Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gifts to Get Fit (or Start Your Resolution Now)

Tomorrow is the first of December, which means everyone will be in the gift giving spirit. Well, maybe not everyone, but everyone I know. I LOVE to give people gifts. If I had all the money in the world, I would just spend it all on gifts for loved ones. I also love to give gifts to myself. So I'd spend it on gifts for all my loved ones - including myself. I mean, I'm special and important too, right?

After you stuff yourself on Thanksgiving leftovers this week, then transition to candy canes, breads from coworkers, candy, cocktails and Christmas cookies, most people find themselves in a 3 day regret binge with a determination to make the change in the new year. I feel safe to assume that most New Years resolutions fall under the exercise/lose weight/get healthy umbrella. If you are serious about getting fit - for whatever reason - I feel like January 1st is the worst day to start. Start now.With gift giving season upon us, I want to help you with some tips to help you give up the excuses and get in shape. Now, if anybody asks what you want, you can tell them your goals and give them some good gift ideas.

Excuse One: I don't have the money to get what I need.
Why it's not an excuse: Running and walking are relatively inexpensive hobbies to pick up. As are swimming and tennis. Asking for gifts to get started helps you feel less guilty about spending the money on yourself.
What to ask for: Gift Cards. Not just any gift cards, though, because if you're like me a Visa gift card ends up going towards gas or groceries. Dicks Sporting Goods is a great gift card to ask for because you WILL end up getting some sort of sporting equipment. They have clothes, shoes (good shoes are an absolute must - ask to be fitted!), watches, rackets, swim wear - everything you need to start your new hobby. Plus, you'll likely be investing in some quality gear, which while it may be a little more expensive than workout gear at other retailers, this stuff will last if you take care of it.

Excuse Two: My thighs rub when I work out.
Why it's not an excuse: You don't have to wear shorts to work out in!
What to ask for: If a spouse, a parent, or someone close to you wants to give you a gift, tell them your size and ask for 7" compression shorts. I get some serious chub rub if I try to wear shorts and I hate it! I use to try running out for a day or two and then I could cry in pain. I found out that not all shorts have to be tiny. I have a great pair of Under Armour 7" shorts that come down just far enough to cover the "danger zone." These Nike shorts are only $22! I can't speak to them because I don't own them, but longer shorts are great for running indoors and outside during the warmer months. Also, if you are concerned about modesty or a butt you're not (yet) proud of, you can throw on running shorts over top of compression shorts.

Excuse Three: It's too cold out and I don't have money for a gym.
Why it's not an excuse: Running and walking can be done for FREE, even in winter.
What to ask for: Cold Gear Pants and a long-sleeve compression shirt. Pants should taper in at the ankles to keep them warm. Look for specific cold-gear because they will have an inside layer to keep you warmer than summer running pants. Again, compression gear can always be worn underneath other clothes if you want or need. Learn about moisture-wicking fabrics so you can be specific. Compression clothing doesn't have to be expensive. Reebok, Adidas, Under Armour, Nike - they all have gear. Right now, there are tons of sales so now is the time to look. Also, a nice light but warm jacket is a great idea. I just got an Old Navy Half-Zip Fleece for $8. What a steal!! I add some gloves, a scarf around my mouth/nose so I'm not breathing in the cold, dry air, and a hat. This way I can still be outside during the winter.

Excuse Four: I don't know how far to run or how long to run for.
Why it's not an excuse: There's an app for that! (Also, distance and time don't matter - just do it!)
What to ask for:
Option one: an arm-band for your phone or iPod. Also, a phone or an iPod if you don't have one. Music is great for getting out of your own head when running, but you don't want to carry it in your hand because it will affect how you move your muscles. Put it on your arm and leave it there. I love the Map My Run app, but there are countless others.
Option two: Nike+. My younger brother got this for me a few years ago and I love it. You tie a sensor to your shoe and sync it with your iPod. It will map distance, time, pace, etc. You can choose to run for a certain distance, a certain time, or just to start running and let it record you. A voice will come through in your iPod to tell you every half-mile or when you're halfway to your goal. They also congratulate you at the end of a new personal record (PR). It does include Lance Armstrong, or at least mine does, so if you are against him personally this might not be for you.
You can enter goals. You can be a part of an online community with challenges to keep you going. You give feedback on runs and how you felt about them. This was so much fun to keep me going when I first started running and I still use it today.
Option three: A sport watch. These can be pretty cheap and you don't need anything fancy. Ask for one that has laps and can set intervals. This is awesome for anyone that wants to start out. You can program it to beep in three minutes and then one minute later, three minutes and then one - perfect for interval running.

Excuse Five: I don't want to / can't be out without keys, ID, etc.
Why it's not an excuse: There are always options!
What to ask for: If you have to drive somewhere to run, many pants have a key-pocket. Sometimes, if I'm at a hotel or literally running to the store, I need a place to store extra things like ID, room keys, credit card or whatver. I love, Love, LOVE my Miche hip bag. Although it's not the intentional use, I wear mine like a fanny pack (although mine has a much thicker strap than the one pictured). It's the perfect size to fit in the small of my back and the strap is adjustable so I can make it very secure on my hips. It's a stylish alternative to a fanny pack and it fits my phone (Galaxy), keys, cards, etc. It takes the worry out of being out alone. Ask for one, or go out shopping with a girlfriend and find something similar.

My gift lists have included things like swim cap and goggles, light barbells, a DVD gift set (hello Yoga Booty Ballet!), resistance bands, a yoga mat - anything that helps me get in shape without feeling like I'm spending a ton of money on myself. These are truly gifts that keep on giving. You'll feel guilty if you don't use them, so you'll have more reason to get out there and go! Oh, you might also ask for a few SpaFinder gift certificates (or one to a favorite spa if you have one). Those new-workout-muscle pains are tough to get around. Stick to this new you from Dec 26th-Jan 15th (or any 2- to 5- week goal) and then treat yourself to a lovely massage :)

What are some of your favorite workout gifts?


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