking your activity throughout the day. Whether that encourages you to get that run in every morning, or simply stand more during your office hours, your Apple Watch will gently nudge you out of your sedentary habits if you allow it to.

Where the Series 2 Apple Watch took a huge leap forward with integrated GPS, the Series 3 includes altimeters for tracking elevation — whether you're hiking through mountains or just taking the stairs at work. Also, significant improvements to watchOS has significantly improved the Apple Watch's functionality as a health tracking tool, as Serenity Caldwell points out in her review :

The biggest fitness improvement isn't limited to the Series 3, however, and that's watchOS 4's completely redesigned Heart Rate app (for Series 1-3). It's an excellent way to get more contextual data from the watch, rather than just having your heart rate taken in the background.

Just like the Apple Watch Series 2, the Series 3 is swimproof. The GPS-only model starts at $329, while the model with GPS and cellular connectivity starts at $399.

See at Apple

Eufy BodySense Bluetooth Scale

Eufy BodySense Smart Scale

Take complete control of your weight using the Eufy BodySense Bluetooth Scale, the smart scale that's designed to accurately measure your weight, body fat %, muscle mass, and more.

Capable of tracking up to twenty unique users with personalized data results, everyone in your household can track their body metrics securely and track their goals using the EufyLife app (available for Android and iOS). The scale requires a Bluetooth connection to your phone and starts sending data to your phone as soon as you step onto the scale. This smart scale is also compatible with a variety of other health apps including Google Fit, Apple Health, Fitbit, and others.

Available for just $50, it's the most affordable smart scale on the market.

See at Amazon

TuneBand Go armband

TuneBand Go armband

There are hundreds of armband smartphone cases out there for bringing your phone with you on a run or a workout. This is because manufacturers typically designed a bunch of different models to fit specific phone makes and sizes. This means you'll end up having to get a new armband when it's time to upgrade to a new device.

That is unless you get a TuneBand Go. This armband offers universal compatibility, as its rubber hooks are adjustable to fit phones from 5 inches to 6.5 inches in size. It also accommodates cases. It's actually recommended that you use a case if you're concerned about the clips making direct contact with your phone's display. Get one for the fitness freak on your list for just $20.

See at Amazon

NorthFace Thermoball Etip gloves

NorthFace Thermoball Etip gloves

Winter is coming, which means it's time to haul out your cozy winter gear — lest you choose to stay indoors until spring. But you really ought to be heading outside to make the most of things, whether that means sledding, snowboarding, skiing, or simply walking through a winter wonderland.

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors — even when the temps are downright frigid — and still stay connected to your phone, you'll want to get a pair of touchscreen conductive gloves that are first and foremost warm and reliable. The North Face makes quality outerwear, and these gloves are tops. They will keep your hands nice and toasty while still allowing you to use your phone's touchscreen via the conductive fibers in the fingers. The palms are also grippy so that you don't accidentally drop your phone into a snowbank. Whoops!

These would make a great gift for pretty much anyone with a phone and are available in styles for both men and women.

See at Amazon (men's)

See at Amazon (women's)

GoPro HERO5 Session

GoPro HERO5 Session

Getting active with technology doesn't always have to be about tracking steps or keeping your phone accessible. Sometimes you just want to head out there, strap an action cam to yourself, and show the world how you have fun.

The GoPro HERO5 Session is a portable, rugged little 10MP camera that can shoot stills, burst, and time-lapse photos, as well as 4K video (also capable of shooting high-speed footage at 90fps in 1080p, and 120fps in 720p). It features voice activation as well as one-touch controls and can be mounted pretty much anywhere, so you can just tap and go out and record all of your outdoor adventures. Whether you know a cyclist who's talked about wanting to document their daily commutes, or a budding action sports superstar looking to record epic footage, the GoPro HERO5 Session is a gift choice that will be cherished. Note that this camera also needs a MicroSD card. The GoPro HERO5 Session starts at $299.99.

See at GoPro

Jaybird X3 Sport

Jaybird X3 Sport

An ideal pair of workout headphones is going to be wireless, sweatproof, and comfortable while still delivering solid sound quality and adequate battery life.

Jaybird has been in the Bluetooth headphone space since 2007, and the company's Jaybird X3 Sport earbuds are an ideal option for the runner or athlete in your life that always seems to be complaining about headphones. The two earpieces are tethered together, with a three-button remote for controlling playback and volume, and each pair comes with several silicone and foam tip options, along with fins that help keep them securely in your ear, no matter how intense your workout gets. The size is small and compact, and yet the batteries are capable of delivering great sound quality for up to eight hours. Get them for a great price of just $99 on Amazon!

See at Amazon

Your fitness gift wish list?

If you're shopping for — or hoping for! — a fitness gift this holiday season, what's top of your list? Let me know your best gift ideas in the comments below!

Updated December 2017: We've updated our smart scale recommendation as well as pricing and added in the latest Apple Watch!