10 Gifts a Fitness Buff Will Actually Use: A Gift Guide for Anyone’s Budget

I have a lot of friends and clients who are into fitness, nutrition and trying to be healthy. The holidays are coming up and while I don’t have a ton of money to buy extravagant gifts, I do enjoy rewarding those I love with a little something something in their stockings that will help them toward their goals and kick start the new year in style.

The second I saw my first Starbucks red cup this season I knew it was time to start trolling around the Interwebs for the perfect gifts. Being somewhat inept at shopping and pressed for time, I Googled fitness-themed holiday gift guides. And I was disappointed. Frankly, no one needs random exercise cards, junky “fitspo” charm bracelets or days of the week running panties (et tu, BuzzFeed?). Most of this crap will end up in the bottom of a junk drawer, in the trash or at best regifted at the office white elephant party. 

So I polled my fellow trainers, clients and friends and compiled a list of stuff people into fitness at any level (and at any price point from $2.70 to $249.95) will actually want and use. Check it out! And happy holidays! - JJ

1. Mobility Tools (from $2.99 to $79.99)

Anyone who challenges themselves regularly in the gym gets tight, sore muscles and could use some basic self myofascial release tools. Believe it or not, my favorite is a basic lacrosse ball for hitting those traps/shoulders and it’s only $2.99. Have a little more to spend? Pick up the Grid foam roller (it’s perfect for travel or at home) and is $39.99. Want to go all out? The Trigger Point Foundation Kit is a good bet at $79.99. Checkout all these and more at Rogue.

2. Massage Gift Certificate (from ~$100 up)

When mobility drills aren’t enough there’s no substitute for a great massage. Either find out their favorite spa and get them a gift certificate or if you have a place or therapist you love yourself even better. Make sure to put enough on there to cover the service and the tip. In a pinch, you can pick one up at MassageEnvy.com.

3. A Kickass Workout Tee from BuyMeBrunch.com (starting at $28)

Normally I would say NEVER buy anyone else clothes. Style, especially gym style, is a personal thing. That said, there is one exception. Literally everyone I know loves my “Oh My God Becky” tee-shirt from BuyMeBrunch.com (for those who may be too young or too old to get it, click here). This site is full of the BEST tees, tanks and hoodies. My other top picks include the “Sleeves Are Bullshit” tank, “Part Wolf” tee and “Zero F*cks Given” tee. All tees are available in men’s and women’s sizes. They run a touch snug to show off those gainz.

4. A GOOD Book They Actually SHOULD Read (from $9.99 to $44.95)

There are a ton of books out there about fitness and nutrition that are based on passing fads and crash diets. Don’t waste your money. You can’t go wrong with Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition, Whole Body Reboot or Starting Strength. These three books are foundational and will have you moving better, eating better and lifting better in 2016.

5. Whole Foods Gift Card (from ~$20 up)

Enough said. People who work hard need fuel. Whole Foods is the go-to for a lot of us. Who doesn’t want a $50 salad to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Whole Foods is the new Starbucks. You can’t go wrong. Pick one up online here.

6. Protein. No, seriously. (from ~$25 up)

If you’re the kind of person who just hates giving gift cards give them a care package with a box of their favorite protein bars (Quest is my favorite or Square for vegans), protein powder (I like Biochem) and a bottle of Amazing Grass Green Superfood. Need a recipe for the best smoothie on earth? Check out this post. Want to go the extra mile? Throw in a shaker bottle and some BCAAs and you’ll be set! Want to go crazy? Add in some additional recovery goodies like an ice pack, some epson salt and some no burp fish oil pills (all available at your local pharmacy or big chain convenience store). That’ll make one heck of an awesome Super Protein Supplement and Recovery Care Package!

7. GNC Gift Card (from ~$20 up)

Too lazy to gather all that crap in the Super Protein Supplement and Recovery Care Package? Fine, pick up a GNC gift card and you’ll be set.

8. Food Delivery Service Trial from Instacart, Sprig or Blue Apron (from ~$60 up)

There are loads of great services out there that will ship fully prepared meals, partially prepared meals or ingredients and recipes straight to your door. This is perfect for folks who are busy but want to eat or cook wholesome, local food but don’t have loads of time. Many of these services offer gift cards or gift memberships. Instacart is a great grocery delivery service and here’s an explanation of how to buy a gift card. Sprig delivers fully cooked and nutritious meals in minutes and usually offers gift cards around the holidays. Blue Apron is another great one for those with time to cook (and an eagerness to learn lots of great cooking techniques).  

9. Callus Remover ($2.79) + Optional Grippers ($24.95)

I kid you not. These things are must haves for anyone who seriously lifts, runs or spins. Guys and gals who deadlift or do a lot of pull ups get calluses on their hands. Runners and spinners generally have fugly feet. No one likes calluses and if they get bad enough they can cause problems (rips, lack of grip strength, etc.). So every few weeks they need a little scrub in the shower with one of these babies. I hate lifting gloves, but if you want to get fancy you can throw in a pair (any of these will do). My female clients really like these ones and I can deal with them too because they aren’t so bulky that they weaken the grip; they just help keep hands from getting calluses.  

10. Fitbit Surge ($249.95)

Whether they have a Fitbit already or not, go for (or upgrade them to) the Fitbit Surge. It’s expensive, but speaking from personal experience, it’s the bomb and cheaper and sleeker than the Apple Watch. It does everything and is super comfortable and durable. It tells your heart rate continuously; tracks your steps, elevation and other exercise (running, hiking, lifting, spinning, etc); tracks your sleep; tracks your caloric burn for the day; and it even can get texts from your smart phone. For the fitness buff, go with the Fitbit Surge.


This one doesn’t cost a thing. Give your special pal the gift of time. Plan a workout for them and schedule some time to hit the track, gym or road together. Working out together can be a great way to get in some quality time, do something you both love and then grab a smoothie, juice or brunch after. That’s probably my favorite gift: time with those I love.