15 days til Christmas! Eek! If (like me) you still have to do all your Christmas shopping, allow me to help out with this little list of gift ideas for the gym goer in your life.
Everything here has been tried and is recommended by me (unless I state otherwise), so it follows that the items are more relevant to female gym bods than buff blokes (but, hey, guys like baths too!)
Have a skim through and see what you think. Hopefully it’ll solve one or two of your gift-buying dilemmas.
A healthy, hearty cook book
Everyone seems to be recommending the Fitter Food cook book this year (see Ben at BTN and Anna at Proteinpow‘s gift guides!) but for good reason. It’s a beautiful, and beautifully-written, cook book which is far more than a bunch of recipes. It encourages you to create tasty, simple recipes with meats, fish and other natural, basic ingredients (and tells you why a “real food” approach is such a good idea, too!) Anyone interested in clean eating, paleo/primal eating, whole foods, the real-food movement (and all those other labels… !) would really appreciate this book.
Think outside the hollow chocolate Santa for the gym fanatic in your life! How about some amazing coconut oil? They almost certainly know about the health (and beauty!) benefits of this lovely oil – and they could even use it to crisp up the Christmas spuds, if they’re in charge of cooking on the day itself. My favourite at the moment is Monkey Nutrition’s coconut oil – a 100% organic cold-pressed oil. It comes in a glass jar (so no plastics can get into the oil), is great quality and has a lovely taste.
Your gym-goer probably has all the gym kit they need by now, so why not think about something a bit more relaxing and lifestyle-focused? We all know how important rest and recovery are to strength and performance in the gym. As someone who struggles with getting enough quality sleep, I swear by my wakeup light dawn simulator and can honestly say that if I’d received this as a Christmas gift I would be forever grateful! It’s this one – Philips Wakeup Light. You can opt to gently fall asleep as the light dims naturally, and wake up to a slow “dawn breaking” light and the tweeting of birds! It’s bliss.
Something I’d seen a lot of my weight-training buddies talk about is an airfryer. I can’t recommend it personally, as I don’t actually have one, but I’ve seen plenty of pictures and recommendations on people’s Facebooks feeds and it does look amazing. Essentially, it fries food using air rather than oil (you still need a bit of oil, but hardly any) – so your healthy-eating gym freak can still enjoy crispy “fried” food without derailing their nutrition.
If that’s too pricey for you and you’re after more of a secret-Santa or stocking-stuffer type gift, how about the iHat beanie, with built-in earphones? I used to wear my humungous noise-cancelling headphones in the gym, for cardio and whilst walking the dog. The only trouble is, they’re really cumbersome (and look a bit OTT) for dog walks, and get very sweaty (for cardio). This hat has built-in earphones, making it ideal for listening to music or podcasts whilst out walking. My only criticism is that there’s no pause button on the cord, and the earphones aren’t noise-cancelling, but for walking and cardio it works really well! I love it.
Even though most gym types have plenty of shaker bottles cluttering up the kitchen, Smartshake ones are really worth getting. Not only do they look great (I love the neon ones) but they’re really handy, with extra sections you screw on to the bottom, ideal for supplement tablets, a serving of protein powder, or for storing hair ties/jewellery.
Give a little thought to the quality and ingredients list of any smellies you give your gym-goer this Christmas. Many of us like to avoid parabens, mineral oils, SLSs and other nasties. I’m currently loving Nelsons Arnicare Arnica bath and massage balm (you can get it from Boots) – you can use it as a bath oil, a body oil or as a massage oil (not applicable for tragic singletons such as my good self). As the name suggests, it’s got arnica in it which is good for achy muscles, and it also has calendula, evening primrose, lavender and grapefruit oils. It smells lovely but isn’t too “girly” and I do think blokes could use it, too.
Something else I’m loving at the moment are Mendill’s little “towelettes” (sorry but that word does make me giggle). They’re ideal for gym bags, if you want to freshen up after a particularly sweaty session or have to head off for a coffee or something and can’t grab a shower. Because they’re cotton, and have no nasty ingredients, you can actually use them to remove make up (even eye make up) and could use them to wipe down your kit (yoga mats?) too. They’re naturally anti-bacterial, use organic essential oils, and come in truly lovely scents: tangerine, lemon, orange, lavendar and (my favourite at this time of year) eucalyptus.
Your gym-goer no doubt has their own favourite supplement stack, but how about helping them out at Christmas time with some digestive enzymes? I use Monkey Nutrition’s Digestive MX digestive enzyme matrix and will definitely continue to do so over Christmas and New Year! With a solid range of active enzymes to help the digestion of fats, sugars and fibres, the tablets ensure you can digest the nutrients in your food, help you digest meals comfortable should you…er…overindulge, and strengthen the immune system. Perfect for this time of year I’d say!
- BPA-free food storage boxes (Sistema is one brand to look for)
- vouchers for online food suppliers – try Athleat, Kezie and Muscle Food
- iTunes vouchers (new music for the gym is always welcome)
- Audible vouchers (audio books are a great cardio companion)
All my product reviews (gym kit, clothing, food & drink, sports supplements and more) are on this page – have a look through if you’re stuck for ideas!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.