8 Stocking Stuffers for Fitness Lovers
Last Updated: Dec 01, 2016
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Shopping for a big gift for the gym rat, cyclist, runner or yogi in your life is a sweat-free snap. A new mat, a heavier kettlebell, shiny sandbag, new helmet or cool fuel belt can fit perfectly under the tree. But what about the gifts that hang from the mantle in a sock? Candy canes won’t cut it, so fill your fitness lover's stocking with these small gifts that can have a big impact on their results. That should make them feel very merry.
SPRI SUPER BANDS
Resistance bands let you take strength training anywhere, turning a hotel room,
park, or the backyard into a fully-stocked gym. But handles can make them bulky, and for frequent travelers, every inch of carry-on space counts. Get the road warrior in your life a no-handles Superband, and problem solved. These little wonders can roll up as small as a belt and allow users to perform overhead presses, resisted push-ups, rows, pull-downs and even advanced stretching maneuvers (see the next slide). PRICE: $19.98 and up. WHERE TO FIND: SPRI.com
More Info on SPRI Super Bands and Where to Find Them
HOW TO USE IT: TRICEPS AND LAT STRETCH
Brett Klika, director of athletics at FitnessQuest10 in San Diego, Calif., recommends the Superband for loosening muscles in the back of the arms and upper back. HOW TO DO IT: Hold one end of the band in your right hand with your arm straight overhead. Bend your elbow so the band hangs behind you. With your left arm hanging down at your side, bend your elbow and reach up to grab the band behind your back. Pull up with your right hand while you pull down with your left. Then switch sides. You can also loop the band around your waist while a partner holds on from behind for resisted sprints, or it can be used to help with pull-ups.
10 Resistance Band Exercises to Tone and Tighten
VALSLIDE (OR FUNITURE MOVERS)
Fitness companies have begun selling products that allow exercisers to slide across the floor, and with good reason, says Jared Meachem, fitness services director at Sky Fitness & Wellbeing. "Instability training with gliding exercises is an incredible way to work out through a full range of motion," he says. This type of training "ensures that your body works harder because all of the small stability muscles have to engage during the movement." But you don't need an expensive contraption to get this training effect. While cheaper options are available at your local hardware store (furniture sliders), we recommend the Valslide. PRICE: $29.95. WHERE TO FIND: Valslide.com
More Info on Valslide and Where to Find It
HOW TO USE IT: REVERSE LUNGES AND LYING LEG CURLS
HOW TO DO SLIDING REVERSE LUNGES: Start with a glider under one foot and push that foot backward until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Use your front leg to stand back up, sliding your rear leg back up to the starting position. Repeat, and then switch legs. HOW TO DO LYING LEG CURLS: Start on your back with knees bent, feet flat on two gliders and hips raised off the ground. Slowly press your feet straight down away from you, until your legs are almost straight. Then forcefully contract your hamstrings to slide your feet back toward your body, returning to the starting position. Repeat.
11 Must-Try Slideboard Exercises for More Muscle
THE HOOP COLOUD SPORT HEADPHONES
Science proves that the right music pumps you up. Researchers found in one study that athletes increased their power by 10 percent by listening to upbeat music. But you'll only get the benefit if you can hear the tunes, and after a long run or ride through the rain, your headphones can fizzle. Keep the bands marching on with these sport headphones. They're designed to be sweat-resistant, and the cable won't get tangled as you race through your route. PRICE: $29.95. WHERE TO FIND: Coloud.com
More Info on The Hoop Coloud Sport Headphones and Where to Find Them
HOW TO USE IT: INTERVAL RUN (OR RIDE) TO MUSIC
Want to do some challenging interval training? Your tunes can help. Put together a playlist with songs at varying BPMs. Use up-tempo tracks during work sessions and slower songs for your rest periods. That way, when you hit the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike, your headphones will help you set the right pace.
18 Rockin' Workout Songs
A LACROSSE BALL
Lots of gyms provide foam rollers for myofascial release, a type of self-massage that relieves sore muscles, speeds recovery and feels amazing. But at Crossfit gyms, a smaller, simpler tool has been added to the arsenal for release -- a lacrosse ball. "Expensive therapy balls go missing, so you're loath to lend them out. The lacrosse ball is about two bucks," says Kelly Starrett, creator of MobilityWOD.com and a pioneer of the lacrosse ball technique. Starrett uses the balls to work on the thoracic spine and restore motion in the ribs, helping everyone who sits in a chair all day improve mobility and decrease reliance on painkillers. PRICE: $5.69. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com
Find a Lacrosse Ball on Amazon
HOW TO USE IT: LOWER BODY RELIEF
Starrett suggests spending 15 minutes each evening on the ball to roll out your hamstrings, glutes and feet. Start with the ball on a chair or hard surface, like a wood floor. Slowly put the weight of one glute on the ball. "If you find an ugly spot, contract your buttocks around it," Starrett says. "Then suddenly, release. You'll sink right through that ugly spot and that restriction." After two minutes on each glute, try taking your full weight on the ball on one glute, and very, very slowly roll side to side on the ball. Do this for two minutes then switch glutes. When you're finished, do the same on your hamstrings and the bottom of your feet.
The DOs and DON'Ts of Self-Myofascial Release
JO-SHA YOGA MAT WIPES
Yoga mats stink. The same porous qualities that help them keep down-doggers from face-planting also cause them to soak up sweat and eventually wind up stinky. Make your yogi's mat last longer and keep their mat-mates from holding their noses with a gift of Jo-Sha yoga mat wipes. These individually-wrapped mat cleaners come in four scents -- lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus and tangerine -- and none include alcohol (hello, burning elbows) or bleach. The first ingredient? Water. PRICE: $28.95 for a two pack. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com
More Info on Jo-Sha Yoga Mat Wipes and Where to Find Them
Adobe Stock/Ruslan Gilmanshin
A DECK OF CARDS
Want to add variety to your loved one’s post-Christmas workouts? Get them a deck of cards, says Greg Robins, a coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, Mass. The suits and numbers can give them a new workout every day. Start by assigning a movement to each suit -- lunges for spades, push-ups for hearts, squats for clubs and inverted rows for diamonds, for example. Then draw each card, performing the number of reps indicated -- the 7 of hearts would be 7 push-ups, and the 9 of clubs would be 9 squats (face cards all equal 10). Flip through the whole deck... if you can make it. For a bonus challenge, Robins suggests using aces for burpees (11 of them). PRICE: $7.60. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com
Find a Deck of Cards on Amazon
FITJOY PROTEIN BARS
Instead of candy canes and sugary treats, load their stocking with these protein bars from FitJoy. They're packed with 20 grams of protein and are only 220 calories per bar. All ingredients are GMO- and gluten-free and don't contain artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. And now they have holiday-themed flavors including winter peppermint bark, iced gingerbread and pumpkin pie. They feel like you're eating an over-indulgent treat but without the guilt, so you can taste the indulgence without it going to your gut. PRICE: $27.99 for a box of 12 WHERE TO FIND: FitJoyNutrition.com
More Info on FitJoy Protein Bars and Where to Find Them
JUSTIN'S NUT BUTTER SQUEEZE PACKS
Squeezable almond butter packets are easy to put in your pocket, and they're perfect for a sandwich on the run, spreading on a banana or apple or slipping into a hiking backpack. Justin's Nut Butters offers these packets in flavors including honey peanut, maple almond, chocolate hazelnut, vanilla almond and natural almond. Find them in the peanut butter aisle, at a natural grocery store near you, like Whole Foods or shop Justins.com. PRICE: $1.59 per packet WHERE TO FIND: Justins.com
More Info on Justin's Nut Butter Packs and Where to Find Them
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you have a fitness lover in your life? What do you usually get them for Christmas? Have you ever found some creative stocking stuffers? Have you ever given any of the things on this list? What else would you add? Share your thoughts, stories and suggestions in the comments section below!
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