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When it comes to gift giving, my philosophy is I want to give presents that my friends will actually use. Sometimes, I veer toward the more practical gifts than the flashy/trendy/buzzy ones. I'm not one to scoff at the novelty or gag gifts, but I'd rather my loved ones get something that will become a must-have for them. Partly, this is purely selfish because when they use said gift I hope they will think of me. Who doesn't love getting a text that says, "I'm trying the (insert useful gift here), and it's amazing/life changing/so cool"?
One category that I think always comes in handy is the fitness one because there is no doubt that you will have someone in your life who is either a gym rat or is vowing they will work out more starting January 1. So getting that person something that they can use during their workouts is both helpful and thoughtful. I will say that not everyone will love a fitness gift—some might even think it's a not-so-subtle hint that they need to work out more and take offense to it. So I would only go the fitness route with the person who has expressed interest in exercise to avoid any bad feelings. Just trying to save your holiday season and relationships here!
With that in mind, I've compiled a list of some of the coolest fitness gifts out there. Happy shopping and gifting!
These "bangles" are so chic they can almost be mistaken for a fashion accessory, but they'll actually take workouts up a notch. Each one weighs a pound and can be worn on the wrists or ankles for extra muscle building and resistance.
Do you want your friend to hate you and love you at the same time? These sliders will do the trick! They look pretty harmless, but they'll work the core, glutes, biceps, and triceps like no other. Ouch but effective is how I'd describe them.
A good yoga mat will come in handy whether your friend is an avid yogi or not. They can also use it as a workout mat for Pilates, barre, or strength-training exercises. This one has a lot of grip for any sweaty practices. And it's designed with an antimicrobial additive to prevent mold and mildew.
This isn't just any jump rope. It's a smart one. It will track jump counts, calories burned, and time elapsed through a mobile app. Plus, the LEDs on this will display fitness data in real time. So yeah, it's not your average playground jump rope.
A foam roller might not look like the splashiest gift, but once your friend uses it for muscle recovery and stretching, they'll see why it's a home gym must-have.
Resistance bands can be used for strength workouts and stretching afterward. These come in five different resistance levels and are etched with positive phrases for motivation.
Fancy gym equipment isn't really needed for a home gym. Sometimes, a set of weights is all you need for a variety of exercises. This one comes with three-, five-, and eight-pound dumbbells.
Any person who's looking to up their fitness game should invest in some new leggings. This pair from Girlfriend Collective is one of our favorites. They have just the right amount of compression, support, and stretch. Plus, they're made from recycled water bottles.
This medium-support bra is great for yoga and barre classes but also cardio classes. It's breathable with a mesh racerback.
Whether it's a run or a HIIT class, these sneakers from APL will provide enough support and comfort. They're breathable and flexible, too.
This cozy sweatshirt will come in handy pre- and post-workouts and for any lounging. And let's face it. We're all spending more time at home in cozy, comfy clothes. The cropped fit makes it a little more stylish.
The lightweight tank has a breathable racerback and works with any type of fitness routine. The high neck provides enough coverage.
Socks aren't the most exciting gift, but everyone needs them, right? These are designed for sprints and distance training.
This quick-drying and breathable headband makes a great stocking stuffer.
Nordstrom's Zella leggings are another favorite with our readers and editors. They're just so comfortable! These high-waisted ones have a hidden pocket in the waistband.
Anyone who's doing outdoor exercise will appreciate an extra layer, especially when it's chilly out. This thermal running top has zip pockets and thumbholes.
A big splurge, a Theragun is a wow-worthy gift that will really pay off because it's so helpful with muscle recovery. The device uses percussive therapy to relieve pain and massage any tight muscles or knots.
The Fitbit makes it easy to track heart rate, activity, steps, and calories burned during workouts (and rest times). It has a built-in GPS to track your pace and distance during outdoor runs.
This recovery cream contains essential oils and 250 mg of CBD to soothe and calm any aches and pains. Apply it to and massage any affected areas for 30 to 60 seconds.
The runner in your life will thank you for this handy belt. They can store their keys, cash, and credit cards in this lightweight and breathable accessory. It won't get in the way during outdoor runs.
The cool thing about this water bottle is it cleans itself, which is really key because, Who remembers to wash their water bottle regularly? A purifying UV light is activated every two hours. It's powered with USB technology and keeps water cold for 24 hours.
These earbuds are comfortable enough that they'll forget they're wearing them during workouts. They have up to nine hours of listening time and are sweat- and waterproof.
While heading to the gym is a bit iffy right now, it helps to be prepared for when quarantine lifts. This gym duffle bag converts from an over-the-shoulder bag to a backpack. It has plenty of pockets, including exterior and interior zip pockets and some for water bottles.
The Apple Watch really does it all for workouts and everything else. It measures your blood oxygen levels and heart rate and counts your daily activity. It can also track your progress for specific workouts like indoor cycling, yoga, dance, and swimming. Outside of workouts, it syncs up with your phone for messages and calls.
This kit has all the essentials: body lotion, lip balm, dry shampoo, and deodorant. The travel-size products are great for on-the-go needs.
This cell phone armband is the perfect accessory for outdoor running and exercise. It's made with breathable, comfortable materials and is adjustable so you can get it to fit just so. It works will all types of phones, like iPhone and Samsung devices.
Your friend can drop this effervescent cube into the bath after a grueling workout. It's formulated with Epsom salts, green tea, spirulina, and a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and clove essential oils.