Still got most of your Christmas shopping to do? Yeah, me too. I’ll do it later. Once I’ve been to the gym.
Right, here’s the thing. If you have a partner, Dad, Mum, sibling or bestie who’s into sport, chances are you’re looking for something to do with fitness, nutrition, kit or gadgets.
So here’s my list of things which – in my opinion – most gym-bunnies, runners, cyclists, triathletes and swimmers might like to find in their stocking. A couple of things to note, for transparency’s sake. Some of these things were sent to me initially by PRs, but they’re all things I would buy (or have already bought) again. Some weren’t. All of them are things I genuinely like and use on a regular basis.
Not all of them are festive but they’re all things I reckon you could put in a sporty person’s Christmas stocking for a two-thumbs-up. Personally I like to get gifts I can use again and again. These are those things.
OK, shall we get on with it?
These are extremely manly wipes for the chap in your life. If he cycles to work (as mine does), goes to the gym at lunchtime or goes out on his mountain bike and gets grubby (as mine does – and did, along with two other terribly manly chap friends…then all three came back to our house only to find our boiler had broken and we had no hot water for showers), then I think a pack of Wingman would go down a treat. The packaging is all steel-grey and superhero-ish. You get two wipes in a pack: enough for one moderate to large chap, slightly soiled and of medium sweatiness, I’d say. Oh! And they’re going to be featured on a BBC2 programme called “The Next Big Thing” presented by Dragon’s Den’s Theo Paphitis soon. So your chap could kind of have a random claim to fame in linking his armpits to Theo. Kind of. You get them in Boots stores.
Sure Maximum Protection
Let’s keep it sweaty for a bit. I know ladies are purported to glow, not perspire (let alone sweat) but…come on. Really? Well I sweat, so there. In the gym, it looks kind of good. Outside the gym – in a meeting, say – not so much. I really like Sure Maximum Protection (you can get a spray or a solid cream thingy). It smells nice, fits in gym bag/handbag, does what it should do and it very reasonable (£4.99 I think). Should Santa see fit to pop either product in my stocking I’d be very pleased. I mean, you’re always going to use deodorant, aren’t you? Like you, Santa could buy it from pretty much anywhere – Boots, Superdrug, supermarkets.
Halo sports wash (for your clothes not for you)
OK, one more thing about being smelly and then I’ll leave it, I promise. If you train a lot, I know you’ll understand what I’m on about when I talk about that….smell….your favourite bits of kit get, no matter how well you wash them. Some kit just stinks, doesn’t it? It’s gross. Well, no more! This stuff is the bees knees. It really does get rid of all stinks and, whilst it makes your kit smell more strongly (of “clean”) than normal washing liquid/powder, it “dries down” (ooh, this is like a perfume review!) to a fresh smell. Not too girly, I swear. Then I’m told that it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, killing all sorts of germs, bacteria superbugs and MRSA and what not. I really do love this stuff and wash all my sportsbras and other kit in it now. Go buy! (You can get it in Wilkinson’s stores or online from Germ Warfare).
OK. Let’s try to be a bit more ladylike now. What else….um…oh yes! Food!
I love food, but I try to make it good food. And, let’s face it, there are nuff snacks and sweets around at Christmas, you don’t need to get your own as presents. So I tell Santa “no chocolate thank you!” Poor chap probably wonders what the hell else to get me if he can’t pick up a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Well, here’s what I’d be well chuffed to get.
Linwoods Flax products (especially the…er…cocoa (!) one)
Not to everyone’s taste, but I like flax. And I like it even better when it’s mixed in with other yum stuff like nuts, berries and cocoa (cocoa being different to chocolate, alright?) It’s so good for you, particularly if you’re really active and either trying to build lean muscle or burning a lot of energy doing cardio. You can get lovely big packs of Linwoods flax products in health food shops, Holland & Barrett and probably supermarkets too. Here are the two I like best: the one with nuts and the one which is like cocoa powder only good for you. To me, a gift of these would say “I respect your efforts to eat well but I know your secret adoration of very dark chocolate. Now go and have a Christmas smoothie.”
Forget a dusty old walnut in the toe of your stocking. You want to step it up and get some sort of lovely nut treat like these. Salt and pepper flavour, which appeals to the savoury-toothed amongst us and is great for sporty folk who tend to need a little extra salt in our diets. My friend Richard won’t like these – feel free to ask him what happens when he eats pistachios – but that means there’s all the more for me. Great for a portable snack or for chucking on salads (recipe ideas here. PS It took me three goes to spell pistachios correctly. PPS You get them in Tesco. PPS Check out the website, there’s a cute “Peanuts” video on it.
Stuff for muscly people
I try to pack a lot of protein into my diet (reason why will be revealed soon on these very pages) and often I have to do it with whey/other powders. My online protein portal of choice is the aptly-named myprotein. In fact, I had a delivery yesterday (their Facebook page was offering 15% off orders) and did a little dance in the kitchen. Ask my husband, it’s true. Anyway (anywhey? ha!), there are a few products I’d pick as my latest favourites from myprotein. Won’t be for everyone but if you know a gym-bod or anyone interested in building muscle, they may well appreciate stuff like this as a gift.
1) Goat’s whey powder. Yep. I really really love this stuff. They say it’s flavourless but I think it actually tastes very mildly of goat’s dairy so if you’re a goat’s cheese fan, that will actually be a plus point for you. Having said that, it mixes perfectly in smoothies or with flavouring products. I tend to leave it plain for a minor goat-experience. Baaaa! Oh and check the nutritionals – pretty stellar – and apparently goat is easier to digest for many than cow’s dairy.
2) Flav drops. There are lots of flavour drops on the market (goodness knows I’ve tried most of them) but these are yum, thicker than most so you can kind of drizzle them. The toffee in particular is lush.
3) Handy shaker. Yes, it’s just a shaker, but if you make recovery shakes or want to take powder to the gym to make the shake there, these are great. They’ve got a little thingy inside which helps mix everything together.
Don’t you just hate that water-in-the-ear thing? It can seem to last for days. Here is something which helps me…earcalm. It’s a spray, it’s anti-bacterial and you get it from the chemist or from Boots. It really does work and it gives you peace of mind that you’re not picking up all sorts of nasties from your local pool and storing them away in your lugholes. Yuk.
Every stocking needs a book balanced on top, just in case you still wake up at 6am on Christmas Day and have to read under the covers until everyone else wakes up. Amongst other things, I am currently reading Mental Mastery by Ken Way. I got a preview copy (thanks Becky!) but it’s now available as advanced copies from Amazon. It’s all about how to coach yourself to a winning mindset – pretty crucial in any sport, regardless of what level you’re at. Whether you’ve got a goal set down and want to steel your mind as you work towards it, or have some issue which is troubling you – nerves, poor race-day performance, etc – this well worth a read. And it’s a bit of a tome (over 500 pages) so had great thud-factor.
So there you have it. Stuff to stop you from smelling, stuff to stop your kit from smelling, stuff to stuff in your mouth, something to spray in your ears and then something to read once you’ve done all that.
Never say I’m not a useful resource.