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Healthy Holiday Gifts

From apps and cookbooks to shoes and exercise equipment, here's a roundup of the trendiest fitness-oriented gift ideas for the fittest and hippest on your gift list.

You’ll find the trendiest fitness enthusiasts these days running barefoot, swinging kettle bells and doing pull ups on a TRX at a bootcamp, while eating kale chips. So what are the best and most interesting gifts to give this year?

Barefoot Shoes: The barefoot running trend continues, but gone are the days when you have to wear the five-toe shoes in order to get the benefit of the barefoot shoes. Yes, the Vibram 5 toes are still great, but check out the new Merrell’s, the New Balance Minimus, and for a large selection of casual shoes, the VivoBarefoot. The benefit of the barefoot shoe is that you get to work your foot musculature the way nature intended. The trend is to try barefoot running, but I would caution anyone who has spent their life in shoes (all of us) to spend at least 6 months strengthening your feet with specific exercises and reprogramming your gait for walking before running.

Foot Wakers: If your special someone already has barefoot shoes, save them the pain of foot injury by waking up their foot muscles. Foot Wakers are small balls used to exercise these long ignored muscles and come with video instructions.

Suspension Trainers: TRX and Rip 60. The cheapest and most versatile home exercise equipment available. You can do more than a hundred different moves for strength and flexibility from beginner level to super advanced. We like to use the Rip 60 in our gyms because we find them a little more versatile. You can learn a few exercises from the web, but to insure you are doing them properly get some professional help.

Personal Training: Get your loved one a few sessions with a fitness professional to get started right. Making sure you are doing your exercises properly is critical. The most important thing a personal trainer can give you is an efficient progressive plan that gets you safely from where you are now to the next level. The motivation to get it done is a crucial benefit as well.

Cookbooks: Vegan, Paleo or Cleanse? Cookbooks are always a convenient holiday gift. Vegan diets are trending higher these days and the Paleo diet remains a hip trend. Personally I didn’t know Paleo man took so many supplements and thought he ate more bugs. Great gifts from Marin authors include Get Naked Fast from Diana Stobo, Wired for Joy by Laurel Mellin, or Women Food and God by Geneen Roth.

Massage: Always a welcome gift. Like personal training, massage works best if you get sessions at least twice per week for a few weeks. Try a targeted therapeutic sports massage or a relaxing Swedish to relieve holiday stress.

Apps: For workout ideas complete with videos of hundreds of exercises, check out Fitness Builder or iMuscle. There are dozens of diet and exercise logs, I like My Net Diary. Both are fully functioning on the web as well if you don’t have an iPhone/iPad. Map My Ride and Map My Run are great ways to track distance, elevation, speed and more to keep track of all your workouts.

The best gift for anyone, fitness enthusiast or not is a California Parks Annual Pass. They get access to the great outdoors and support our at the same time.

Steven Sashen December 14, 2011 at 11:55 PM
In the barefoot shoes category, you should have included Invisible Shoes barefoot sandals. WAY more barefoot feel than what you mentioned, and at 1/3 the price (and with a 5,000 mile warranty).
Mary December 16, 2011 at 04:22 AM
The idea of the pass for the parks is terrific! Thanks. Though, first I will check to see which, if any, have been closed...as was projected during the last budget crisis.

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