concept of sports training
Featured,  Reviews

Ten Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for the Fitness Lover

Need help with last-minute gifts for that special someone?  Give the gift of health and fitness with these last minute gift ideas.  With the pandemic surging during 2020, at-home fitness is more than a trend; it’s a necessity.  Gyms are closed (at least here in Belgium).  The days are short, cold, and rainy, making outdoor exercise unpleasant.  We all need a home workout plan to stay fit and burn off all the nervous energy built up from this strange, strange year. 

Here’s a list of some excellent last-minute gifts that are cost effective and extremely useful in setting up a home fitness space.  I’ve broken this article down into 2 sections.  The first 5 are products I own and use all of the time.  The second 5 are things I want to try or feel would be value-added equipment (or just plain fun!).   I don’t receive any commission for these recommendations.  They’re purely from my own experience and research. 

Fitness Gifts I Own and Love

Buying fitness-related gifts may seem daunting, but with today’s wide variety of fitness options, you can buy so many useful gifts without breaking the budget. If you want guidance on how to outfit a home gym with minimal equipment, check out my blog post, A Simple Fitness Workout Space.  Here are some gift ideas for items you can get quickly from Amazon or other easy-to-find stores, including some good deals. Get shopping!

Exercise Headphones

I am a headphones junkie.  I have office headphones, home headphones, travel headphones, and exercise headphones.  I’ve worn out 3 pairs of Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones.  If there’s a go-to gift for me, headphones are it. 

For exercise, I hate having cords in my way, so wireless is a must. You need headphones that stay put in your ear.  It stinks when your earphones pop out midway through a burpee or some jumping jacks. 

I currently use the Jabra Elite Active 65t Earbuds (pictured above).  These headphones are completely wireless, and they fit snugly in your ear once you give them a little twist.  They come with 3 sets of ear gels, letting you find the size that’s right for your ear.  These little guys pop out every once in a while, but I’m overall quite happy with their staying power. 

I especially like the compact, recharging case.  The storage case itself holds a charge and recharges the ear phones while stored, leaving me with one less chargeable item to worry about.  They fit easily in any purse or bag.  And the sound quality is solid.  I wear these running outside in a noisy urban area, and I have no trouble hearing my music.  Right now, they’re on sale on Amazon for $99.99, down from $149.99.  Deal!

Yoga Mat

I recently upgraded my yoga mat after years of bruising my knees on a grocery store-bought mat.  The gold standard for yoga mats is the Manduka PRO premium mat, and I’m quite happy with mine.  The mat is on the more expensive side for $120, but it will last a lifetime. The mat is 6″ thick, making any exercising involving knees and elbows more pleasant.  It takes some time to season the mat, so it’s not as sticky as you want out of the packaging.  To speed the process, put it out on your deck or over a large beach towel, and then sprinkle it with coarse sea salt.  Leave it for 24-hours, and you have a perfectly seasoned mat.  If you want to go all fancy, you can add one of Maduka’s colorful yoga towels to your gift package.


I am a huge fan of my Power Block Sport 24 weight set.  They are sturdy, and the nested design takes up a minimum of space.  And for $160, they’re more cost effective than a traditional set of weights.  I will have these for life.  The problem is this:  every time I go to the Power Block website, they’re sold out.  I’m not sure if these guys are going out of business or something else, but I suspect they’ll become harder and harder to find. 

If your fitness lover likes the latest tech, consider the JAXJOX, which uses an electronic system to adjust the weights with a touch of a button.  This black-owned business is getting tons of buzz, and I admit that my low tech Power Blocks seem slightly old fashioned compared to the slick design and connected interface of these weights.  The weights come connected to an app that allows you to track your progress.  You also can join live and on-demand workouts.   The price is steep ($450 through BestBuy), but it’s less than a few months of a gym membership. 

Here’s a recent review of the JAXJOX:

[chilldeeply], JAXJOX Dumbbell Connect Preview (4 minutes)

If you have a smaller gift budget, the Flybird adjustable dumb bells should do the trick.  They go up to 25 pounds and have a quick change dial so you can adjust the weight quickly during training.  That’s a great feature when you’re doing a timed workout and only have 10-15 seconds to adjust your weights. 

Foam Roller

Some say you’re not a true fitness junkie until you own your own personal foam roller.  I have both a Trigger Point GRID foam roller and the STK Handheld Massage Stick.  The GRID was recently selected as the best foam roller in GQ’s 2020 Fitness awards … just sayin’. 

If you want more information on why to have a foam roller, check out my post, A Beginners Guide to Foam Rolling.  It will help your fitness lover minimize unwelcome injuries for years to come.

Ab Wheel

The Ab Wheel is a low profile, low tech, but highly effective piece of home equipment.  It might just create the most effective core exercise ever, provided it’s used correctly.   Think of it as an advanced plank. Done incorrectly, however, you can hurt your lower back.  You really, really want to avoid arching your back with this piece of equipment. 

If your gift recipient is a beginner, you might want to skip this one. You need to spend some time building up your abdominals before taking on this piece of equipment.  Here’s a video to help with proper form. 

Athlean-X, Top 5 Ab Rollout Mistakes (FIXED!) (9:30 minutes)

Walmart has the Stamina Ab Wheel on sale right now for $6.22, down from $13. 

Fitness Gifts on My Wish List

I’m a minimalist when it comes to equipment, so I avoid too much gadgetry.  But these 5 items can really add value to your home fitness space and won’t take up much room. 

Pull-Up Bar

Chris Pinedo, Perfect Fitness Multi Gym Pull Up Bar (9 minutes)

There are fewer options for working your latissimus dorsi (lats) when working out at home.  A pull-up bar solves this problem.  In addition to working the lats, pull-ups strengthen your trapezius, spine, shoulders, arm muscles.  And nothing is more badass than mastering the unassisted pull-up. 

There are lots of different types of pull-up bars on the market. One solid option is the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull-Up Bar.  The pull-up bar meets all of my criteria. It hangs on a door frame, so it remains up and out of the way. It requires no screws and, according to the above review, won’t mess up your door frame.  As a renter, I need something that avoids causing damage that I have to fix later. It’s portable and multi-functional. You can pull it off the door frame and use it for deeper pushups or as an anchor for sit-ups. Finally, it has a great price point. As of this writing, it’s on sale from Amazon for $25, down from $35. I hope to add this pull-up bar to my fitness arsenal when the time is right. 

Meghan Callaway, a fitness influencer I follow, has an entire program devoted to learning proper pull-ups, called The Ultimate Pull-Up Program–a nice addition to your gift package.

Exercise Dice

Casual Fitness Seekers, SPRI Exercise Dice, 6-Sided (2 minutes)

Some days, you just want to jump into a workout without much thought. That’s where these sassy SPRI Exercise Dice come in.  One die features a different workout on each of its 6 sides, and the other displays the repetition count.  If your fitness lover is short on time, these dice are a playful way to get a great workout without any planning effort. Get them for $16 on Amazon

TRX Straps

TRX, TRX Suspension Trainer Set Up & Use (5 minutes)

TRX suspension training straps are a mainstay in your typical gym, usually attached to a weight lifting cage or power rack.  But did you know that TRX straps are easy to use at home and during travel?  They come with an over-the-door anchor that allow for easy set-up and keeps the straps up and out of the way.  You can also attach them to any solid anchor, like a big tree limb or jungle gym.

The TRX system allows you to perform a lot of pushing and pulling exercises, something that’s harder to accomplish with weights.  They also help with balance.  You can use them to assist, or even amplify, more difficult moves, like assisted pistol squats or Bulgarian split squats.  Check out this article on some creative ways to use this handy fitness tool.  If you like what you see, get them for your loved one on Amazon for $170

LED Bracelet

GLOWHero, One Halloween Safety Tip Every Parent Needs to Know – The Rachael Ray Show (2 minutes)

The days here in Brussels are pretty short, with sunset at 4:40 pm and sunrise at 8:40 am, leaving what my husband calls 8 hours of “greylight”.  We like to run in the evenings as part of our COVID-Cup team (Not Fast, Just Furious) when we’re both home from work.  Running the streets of Brussels can be pretty dicey, with cars, buses, trams, scooters, cyclists and pedestrians all sharing the same space. 

This GLOWHero Slap bracelet looks like a good addition to my current day-glo running gear.  I like the snap bracelet feature, which allows you to quickly snap it on an arm or leg before jetting off for a quick run before dinner.   Give the gift of safety for only $10 from Walmart.  

Running Shoes

Amy Stone, On Running Shoe Review (4 minutes)

The conventional wisdom is that you should change your running shoes after about 500 miles.  I’m nowhere near that mileage on my current Mizuno Wave Riders, but I’m already coveting these Cloudflow running shoes from Swiss brand On Running.  These shoes are showing up everywhere in my news feed and getting great reviews. 

 The Cloudflows are lightweight running and racing shoes.  If your gift recipient is a marathoner, you might skip these as a gift. They’re designed for fast running (and I need all of the help I can get) and general training, but less so for long mileage.  This Swiss brand uses what’s called a Helion™ superfoam, which Cloudflow says provides extra comfort and kick.  The shoes have some mixed reviews on the laces — some find them slippery and too long, but as the above video shows, others love them. 

If you need any other reason to like On, tennis legend Roger Federer is an investor and contributing product designer

Get your Cloudflows from REI for $140

So there you have it.  Ten last minute fitness gifts for that special someone. 

Like what you read?  Subscribe to my blog by adding your email address to the form on the right.  You’ll get free updates on every new post, and I promise not to spam you! 

Want to experiment with home workouts?  Try my Simple Fitness 30-Day Challenge, which provides 30 days of at-home workouts with minimal equipment.  Just click the SF30 link in the top menu.  

Till next time, Kim

One Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: