Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Top 10 Fitness, Nutrition Gifts for 2012

Are you struggling to find the perfect holiday gift for the fitness nut or newbie in your life? Here are my most favorite things for 2012.

10. Earbuds: You can’t listen to the beats of Eminem and Ludacris without ‘em. For me, any set will do but Matt is very particular because most don’t set correctly in his ears. Matt recommends: Philips SHQ4000/28

9. Race Entry Fee: That’s right … gift the 5K, 10K, half or full entry fee for that special someone. Perfect for the 5K newcomer or marathon runner . Races add up!

8. Hydration belt: We all need one, particularly for long runs. Recommendation: Nathan Water Belt -- it stays in place and can also fit your iPhone, gel packs and car key. 

7. Runner's turtleneck: Matt bought me one for my birthday and I fell in love with it. It’s cozy and warm yet fits tightly on my body so I don’t feel confined when I run. What’s more, it has awesome thumb holes to keep my hands warmer in cold weather and the neck pulls straight up over my mouth and nose to lessen the harsh winter winds on my face. It’s a "must-have" in every runner’s closet! Recommendation: Women's Under Armour Fly By Turtleneck

6. Nutrition Class: Healthful food fuels our bodies for a healthy lifestyle, enabling us to push ourselves further on and off the trails and enjoy physical activities. A nutrition class helps separate fact from fiction. Recommendation: Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan.

5. Runner’s Beannie: Keep your head warm without the itch while you run those winter miles. Recommendation: Saucony Run Vibe Beanie

4. Sports Bra: If you’re a guy, jump to No. 3. Girls, stay with me. A little bounce in your step is fine but up top? No way! So which bra do I swear by? Recommendation: Under Armour sports bra. I never leave home without it. It's comfortable, looks great and keeps all of me in one place.

3. Ab Ball: My ab section is my Achilles’ heel. It’s pretty much where all my weight goes. I found an ab ball to be a great tool for strengthening my core and abdominal muscles. I grip a two-handled, 8-pound ball and perform a series of exercises that target my upper abs, lower abs, obliques and total core. RecommendationGaiam Abs Ball Kit, a guided DVD program with seven-time Iron Man Triathlete cutie Jonathan Roche

2. Book Basket: I love giving books as gifts. Last year, I made my mother-in-law a basket of the top 10 New York Times best-sellers for 2011. She loved receiving it and I loved giving it. For myself, I love books on nutrition and running -- anything that helps me improve my overall health and fitness level. Recommendations:

Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra: Rejecting MiddleAge, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself: One day in Oct. 2006, the night before he was to turn 40, Rich experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly 50 pounds overweight at the time and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he could see where his current sedentary lifestyle was taking him. Most of us, when granted such a moment of clarity, look the other way -- but not Rich. Plunging into a new way of eating that made processed foods off-limits and that prioritized plant nutrition, and vowing to train daily, Rich morphed -- in a matter of mere months -- from out-of-shape midlifer to endurance machine.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall: The fascinating story that sparked the barefoot running phenomenon.

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: These books changed my life. The man who gave us, “Eat food. Not to much. Mostly plants,” provides a sobering critique of the Western Diet supported by decades of research, which will change the way you think about politics and food.

1. Magazine subscription. Keep healthy content flowing into your home. It’s a great monthly reminder of your fitness and nutritional goals. Recommendations: Runner’s World, Naked Food magazine.

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