Gift Ideas For the Fitness Fanatic

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Tis the season!

Well, I guess technically the season started a while ago having witnessed the first Christmas themed commercial a few days before Halloween, and thinking to myself, “wow, really?????  This early???”

But alas, like most people, now that we’re well past Thanksgiving and Christmas (or whatever respective holiday you choose to celebrate: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, He-Man’s b-day) is right around the corner, it’s time to put our game faces on.

As is customary in my family, when everyone’s home for Thanksgiving my mom literally forces us to sit down and make our respective list of gift ideas. In no certain order mine consisted of:

  • World Peace.
  • For Nickleback to never release another album ever again.
  • For my upstairs neighbors to NOT decide that 2AM seems like as good as time as any to reorganize their apartment and move around their furniture.
  • Socks.
  • Red Ryder BB Gun.
  • The Batmobile.

You know, nothing fancy.

In reality, however, my list generally consists of books I want to check out, some DVDs, maybe a few dress shirts, and definitely not socks.

Not everyone is as easy to shop for as me, though.

*cough cough, X-Box, cough cough*

But given this is a fitness site and you’re presumably reading it because you (and those close to you) dig lifting heavy stuff (or making fun of Tracy Anderson), what’s better than to give the gift of fitness, health, and well-being?

Okay, a movie quality Chewbacca mask is right up there too, but that goes without saying.

With that said, the following are some fitness themed gift ideas for the fitness minded individual in your life.  Some are things that I’ve recommended before, but there are a fair number of new ideas as well.

I hope this helps.  And if it doesn’t, you can always go the underwear route.  But that’s kinda lame.

1.  TRX Suspension Trainer 

This is one of those repeat gift ideas, but I find that this is perfect for those who want to get in shape (or do something) yet either don’t have time for the gym or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with pushy salesmen, shady trainers, crowds, lots of grunting and groaning, and people who wear way too much cologne.

In other words:  everything about a commercial gym.

The TRX is a very versatile piece of equipment that can be used at home or even as a nice alternative to those who do a lot of travelling and can’t always hit the gym.

For those looking to save a little money, however, I also recommend that Jungle Gym.

2. Heart Rate Monitor

Stealing a quote from Joel Jamieson, who’s really brought the whole concept of heart rate variability to the forefront in recent times:

A high quality heart rate monitor will help you get the most out of your conditioning work because it can help keep your heart rate in the right training ranges while also providing invaluable feedback so you can determine if your program is working the way it should be or not. Without this sort of objective feedback and information, a lot of your training becomes nothing more than guesswork.

Where I find the most value in using a heart rate monitor is managing your rest intervals during circuit training.

Using predetermined work:rest ratios is fine – and a great starting point for most individuals – but may be detrimental for some in that it can be either too aggressive or not enough.

With regards to the former point, some people take longer to recover when performing high intensity training.  An effective approach is to let your heart rate return to 130-140bpm before repeating an interval. This helps make sure you’ve recovered enough and are ready to push yourself to the max.

Conversely, some people recover faster than others, and if this is the case, you’re doing yourself a major disservice if you stick to preordained work:rest ratios.

Using a heart monitor takes the guess work out and allows people the luxury of optimizing their training.

I actually got one for Lisa for her Birthday not too long ago and she loves it!

NOTE:  I’m indifferent as far as which one to use:  the one that wraps around your chest, or the one that wraps around your forearm/wrist.  I guess it just comes down ti personal preference.  I don’t know if one is more effective than the other.  Maybe someone else can chime in?

3.  150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

Speaking of Lisa, I bought this book for her three Christmases ago, and it’s arguably still the best present I’ve ever got her.

To this day it’s not uncommon for either of us to reference the book for new food ideas or to serve as a refresher as to why grass fed beef is a better option or what it is about curcumin that makes it so healthy.

In all honestly, the entire book is chock full of nutritional information.

Likewise, I believe she and I have given this book as a gift for family members or friends no less than five times, and it’s always been a huge hit.

4. REPboards

So you’re at the gym and your program calls for board presses.  It’s already a pain in the ass enough to ask some random person to offer a handoff (which is an art in of itself), let alone to ask yet another person to come along and hold the boards in place.

If you train at a powerlifting gym it’s one thing – it’s part of the regular rigmarole and scheme of things to spot one another and to be “board bitch” on occasion.

At a commercial gym, though, things can get dicey.

Sure you can use your own boards and place them underneath your shirt and hope they stay in place, or you can even use a mini-band and wrap that around them, but nothing is guaranteed and it’s often a cumbersome cluster****.

A few weeks ago I was sent a complimentary set of REPboards to try out, and gave them a go.

They’re a handy little tool that takes all the cumbersomeness (is that a word????) out of the picture and allows one to utilize 1,2,3, and 4 board presses without all the fanfare.

Personally I don’t have a lot of need for them given where I train, but for those who don’t have the luxury of a training crew, these are a great alternative.

5. The Dark Knight Rises

Granted this has absolutely nothing to do with fitness, but it’s Batman, and Batman is awesome.

Actually Tom Hardy (who plays Bane) is pretty diesel in this movie, and Anne Hathaway (who plays Catwoman) is pretty flexible and stuff (and kicks several people in the face), so it does have a slightly fitness feel to it.

What’s more important is that your boyfriend already has the first two movies in the trilogy (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) in his DVD collection, so you might as well do him a favor and complete the collection.

DO IT!!!!!!

6. Show and Go

Written by my good friend (and business partner, Eric Cressey), Show and Go is a comprehensive FOUR-MONTH training program that’s about as close as you can get to training at Cressey Performance without actually stepping through the doors.

Rather than wasting $597 (or however much it costs to buy “x” number of sessions with your local schmocal personal trainer), why not spend infinitely less and actually get your loved one a program that will actually yield results?

Note:  Show and Go is definitely geared towards the more intermediate/advanced trainee, so I wouldn’t look into this product for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience under the bar.  In that case, hiring a personal trainer – if that’s the avenue you were going to take anyways – to show them the ropes would be the right path to take.

7. Post Rehab Essentials

For the more nerdtastic fitness enthusiasts in your life (those who want to geek out on anatomy, assessment, corrective exercise, programming, Dean Somserset’s sultry voice), I can’t recommend this one enough.

I really feel this is a “must-have” product that any coach or trainer should have in their fitness library – especially if they’re someone who works with a lot of banged up clients (which basically means everyone).

In fact I used many of the tests and exercises Dean discusses as part of my own rehab a few months ago when I was dealing with some lower back funkiness.

Dean talked me through a few months of programming and I was back to tip top shape in no time flat.

8. New Rules of Lifting (Series)

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I can’t thank Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, and by extension, Cassandra Forsythe (who helped pen the female version) enough for writing these books, as they have saved my fingers from doing a lot of typing.

In a time where people are inundated with an avalanche of information when it comes to fitness, and seemingly more confused than ever, this series is the one that I ALWAYS divert people towards for information that they NEED to hear as well as to help set them on the right path towards success.

The New Rules of Lifting

The New  Rules of Lifting for Women

The New Rules of Lifting for Abs

The New Rules of Lifting for Life

And that’s about it.  I know I could probably list a few more books, gadgets (and movies), but I know people are probably stressed tot he gills and don’t need more lists to read or check off.  Hope I was able to help somewhat.

Happy shopping/Don’t kill anyone.


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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

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