We are less than a week away from the holidays, and no doubt, some of you are starting to wrap up your last-minute gift shopping. So, I put together a fitness-themed holiday gift guide for you to look over for that special someone who might appreciate a fitness-themed gift. Now, I looked at a lot of other fitness-themed gift guides online before compiling my own, and let me tell you, this is probably the most practical guide you’ll find online. Seriously. I had to wade through hordes of bizarre “fitness gift ideas” before concluding that I wouldn’t get any good ideas at all. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff out there!
So, while I was putting this guide together, I tried to include the kind of products a Physical Living reader would want to find under their Christmas tree or to give to a loved one who also shares an interest in health-first fitness and physical culture. And if you know me, then you know I prefer gifts that are functional, practical, versatile, and high in quality – not to mention an impeccable value, and that roughly sums up what you’ll find on this list. I’ve also included a few things that are rather unique, too – just for fun.
So, please use this quick guide to find the perfect Christmas gift for your spouse, sibling, parent, friend, or training partner. And also be sure to make sure you communicate to your significant other(s) exactly which gifts you’d like this year – with complete subtlety, of course.
And now, an important disclaimer. Chances are, you probably don’t need any of this stuff. Almost anyone can get fit with little or no equipment at all – anywhere they may find themselves. And those who do want a few additional options can likely open up a whole ocean of possibilities with a few things they have laying around at home. Furthermore, a single, wise investment in just one versatile gear purchase can provide a lifetime of fitness training options. Think of all the options you have with just one set of adjustable dumbbells, a properly weighted kettlebell or clubbell, a pull-up bar, or a weight vest.
My point being that there’s no need for you to fork over a ton of money to improve your health and fitness. That said, some of these items are pretty cool, fun to use, and could definitely come in handy. So, with that in mind, have a look-see.
Pull-up and Dip Power Tower – If you have the space at home for one of these, then this is a great station for performing many variations of pull-ups, parallel-bar dips, bodyweight rows, and many other exercises. After much research, I bought this freestanding pull-up and dip station a couple years ago, and it has served me well since then. It’s definitely not the quality you would find at a gym, but it’s more than suitable for home use. If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for a freestanding pull-up and dip station that is relatively sturdy and somewhat portable, then this would be a good option. For more information, Click Here to watch my product review video on Youtube.
Doorway Pull-up Bar – In my opinion, the pull-up bar is one of the single wisest investments you can make for your home gym. No home is complete without one! These doorway pull-up bars by Pro Fit are fantastic if you want an inexpensive, portable pull-up bar that you can setup in your home whenever you’d like. This is a very basic model, and is one I have myself, and has served me well for years. There are other fancier models, too. You can do pull-ups, chin-ups, and even neutral-grip pull-ups with the parallel grips, which makes this an outstanding value for a pull-up bar, and one of the cheapest options as well. If you want an inexpensive pull-up bar that you won’t have to secure to the frame of your house, then this would be a great option. For more information, watch my product review video on Youtube: Doorway Pull-up Bar Review.
Kettlebell – The kettlebell is a portable, versatile strength and conditioning tool that, with proper care, will serve you for a lifetime. Owning just one properly-weighted kettlebell opens up a sea of fun training possibilities. This is another great purchase for your training arsenal. Learn more about them and find the best deals in my handy-dandy guide here: The First-Time Kettlebell Buyer’s Guide.
Clubbell – I’ve been singing the clubbell praises for years, and for good reason. Clubbells fill a very important gap in a strength training program that most other tools just can’t. Not to mention they’re fun! I absolutely love mine, and have been using them for years, and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. If you’ve never tried club swinging before, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Learn everything you need to know about them here: Clubbell Review. And check out the Clubbell Archives, too – lot’s of good stuff in there.
note: TACFIT clubbells pictured.
Also note: clubbells are currently on sale! Use coupon code CSTC20%OFF to take 20% off CST clubbells until Christmas.
Also note: the absolute best clubbell training programs and instructional resources are currently on sale for 25% off. Might I suggest picking up a copy of the Clubbell Flow Evolution, which is, in my opinion, the single greatest clubbell training resource currently available, and is a steal at 25% off (product review here, sample workouts here and here).
Rings – They’re known as gymnastic rings, Olympic rings, or just rings, and in my opinion, a quality set of rings is one of the single-best training investments money can buy. They’re inexpensive, portable, versatile, and durable. They offer a ton of training possibilities for the fitness trainee among others, and a lot of unique benefits that you won’t get from any other training tool. They also offer a more advanced platform for many basic exercises such as pull-ups, dips, rows, etc. They work great as a travel training option, too. If you’ve got the money, then get a set. These EXF Rings are among the highest-value models. Highly recommended!
Olympic Barbell Set – If you’re going to get some free weights, then go right to the top and invest in an Olympic-style barbell. If you can’t find one used (free weights sell for next-to-nothing in classifieds, if you can find them), then most sporting good stores will have a basic 300 pound set for a reasonable price. Or, save yourself the hassle and have them shipped right to your door. I’d suggest leaving some Muscle Milk and cookies on the doorstep for your delivery driver.
Weight Vest – This is another versatile training tool because it goes with you, and you can strap it on for practically any exercise for some added resistance. Want to make a bodyweight exercise harder? Put one of these on. Or, wear it for a walk, a run, or during an adventure race like the Tough Mudder. I’ve used several different weight vests over the years, and, by far, the best one I’ve ever used is the X-Vest. These are rugged, well-made weighted vests that distribute the weight across your torso well and don’t restrict your movement much. If you’re in the market for a quality weight vest, then this is the one I recommend. Keep in mind that each weight vest will have a maximum capacity. Choose your limit wisely.
Medicine Ball – No, they’re not quite as versatile as a clubbell or kettlebell, but they have their uses, and they’re a lot of fun, too. My advice: go with a heavier ball. You’ll be glad you did. And find someone to throw it at…err… to, for some extra fun.
Pushup Handles – No, you don’t need these. Of course you can do pushups on the ground with your palms flat, or on your fists if you want a little extra ROM. Heck, you could even use a couple of heavy books to prop your hands up on. But these are good for getting a little bit deeper into your pushup range of motion, and also help to improve your grip/wrist strength, too. I like mine (review here).
TRX – This premium suspension training system isn’t exactly cheap, but it offers a lot of bang for your buck. You’ll get a portable workout system that is both home-gym and travel friendly. There are tons of exercises you can do with one of these. Personally, I’m partial to Rings when it comes to suspension training gear, but these work great, too. This is a heavy duty product that will hold up well over time. The main downside is that they are expensive. You will pay a whole lot of money for what amounts to a simple set of straps, grips, and hardware. My advice: unless you’ve just got to have it, get a set of rings instead.
Exercise Ball – No, they’re not exactly space-efficient, but if you don’t have an exercise ball, then this is another good training investment for your home gym. Lot’s of exercises can be augmented with one of these – not to mention they can be used for many unique exercises, too. And they are really inexpensive, making them a low-cost, high-value investment. Make sure you get a good one so you don’t pop it the first time you use it. I’ve popped a few of these over the years.
Jump Rope – I’ll be honest. I’ve never been much of a rope skipper – just not into it – but I know a few guys who swear by these things. And this is another inexpensive piece of fitness equipment that can be used for many goals. If you’ll use it, then you can’t go wrong with a speed rope like this.
Parallettes – Some people might think these border on gimmick, but I think they are an excellent training tool, if they’re built well, and can easily support your entire body weight. There are lots of unique exercises you can perform with them, and they’re a lot of fun, too.
Climbing Board – I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been dying to get one of these for years – just haven’t pulled the plug. Ever since I first used one, I fell in love. They’re great to do pull-ups on, special grip work, and all sorts of other hangs and holds for building upper body and grip strength. If you have a good spot for one, this would be a really cool tool to have at your disposal. And you don’t have to be a rock-climber to enjoy and benefit from using one of these training boards.
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle – Just released last week! I’m making a prediction that this will be the Health and Fitness Book of the Year. It’s that good. If you want to burn some fat, build some muscle, get stronger, and completely transform your body, then this is a must-have. And if you’ve got any excess bodyfat that you’d like to get rid of, then this is required reading. And if you work in the industry, and haven’t devoured this book yet, then you are behind the times, my friend. No matter who you are, chances are good that this would be a very wise investment. It has my highest endorsement, and you can read my full review on Amazon here. Get this book!
note: if you get a copy of the book, be sure to take a look at the Burn The Fat Inner Circle, too. I’ve been a member since 2006 and, believe me, if you need some help with fat loss or body transformation, in general, then it’s worth every penny. There’s also a huge body transformation challenge about to be kicked off in the new year, in which I’ll be sitting on the judging panel for the 10th and last time.
Primal Stress Bodyweight Training Program – This is one of the best all-inclusive bodyweight training programs I’ve ever come across – by a long shot. No, it’s not perfect, but if you’re looking for a comprehensive bodyweight training program, then this is definitely one of the one’s you should be considering! Primal Stress can help you get leaner, stronger, and more prepared for whatever life throws at you. Check out my full review here.
TACFIT Commando Bodyweight Training Program – This program will literally kick your butt every time you employ it, but it does so with finesse and an eye for health, injury-prevention, and overall safety. TC is bodyweight-only (zero equipment required), meaning you can do it anywhere, anytime. I think this is one of Scott Sonnon’s finest stand-alone training programs, and one of the best value’s for all the information you receive. Hundreds of Physical Living readers have invested in TACFIT Commando since its debut in 2010 and I’ve received dozens of great reports so far (some of which you can read in the comments sections of these pages: product review here, FAQ here, sample workout here). You can also check out a whole website I created for my official TACFIT Commando Review.
TACGYM: Tactical Gymnastics – This is by-far one of Scott’s best stand-alone training programs, but it’s definitely not for everybody. TACGYM is not a body transformation program, but a movement transformation program – and it excels in this area. Like TACFIT Commando, it’s one of the best value’s for your money because of how comprehensive it is. Dozens of Physical Living readers have been working with TACGYM, including myself, and everyone is enjoying it as you can see in some of the comments I’ve received on these pages: product review here, interview with Scott about TACGYM here, 3 Complete TACGYM Workouts here. If this is your thing, then prepare to get comfortable with moving your body in all sorts of crazy ways.
TACFIT Warrior Bodyweight Training Program – This is another bodyweight-only training program that also incorporates mental training strategies right into the curriculum. This one has also received a lot of praise from dozens of my readers. If you want to go deep in your physical practice, and experience lifestyle transformation through physical transformation, then TW may be for you (TACFIT Warrior Review here, FAQ here, sample workouts here).
Joint Mobility Training Package – If you don’t own this already and use it almost everyday, then what’s wrong with you? Seriously. This is probably one of the best bargains I’ve ever seen. And anyone who knows anything about fitness will tell you that joint mobility is pretty important. And this is the absolute best deal you’ll find on joint mobility training materials. It’s beyond comprehensive – both broad and deep. Some have even said that this little collection is all you need to dive head-first into joint mobility training and reap all of the benefits for life. This little package has my highest recommendation, and you’ll thank yourself for investing in it.
TACFIT 26 – Complete Workout System – If you can only get one TACFIT program, then this is probably the one to give the most consideration. This is ideal for those with a small home gym setup and who want to experience TACFIT in all its glory. If using several different training modalities along with all sorts of modern fitness equipment (clubbells, kettlebells, sandbags, gymnastic rings, bodyweight exercise, etc.) and exercises sounds like fun, then this is the program for you. This is arguably the best of all TACFIT programs currently available, and is certainly some of Scott’s best work to date. If you have some or all of the equipment available and/or are able to make some exercise substitutions, then it’s a no-brainer (get this one!). If you have a limited equipment selection, then some of the other products I mentioned above may be better-suited to your needs. Check out my product review here, and a sample workout here.
Note: all of these programs have been personally tested and vetted by yours truly, and I recommend each and every one of them (for different reasons, which you can learn about in each one’s product review).
Ab Wheel – Don’t let the simplicity fool you. These little wheels are ABSolute monsters – harhar! And they can be used to develop some serious core strength. They’re simple, cheap, and can be easily tucked into the corner of a home gym, under a bed, or in your luggage. No home gym is complete without one. And speaking of which, I can’t find mine…
Resistance Bands – These are another portable, versatile, and relatively inexpensive training tool (Are you noticing a theme yet? P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L). And believe it or not, but if you get a properly sized band, you can complete a whole workout with one. You can use it for band-specific exercises, or add some extra band resistance to many other conventional exercises, too. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my bands since I first got a set in 2006, and you can’t go wrong with having a set of your own.
Gym Boss – If you need a workout timer that allows for intervals, then this is the best of the best. And they come in many different colors, too. ‘Nuf said.
Fitbit – If you want a pedometer (i.e., step counter), then this is the one to get. No, it won’t do the walking for you, but it will give you tons of useful information about your daily habits, and might even get you on your feet more than you think. This newest model is on my wish list this year.
A [Pet] Rock – And when all else fails, go out and find the largest rock you can carry and tape a bow on it for your bff training partner. If they can lift it, they can keep it.
And you know what. All of this stuff is just stuff. So, let’s keep that in perspective and not fall prey to the wiles of reckless consumerism. And maybe none of this stuff struck a nerve. If that’s the case, then don’t forget about some of the best gifts of all. Things like time, good food, meaningful conversations, and a little bit of goofing off. You know, the good stuff.
But if anything on this list did strike your fancy, then please share it with one of those handy-dandy buttons below or on the left to let the whole world know exactly what you’d like to find under your Christmas tree this year. And with that, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, celebrating whatever it is that’s most important to you. And from the whole Siffer-fam, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Health-First Fitness Coach
P.P.S. Photo credit – weighted companion cube: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabizarre/, rock: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kumquatgirl/
P.P.P.S. Also, the last thing that special person in your life wants is a weight scale, body fat testing equipment, or any of those fitness gadgets you see on late-night television (e.g. the Shake Weight). That’s worse than getting them socks or deodorant for Christmas. …Thanks…honey.
P.P.P.P.S. Affiliate earnings disclaimer: The author has an affiliate relationship with some of the products and services discussed in this guide and may be compensated from purchases made by its users. This webpage contains links that will credit the owner with a percentage of the profit received from purchases made after clicking through an affiliate link. If you are uncomfortable with awarding the author with a commission for a referred sale, then please do not use the links contained in this guide. The author has reviewed the products it links to, recommends, or endorses. However, you should always perform your own due diligence before buying goods or services from any third party whether on the Internet or offline. For more information, click here.