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Friday, December 30, 2011

fitness gift guide, top 11 of '11

"Oh, Andrea," you say. "You're a day late and a dollar short as usual. All the major winter gift-giving holidays have come and gone."

To which I say, Feh. Valentines Day is in 7 weeks. Don't you have a sweetheart? And if you don't, isn't that enough time to work on that gym hottie you've had your eye on? Plus, you've got Mother's Day and Father's Day and, c'mon now, the fitness enthusiasts in your life have birthdays, don't they? As do you. There are lots of gift-giving and -getting days in the year. Get with the program.

Disclaimer #1: this is a list of Andrea's Favorite Things, which is kinda like Oprah's Favorite Things except without the clout. Because I like lifting and I like yoga, these gifts are heavily weighed in that direction. I don't run much, don't really bike or swim these days, have played golf once in my life, and haven't held a tennis racket since they were made of wood (srs!). If those sports and activities are more your thing, well, you're just gonna have to find you another gift guide.

Disclaimer #2: because these are *my* favorite things, things that I own and love and use or things I wish Santa had brought me, the items on it that are not unisex are for the ladieez. If you have a penis or are buying gifts for someone with a penis, not all these items will be applicable. Sorry!

Without further ado, I give you eleven for '11.

1.) the Bodymedia Fit

You people have already heard me go on and on about mine. I love it. I will warn you, that sentiment is not universal. Some people feel that theirs was inaccurate for them. Mine seems quite accurate for me. Some people feel that they only had to wear it for a few days or a week to get all the useful data they're ever gonna get from it. I feel differently, because I happen to have wildly divergent calorie burns from day to day depending on my activities, and in long term trends, I am seeing just how many fewer calories I am expending in the winter as opposed to the summer, when I am apparently much more active as far as NEAT goes. Some people disliked theirs because they feel it fed into their OCD or eating disordered tendencies. I think that's a fair enough quibble. If data is gonna make you crazy or even crazee, this product is not for you. But if, like me, you fondly think of your body as a science experiment, you might just love one of these.

2.) a digital food scale

Talk about feeding the crazee. If you (or the fitness enthusiast in your life) are either dieting or bulking, well, hell yeah, you (or they) wanna know exactly what and how much you're eating. A digital food scale is key, especially one that weighs both in grams and in ounces and has a "tare" function. I particularly like the glass topped ones, because they are easy to clean if you decide to just slop a hunk of cheese on there without a plate. Um, not that I'd do anything slightly gross and messy like that. Yeah.

3.) the Iron Gym

Want to do something at home on those days you don't make it to the gym? Or maybe you just wanna get really, really good at pullups and impress your friends and/or that gym hottie. Put the IronGym up in your doorway and grow that back!

4.) Gaiam aluminum water bottle

On days you do make it to the gym, you probably wanna bring a water bottle, if just to avoid having to stand in line at the bubbler behind some douche who's filling up their water bottle. Ahem. But, uh, yeah, hydration is key! I love my aluminum water bottle, because I highly dislike drinking from plastic. Mine, which is orange paisley and matches the straps on my minimalist shoes, is apparently no longer made, but they have other attractive options. I will also warn you on these: reviews are mixed. Not everyone loves theirs as much as I love mine. Some people have complained theirs dented easily or that the design scratched off. Mine's held up just fine. Some people feel theirs gave their water a metallic taste. Eh. I kinda like the very faint metallic taste--it's like mineral water. And it's tastier than plastic, which I hate. Proceed at your own risk.

5.) micro plates

And when you get to the gym, what happens when you go to do shoulder presses and the 25 lb dumbbells are getting way too easy but the 30s are a crapshoot as to whether you can even get them up? Hmmm, you say, if only there were 27.5 lb dumbbells in this gym... Microplates to the rescue, bitches! Seriously, these are genius, and I am envious of anyone who got these in their stocking. Sigh. There's always Mother's Day. Or, y'know, not being a cheap bastard and buying them myself. But, seriously: you or someone you know needs these.

6.) magical miracle yoga pants

Yes, they are ridiculously expensive. Yes, they will make your ass look better than any other gym clothes you own. Case closed.

7.) UGG sneakers

What looks like a pair of Chucks but classier and more grownup and have slightly more support and, not to mention, shearling inside the heels and on the tongue, so your feet are cozy and never blister? These! And you can deadlift in them.

8.) You long-haired chicas who go to the gym know the deal. There's squat hair--a high bun so that you don't get your hair in the way of the bar. There's yoga or benching hair--a low pony or braid so there's no lump under your head when you're on your back. Maybe what you need instead or in addition is a headwrap.

You can go old skool and gangsta:

the classic doorag

You can get in touch with your holistic, spiritual side:

the hippie alternative

Or you can:

glam it up

Wearing one that looks almost exactly like that to squat today. I ain't even lyin'.

9.) the foam roller

And all of us who work out or play sports know the deal on this: you will have minor injuries. You'll tweak this and pull that. X will tighten up and y will spasm. Foam rolling is the next best thing to a massage for working out those issues.

10.) the foam roller on steroids

But if the fitness enthusiast in your life is already foam rolling and has been for awhile, they may just need to upgrade to one of these. Not for the beginner and not for the faint of heart. There may be pain involved. But it's good pain. Shut up.

11.) Or, you can just be a really, really excellent gift-giver and buy your giftee an actual (preferably myofascial) massage!

Pet peeve: as an LMT myself, I cannot tell you how much it irks, trying to find an image online of someone getting a massage that actually looks as if they're really getting a massage. By which I mean to say, with their face in the face cradle, not torqued to the side with a blissful half-smile on. But while I was doing that, I did happen to come across bonus content for my readers:

Snake massage. SNAKE MASSAGE. I did not know that was a thing. I didn't want to know that was a thing. If that seems like the perfect gift for someone on your list, well, uh, bless your heart!



  1. I totally want that food scale... I've been guesstimating all this time! And those micro plates... omgosh I never thought about getting some of my own. My gym has them but they are all messed up and most of the time I can't even find a pair of them. Great list!!!

  2. I have a scale very similar to that one and I love it! Got it from a co. that sells lab equipment. I think it may be a bit less expensive than the ones sold for weighing food.