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Top 25 Fitness Gifts for Your Fit Friends

In order to create one of the best fitness gift lists online, I reached out to people like you! I asked you what YOU wanted for Christmas, searched the web to find some of the coolest gadgets in the industry, and thought of all the fitness toys I can’t live without. Unlike many articles, no one has paid me to add them to the list. This is just a list of the top 25 fitness gifts, from $9 to $199, that I either have myself and love, or would love to have under my own tree.

I did all the work for you! Now shopping for your bestie is easy as clicking on any of the links below! Have fun making your BFF’s Christmas one of the best yet!

Top 25 Fit Gifts for Your Fit Friends

1. 6 Pack Bag – A deluxe 3 or 6 meal lunch cooler designed to organize meals, protein drinks and more. Finally, being prepared can be easy – and look nice too! The Foil lined back has 5 meal compartments in the 6-pack, 3 meal compartments in the 3-pack, a top organizer for supplements and vitamins, side slots to keep drinks upright, and ice packs to keep it all cool. $49

2. Yurbuds Inspire for Women – Music to my ears, these awesome earbuds, made specifically for women, are made to fit smaller ears and stay put while you move, sweat, lift, plyo and run. Don’t fret guys, they also have Yurbuds for men too! These earbuds are no joke. If you’re sick of earbuds falling out while working out, you will be thrilled to get these for Christmas, because they fit the ear like a custom fit hearing aid – and they ain’t going no where! $29

3. The Jawbone – I honestly have NO idea how it does it, (maybe I’ll get to try it myself and give you an in-depth review some day), but evidently, this incredible bracelet literally is like a healthy spy that tracks your every move. It intellegently tracks your sleep (light and deep sleep), tracks your activity (calories burned, activity and inactivity), reminds you to move when you’ve been still too long, tells you when to wake up with a smart alarm feature than knows the optimal time to wake up to feel refreshed in your sleep cycle, gives you the best power naps (waking you up at the perfect time to be recharged), and more. Waterproof, comfortable, crazy cool, good looking and a great healthy fitness tool any fitness peep would LOVE! $129

4. NXE Active Sleeve – After tying this myself, it quickly became one of my favorite ways to hold my iphone while working out. This slick stretchy fabric iphone arm sleeve is not only comfortable to wear, it makes it easy to slip the iphone in and out for quick access, unlike most armband cases that lock your phone in and are hard to view while the armband is on. So if you find yourself always trying to access your phone, or you like to tweet between sets, this is a great option for your smart phone. Comes in a 2-pack (one white, one black) at Radio Shack. $20

5. LiveWell 360 Core – The Core bag is not only WAY sleek and stylish, it has 9 perfectly designed pockets, complete with separate vented compartment for stinky shoes or sweaty clothes. With an interior mesh pocket for your water bottle, and slip pockets for your phone, wallet and keys, there’s no need to take your purse in to the gym with you. This bag does it all. The fabric is thick, soft, comfortable and durable. The hardware is all satin nickel hardware that looks pretty, and also will withstand the test of time. This bag is totally unlike any gym bag I’ve ever seen in stores. At first glance, you may think it’s a little pricey, but when I think of all the gym bags we’ve gone through – I would have come out cheaper if I just bought one LiveWell bag. Available in 3 styles. $187

6. Wahoo Fitness BlueHR Heart Rate Monitor – Say goodbye to Bulky Heart Rate monitor watches and hello to Wahoo – the world’s first wireless blue tooth heart rate monitor. This handy dandy device syncs to your iphone for easy tracking and works with other popular Apps, like RunKeeper, MapMyRide, 321Run, Cyclemeter and endomondo. Even if your connection is interupted, the Wahoo heart rate monitor continues to record data. It’s even waterproof up to 5 feet – perfect for our triathlon peeps! You can even use the Blue HR while using bluetooth headphones so you can track your heart rate while listening to your favorite motivational tunes. Yes! This is on MY wish list!! $75

7. Design Your Own Reebok Gift Card – Get the gift of individuality. This totally fun and unique gift lets your bestie choose the style and their favorite color combination to create their one-of-a-kind shoe. Choose from a variety of patterns, colors and styles to create a totally unique pair of shoes that’s as unique as the designer. Lack creativity? That’s OK, there are over a million custom designs created by other people that are available for purchase, or for a starter template to get the designer going in the right direction. Totally fun and totally awesome! (Another one on my list!) $100+

8. FitBit Aria – This extraordinary scale not only records your weight, BMI and body fat, but it uploads all the information to your computer so you can track your progress and set calorie goals. It’s also family friendly, with automatic recognition for up to 8 people. There is even a community option to share your progress with family members and friends, for added accountability. The FitBit Aria syncs with their matching free iPhone app and computer so you can view graphs and progress no matter where you go. $129

9. Camelback Glass Eddy Bottle – If you are like me, you don’t like that nasty plastic taste of cheap water bottles, then you’ll love this PBA free glass water bottle. Simple, clean, healthy & yummy water making bottle comes with a pretty protective silicone sleeve! A simple gift that will get a lot of use. $22

10. Wordlock – OMG, can I just tell you how I wish I had this in high school. For people who can’t remember their darn combination code, this lock makes keeping your valuables safe easy. With many colors and styles to choose from, including bike locks, cable locks, pad locks, luggage locks, utility locks, sports locks, discus locks and even commercial locks, you can choose the perfect lock for your perfect fit friend. $9

11. iPod Shuffle – This itty bitty music maker comes in 8 colors and lets you have all the musical fun without the weight and bulk of an iphone or ipod. With up to 15 hours of playtime, runners and triathlon athletes can enjoy music for miles and miles. With the voice over feature, it’s easy to find the right playlist or find out the name of the band playing at that moment because it talks to you. Cute, convenient, portable and smart – you can’t go wrong! Just clip it to your clothes and go! #49

12. Smartwool Arm Warmers – Most of you know I’m a sucker for accessories (like knee high socks!), but these are not just stylish, but have purpose too – they keep you WARM (in style of course!). Perfect for your active friends who like to play outside in the cold, this is a great gift for a bestie who likes living life in the great outdoors. $25

13. Reebok Compression Arm Sleeve – You don’t have to be a CrossFitter to love this gift. More than an accessory, this arm sleeve not only keeps your arms warm in the cold, the UV protective and heat reflective material prevents you from overheating in the sun. Compression gear also helps aid in recovery, making it a must-have for athletes and performance driven fitness fanatics. And can I just add that they toootally look ridiculously cool too?! WANT! $44

14. GymBoss – This interval timer turns into a trainer that tells you when to work, and when to rest. Adding a timed component to training majorly boosts intensity. Trade sets and reps for a predetermined time of work and rest, like 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off. A great tool to add to anyone’s fitness tool box. Just clip the GymBoss to your clothes and get ready for muscles to burn – and your body to sweat! $19.99 and up.

15. Lose It! Premium App – The Lose It! app is free, but the premium app has a slew of handy features to help your friend reach his or her fitness goals, like syncing to their favorite fitness app like Nike+ and RunKeeper, Withings Scale, Fitbit Aria, Withings Blood Pressure Monitor and Zeo Sleep Monitor. Set more detailed goals than the free app, including body measurements, blood pressure, blood glucose, sleep and exercise. Lastly, with Premium users, Personal Trainers and Nutritionists using Lose It Connect can monitor their clients meal plans and activity for added accountability and support. $39 $29/year (on sale!)

16. Zumba Fitness 2 for Wii – Zumba instructors always make Zumba look so easy – and so good! However, doing Zumba takes a little talent and skill to perform to actually look like you know what you are doing. So, now you can practice in your house. Whether you use it as a prep course for a live class, or you use it to get your dance and sweat on without the gym, this is a great buy for someone who loves to dance – whether they look good doing it or no! $39

17. TRX Suspension Trainer – A great gift for fitness tool collector who loves the toys that bring the pain. The TRX isn’t for beginners in my opinion, it takes a bit to learn all the moves, but the TRX is a great gift to enhance any workout routine and it was on several people’s Christmas list this year. Suspension training develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability. A little pricey, but a fun toy and a good adjunct to any training program – especially for those who train at home. And yes, I have one in my own fitness collection! $199

18. iPhone 5 – Everyone knows the iPhone is not just a phone, but to a dieter or fit fan, the iPhone is an essential tool to help them reach their goals. That’s why the iPhone made the top 25 list of best fitness gifts – it’s truly an essential tool in the diet and fitness arsenal. The iPhone offers hundreds of helpful tools to get fit, lose weight, explore exercises, check your heart rate and so much more. With apps like iFitness, LoseIt!, Fooducate, RunKeeper, Heart Rate, Fitness Buddy, Nike+ Running and Pedometer.

19. Reebok Adjustable Speed Rope – An affordable gift that can help take your friend’s workout up a notch. Jumping rope has quickly become a staple exercise in any conditioning workout and athletic training, like CrossFit and BCx Boot Camp. It’s a simple gift, but will be an appreciated gift for anyone serious about their workouts. $18

20. Adidas MiCoach Speed Cell – A great gadget for the athlete, this performance tracking tool captures time, distance, speed, speed zones and number of sprints. The device instantly uploads it to your iphone or computer so you can see your results, like TopSpeed, Burst Speed, Total Distance and gametime stats help you improve your game. A totally cool gift for athletic training. $70

21. Bodylastics Resistance Bands – This one never goes out of date. It was on my list last year, and it stays on the list because it’s tried and true. Bodylastics bands are a great alternative to weights that are more affordable – and very portable. These bands are not only strides ahead their competitors, more durable, and heavy duty, they stand behind their product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime defects warranty. Since they take up less space than weights, you can throw them in your gym bag while on the road or on a vacation, and not miss a workout. The Bodylastics kit comes with a variety of strength resistance bands, door anchors, handles, ankle straps and a how-to guide (not to mention a whole list of online workout shows to follow at http://www.LiveExercise.com). You may think I’m just biased, because Steve leads a few of the online fitness shows – but we wouldn’t even work with them if we didn’t think they were a stellar company – and really love their products! $28.95

22. Yogamatic Custom Yoga Mat – This is the Yoga mat Jennifer Aniston had custom made for Oprah (of Oprah’s dogs). This is the perfect gift for any yogi and a way to make your bestie’s yoga experience even more special! Totally a fun gift that will be the talk of the class! $89+

23. Go Sport ID Bracelet – Customize one of these cool ID bracelets – perfect for running, cycling and triathlons. They not only look cool, but they are a great safety precaution in the event of an accident. Believe me, I know! Several years ago, my mom fell on dark early morning run, broke a rib and got knocked out. You can never be too careful – and with a custom engraved Go Sport ID, you can do it in style! Choose from seven different styles, including bracelets, shoe tags and necklaces. $16.95+

24. RealFlex Neoprene Workout Gloves – These are my favorite workout gloves of all time. They are comfy, washable (leather gloves can STINK in a hurry!) and they don’t bunch up like worn material or leather. The glove has a durable rubber pad (like a paw) that makes handling heavy weight much more comfortable, and adds more traction for better gripping. The velcro strap and overall style of these gloves make it super easy to take on and off. Plus they are super cheap – you gotta like that! $9

25. EatSmart Nutritional Pro Scale – I personally own this scale and love it. Although I use it mostly for weighing items to enter in my Lose It! app, it has some SUPER cool features that makes tracking calories even easier, and more accurate, like an internal database of over 1,000 foods. Simply key in a 3-digit code and weigh your food to get nutritional information, including calories, fat, protein, carbs, fiber, sodium, and several other nutrients. $69

YOUR TURN:

Is your fitness wish not on the list? Post your items below! You never know who it may help – and who’s watching (like Santa Claus!). 🙂

 

8 Ways to Gobble Up Excuses Over Thanksgiving

“Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family over the holidays? Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what – and fitness is one of them.”

We like to make excuses around this time of year. “I’m too busy”. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” “The gym is closed.” “I’m tired.” “We’ll be out of town.” “I need to spend time with family.” “I can’t control myself around all that food”. “I deserve a break”… The list goes on.

Let me tell you, it is ridiculous that we even think any of those excuses will get you out of a workout free and clear. For every excuse someone has, someone out there is working out despite having the same excuses. In addition, there are reasons why even a good excuse is a bad reason to skip your workout.

8 Holiday Excuses Busters:

1. “I’m too busy” – You have time to watch TV, get on facebook, read my blog, sleep late, stay up late, etc. “Too busy” often means, not having as much free time to live life how you prefer. Busy means you need to schedule your day better. It means you can’t just play it by ear and hope you have enough time left over to do extra stuff. When you are busy, it means you need to do what matters most first and get it out of the way. When you don’t HAVE time, you have to MAKE time.

2. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” – You should at least try. Use your noggin. Guess the ingredients of the meal. Using the LoseIt app, look up similar dishes served at restaurants, etc., but don’t just not even try. Make it fun. See if people can guess and look it up, like a trivia game. You’ll learn a lot along the way, make better choices and entertain your family with interesting facts.

3. “The gym is closed.” Most gyms are closed on Thanksgiving Day – Big Whoop! You don’t need a gym to sweat. Try one of our Designer Whey workouts online. Any of the training plans from Design Your Body (weight loss and body sculpting program), Basic Training (beginner program), Savage Training (advanced workout), or any of the single workout regimens, are perfect for working out at home or in a hotel. And, of course there is always the road! Take a walk, go for a run. Just commit to 15-30 minutes. You’ll feel a MILLION times better if you do SOMEthing rather than nothing. Here’s a quick 5 minute workout from DesignerWhey you can do anywhere. Repeat 3-5 times.

4. “I’m SO tired.” – Even MORE of a reason to workout. Exercise is exhilarating. It revs the metabolism and boosts energy. And, if you have been light on sleep, it helps you sleep better. So scratch that excuse off your list.

5. “We’ll be out of town.” – People train on the road all the time. The first step is planning. Pack your gym clothes, Reeboks & yurbuds. With apps like RunKeeper, you no longer need to have to map out a course ahead of time. You can step out of your grandma’s driveway and start running, and the RunKeeper will tell you how far you have gone so you know exactly how long to run. Also, most hotels have gyms, and if they don’t, you can use one of the above programs to guide you through a workout in your hotel room. No weights? Improvise! 1 gallon of water is 8.33lbs. Use a set of jugs for dumbbells to do some of the exercises shown below in this video.  Bodyweight exercises are awesome and equally effective – especially when done fast with little rest.

6. “I need to spend time with family” – I totally get it. Family should ALWAYS be first.  But I think this picture is a pretty typical description of what most “quality family time” looks like. We go to grandma’s and everyone gathers in the kitchen to eat or the living room to sit in front of the TV. You could set the active pace. You could make an impact on your family be setting an example. Play catch outside, go for a walk, play Wii with the kids. Even if you have to leave and go for a run, I think they’ll forgive you for taking care of your health. Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family? No! Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what. Standard grooming habits, your physical health, and your spiritual health need to remain constant. If you do them first and get them out of the way, you will find you have AMPLE time with your family and you’ll have more energy and a better attitude too!

7. I can’t control myself” – Really? You CAN’T control yourself, or you WON’T? Saying you can’t control yourself before you even face the Thanksgiving table is telling yourself in advance that you will fail. That is ridiculous. It’s this simple. You either WANT to get fit and be thin, or you WANT to taste food more. You need to gain control of your body and not let your tongue boss you around. Saying no is empowering. You absolutely can control yourself around food. One, don’t go to the dinner table hungry. Eat something before you surround yourself with tempting food. Two, don’t even negotiate it. Don’t waste time contemplating whether you should have something or not. Keep your rules black and white, no grey. If it’s going to interfere with your goal, skip it. If you aren’t willing to burn it off, skip it. You have more control than you think.

8. “I deserve a break” – If you are happy with where your weight is, that is fine. Take a break and enjoy the family – especially if you are consistent in your workouts and rarely take a day off. BUT, if you are unhappy with your weight, if you are sporadic with your workouts, or find it hard to stick with a program, then you don’t need a break. A break can actually mess you up in a bad way. Not only do you consume a LOT more calories during this time of year, you won’t be burning as many calories by taking a break – a double whammy! AND, getting out of a routine can set you up for a downward spiral of laziness and lack of motivation. When you workout, you become more protective over what you eat, so you’re likely to make better decisions even if you still cheat. Also, working out mentally keeps you “in the game”. Don’t lose momentum by giving in to taking a day off just because a friend can afford to. You have to do what YOU need to do to stick with your program and keep moving toward your goal. Even if it’s strictly for damage control, don’t let a pity-party convince you to be lazy.

If you skip your workout, will it kill ya? NO! But will it affect you? YES. Sometimes just mentally. In reality, the extra calories with the lack of calories burned can set you back a whole week. Ironically, just 30 minutes is enough to make a big difference. If you can’t do your normal routine during the holidays, do SOMEthing. Keep your eye on the prize! You’ll feel great and be THANKFUL you did!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Product Review: Headphones That Actually Work(out)

When I say I’ve tried every headphone shape, size and brand, I am not exaggerating. I have wasted hundreds of dollars in search for headphones that don’t fall out of my ears while I’m running or working out at the gym. Here is what I’ve discovered on my headphone journey – the bad, the ugly, the frustrating – and, finally, the winner.

The Evolution of Headphones that Work(out)

The Ear Bud

I have no idea why anyone thought this would be a good idea. Unless you are sitting on a plane, crammed between 2 people so you can’t move at all, these things fall out as fast as I can eat their tiny bag of nuts. For me, iphone style headphones are made for sitting still …very, very still. Unless I want to blow a gasket, these things should never travel to the gym with me.

The Ear Plugs

Since the hard plastic headphones would easily slip out of my ear, you can imagine how enticing the headphones that claim to have this cool expanding memory foam that molds your headphones to your ear, like ear plugs. Honestly, I have to believe these things work for some people because surely brands can’t continue to put out millions of these little guys a year if they don’t work. However, they sure as heck didn’t work for me. After I put them in my ears, the foam expanded them right back out. I tried the little foam attachements, the BIG FOAM attachments and even tried no foam at all. That should have taught me a lesson, but it didn’t. I bought another half a dozen pair, all claiming to be “better” and, although I now own a variety of really cool looking colorful headphones, not one of them actually works in my ears.

The Hanger

I’ve tried every ear-wrapping headphone imaginable, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the plastic piece that wraps around the top of the ear is there just to catch the headphones when they pop out of your ears. Half the time the top of the plastic ear “hanger” doesn’t even touch the top of my ear while the headphones are actually in my ear, no matter how small it is – of course, unless they fall out, which they are guaranteed to do. I even tried the adjustable plastic-coated medal wraparound kind that supposedly mold around you ear. Another big fat disappointment. The loop was either too big or stuck out too far – and if I finally got the loop right, then the earbud didn’t line up in my ear right. Either way, the Ear Hanger was a big fat FAIL!

The Dial-On

For several years, this was the only kind of headphone that wouldn’t fall off my ears while running. As you swivel each headphone on your ear, turning it like a dial, they basically make an earlobe sandwich. One piece slides behind your ear and another piece slides over the front. Were they ideal? No. The foam wrapping had little to be desired after sweating your butt off in them day after day. In addition, since the headphones sat on the outside of your ear, the sound was always distant from your ear canal. I would crank the volume all the way up and it still wouldn’t be loud enough to drown out other noise. And if I ran by landscaping crew, which basically happens every day, I couldn’t hear my music at all until I passed all the weed-eaters, lawnmowers and blowers. Unfortunately, at that time, they were my only option for me and the only thing that kinda worked.

The Neckband

After my last pair of dial-on headphones finally bit the dust, I went to Radio Shack to see if I could find a replacement. That’s when I discovered the neckband headphones. I was out of town on vacation and didn’t want to spend a load of money on another set of headphones that would likely not work, so I tried their Auvio headphones. To my surprise, they actually stayed in my ears and they were usable. So, these became my new headphones for almost a year. Were they ideal? Once again, no. They stay on because they basically pinch your head like a big clamp. It’s not like they were tight, but that little bit of pressure sometimes made my ears ache. The other issue was, although they stay put, they weren’t ever really “in” the ear. So, outside noise and wind would drown out my music, which is frustrating for a girl who lives in a gusty beach town where wind and waves make a lot of noise.

The Miracle Ear

As a FitFluential Ambassador, I get to try out a lot of fun, new fitness products. A couple weeks ago, I received a shipment of sports headphones called Yurbuds. I have to admit, my frist thought was “great, another set of earphones that won’t work”. As I opened the fancy packaging (they had a really awesome gift pack put together for me), admittedly, I started to get my hopes up. The headphones looked cool and were a pretty color (gets me every time). I proceeded to pull them out and immediately saw the unique shape of the earbud piece. Of course, they claimed to have a new technology of a custom fit, but I wasn’t buying it quite yet. Then I opened them up and put one of the earbuds in my ear – and O.M.G!

Not only did they fit, they FIT – like a GLOVE. I mean, it was like someone custom made them for MY ear canal. Honestly, I imagine this is what a custom fit hearing aid or CIA ear bud feels like. It completely filled in my ear opening, funneling the sound of my music into my ears for incredible sound. After blowing out my eardrums (from having my ipod always turned all the way up), I turned my volume down to half what I normally set it on. It’s not that these headphone were louder, they were just clearer because they were all the way in my ear. Not only did they sound great, but they stayed put. I flung my head around like a Metallica-loving headbanger and those suckers weren’t going anywhere.

I made every single person I know try them on. I stuck them in Steve’s ear first, the my mom’s ear the next morning on our walk, and then made my BFF try them too when she met me for our workout. I took them to work with me and showed them to members. I felt it was my duty to let the world know there is actually a set of sports headphones that do what they say they will do. Finally, my search for headphones has come to an end. Finally, I have SUCCESS!

Mybuds

Here is a photo of me at the top of Barber Bridge overlooking the Indian River in Vero Beach during this weekend while Hurricane Sandy was blowing by us. The wind was ripping so hard it almost blew my hat off, yet my earphones stayed put for my 4-mile windy run. Thank you Yurbuds! You Rock! However, I do have one suggestion. Yurbuds fit me so well I think they should be called MYbuds. 🙂

Yurbuds are available online at http://www.yurbuds.com and at Best Buy. 

Yurbuds action-packed video demonstrating how awesome these bad boys are!

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