Welcome to the fitness fanatic edition of our gift giving countdown! Last spring, after taking a very long hiatus from exercising, I finally decided it was time to get rid of the last of the baby weight and to really work on my physical well being. Clearly high on chocolate, I decided that I was going to accomplish this by doing the P90X program. Someday I will write a post which I have already titled "P90-What-The-H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks-Was-I-Thinking?!" to tell you how much I seriously LOVE the program, how well it has worked for me, and how worth the cost it is (though truth-be-told, I bought it off of Craigslist for a fraction of the retail price, thank-you-overweight-man-who-lacked-the-motivation-to-open-the-package), but for today let's just focus on the 'tools' that go with exercising.
The Clothes: Even the smallest chested woman needs a good sports bra before she hits the ground (or the treadmill or the aerobics floor or her living room floor), and while I have a few and a few different brands, my hands-down favorite is the one made by UnderArmour. I sweat a ridiculous amount when I am working out, and I love the fact that this bra absorbs and then wicks away the moisture, keeping me from feeling like I am wearing a wet bathing suit top. I also have a couple of their tanks and a couple months ago scored a sweet deal on a fleece jacket at their outlet store. (This is one product where it pays to shop around . . . the prices on the website are steep, but most sporting goods stores carry their products for far less.) I am also a big fan of Champion, which is carried by Target (among others.) I love their shorts and their short-sleeved shirts, and they are very reasonably priced.
The Gear: Cardiovascular training is important for losing weight, but did you know that there is just as much benefit in weight and resistance training? Simply put, muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do. (And I mean VERY simply put . . . I tried to find a good link to explain all of it but ran out of time. It seems there are small people in my house who MUST.HAVE.DINNER.NOW.) Anyway . . . I always figured that hand weights were the way to go until my chiropractor mentioned using resistance bands instead. At his recommendation, I ordered a set from Bodylastics. Worth EVERY PENNY. I can do all the same exercises that I would do with the hand weights, and I have every combination of weight possible - individual bands starting at 3 pounds and going up to 30 pounds that can be combined to provide even greater resistance.
Something For Safety: My parents are both exercise fanatics - my Dad is a huge runner and my Mom is one of those crazy women who is out walking at 6:30 every morning. I love that they are so active, but the daughter and former-paramedic in me worries about their safety and about what would happen if they got injured and were unable to tell the police or fire department who they were or who they should notify. Enter RoadID! Each of my parents is getting a RoadID for Christmas - a bracelet for my Mom and a shoe band for my Dad. (Be sure to enter pcFB152 as a promotional code when you check-out to get 10% off your purchase!)
It may seem a bit, ummm . . . suggestive to give the ones you love things that they could use when they workout, so these gifts may be best for people who already have an exercise routine or who need a little push to get off the couch. Unless, of course, you want to spend the next year being chastised for indirectly calling your sister-in-law fat.