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Friday, December 20, 2013

9 Budget-Friendly Gifts for the Impossible-to-Buy-For Fitness Fanatic

Great Last Minute Holiday Gifts
I have one and so do you. Mine is a coworker at my gym. Every time she concocts some Paleo recipe, she brings me samples. Brownies, granola, carrot cake… If the recipe contains Paleo-legal ingredients, she makes it and I become her guinea pig.

A few months ago, my car broke down across town, and I knew she would be that person who dropped everything to pick me up after I’d had it towed to the station. (Okay, it was her day off and she was in the area, but still: She’s consistently that always-there-for-you person.) 

I wouldn’t exactly call her a friend, though we’ve hung out a few times. She’s just a really great person who goes out of her way for others.

Naturally, I wanted to thank her during the holidays.

Except I ran into a problem:
She already had everything, so finding something unique and cool became a real headache. Sure, I could treat her to a spa visit, but that wasn’t really imaginative. Now, a trip to the moon, that’s imaginative, but I didn’t have an extra $250,000 lying around for that. 

Always one to face a challenge head-on, I sat down one evening and brainstormed nine amazing, budget-friendly gifts for fitness-forward females who already had everything. It wasn’t easy, but a few hours later I had this list.

I should put a disclaimer here that many of these gifts would also work for fitness-forward guys. They would work for workout novices who want to make 2014 a healthier year. They might even work for your mom, whose definition of working out is a 20-minute stroll around the block with her terrier, to help expand her physical horizons.

I brainstormed nine ideas for my friend, but I hope you’ll agree I ended up with some fab gifts to give nearly anyone on your holiday list:

1.    Practical Paleo. A thick, soft-cover book with meal plans, tear-out guides, and over 120 gluten/dairy/grain/legume and refined-sugar free recipes. Beautifully photographed and packed with ideas, the easy-to-make recipes in Practical Paleo belongs in every kitchen to satisfy and entertainingly educate even the most nutrition-reluctant friend or family member. 
2.    Bands. Lightweight, compact, and easy to travel with, resistance bands provide an inexpensive intro to strength training without hogging up a whole room like free weights can. From assisted pull-ups to repeated sprints, varying-strength bands allow you to train both explosively and with controlled movement. Great for both lifting pros and folks who want to get their feet wet with resistance training.
3.    Cocommune Bars. Chocolate and coconut in a Mounds-like bar without sugar and other junk? Yes, please. Cocommune Bars come naturally sweetened with beneficial sugar alcohols, while their prebiotics and fiber promote healthy gut flora and bowel movements. (This may be the most delicious way to get fiber, like, ever.)  Coconut and coconut oil in Cocommune Bars provide a rich source of hunger-busting, energy-boosting, fat-burning medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Cocommune Bars allow you to use “healthy” and “delicious” in the same sentence. Seriously, how often can you do that?
4.    Amino Acid Complex. You store carbs, you store fat (ugh!), but you can’t store protein. Without sufficient dietary protein, your body starts robbing precious muscle for those essential amino acids. Not cool.  Amino Acid Complex gives your body those amino acids when you can’t otherwise get them: After a brutal workout, when you accidentally forgot to eat breakfast, or when you’re on vacation and making less-than-stellar eating choices. Amino Acid Complex comes in individual, easy-to-carry packets and has a pleasant lightly sweetened lemon flavor.
5.    Heart Rate Monitor  Your heart rate provides feedback about exercise intensity and so much more. Among its benefits, wearing a heart rate monitor helps you assess and manipulate your training to better understand how hard you’re working. It can help you monitor and control the length of your rest periods while weight training. It can even help you become aware about stress levels: Higher numbers on a heart rate monitor could be a red flag to chill out and employ stress-lowering techniques like meditation and yoga.
6.    Indian ClubsWhile lesser-known, Indian clubs belong to a family of timeless tools like medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, weighted wands, and other hand-held devices commonly found in today’s functional fitness “toolbox.” Mythology and mystery surround these clubs’ origin: Many sources trace them to an ancient Indian weapons called a gada, a symbol of invincible physical capacities and worldly power. Club swinging helps develop integrity, mobility, and efficiency of the shoulder girdle and can complement an upper-body workout.
7.    Thrive T-shirt. Everyone needs another T-shirt for the gym, right? This one speaks for itself.
8.    Top 40 Hits Remixed. Your gym music probably sucks and you desperately need a new iPod mix.  How about some ramped-up, workout versions of your favorite recent songs? Same melody and lyrics, but stepped up a few notches (literally). Getting your recipient to smile and get into the groove has never been easier.
9.    Shin Skins. Without kickboxing shin guards, my shins would be punctured, scarred, bruised, and battered with all my deadlifting. Shin guards scream gym dork, not exactly a flattering term in image-conscious Los Angeles. Enter Shin Skins, which protect your shins while doing rope climbs, dead lifts, cleans, and snatches. Built with UV-protective, hi-tech neoprene and breathable Lycra, Shin Skins provide lightweight, slightly compressive protection.
I hope I’ve provided some fresh gift ideas for your most challenging fitness folks, and maybe even a few for non-workout people too. Now it’s your turn: What’s your one unique, never-fail-to-please go-to gift for folks who have everything?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! Thank you for being the best readers in the world.
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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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