With Christmas and Chanukah (Hanukkah) just around the corner, I'm sure you're starting to think about gifts for your friends. When someone recently told me “you are so hard to buy for” I thought you might be thinking the same thing about your healthy lifestyle friends.
So, I surveyed over 100 people and asked them what gifts they wanted for the holidays. Here are the gifts they said they wanted. If the people I knew wanted these items, odds are your friends will too. Hopefully this makes your holiday shopping a bit easier.
Nutrition Gift Ideas
1 Nutrition Books
Everybody likes to read -at least I think so. I'm partial to non-fiction books so I can learn something. For example, here are some books I've read and highly recommend.
Of course, getting your friends any of my books goes without saying too 🙂
2 Nutritionist Christmas Gift Card
When it comes to nutrition info, registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are the experts you want to deal with. To find an RD in your area go, to their website Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (EatRight.org) and on the upper right, click the red “Find an Expert” button and then click OK.
You can search for an RD by area and/or their expertise (eating disorders, sports nutrition, diabetes, weight loss etc.). You can even search by spoken language and which RDs take Medicare and Medicade.
3 Protein Powder
Pretty much every health conscious person I know uses protein powder. While we all have our favorite brands and flavors, to know what your friends like is as simple as taking a look at what's in their kitchen. If that's not possible, just get them a gift card to Vitamin Shoppe or GNC.
If your friend isn't in to supplements, get them a Christmas gift card to :
- Whole Foods
- Trader Joe's
or any local supermarket. People gotta eat so you know this is a gift they WILL use 🙂
4 Protein / Nutrition Bars
For Christmas last year, I asked for Chocolate Brownie Cliff Bars because this is my favorite flavor. Odds are, your friends have their own favorites. Popular brands include:
- RX Bar (see review)
- JERF Bar (see review)
- Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie (see review)
- Gatorade Protein Bar (see review)
- Robert Irvings Fit Crunch Bar (see review)
See the protein bar review for a breakdown of their nutrition information.
5 Protein Shake Mixer Bottles
Health conscious people are always taking their protein shakes on the road. Shaker bottles make a good gift for those who are on the go. When it comes to this gift, you have a lot of options, so which is best? If you like things to stay cold (or hot) then the Yetti makes a good choice.
If, on the other hand, you're shopping for a fitness nerd, electric shaker bottles which do the mixing for you are pretty neat. I'm partial to those made by Promixx.
6 Newsletter Subscriptions
Newsletters and magazine subscriptions are the gift which keeps on giving all year long. Three publications I have given as gifts include:
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I often post pictures of the smoothies I make with my Vitamix. I purchased my Vitamix around 2001 and it still works as well as the day it arrived.
Whatever you put in the Vitamix, it pulverizes so there is no gritty taste to smoothies. The version I use is Vitamix 1371. It's been around a long time, works great and cost a bit less than other models.
The Vitamix might be the gift you give to yourself 🙂
Juicers vs. blenders is one of the big debates in the nutrition world. If we stick a pin in that topic, there are some great juicers out there which don't cost much. I own the Breville Juice Fountain but many other quality brands are also out there such as these:
Fitness Gift Ideas
9 Exercise Ball
Exercise balls -also called stability balls and Swiss balls make great Christmas gifts. While most people probably use them for crunches, you can do so much more with them. Most exercise balls can hold up to 300 pounds. I prefer balls that are burst resistant. These exercise balls are thicker and are less likely to “pop” if they are ever punctured.
Exercise balls come in different sizes. For most adults either a 55cm or 65cm size ball will be fine. You know it's the right size when your thighs are about parallel with the floor when you are sitting on the inflated ball.
The FitBit is the most popular activity tracker in the world. The model I got for Christmas years ago –FitBit One still works in spite of me accidentally putting it in the washing machine. Newer models provide information on resting and exercise heart rate, calories burned and many other neat features.
Rebounders are basically mini-trampolines. They're easy on the joints which is good for people with arthritis. When choosing a rebounder, consider the weight of the person.
Many rebounders have a weight capacity of 250 pounds but some may support more than this. If purchasing a rebounder for a beginner or those with balance issues, I prefer those with handrail handlebar.
12 Yoga Mat
As yoga continues to grow in popularity, so too will yoga mats. These lightweight foam mats easily roll up making them simple to store in the home or take to an exercise class. And they are not expensive either. I like the extra thick mat from Amazon Basics.
13 Foam Roller
A lot of people LOVE foam rollers. While the original rollers were made of hard foam, newer versions can vibrate and even contain groves which are supposed simulate getting an actual massage.
14 Bosu Ball
Bosu stands for “both sides up.” It's basically a half a ball. One side is flat and the other side is dome-shaped. The Bosu Ball first came out in the 1990s and its popularity has not slowed down since.
While it was originally used to improve balance, a variety of exercises can be done with the Bosu, depending on which side you are using.
15 Fitness Bands
Elastic bands have been around forever and for a good reason. You can do a lot of stuff with them and they don't take up a lot of space. While there are heavy resistance exercise band gizmos, out there, they can be expensive. To get an effective band workout, you don't need to spend a lot of money.
I'm partial to the latex exercise bands by REEHUT because they have have soft grip handles, last a long time and have resistances that ranges from 4 pounds to 100 pounds.
The TRX suspension training system remains one of the most popular exercise gifts. It's super popular with exercise pros too. All you need is a door to hook it behind and you are good to go. The TRX is so popular and versatile, fitness centers offer entire classes devoted to just TRX exercises.
17 Personal Trainer Gift Card
Several people I surveyed said they would love some free sessions with a personal trainer as a Christmas gift. Every self employed personal trainer I know offers gift cards. IDEA is a fitness education association. They have a website where you can search for a fitness trainer in your area.
If you go to the IDEA website, you can search by state, zip-code and even name (I'm there too). From there you can, learn more about the person, their website and areas of expertise.
If your your friend belongs to a gym, you can also purchase sessions with a trainer who works on site.
18 Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are different than exercise balls mentioned above. The big difference is medicine balls weigh more (2 lbs to over 25 pounds) and they vary by whether they are hard or squishy. Some medicine balls even have handles on the sides.
19 Massage Gift Card
For some, there's no better Christmas gift than a good massage? All massage outlets offer gift cards. Another option is to have a massage therapist come to your home.
To find a therapist in your area go to the American Massage Therapy Association website. From there, just enter your zip code and all the therapists in your area will show up. There you can see their areas of specialty, website and many other details to help you find a therapist right for you.
20 Push Up Bars
One of the best exercises in the world is a basic push-up. It works pretty much every muscle in your body. Push up bars allow you do this exercise without any wrist stress. Best of all, push up bars are VERY affordable. I prefer push up bars with foam handles which give you an added layer of comfort.
FYI. I don't recommend push up bars that allow you rotate your hands while you do the exercise. I don't think they are any better and may put too much stress on your shoulders.
21 Gym Membership
Buy them a gym membership. Most fitness centers offer membership deals during and just after the holidays. Some – like Planet Fitness – are usually not expensive at all.
22 Home-made Gym-Buddy Gift Cards
I saved the best for last -because it's free! Basically, you make the gift cards yourself. Each gift card can be redeemed by your friend to have you accompany them to the gym. This is great for people who want a friend to workout with or for motivation.
You can make these homemade gift cards for anything – hugs, going out to dinner, and even just providing your friend someone to listen to when they've had a bad day. Sometimes this can be the best gift at all.
What Do You Think?
So what did you think of my Christmas/holiday gift idea list? Did I miss anything? Are there any gifts you are hoping for?
I’m a little late to the party. When I looked up the FitBit One on Amazon, one of the comments mentioned that FitBit decommissioned the One and no longer makes them. I received a FitBit Charge 2 for Christmas and wondering if I should exchange it for the Charge 3 in case they stop supporting the 2 version.
Unrelated to your recommendations, are you familiar with the Sandbell? https://amzn.to/2LEiDXL
Joe Cannon says
yes Ive heard they no longer make the FitBit one unfortunately. Its a good gizmo. They still support it even though they no longer make it. Mine still works. I’m sure both versions of the charge work well. Here is a good review of the FitBit charge 2 vs 3 I found on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YouhWJxlQ0Q
I know someone who loves the Fit Bit Alta which is a little less expensive.
As for the Sandbell, thanks for the heads up. Its a sandbag/kettlebell. Ive never used it but I can see the benefits of sandbags in training. Because it has a handle, it can simulate carrying groceries. Here is a SandBell youtube workout video I found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ynG0DpfPWw
Did you get the SandBell for Christmas?
Thanks Joe! I’ll check it out. I have the Charge 2 and torn about returning for the 3. I haven’t opened the box yet.
I did not get the Sandbell for Christmas. I found out about it when going through an old Prevention magazine. I thought it might be more versatile than a medicine ball and kettle bell.
Joe Cannon says
Judy, if you are happy with Charge 2, I’d say keep it. They did look similar overall for the most part.
yes the SandBell does seem to have advantages over the Kettle ball or medicine ball. If you get it, let me know what you think 🙂
Gloria Alvarez- Davila says
Joe any recommendations on a pre/post workout that is what my son asked for Xmas? I am def taking your suggestions for the bars as stocking stuffers, thanks!!!!
Hi Gloria, I think post workout supplements are safer than preworkouts. Generally pre-workouts are just a bunch of caffeine and other stimulants. I’ve always thought they were just overpriced caffeine products.
Post workout supplements generally contain glutamine and Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). They might also contain creatine as well.
If you purchase these individually, I like:
Glutamine from NOW Sports
Creatine monohydrate by Jarrow Nutrition
BCAA powder by NOW Sports
As a rule I like NOW and Jarrow products overall. They are good companies.
Yes bars make excellent stocking suffers 🙂
Your books are on my Christmas list!
Amanda, thanks for saying that -the perfect gift 🙂
Joe – thank you for sharing these wonderful gift ideas! Sending your list to my family and friends.
KSnow, you are very welcome! I am so glad they helped and thanks also for sharing the ideas with your family and friends 🙂