Someone on your gift list with a passion for fitness? Or someone who wants to do what’s best for their health and body? (That’s everybody on your list, right?) We’ve got you covered. So skip the fruitcake and dive into our Holiday Gift Guide, stocking-stuffed with creative ideas for keeping your loved ones in top-top-shape.
We’re not getting paid for these—we’re just passing on ideas for the gear and professionals we really like. Happy holidays!
Gear to get you going
Resistance bands—so useful, so economical
From under $10
We’re big advocates of resistance bands for your workout routine. They can be used for warming up, for resistance strength training and for stretching. With the right technique, a band can isolate just about any muscle group or joint. They take up almost no space and they’re inexpensive.
We recommend a combination of straight and loop bands. Get the heavier ones, they last longer. And bigger is better, especially if you’re isolating a large joint, like the shoulder. Larger bands are good for deadlifts or squats. Smaller loop bands wrap around your legs and ankles for warming up or hitting the glutes. YouTube is a great resource for exercise ideas.
A little help, from kinesiology tape
We use kiniseo tape a lot in the office—and you can use it at home, you just need to learn the taping technique. It’s a flexible, stretchy form of athletic tape that can provide extra support to help just about any part of the body move. It’s especially useful when recovering from an injury and returning to play, but it can be used anytime any part of you needs a little extra support.
Our favorite water bottles
What makes a great water bottle? It’s made only from safe materials, it adds no off-flavors to your drink, it’s tough and—assuming you like your beverage cold or hot, it’s double-wall insulated. Hydro Flask and Takeya tick all the boxes. Fill one with ice and water, the ice won’t melt, all day, even in a hot car. They’re both running holiday specials on their websites.
Yoga mats: not all created equal
You can get a yoga mat for $5. It won’t do much except protect your body from the floor and protect the floor from sweat. Better yoga mats cost more, but they do more. They’re as much as three times thicker, so they provide a lot more cushion—which is especially nice for any kneeling exercise. They’re made from better materials for durability. And they are designed for the workout, so they don’t get slippery and they’re antimicrobial. We’re particularly fond of lululemon’s mats—they’re awesome.
Theragun: the genuine item for percussive massage
For recovery after your workout, Theragun makes professional-grade percussive massagers. We use them in the office. It has power to spare, reaching 60-percent deeper into muscle than garden variety massagers, that really only work skin-deep. Hand held, it delivers targeted percussion directly to problem areas to loosen muscles, promote range of motion and increase blood flow.
Powerbeats Pro wireless headphones
A lot of people love music to power their workout. The trouble with regular headphones is that the cord is always in your way. And some wireless ‘phones won’t stay in your ears during intense exercise. We like these, from Apple, designed especially for working out. Bluetooth technology, so they pair with your phone or watch. “Hey Siri” is built in. And they run up to nine hours on a charge.
Dumbbells that don’t take over your entire house
These adjustable dumbbells from Core Home Fitness are just the thing for the lifter with limited space. Dumbbells are great for all kinds of targeted workouts, but they take up a lot of real estate—especially for couples or families with different strength levels. Sold in pairs, each is an entire 10-piece set, in the space of a single dumbbell. Change weight from five to 50 pounds with a twist of the handle. Clever, compact and convenient. They sell out fast—but Core is good at restocking, so check back a few times. Bowflex sells their version, at a similar price. Check YouTube for workout ideas.
During the pandemic – some gyms are closed and some folks would rather work out at home. A spin bike is a great option for cardio at home—if you like spinning. If you’re motivated and already in the habit, you can pick up a basic spin bike for around $300. Of course, the price goes up from there, depending on features and if you like having an instructor.
Virtual live instruction has changed the game in at-home spin, with Peloton leading the market. Peloton has done an amazing job of combining a gym-grade bike with communication technology to create an entire online community of committed spin enthusiasts. That or its main competitor, SoulCycle, start at around $2,000. But other manufacturers are jumping into the segment at different price points, like Bowflex, Nordictrack and Echelon.
Shop local! We love these providers—you will, too
Mark Kemenosh and Associates Chiropractic
The next generation of chiropractic care
OK, we’re going to toot our own horn, here. Since 1980, our talented and hard-working doctors have helped thousands of people achieve their wellness goals. We help everyone: Olympic athletes, weekend warriors and regular folks coping with chronic pain. Our approach is different—focused on soft tissue, not the old-school approach of setting bones in motion. That makes our style of chiropractic accessible to anyone looking to relieve or prevent pain and increase flexibility, energy and range of motion. Any chiropractic care package can be purchased as a gift for the holidays. Call 856-228-3100 or drop us a line to learn more.
Framework Pilates & Functional Movement, Mt. Laurel
Restore your muscles. Revive your mind.
Framework’s mission is to provide the highest quality Pilates instruction, in a peaceful and noncompetitive environment. Our core principles are seeded in the mind-body connection and dynamic movement—so the benefits of your workout transfer to your everyday life.
In addition to Pilates, Framework offers functional movement, ELDOA stretching and infrared sauna—an excellent way to stay healthy and keep a positive outlook with the cold, dark winter coming on.
Your skin absorbs as much as 93 percent of heat energy produced from infrared sauna. It’s relaxing and rejuvenating, reduces stress, boosts energy and helps rid your body of toxins. With medical-grade lighting, you get all the benefits of sunlight with zero risk of sunburn, increasing dopamine and serotonin to improve your state of mind, regardless of the season. And you choose your own music.
Buy a gift certificate for any Framework service through Mindbody.
Philly Pilates, done right
Nicole Smith-Alvarez is a professional dancer, choreographer and actor who has built CoreLove-Culture into one of Philadelphia’s most beloved and accomplished Pilates studios. She credits her daily dedication to Pilates with keeping her flexible, energetic and healthy after a demanding career, often performing eight shows a week—and has seen similar magic in clients of every age. The studio offers a variety of packages and individual sessions, both live and online.
Downtown Pilates, Ocean City, New Jersey
Our favorite Pilates by the beach
Downtown Pilates is a boutique studio providing personal instruction in a private setting. Located in downtown Ocean City, Downtown Pilates’ skilled instructors deliver modern and creative variations of the classic routines designed by fitness pioneer Joseph Pilates. Sessions are custom tailored to help you reach your fitness and wellness goals. Owner Jessica Amoroso runs a gift certificate special each year at holiday time. Drop her a line or give her a call, 609-515-6721.
Massage that does more
Lisa Mott, LMT, Linwood
Kathy Malcarney Baier, LMT, Haddonfield
Lisa is our go-to for massage at the shore. She is trained and experienced in a wide range of techniques and styles, including Swedish, deep tissue, myofascial release, shiatsu, Thai, orthopedic, neurolymphatic and neuromuscular reeducation. She also does yoga therapy. Based in Linwood, she serves clients throughout southeastern New Jersey. For gift certificates, call 609-412-0468, or send her an email.
In Camden County, Kathy provides massage therapy at Dr. Mark’s Haddonfield office. She is a graduate of Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies, where she continues to serve as a clinical supervisor. Kathy’s talent and skill lie in understanding exactly what your body needs and delivering custom-tailored therapy. She describes it as ‘listening’ to the body. For holiday gift certificates, call 609-284-1419 or drop her a note via Massagebook, where you can also book a session.
Personal training from Exodus Sport and Fitness, Ocean City
Boost performance, speed and agility
Exodus Sport and Fitness trains winners. Over nearly two decades, owner Kevin Fernsler has helped over 10,000 high school and college athletes improve their game and win scholarships. He and his team of pro trainers are focused on energy, fun, speed, agility, conditioning and a can-do mindset. The approach is unique and the gym is accessible 24/7. Gift certificates are available through Mindbody or in person at the gym (call ahead, 609-399-0595.)
South Jersey RunningCo.
The authority, two decades running
Southern New Jersey athletes are really lucky to have South Jersey RunningCo. Founded in 1997 as Haddonfield Running Company, it has long been seen as a leader in shoes, gear and support for the running and walking community.
With four locations in Haddonfield, Mullica Hill, Moorestown and Medford, the company was founded by a runner and staffed by runners and other competitive athletes. They know their stuff, they have the goods and they’ll take perfect care of that special person on your holiday list. Gift cards are available on the website.