There’s no better time than the holidays to start a new exercise routine. You probably have a little time off work, which frees up room in your schedule. The gift list below has something for everyone. Each item will make things that much easier for you to transform your body in the New Year.
The only people that think yoga is easy are the people who’ve never tried it. The great thing about yoga is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You can use it to tone, to relax, or to get a gut busting workout where you sweat bullets for over an hour. This kit will get you started out right.
This set of yoga pose cards will help you expand your repertoire once you get your practice started. You can take them with you wherever you go. When you have a spare moment, you can pop out a card and try a new pose.
This quick-drying microfiber towel is a key piece of equipment for any hot yoga enthusiast. It’s long enough to cover your entire mat, but packable enough to fit in any size workout bag or backpack. You need this after a tough class, before you put your street clothes back on.
Pilates was invented to give people who’d had severe spinal injuries a way to strengthen their bodies while in traction. Along the way, professional dancers discovered it was a perfect system for developing core strength and achieving perfect tone. Now Pilates is everywhere—and with a studio grade reformer, he can have real Pilates at home.
This is the definitive book on how to use the Universal Pilates Reformer. Elli Herman is an expert instructor from San Francisco Pilates. Her book contains over one hundred reformer exercises, each with special alignment tips and breathing recommendations.
Train high, compete low: this has been the mantra of professional endurance athletes for decades. Nowadays, it’s used by athletes in all sports to boost performance. This is perfect for the amateur, but seriously competitive runner or cyclist to get the benefits of altitude without actually being at altitude.
You’ve heard of treadmills, stair-climbers, and elliptical trainers. You’ve probably also seen rock-climbing gyms. This piece of equipment combines the concepts and brings him the best of both worlds. Its vertical, moving face simulates the real feel of climbing up a rock face. It can be mounted against a wall, or stand free in the home gym.
As far as cycling goes, the best way to get faster and better—and transform your body—is to be out on the road. But with an indoor bike equipped with a power meter like this one, you can scientifically design your workouts to get more out of less time. An hour on this bike is like two to three hours outdoors.
The people at Bowflex have set the standard in home gym systems since the 1980s. No dumbbells, no weights, just their resistance rods. This machine is like having an entire gym tucked away in a corner of your home. You can do over seventy exercises and pull up to two-hundred and ten pounds of weight.
A good treadmill is the answer for busy people who don’t have time to get outside. You can walk, power walk, or run—it’s up to you. You can also work or watch TV while you get your exercise in. This one can simulate a fifteen percent incline, and comes with thirty preset workout routines.
A rowing machine is a great full body workout. This club machine is for people who like to keep it old-school. The simple rowing motion engages the entire torso as well as the legs. Keep proper form, and your back will be strong, your legs will get powerful, and your core will gain greater stability.
Kettle bells are deceptively simple. They’re just heavy pieces of metal with handles attached. The look like something Popeye would use. But these bells allow you to increase muscle mass, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and coordination all at the same time. This set of six cast-iron bells will keep you strong for decades.
This cutting-edge recovery therapy was invented for Eastern-bloc powerlifters in the 1970s. These days, all the pro athletes in every major sport—football, hockey, MMA, cycling, you name it—use cryotherapy to recover from hard workouts. With these wraps, any weekend warrior can recover like a pro from the comfort of home.
This commercial-grade home trainer is used by professionals in the UFC every day. It’s got seven resistance pads for punching, kneeing, elbowing, and kicking. It’s got an interactive, twenty-two inch high video display that lets you have a virtual sparring match or get inspired by an on-screen coach.
This is a true old-school classic barbell set. You don’t want a fancy gym membership. You don’t need a workout room. All you need is time, effort, and this set of barbells in the corner of the garage. It’s a three-hundred pound set complete with Olympic-grade bar and fourteen weight plates.
Okay, we lied. You do want something to go with your Olympic Barbell set: this weight bench. It comes with a bench press rack, an adjustable back-bench, and a system for leg extensions and squats. This bench + your garage + a set of barbells = you getting totally ripped.
Dumbbells allow you to do multi-joint, full range of motion exercises while building muscles mass. Do dumbbell exercises right, and you can get a good cardio workout, too. This set comes with twenty dumbbells from five to fifty pounds, a three shelf rack, and a rubber mat to save your floor.
The final piece in any dumbbell collection is a set of lightweight sculpting dumbbells. This set of six ranges from three to eight pounds and lets you do the high-repetition, low-weight sequences that give your body that perfect, lean, tone. It comes with a convenient triangular rack.
Lift more, lift harder, but save your back. You’ll need this leather lifting belt when you start to get serious with your lifting. Not only will it support your lower back, but it will remind you to maintain proper form while lifting. This four-inch wide, padded leather belt it built to last.
When you get this book, you’ll be sure to stick to your lifting routine. Otherwise, the author will be back for you. He’ll be disappointed. And it’s not a good idea to disappoint the author of this book—Arnold Schwarzenegger. This book by the Terminator is known as the bible of bodybuilding. Do exactly as Arnold says.
Everyone has their own variation of the pushup. Every fitness instructor thinks they know best, but we’re thinking the people who know pushups best are military types. Navy SEAL, to be specific. This device was invented by a SEAL for the SEALS, and now it’s available to you.
This is a gift for all the Crossfitters out there. This set of five variable resistance bands comes with a door anchor, a carrying case, and access to free online workout videos. Resistance bands can be used for muscle building workouts, stretching, or as pullup assists.
Inversion tables combine the benefits of chiropractic care and yoga by counteracting the force of gravity on your body. It decompresses your spine and relaxes your body. It’s not just for crazy old men on late night infomercials. Inversion therapy works, and an inversion table is a one-of-a-kind gift that last for years.
The FitBit is like a 21st century pedometer. It tracks the number of steps you take, the distance you travel, and the calories you burn. It can be set up to monitor predetermined heart rate and activity zones and lets you know when you hit your targets. It syncs with your computer, and you can download and analyze your activity at the end of the day.
This home workout machine will give you a ton of bang for your buck. And for your time. It combines the motion of an elliptical climber with the action of a treadmill. This gives you a workout that efficiently builds muscle and improves your cardiovascular fitness at the same time.
A pair of gloves like these for anyone who does any serious lifting. Or pullups, dumbbell work, kettle bell work, or any workout activity that can result in blisters. This compact set of gloves only covers what needs to be covered, and had a built in wrist support for heavy loads and high impact exercises.
A basic jump rope routine can train speed, balance, agility, and timing. All while it increases your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, being good at the jump rope will make you look cool, as in Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, or Floyd Mayweather cool. Be the greatest!
An exercise buff who’s never experience the sheer agony—we mean blissful, therapeutic effect—of a foam roller is in for something wonderful. This is the best way to get a deep-tissue massage, aside from forking over the cash for an appointment. Okay, truth: they hurt. But they work.
Power meters revolutionized cycling training in the 1990’s. It’s the only truly objective way to measure your effort. Heart rate is variable, speed is variable, and perceived effort is subjective. But a watt is a watt, no matter what. A power meter and the right software is the absolute best way to improve your cycling, bar none.
Compression is the name of the game these days. Good compression wear increases circulation, decreases fatigue, and decreases recovery time. Pro athletes are starting to use compression gear during competition, too. Not only does it feel great, but it also protects joints.
Here’s another important piece of equipment for the Crossfit crowd. These shoes are light, breathable, and durable. They also have exactly the right amount of support needed for the demands of Crossfit. They come in both men’s and women’s designs and colors.
Stability balls come from the world of physical therapy. They were developed as a way to increase core strength while keeping the spine and neck free of injury. For such simple things—they’re just big plastic balls—it’s surprising that they’re universally accepted as a tried and true way to tone up your abs without tweaking your back.
Ah, plyometrics. That lovely way to quickly and efficiently increase your explosive power. Workout buffs who don’t know the word need to learn it, and those who do know the word want a set of plyo-balls. They increase strength, coordination, and they’re a fun way to mix up a workout routine.
The brand with three stripes is the pinnacle of cool. You can complement your oversize sweatshirt or hoodie with a pair of Adidas sweats. You’ll fit in anywhere, from a casual restaurant to s hipster bar to the grocery store. Have Adidas, will travel.
Box jumps are part of almost every serious athlete’s workout routine. From baseball players to basketball players, football players to cyclists, these difficult jumps are an inescapable part of getting in top shape and staying that way. This box adjusts to three different heights, depending on the needs of the workout.
Combine a Bosu balance ball with a small plyo ball and you have a highly scientific way to increase your balance, strength, and coordination all at the same time. You’ll see these in rehab clinics and physical therapy offices. They’re the best way to fine tune and tone the lower leg muscles for the demands of any sport.
There’s a reason t-shirts like this are more expensive than others: they’re really that good. The Nike DriFit running shirt wicks sweat away from the body to keep you cool in the heat, then dries fast when you’re done running. It’s much better for the body than going shirtless.
It’s essential to rest and elevate the legs after a hard workout. But if you can’t do that, then the next best thing to do is throw on a pair of compression tights. You can start your recovery while you’re at work, hanging with the kids, or going about the daily business of life.
A good base layer is a game changer for running. It makes all the difference in the world. If you’re a runner, this item will become your go-to piece winter of gear for years to come. It keeps you warm and dry, doesn’t hold odor, and lasts forever.
You’ll need a good base layer for your lower body, too. These tights are designed to keep snug to your muscles, giving a compression-like benefit while running, but they’re also cut loose in exactly the right places. They’re warm, comfortable, with zippered leg hems to make them easy to get on and off.
These shoes made the Runner’s World Editor’s Choice list for 2015. You’ll need to go to a store and find the exact right fit for you, though. Because with running, it all starts with the shoe. If you go into a store and they don’t’ encourage you to take a jog in the shoes, then move on to the next store.
The serious runner needs a serious winter running jacket. One that keeps them warm and dry in the cold rain and snow. One that makes it possible to pound the pavement when everyone else—the civilians—stays in the comfort of their beds. This Isotherm Jacket from North Face is all that, and more.
Shoes, check. Baselayers, check. Jacket, check. Now you need a way to keep those hands warm through the winter, so you can keep your fitness all the way through Springtime and bathing suit weather. These simple gloves from Smartwool are all you need.
No matter what sport you’re into, no matter how you aim to transform your body, you’re going to need a cap to keep your noggin warm and comfy. This versatile cap from OR is perfect for cycling, running, hiking, or staying toasty on those early morning trips to the gym.
You’ll need gear to relax in after your workout, and these comfortable, loose fitting pants are just what you need. Or, if yoga’s your thing, these can be your first choice workout pants. They come in men’s and women’s colors and designs.
Gaiam makes the best women’s yoga attire available on the market. This top comes in black or grey, with a low cut neck for those sweaty classes, and long sleeves to push down when you get outside. It’s made from an eco-friendly, naturally wicking, stretchy and comfortable blend of cotton and tencel.
Shaun T. became an overnight sensation with his workout DVD, insanity. It swept the nation, and for good reason: it’s a great way to get in shape. The best thing about Insanity is that you can get amazing, gym-quality results right in your own home, with absolutely no equipment at all.
Allen Lim is a sports scientist who revolutionized the way professional cycling teams go about their business. He brought a full kitchen onto the Garmin-Cannondale team bus. While other riders were waiting for hotel pasta, he made his team gourmet meals. This book is a collection of his favorite, athlete-oriented recipes.
A carbon road bike will change your cycling world. Five hour rides will be no problem. Carbon is more comfortable than steel, stiffer than aluminum, and lighter than both. It’s been into space, and they use it on stealth fighters and bombers. If you’re a cyclist and you’ve never ridden carbon, you need to give it a shot. You may never go back.
The man in your life might be into cycling. He might have a couple of pairs of good cycling shorts around. If he’s really into riding and he doesn’t have the shorts with the shoulder straps, then you need to give him a pair. Pro quality bibs are a game changer. He’ll never go back.
When you train during the winter, you need a garment that can keep up with you. This softshell trainer from Showers Pass might just be the hardest working jacket in all of cycling. It will keep you warm and dry in the worst of conditions, without breaking the bank.
Yes, that’s right. These are wool socks blended with a special fabric to make them waterproof, too. No more cumbersome overshoes, no more numb toes. All you need to keep your feet feeling great on the bike is a pair of these socks.
With a Garmin Edge, you’ll never get lost. It connects wirelessly to Google Maps and Google Earth, as well as popular cycling apps like Strava and MapmyRide. You can preload your route, and it’s compatible with all ANT+ power meter and heart rate systems.
The Ab roller is the way to getting ripped, washboard abs without doing a single crunch or leg lift. All you do it roll this machine forward and backward on the floor. Your core muscles engage, and you get strong. This model comes with resistance bands, a knee mat, and an exercise guide.
This abdominal workout DVD is different than all the rest. It’s designed specifically for people who’ve had back injuries or know they have a weak spine. The exercise are well-thought out and explained slowly and carefully. This is the safest ab workout you’ll find.
The pillars of the Ironman Triathlon are Swim, Bike, and Run. Most people have the bike and run part down pretty well, but fall down on the swim part. Get yourself in the game with a new speedo suit this year, hit the pool, and start your next tri at the head of the pack.
You need a pair of fins if you’re going to do any long-distance swimming in lakes or oceans. You’ll also need a pair for special leg workouts in the pool. These short bladed fins are designed for swimmers, not for scuba divers.
Put a pair of these on your hands and you’ll instantly feel the burn in your arms. You’ll also be faster in the water, get smoother in your stroke, and build swimming specific muscle. These paddles are ergonomically designed for a perfect fit.
A time-tested way to vary your in-pool training is by adding a kickboard segment. This will make your legs stronger, improve your kick mechanics, and also ease the boredom of having your head down in the water for hours on end. This is how the Olympians do it.
A good pair of goggles makes everything in the water go better. No more stopping to un-fog, no more stopping to drain, no more stopping, period. These goggles from Speedo fit snug, they don’t leak, and the mirror shade style will keep you looking cool.
Last but not least for the swimmers is this fully waterproof MP3 system. It’s plug and play with any Mac or Windows system, and holds up to 4GB of music. You connect to your computer via USB cable and load up your favorite tunes. Qaterproof earphones are included.
When you’re done working out, you need some casual athletic wear to relax in. This Under Armor Fleece hoodies is big, warm, comfortable, and sporty. Throw it on after your gym session and you’ll be ready for a casual night out on the town, or a nice night in snuggled up on the couch.
Bounce your way into fitness with this classic circular trampoline. It takes zero space—it side right under the bed when you’re done. You can bounce in the comfort of your own home and watch TV and listen to music. No one’s watching: go for it, you beast.
Those long road miles will disappear beneath your feet when you have your carefully selected workout music loaded into your iPhone. Or you can stay connected with work if you take a run during your lunch break. Choose your poison. Either way, you can have your phone with you.
CamelBak invented bladder hydration systems. They’re used by cyclists, climbers and backpackers. They’re used by our armed forces, and a favorite of special ops teams. This model is designed for mountain biking. In addition to its water reservoir, it’s got a bike tool organizer and pockets for keys, wallets, and phones.
Getting healthy and staying that way is more than working out. It’s about creating a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. The cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle is a solid diet filled with whole, natural foods. This multi-cooker is an easy way to cook your favorite healthy dishes with less oil and fat.
Exercise, good food, and rest—that’s the key to a healthy life. That’s the way to transform your body. This sleep management system helps you rest better. The headband sends your sleep data to an app on your smartphone, which gives you a sleep score—your ZQ. You use this to improve the quality of your sleep, and then, the quality of your life.
Get started the scientific way with all the best chemicals in your system at the right time. This blend combines energy compounds with a special formula that lets you work out longer and enhances your body’s natural fat-burning systems. This is not a steroid formula—no creatine at all.
During your workout, you need the right combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates to keep your muscles adequately fueled and to prevent cramping. These all natural energy drops from Skratch Labs have the perfect balance to keep you going longer and stronger. You’re guaranteed not to bonk with these.
Stress, recover, adapt. The secret to training is that you don’t get stronger during your workout. You get stronger because of your body’s adaptations to the workout. Which means that starting your recovery off right, with the proper vitamins and minerals in your body—and plenty of them—is just as important as the workout itself.
7 DIY Fitness Gifts
Pullups are hard. Very hard. They’re a great way to strengthen your arms, shoulders and upper back. This smart DIY pullup bar doesn’t take any drilling or making holes in your walls or doorframes. It’s made of pipe and pipe fittings, and designed to fit over an I-beam or joist.
What on earth is a Bulgarian training bag? It’s a workout aid designed by a former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler designed for strength and endurance. A typical bad is shaped like a half-moon and filled with sand. This DIY process uses and old tractor tire inner tube. Fill it with sand, close it up, and let the workout begin.
This is a super easy DIY workout idea that most of us have already done by default, simply by licing our lives. To make handheld sculpting weights, all you need to do is fill water bottles with water, sand, or metal pellets. Choose your size bottle, and you have your different size weights.
This project is fairly involved, so it will take some time and effort to get it right. The end-product is a gym quality incline sit up bench. The process is mapped out in detail. You’ll need 2X4s, small lengths of chain, eye hooks, Styrofoam, grip tape, an old workout mat, and the tools to cut the wood.
You can build the explosive power in your legs without going to gym. This step-by-step process outlines how to build a 20X24X30 ply box. You’ll need a 4X8 sheet of 3/4 inch plywood, a circular saw, a drill, and a jigsaw. The whole project takes less than two hours to finish.
Everyone knows a medicine ball is just a leather ball filled with sand. They’ve been around for ages. They should be simple to make, right? It turns out, they are. This one is made from a basketball, sand, liquid nails, and a funnel. Use it to strengthen your entire body, the old-fashioned way.
This one looks a bit complicated, but it’s really very simple. If you don’t want to spend the money on a set of Olympic dumbbells, it’s perfect. The process involves mixing cement and letting it dry at the bottom of a bucket–easy peasy. It takes about an hour per plate, and you will need an old lifting bar to put the weights on.
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