Are you thinking about purchasing a gift for an active person in your life? Does that active person happen to be you? Check out our top five fitness gift ideas for 2016.
Apple Watch Series 2 – Water resistant. GPS. Heart rate sensor. Activity tracker. Workout apps. Sync third party apps. Receive notifications. Ask Siri a question. Coaching. Wheel chair use feature. Breathe app. Customized bands and faces to dress up or down. Be careful. This little shiny gadget costs a pretty penny. Save up and invest in you! Be on the look out for the new wireless airpods to listen to your music! ($300-$1000)
Socks – Most of us do not replace our athletic socks often enough. Remember that soft, cushy feeling of brand spankin’ new socks freshly pulled out of the plastic bag at the store? Well, that’s the way your socks should feel. Believe it or not, good socks tend to be a bit expensive, too. Look for sales online or discounts at warehouse stores. Take care of your feet. They are the foundation of everything you do that uses them. ($10-$30)
Bluetooth Headphones – Confession. I’ve tried 6 or 7 brands. I honestly felt like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears during this process. Headphones were too tight. Ear buds were too small. Headphones were too big. Headphones were too small. No one could hear me on voice calls. And the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I ended up liking the Plantronics Backbeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones (they come with an arm band). They are over ear headphones and sound great! It looks they are on sale at Costco now. ($90-$150)
Underwear – Not trying to break the bank? Time and tested again and again by grandmother and mama gift-giving everywhere! Cotton underwear is best for breathability and comfort. You definitely need a pair that fits and isn’t too small. Talk about a workout buster…who likes underwear creeping up and in unwanted places while trying to do a burpee? You can find good deals at your local sports store, bulk item warehouse store, and outlet malls. Check out Men’s Health Magazine’s top 10 athletic underwear picks. Shape Magazine offers a similar list catering to women. ($10)
Foam Roller – These are excellent for muscle recovery and preparing for productive workout! They are so amazingn that I already schooled you about them way back in 2014. My favorite brand is TriggerPoint. Take a gander at their foam rollers, cold rollers, and guidebooks. CEbFit is a TriggerPoint affiliate and receives sales commissions from our client referrals. NOTE: You must access the TriggerPoint website from these hyperlinks in order to accurately track sales referred by CEbFit. Or you can copy and paste: http://shrsl.com/?~98l1 ($25-$65)
And there you have it! But before you rush and buy anything, ask yourself the following question.
“Have I paid all of my bills for this month and will I have enough money to pay my bills next month after I make this purchase?”
If not, give the gift of time and share a walk, run, sled ride, ice skating, or hike with your family member or friend.
What do you think is the best piece of gym equipment? The leg press? Oh, I know! Dumbbells! How about the big, bouncy exercise ball? Wait, is it the treadmill? It’s gotta be the treadmill, right? Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but the best piece of exercise equipment is YOU!
Why, you ask?
Let me break it down 8 ways!
Top 8 Reasons your body is the absolute best piece of exercise equipment.
#1: There are no extra baggage fees to bring your body with you when you travel.
#2: It’s always with you! You cannot forget to bring your body anywhere. There’s no need to write “bring body” on a to-do list!
#3: Your body operates with two things called your body weight and gravity—–also known as the.best.resistance.ever! Bodyweight training is better for you (you don’t need to load extra weight on your joints).
#4: It costs way less to use your body as an exercise tool. Think about how much money you will save by not purchasing the latest and greatest fitness gadget. It adds up!
#5: You don’t have to lug around any extra equipment to and from home. Easy breezy!
#6: You can do all kinds of total body exercises that involve multiple muscle groups. This helps you burn more calories and fat!
#7: You minimize excuses to exercise. Traffic was bad. Nope, not gonna work. I forgot my shoes. Nuh-uh. I don’t know how to use this piece of equipment. Um, it’s your body! You’ve had it for ump-teen years. I think you can figure something out.
#8. Your workouts will get more and more creative with no fancy fitness equipment and gadgets. There are so many ways to do lunges and squats! Oh, and jumping jacks, too!
What would you add to this list?
Need a few body weight exercises to get you started? Try these…
- mountain climbers.
Having difficulty doing any of the exercises above? Ask me how to safely modify it! -Candice, CEbFit Personal Trainer
Have you ever seen someone in the gym that looks a little bit like the Predator?
You know, wearing a breathing mask on their face? Curious about these masks and their use?
They are called “hypoxia masks.”
Hypoxia (also known as hypoxiation) is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. (Merriam-Webster, 2016)
A 2010 research study concluded that “hypoxia as a supplement to training is not consistently found to be advantageous for performance at sea level. Stronger evidence exists for benefits of hypoxic training on performance at altitude.”
In other words, if you’re going to compete or begin training in Denver (5,280 ft above sea level), hike in Tibet (14,000 ft above sea level), or compete on Mount Everest (29,035 ft above sea level) anytime soon, you might want to add hypoxia training to your fitness regimen. But before you do, PLEASE CONSULT A MEDICAL DOCTOR.
So, what’s the point of using a hypoxia mask if you are not a hard core athlete?
Another research study conducted back in 2007 concluded that “acute exposure of moderately trained subjects to normobaric hypoxia [i.e., a barometric pressure equivalent to pressure at sea level] during a short-term training program consisting of moderate- to high-intensity intermittent exercise has no enhanced effect on the degree of improvement in either aerobic or anaerobic performance.”
What does this mean? The average person who exercises to stay in shape and be healthy does not need to add hypoxia training to their workouts, because it doesn’t really have any benefits to your fitness performance. Why buy something that costs between $30-$100 if you simply don’t need it?
Another study (2001) concluded that when done correctly, intermittent hypoxia training has been shown to increases red blood cell count and aerobic capacity. Here, intermittent was defined as “5-7 minutes of steady or progressive hypoxia, interrupted by equal periods of recovery.”
So, wait. Who trains the trainer about how to effectively and safely conduct and supervise hypoxic training?
Close to nobody!
After conducting a preliminary web search, I only found a “Hypoxia and Hypoxic Training for High Performance” certification course conducted in Ireland.
Other than that, I found a few airlines that conduct employee training sessions about hypoxia altitude conditions for their flight staff–not the type of training we are talking about…
Your best bet is to read the user’s manual, consult your M.D., pray, and tell someone when you are using it (just in case you pass out from doing too much all at once).
One of the master trainers for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Karl Sterling, provides some very helpful firsthand feedback about wearing and using a hypoxic training mask (HTM).
In a nutshell, here are the pros and cons of using HTMs.
- Add variation to your workouts
- Helps you focus on your breathing during exercise
- Become more efficient using oxygen and increase performance
- Look cool at the gym
- Cost ($30-$100)
- One more thing to carry in your gym bag
- Minimal experts available to teach you how to safely train with a hypoxic training mask
- Limited research
- Look creepy at the gym
Google scholar search results for “hypoxic training benefits.”
Hingerhofer-Szalkay H. (2010, Jan.). Intermittent hypoxic training risks versus benefits. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 108(2), 417. doi 10.1007/s00421-009-1274-4
Roberts, A. (n.d.) The truth about hypoxic training and oxygen reducing masks.
Walther, J. (2015). Can a hypoxic training mask improve performance? National Association of Sports Medicine.
Shi, B. Watanabe, T., Shin, S., Yabumoto, T., Takemura, M., & Matsuoka, T. (2014, Jan.) Effect of hypoxic training on inflammatory and metabolic risk factors: a crossover study in healthy subjects. doi 10.1002/phy2.198