Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

Running is such a simple sport, isn’t it? You just lace up your shoes and head out the door. No special equipment, just relying on your legs and heart to get going. Except…nearly every runner I know has all of the things.  Even if you’re not into the fancy apps and GPS tracking, you still need more than just a pair of running shoes to make your running life comfortable and happy. The same is true of those of us who work out in the gym, or practice yoga. There’s always stuff it’s nice to have.

And I don’t know about you, but I tend to fall into the trap of over-researching even the smallest purchase. My husband still doesn’t really understand why a water bottle he bought me as a birthday gift one year still ranks as one of my favorite gifts from him – I’d been mulling over options online for two weeks and it just took all the decision-making away from me.

So if you have some gifts to buy for a fitness lover in your life, or you’re just looking for things to suggest to Santa for yourself, check out my Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers. Enjoy!

For the Runners

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

1. Running Fuel. This is a great stocking stuffer if you know enough about what your runner uses as fuel or electrolyte replacement when she or he runs. This is one of those items that it’s great to have a stash of, so you’re not about to leave for a long run, only to discover you’re out of fuel. Pictured here: two electrolyte mixes, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, $0.99 per pack, and Nuun Electrolyte Drink Tabs, $24 for 4 tubes of 12 tabs.

2. Winter accessories. If you’re buying for a winter-weather runner, cold weather running accessories are a great idea for a gift. Think gloves, arm warmers, ear warmer headbands, neck gaiters. Shown here are the Saucony Nomad Gloves for women, $30. I used these last winter until I fell and ripped one open & they are awesome – warm without getting hot paws and the fingertips are touchscreen-friendly.

3. Running fuel belt. Yes, theoretically you just go out for a run with nothing you need to carry, but in the real world, you have your keys, some money, your phone, your fuel, your lip balm…it’s awesome to have somewhere to stash everything so it doesn’t bounce around. FlipBelt, $29 is my favorite – I tried SO MANY belts and waist packs before I found this accessory. It’s amazing – it doesn’t budge and it stows everything you need on a long run.

4. Compression Socks or Calf Sleeves. I never used these until I won a pair in a contest, then later wrote a review of Pro Compression socks in exchange for a free pair. I love them. A lot of people swear by running in them, but for me they are awesome for recovery after a hard run or race. Here are a cute winter pair of the Pro Compression socks, $50. Pro Compression also occasionally does a ‘grab bag’ of three pairs of calf sleeves for $33 – you don’t get to choose colors or patterns. I bought them last time they had that sale and they’re awesome for throwing on under a pair of jeans so you’re getting active recovery while you’re dressed in your grown-up clothes.

5. Foam Roller. An excellent gift if your runner doesn’t already have one and even if they do, there’s always one that will hurt a little more on the market. 😉 Pictured on the left is the High Density Foam Roller I have at home, $16, as well as an evil-looking Trigger Point Performance The Grid foam roller, $38.

6. GPS watch. No more mapping out your route, or trying to work out speed interval distance outside. I LOVE my Garmin and I am sad the band has fallen apart and I’ll need to buy a new one soon. *cough* Santa *cough* Pictured above left is the most expensive running GPS watch by Garmin, the Forerunner 620, $400 and above right is the least expensive, the Forerunner 10, $130. They both have GPS function, programming for intervals and heart rate, splits etc, but the 620 also feature touch screen display, race predictors, V02 Max estimate and it will track your indoor workouts without needing the foot pod attachment. It all depends on how many bells and whistles you need. 

7. Hand-held or fuel belt bottles. In the winter in city parks, the drinking fountains are shut off so the pipes don’t freeze. It makes a running water bottle a great gift for a cold weather runner. There are so many styles available – I’ve used a similar bottle to this Amphipod Hydraform Handheld, $24, and found it pretty comfortable to run with.

8. Sports sunglasses. I never used to wear sunglasses while running, until I went to an Oakley event, where I was given a free pair of sunglasses – I even had my prescription added. They are AWESOME. I rarely run without them and recommend them to everyone. Oakley Sport Sunglasses for women start at $120 and Oakley Sport Sunglasses for men start at $110.

9. Race entry or a coaching plan. Race entry can be pricey. Chicago marathon was $185 this year, NYC marathon was $221. The popular Rock n Roll Half Marathon series are $125 for entry. While it’s usually difficult to sign someone up for a race, you can give them the money or a check for the cost of entry and include a note with the race details and when they need to register. Similarly, online coaching plans, or one-on-one running coaches can become expensive, especially if the runner is investing in something more personalized than the cookie-cutter plans you find for free online.

For the Gym Goers

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

1. Training session journal. Logging your workouts when strength training can help you progress quicker, avoid plateaus and stay free from overuse injuries. Planning and then logging your workout is even better because then you don’t waste any time in the gym. Try something like this fitlosophy fitbook fitness & nutrition journal, $23.

2. Gym bag. I was lucky enough to be given an Apera bag for review  this year and I love it. I use it nearly every day, for clients, for the gym, as well as traveling. They have a bunch of different styles available – I have the Apera Active Pack which is usually $99 but is currently on sale for $79.20! A good gym bag is a great gift, because they can get pricey and aren’t something a gym-goer will think to spend money on.

3. Group fitness classes. So your regular gym has free classes, but there are so many specialty fitness studios popping up all over the place. They’re priced like yoga studios – you can buy a single class, or discounted class packs and most studios offer gift cards. If your fitness lover is really into spinning, or kettlebells, or wants to try boxing or TRX, you can most likely find a studio in your area. This photo above is taken from the Exceed Physical Culture studio in NYC – they offer group fitness classes using a combination of kettlebells, TRX, medicine balls, jumprope and rowers. It sounds pretty awesome!

4. Foam roller. Just like runners, lifters need self-myofascial release, too! Check out the running section above for all the details.

5. Lifting shoes. The gym floor is one place you don’t want your cushioned, stability running shoes. When lifting, minimal is better and one of the (surprisingly) best pairs for lifting are the good old Chuck Taylors, $50.

6. Personal training sessions. The cost will vary, depending on where you are and whether you’re buying through a gym, or going one-one-one through an independent trainer. This is a great gift if your special someone has already indicated pretty clearly that they want to try, or continue personal training. If you’re just buying sessions as a surprise, you could be venturing into a minefield of, “Just what exactly are you trying to say with this gift??” Most gyms, like Equinox pictured above, offer packages you can put in your recipient’s name and most independent trainers will negotiate package prices with you (just be sure to get confirmation of what you’re purchasing in writing).

7. Gym towel. It’s kind of gross if you think too much about the concept of using the free towels laying out at the gym. Yes, they’re washed after use, but still… This Towelmate Fitness Towel with Germ Shield, $25 is antibacterial, has clearly-labeled ‘gym’ and ‘skin’ sides and has a clever zippered compartment for all your bits and bobs you don’t want to leave in a locker.

For the Yoga Lovers

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

1. Yoga retreat. If you really want to splurge, there are lots of weekend, or longer yoga retreats available, which would be an amazing gift for a yoga lover in your life. This photo above is taken from the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA.

2. Yoga tote. Rather than a yoga mat bag to sling over your shoulder, why not invest in a stylish tote with a yoga mat attachment? Pictured is the Apera Yoga Tote, regularly $119, but currently on sale for $95.20. Without your mat, it doubles as a regular gym bag, too.

3. Antibacterial spray. Not so long ago one of my clients, whom I train in her living room, washed her yoga mat that only she uses. She was horrified by how dirty it was and I was horrified thinking about how often I’ve paid $1 for mat rental at a studio. Gross. If you’re going to rent mats, or even if you want to keep yours fresh after every use, an antibacterial spray is a good purchase. This is the NamaSTAY Yoga Mat Spray, $12.

4. Class pack at favorite studio. Most yoga studios offer class packs and you can buy one for your yogi or yogini. Ask what studio they practice at, then call or go online to buy sessions.

5. Yoga props. If your yoga lover practices at home, a few props are a great gift. Blocks and straps are particularly handy. Pictured above are the Natural Fitness Hemp Yoga Strap, $13 and the Natural Fitness Bamboo Yoga Block, $15. (PS: It’s nice to have two blocks).

6. Yoga mat or mat towel. Investing in a good yoga mat, or a yoga towel to layer (or both) can seem like a lot, especially if you’re like me and usually do mat rental. That’s why it’s such a lovely gift! These are the Manduka PROlite 71″ mat, $86, and the Gaiam Thirsty Yoga Mat Towel, $25.

7. Pedicure. You are barefoot on that mat, yoga people. Even if no-one else is side-eyeing your toes, you’re going to be seeing a lot of them. Plus, pedicures are just awesome.

For all the Fitness Lovers

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

1. Water bottle infuser. This is a product I received in a gift bag at FitBlogNYC this year and it’s so awesome! The Citrus Zinger,  $16, is a regular water bottle with a built-in citrus squeezer, so you can easily add whatever citrus flavor you want.

2. Massage. Sports massage if your recipient is pretty hardcore, or just a general massage if you want to give the gift of relaxation, you can never go wrong with a spa certificate.

3. Magazine subscriptions. I love Running Times and buy it now and again – I don’t know why I don’t have a subscription! This is a better gift for a recipient who has a specialty sport or activity they love, otherwise you may be venturing back into that grey area of subscriptions to Shape and Self being misconstrued.

4. Adjustable dumbbells. I first encountered these when training a client in her home – they are so awesome! They take up the same space as one set of dumbbells, but have an easy adjustable system so you can change the weight for different exercises. Prices vary pretty wildly – this set of Weider Power Switch Adjustable Dumbbell Set seemed reasonable at $60 (although woah for nearly $80 shipping!). Do a little research and cost-comparison, but for someone who works out at home, especially if space and storage are in limited supply, I think these are ingenious.

5. Fitness jewelry. Pretty, sparkly things that proclaim you are a badass. 🙂 I met Erica Sara of Erica Sara Designs at FitBlogNYC this year – she is lovely and her jewelry, pictured above, is beautiful.

6. Headbands. I love both the headbands featured here. The Sparkly Soul headband brings bling to your race outfit – $15 for thin and $17 for wide styles. I’ve received a couple in gift bags at fitness events and they are cute and comfortable. Bondi Band, ranging from $9 to $15, which I’ve received for review, I love because as well as being a super-comfortable headband you can use to keep your ears warm when it’s not quite cold enough for a winter ear warmer.

For the Healthy Cooks

Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Lovers

1. Oil mister. A great stocking stuffer for a cook who is trying to cut down on oil use, without using the aerosol sprays. You load this Misto Oil Sprayer, $10 with your favorite cooking spray, pump the lid and voila, it turns it into a fine mist.

2. Spices. A great way to add flavor without adding calories, search out some lovely fresh spices for your chef to try. The set pictured above is The Spice House Signature Selection, $35. You can also just hit up local ethnic markets if there’s a particular cuisine you have in mind.

3. Juicer. At $4 or $5 for a fresh green juice, if your loved one is a juice junkie, buying a DIY juicer is a great investment. Yes, it’s pricey to buy a good one, but it ends up paying for itself. Pictured above is from the middle of the price range, the Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain, $200.

4. Le Creuset cookware. This is the gold standard of cookware for the home. The beautiful and expensive cast iron pieces have a lifetime guarantee. Wouldn’t you be more likely to want to cook at home when you have something beautiful like this Le Cresuet French Oven? Prices for the Round French Ovens range from $120 to $490.

5. Cooking class. They seem extravagant, but this super-fun Cook&Go cooking class I was invited to as a blogger this year is only $39! In Manhattan, people! This is a fun gift to do with someone – if you’re near a city, you should find a bunch of options. There’s usually wine involved, too. Win win!

6. Spiralizer. For oodles of zoodles. If your healthy cook is trying to cut back on pasta, or just wants to get fancy with some zucchini, you see a lot of ‘zoodle’ recipes now that require a spiralizer. Pictured here is the Slicely Vegetable Spiralizer, $30.

7. Gift certificate for food or meal delivery. This is a great gift, because often the recipient will buy something they wouldn’t ordinarily splurge on, like fancy oil, or expensive ingredients. I use Fresh Direct in NYC, but you can find lots of online grocery stores for your area. Another option would be to do a monthly subscription to a recipe service, like Blue Apron, also in NYC, which I’ve tried before. The ingredients and recipes for easy, delicious meals are delivered to your door every week.


What would you add to your fitness gift list?

What’s the best fitness gift you’ve received?


  1. I love my spiralizer! I think the best fitness gift I received was a crockpot – does that count? It made it a lot easier to cook nutritious meals in bulk ahead of time.
    Jessica recently posted…Forget Being “Nice” – Be SafeMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I can’t believe I didn’t think of a crockpot! That’s such a good gift. We actually got our crockpot as a Christmas gift years ago. I don’t have a spiralizer but I definitely want to get one.

  2. I would love anything on these lists. Though I am not a big yoga fan, maybe if I had those things I would start doing it more.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Run Disney,May Events, and Star Wars mealsMy Profile

  3. Wow–really great, comprehensive list! I am definitely eyeing up some new winter running gloves. I just bought a new pair but they still won’t do the trick in really cold weather.
    misszippy recently posted…How to (hopefully) pull a marathon out of the toiletMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks! I was so bummed when I wiped out and tore my gloves last year. I’m just using throwaways now, because I’m torn between getting the Saucony ones again, or there’s a Trailheads pair that Allie had on her blog, with a little mitten part over the thumb & fingers. They looked awesome. And cue me taking weeks to make a decision!!

  4. Great list. New shoes and workout clothes are always on my list!!!
    Kim recently posted…Scared (maybe scarred) into Changing my WaysMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I always like gift cards for fitness clothes because I’m so picky, although right now I have no interest since I’m just getting bigger by the day (and hour and minute!!)

  5. Love this list! Something for everyone for sure! I’ve found that all running gloves are not created equal. Sadly the ones I love most are from a company that is out of business. Guess I need to keep mine in good condition. I’d so love a spiralizer. I feel like the last person in the blogosphere without one. Ha!
    Marcia recently posted…Humpday GiveawayMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I am also without a spiralizer but they look so cool! And I’m curious to see if Roman will actually eat a form of veggie if it looks like pasta.

  6. Holy cow mama!!!! I need to send this to every person who is getting me a gift before they get me anything else but what’s on these lists!!! Honestly though, I would absolutely love a cooking class. I’m going to look into one in my area so thanks for the reminder. This is truly an amazing post – great breakdown. I’m going to bookmark it for reference…as soon as I email it to my husband. 🙂
    Allie recently posted…My Mittens Are Better Then Yours! #TrailHeads GiveawayMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Allie! That cooking class was SO much fun – I would do that again in a heartbeat. I picked up a couple of new techniques and tips and I feel like I know my way around the kitchen pretty well. So worth it.

  7. These are awesome lists! That gym towel thing is an awesome ida and I’m going to go take a look at it!
    Kristen recently posted…Holiday Wish List for Runners – Alaska Edition!My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Isn’t that a cool towel? The pocket is a good idea in theory, although I wonder if you’re laying on it if that would be an issue, or if you just drape that bit out of the way. But the gym side/skin side is worth it for me – such a simple, genius idea!

  8. Ummm, I would like this all. Especially if someone would send me on a yoga retreat please!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Enduropacks Review {and Giveaway!}My Profile

  9. what a great list! My hubby has bought me a couple great gifts! I love my Fibit and I love my running jacket he bought me from Athleta !
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Getting my Holiday Sweat on!My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Oh, a FitBit is a good one! That’s always a good fitness gift. Sounds like your hubby knows what he’s doing! 😉

  10. This is awesome, lady! Sharing! xo
    Alaya recently posted…Paleo Pumpkin Pie, and a long overdue hi!My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks Alaya! It was fun to put together because it was kind of just like having fun online shopping. Except no packages arriving. But also no credit card bill, so that’s a positive!! 😉