For millions of people, this time of year is special. The magic and excitement of the holiday season means more time with family and friends, delicious dinners around big tables, and giving the AmEx card its annual to-the-limit workout. With parties and gatherings filling up the calendar, holiday shopping has become something we either make an event of—the whole family spends the day ping-ponging to various malls before meeting back up for dinner—or something we do on speedy detours taking care of the rest of life. However you do your shopping, if an athlete is on your list, we’ve got some suggestions to take some of the guesswork out of your life. We have four ideas to get your wheels turning and four products we are really excited about for this holiday season. Here is our athlete holiday wish list. If you or your athlete don’t celebrate during this season, everyone likes a nice thinking of you gift in March. This list works for that, too!
- Fitness Tracker – Let’s face it, seeing in plain black and white (or fully color LCD) just how much slack you’ve packed around holiday tables is a great motivator for any athlete! We’ve reviewed a few of these wearable accountability machines this year, both in June and July. There are options for well under $50.00 and some north of $450.00. Their functions run the gamut, too—from only tracking steps, to GPS mapping, playing music, and monitoring heart rate. Athletes love to know as much as possible about their performance. Give them data with style!
- A Race – If the athlete in your life has a race or competition they enter every year, give them the gift of registration. You can dress this up as much as you’d like with some gear for the race along with the registration receipt, or maybe a night’s stay in a local hotel if travel is required. If you’re an athlete, too, register to participate with them and make an even of it. Or—believe me—knowing that you keep up with their interests and encourage their passion is all the extra this gift needs.
- Shoes – This one is true and tricky. Athletes of many stripes, but obviously runners, can go through a few pairs in a year and many like to alternate shoes for different activities and to more fully involve various muscles. That said, you probably shouldn’t base this purchase on that amazing commercial you saw last night. Instead, if you know for sure the gift recipient is a never-gonna-change Nike diehard, then grab a pair. If you just aren’t sure, snag an old shoebox (something completely non-athletic for giggles) and drop a gift card to your local running or athletic store inside. Make sure you visit the store to see if fittings and measurements are free, to check the average shoe price, and discover all the costs you may want to include on that card.
- Delicious Nutrition – It seems everywhere you looked this year, there were stories on nutrition and how it makes or breaks an athlete’s performance. There are great and special ways you can help your athlete stay on track. First, start building their healthy cookbook library. Those of us who love them know that cookbooks are more than recipes. The authors offer quips and insights into a range of topics between gazpachos and kale smoothies. We’ve highlighted some great recipes this year, including how to have nutrition and chocolate in the same bite. We keep going back to Shalane Flannigan’s Run Fast. Eat Slow.—so much yum and so much healthy. If your athlete needs quick, planned, and healthy, give them the gift of meal planning! The folks at MealFit offer weekly shopping guides and plan meals for ease and access while making sure the foods prepared are helping to build stronger, healthier athletes.
- Nike Zoom Fly – So, about what we said up top, if your athlete is looking for a new shoe, point them here for a looksee. This shoe is designed with both distance and speed in mind. It’s Flymesh upper is breathable to keep your feet cool while the carbon/nylon plate through the midsole propels you forward. It’s not bad looking, either.
- Smartwool Socks – Shoes get all the attention, but what’s between your foot and your sneakers deserves some love, too. Most of us just want a sock that gets the job done—good fit, no slip, no bunching. That’s what makes this a great gift. It seems like a splurge but will soon become a must-have favorite. The wool naturally wicks away moisture, provides great temperature regulation, and possesses anti-microbial properties. The snug fit and soft feel are like a warm holiday hug… for the foot.
- Osprey Duro Solo – This hydration belt keeps your hands free, but hydration always within reach. And these days, if a product can multitask, all the better. In addition to a water bottle, the belt has a small pouch for keys or cash and a touch sensitive phone pocket allowing you to answer a call or quickly skip that song thought you liked. The elastic waistband provides flexibility for a snug and forgiving fit.
- HOTSHOT – Hydrate, get the right gear, eat right, book the race, and track your steps. You can do everything right, make all the right plans, never miss a run, and still suffer muscle cramps. If the athlete in your life struggles with muscle cramps, give them the gift of cramp-free running. It really is a gift that keeps giving. Provide more confidence and longer training sessions. More finish lines and fewer sidelines. A new PR. HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to not only treat muscle cramps, but to prevent them. If that doesn’t light your Yule log, we don’t know what will.
What’s on your wish list this year? Is there a product that you think every athlete really wants (someone else to buy)? Tell us all about it. We’re always listening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We wish you the happiest holiday season and 365 days of personal bests in the coming year.