kettlebellsWe know, we know--you don't hit go to the gym to look pretty. That doesn't mean you can't accessorize. Still, is it worth buying the "girly" version? We looked at the prices of seven different popular fitness gadgets and compared those designed for men and those designed specifically for women. Here's when it's not worth it--and when you should spend the extra dollars.
1. Kettlebells: A kettlebell is an iron weight with a handle. It doesn't get any more simple when it comes to fitness tools . Aside from choosing different weights, there isn't anything that would be different about a "women's kettlebell," and yet one premier kettlebell maker sells a plain black 18-lb bell for $44.95. The pink version? $55.95!
Is it worth it? Kettlebells are supposed to be hardcore. Rock the black color and save the $11 for a bright workout top!
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Is it worth it? Unless you have extremely small hands or just really like pink, there is no advantage to buying the girly version.
3. Heart rate monitor and GPS: Heart rate monitors are designed to measure how fast your heart is beating during exercise so you can monitor your intensity. Fancier models do everything from monitor your movement to track your calories to map your running route with GPS. They're definitely a handy tool, but according to Amazon.com, the Polar F4 men's monitor is $66.26 while the Polar F4 women's pink and purple monitor is $71.77. A quick look at the Polar website shows that they offer exactly the same features, functionality, and are even the same size. The only difference? The oh-so-pretty color.
Is it worth it? Women typically have smaller wrists and rib cages than men so buying a girly model might make sense if you need the smaller sizing. But in cases like this where the male and female version are the same size, you're really just paying more for the feminine colors. There's nothing wrong with wanting a more stylish model, we just want you to know exactly what you're getting.
4. Protein powder: At first glance, protein powders customized for women seem like a good idea-boys and girls are different, right?-and they might be if there was any difference in the formula. However, GNC's best-selling "men's" protein powder and "women's" protein powder have exactly the same ingredients and cost exactly the same. The gender difference comes in how much protein punch you get for your money. The labels show equal numbers of servings per container, but a closer look reveals that the women's serving size is smaller.
Is it worth it? Protein is protein, regardless the color of the package. If you're looking for targeted supplements to help you with common female issues like iron deficiency or low calcium, then buy those separately.
5. Sport deodorant: While men do sweat more than women, we can still drench our sports bras, and a good deodorant is a necessity for most people. Thankfully, many new "sport" deodorants are available in stronger, longer-lasting, waterproof varieties. The downside: Women's versions typically cost $1-$2 more than the men's for the same size.
Is it worth it? When it comes to deodorant, scent is a huge factor for many. While men's and women's formulations probably work the same, it's up to you to decide if you're willing to pay the extra cash to smell like flowers instead of cologne.
6. Bike seats: Avid cyclists know that a lot of time in the saddle can cause some, well, saddle sores. Fortunately there are now "anatomic relief" bike seats designed to take the pressure off of your most sensitive areas. But guessing from the price-a man's saddle is $24.99 and a woman's saddle of the same brand and model is $39.99-manufacturers must think our lady bits are way more sensitive.
Is it worth it? I don't think anyone would recommend using a seat seat designed for the male anatomy so this is one price difference you're better off accepting.
7. Sandbags: Lifting unstable weights is one of the hottest-and toughest-new fitness trends, but these versatile tools don't come cheap, especially if you're a girl. One popular retailer offers a basic black sandbag for $99. The price tag on the pink sandbag of the same dimensions? $104.99. It's not a huge difference, but considering the camouflage option is still only $99, it seems a little unfair to up the price for a more feminine color.
Is it worth it? If swinging something pink motivates you to work out more, then it's worth the five bucks. Otherwise, stick to black and pick a pair of shoes with a pop of neon next time you need new kicks.