Gifts for Fitness Buffs

From gift certificates to equipment there is a lot to choose from

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

If you have a few fitness buffs on your gift list, you have plenty of options that will encourage them in their wellness goals.

Suggestions from Jennifer Johnson, certified personal trainer, certified in exercise therapy, exercise recovery specialist, specialist in corrective exercise and owner of Fearless Fitness in Baldwinsville.

• “Foam rollers. Those are used as a self-massaging technique, usually on the floor to massage out stiff muscles. It’s like a deep tissue massage. If you’re a beginner, you can get a relatively soft one. Different ones have nubs on them to hit the muscle a little bit harder.
• “A gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, eBay or Play it Again Sports so they can pick out what they want.
• “Medicine balls and kettle bells. They can be used for cardio and strength training. There are all different weights and sizes. Medicine balls you can use with a partner to toss back and forth. They’re really easy to use. You can use kettlebells for walking lunges, kettle bell swings.
• “A gift certificate for a personal trainer. Unlike going to a gym, it’s more personal.”

Suggestions from Patrick DiBello, owner, Syracuse Fitness Center and certified personal trainer, Syracuse Fitness Center.

• “One of my big things for fitness equipment is gymnastics rings. They’re portable and great because they help people work on pulling exercises. They’re straps that go around the rings. You wrap the strap around a doorway pull-up bar or a pole. They’re good for core, strength training. You can take them to the gym, too.

• “I’m a big fan of resistance bands. It’s really easy if you’re working out at home. It’s hard to otherwise train your pulling muscles for training your back muscles. A lot of people are strong with their chest, shoulders and the front muscles, but lack muscles in the back and resistance bands help with that.
• “The exercise ball-physio ball. I know they get stashed in people’s corners, but they’re really valuable for core exercises and stretching. They’re very underrated in my opinion. They’re good for legs and core.
• “Yoga blocks to bring to a yoga class. To me, they’re the number one go-to tool to have for a home workout. You can use them for stretching, balance and strength training. They’re a good prop for flexibility. It helps you get stabilized as they’re six inches higher than the floor. It’s a great way to modify a lot of stretches.
• “Parallettes: mini versions of parallel bars but one and a half feet off the ground. If people have a hard time doing push-ups on the floor, you can put your knees on the ground or elevate your hands to make it easier. It makes dips more accessible.
• Yoga mat. It’s a little more cushion if you’re on a floor at your house and you don’t have a gym mat. It also solidifies a certain space. It helps with the mindset.
• “The Acumobility ball. It’s a ball designed for soft tissue work, replicating some of the work a massage therapist does. You can’t replace those techniques, but some soft tissue work can increase mobility, circulation.”

Suggestions from Jill Murphy, certified personal trainer and certified life coach, co-owner of Mission Fitness, East Syracuse.

• “Some things I think of are worth having in a home gym include Bowflex Select Tech dumbbells. They’re stackable, so you pick the weight and when you pick it up, it’s that weight. It’s one big dumbbell so it doesn’t require a lot of room. You have a lot of different weight options to work with.
• “A Peloton membership. They have thousands of workouts, and some are live. There’s a lot to choose from. You don’t have to have the Peloton bike brand for the membership to work.
• “If someone has a road bike, you can get a bike trainer. You take off one wheel and it makes a bike into a stationary bike. It’s great for someone into road biking so they can stay active in winter.
• “If people like to work out outdoors, snowshoes or cross-country skis can be a great gift. You can go to a local park like Beaver Lake or Highland Forest.
• “An exercise ball is on the cheaper end. They can do abs and squats with it and a handful of other exercises.
• “A workout bench could also help someone, whether a chest press, triceps dip, or seated shoulder press.

Suggestions from Walter Walker, III, personal trainer and personal trainer manager at Train Hard Fitness, Liverpool.

• “Some type of smart watch or tracker, like a Fitbit or Apple watch. You need accountability. That especially helps my weight-loss clients.
• “Proper footwear, whether running, cross training or lifting weights, it’s important. If your feet hurt, you don’t want to do anything.
• “New fitness gear like shirts and clothes. If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you perform good. It’s a big motivator.
• “Give dumbbells, a jump rope and a yoga mat. Most people have moved their working out into their homes.
• “If someone’s serious about fitness, gift them with a class package at a gym they’re at. Getting around others with like-mindedness is a good idea. It can help them stay motivated. It can kickstart their journey. Or maybe upgrade their membership. It may only be $10 a month.