Music is an important part of your workout. Give it the respect it deserves.
By Amanda Burrill, MS
Let’s recap the things we do to make every workout count. We get plenty of sleep, establish a pre-workout routine, factor in fashionable yet functional gym gear, and make sure we are properly fed and hydrated. So once you gaze upon your kingdom and the fireworks are about to go off, what could go wrong?
It’s one of those tragedies that needs to be experienced before it can be fully appreciated: You roll into the iron temple of worship and you don’t have your headphones. You know your workout is going to suffer.
Music can really dictate your workout. The mood you want surrounding your sesh is a personal choice, but I’m willing to bet this mood aligns with adjectives like “badass” and “inspiring.” The headphones delivering this musical message straight to your brain are worth the extra dollars. Music purists insist that wireless headphones compromise sound quality. That may be ever so slightly true, but is it worth being encumbered by wires while you tackle dynamic movements? No way. That’s why all of these picks are wireless. As an added bonus, all of these following options allow you to take calls, too. Not that you even have your ringer on while you work out.
Where to buy: JLabsAudio.com
The number-one asset of these headphones is the 12-hour battery life, tied for longest duration of this lot of products. Second, the Epic2 comes in a choice of three colors and a limited edition called “USA.” (Get that one.) JLabs took their award-winning Epics and upped the battery life, made them more “skip-proof” with newfangled technology, and also upped the water-splash-sweat proofing, earning these an IPX5 rating, the highest there is. Still, don’t wear them swimming. (But really, who swims for a workout?)
Where to buy: MonsterProducts.com
Without fail, every Monster product I’ve tested has superior sound quality, and I really want to emphasize the power of the bass, even in one of their smaller models like the iSport, where I didn’t expect it. The sound maintains clarity throughout the 30-foot wireless range without breaking up. iSport is also lightweight and stayed snugly put during both lifts and runs, thanks to the specially angled tips.
Jabra Sport Coach
Where to buy: Jabra.com
This pair checks all the boxes but adds a distinct feature the others don’t have—hence the name “Sports Coach.” The “intelligent audio coaching” helps you plan, track, and analyze cross-training and indoor workouts with an app that lets you choose from more than 40 exercises. You get personalized in-ear coaching based on time or repetitions all while your favorite music plays. And neato-burrito: If your phone or music device is NFC-enabled (near field communication), just tap the Sport Coach to it for the most effortless pairing ever. So you can be effortless and lazy right before you work really hard.
Plantronics BackBeat Fit
Where to buy: Plantronics.com
These looked rigid and are one size fits all. Since I have a huge noggin, I assumed the BackBeat Fits wouldn’t “fit” well, but I was wrong. On-ear controls are very convenient and the P21 nano-coating actually repels liquid away. So it’s beyond waterproof. Or I just invented that. If you tend to bebop around late at night or go on outdoor runs, these also have a reflective finish to keep you from getting killed by motorists. These also come with a reversible armband if you need a place to secure your phone, or you can just use it to store the device.
Where to buy: JayBirdSport.com
I was using wireless headphones before anyone else I know, thanks to a thoughtful gift way back in the day. I basically invented them, and they were Jaybirds. Then last year I reviewed the Jaybird X and loved them for their innovative ear fins that come in various sizes so you can mix and match and adapt to find your best fit. So now it’s only fitting I took the X2s for a spin. It’s not surprising that I love them, too. For taking a beating like a champ, they also have a classy feel that making them seem okay for when I’m wearing a suit. Also of note is the increased battery life—now eight hours—and choice of six color flourishes.
Active Collection's Beats Solo2
Where to buy: BeatsByDre.com
If I’m mixing it up with cardio, I like the smaller earbuds, but for a straight-up iron-smashing sessions, I love over-the-ear headphones. These will cost you a pretty penny, but boy, do they look fresh and offer great sound. The “Active Collection” comes in bright blue, red, and yellow, and have a 30-foot range and 12-hour battery—top of it’s class in both categories. There is an illuminated LED fuel gauge on the headphone, too—the first time I’ve seen that. Did I mention that these look cool?