Having trouble picking out gifts for your fitness lovers? Imagine knocking their gifts out of the park! Let me help with todays article and video!
I am traveling to 3 popular stores to show you the top 15 Christmas gifts to get for your secret Santa! We’re not stopping there, I am guiding you through online gift shopping for this holiday season!
I took a poll on the gym’s social media page (@Ironstrengthandconditioning) and in the gym with my clients to come up with the top 15 gift ideas they desire for this Christmas!
Let’s get to the real reason you came here; the 15 items!
#1 Massage guns
Massage guns are an amazing gift idea that can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness from sitting all day or working out. Here’s the only downfall… They get EXPENSIVE. This is why I take you to TJ Maxx to help you find the best bang for your buck!
#2 Workout bands
This is a great option because it is very versatile. You can use bands for stretching, strength training and much more! It is worth noting that closed bands were more asked for than bands with handles.
#3 Workout belts
A good workout belt is vital in any serious lifters bag! These in the video are great options but if you have a serious powerlifter then you may want to look at 11mm or 13mm powerlifting belts. Belts may be a good one to ask them about because some people are picky.
I have a lot of younger athletes that ask about these in the gym. I think they can be a useful tool to help do more weight on certain exercises when your grip starts to give. It can be found in most lifters bags!
#6 Dip belts
If you have someone that likes to do pull ups, dips and other body weight exercises then you can’t go wrong with a dip belt to add more weight. If they cant do pull ups or dips yet then this may not be a useful gift right away.
#7 Knee sleeves
These are such a great gift for serious lifters. Powerlifters, CrossFit and anyone that does a lot of leg days will love them! These will keep the joint warm through their leg day to help increase performance!
#8 Yoga mat
Great for those who do a lot of home workouts, ab workouts and yoga! You may want to get a slightly thicker mat if they are using it for exercise. If they are doing yoga then you can use more of a thin mat!
This is a great piece of equipment to have in the house. If you have a home gym then people typically like to get adjustable dumbbells to save space unless they have enough space for more.
#10 Fitness trackers
The amount of people that have these now are crazy! If you are looking for one for your loved ones or friends then this can be a great tool to help them track some of their journey and keep them accountable.
This is a tricky one but if you know what brand and what supplements they use then you should be all good! If they are a beginner and wanting to try something for the 1st time then you may want to reach out to someone for guidance. A good starting point is typically a good protein powder, BCAAs, creatine and a good multivitamin.
#12 Meal prep container
This is good for the fitness lovers that really track their meals and always take food with them. It can also be a motivator if they don’t because it’s a new gift and people want to use new gifts!
Bottles are a necessity for fitness and nutrition. Shaker bottles, blenders and water bottles all play a big role. In the video, I explain in further detail about what bottle may be the best fit for you!
#14 Bluetooth headphones
These are a game changer and I was late to the party when I invested in bluetooth headphones. With normal headphones, the cord is cold at first if you put it in your shirt and if you leave it out and dangling, it’s always getting caught on stuff in the gym. Having cordless bluetooth headphones will save frustrations and those embarrassing moments when your headphones unplug and your Taylor Swift starts playing out loud.
#15 Fitness games
This was a unique one and really has caught on in the last few years. When I first saw these, I wasn’t impressed but now I have them on my wish list to switch it up and have some fun!
Well, that’s a wrap on our Top 15 Christmas Gifts For Fitness Lovers! I hope this helps! If you have questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help!
I was at a football game this past week and noticed a lot of athletes cramping. The game stopped every couple minutes because of it. It made me want to make some content on it to help the student athletes during the hot / humid days of summer.
Benefits of Hydration:
– Reduces fatigue
-Reduces the chances of cramps
-Helps you to think more clearly during games
-Lubricates joints for high impact activities
-so much more
—How much water should I drink?—
I always went with the rule of half your bodyweight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, I like to shoot for an estimated 100 ounces on average.
If you are losing water weight, or a bunch of weight after a workout/practice on a hot day then you need to ensure you are replacing that lost fluid to keep from being dehydrated. You should get about 16-24 ounces per pound that is lost from exercise.
Here is some of my favorite tips on keeping hydrated:
Carry water with you everywhere.
It’s simple and typically when we get bored, we will sip on the water.
Drink a glass of water after every meal. If you want to lose weight, try drinking the water before to help fill the belly so you consume less calories. If you want to gain weight, eat first and only sip then finish the water after your meal.
Eat foods higher in water.
Eat watermelon/ strawberries/cantaloupe. These are a high percentage of water so it will aid in hydration.
Mark your bottles with times and try to be at the mark by that time. This can be a huge help to keep you on pace through the day to ensure you are meeting your hydration goals.
Take frequent water breaks during workouts and training sessions.
I always would give my team a lot of water breaks during practice and I give all of my clients time to sip on water through the workout.
Supplement to help.
Pedialyte and liquid IV are my go to hydration supplement on extremely hot days or if I know I am going to struggle with water intake. If I don’t have those, I like getting something with carbs, sodium, magnesium, and potassium if possible. This will help increase your electrolyte levels.
At the end of the day, make sure you are getting enough water and good things will come from it. Increase in performance, your body and mind will feel better and operate at a higher level. Joints and muscle aches will decrease. It’s a crucial part of everyday life.
Get faster with this 1 drill that can be done at home! Takes less then 5 minutes and can be done just about everyday
1️⃣Find a stair or stack up some books to about a 4-10 inch elevated surface
2️⃣go down to one knee and take the other foot to the top of the stair
3️⃣set a stop watch and hold on to something lightly for balance. Lift up the foot on the stair about an inch and hold it there
4️⃣ do 4 sets of 10 second holds each leg the first couple days. Then go 15 seconds. Work up to 30 second holds every set for each leg.
⭐️ keep the core engaged and don’t lean back or forward too much. That is why I’d prefer you to use a nearby wall if you can to keep balance.
🔥 this drill will add strength to the hip flexors with the help of isometric training. You won’t typically get too sore so you can do this 3-6 days a week. Start lower at first and add more days as your body gets used to this movement!
Tag one of your homies that needs this exercise to beat you in a race 🏃♀️🏃
It’s almost time for Black Friday! Which means Christmas is already around the corner. When shopping for someone that’s into fitness, there’s a couple things to pay attention to.
Some people can be very picky. Not because they are a picky person but because of different factors that are involved in their training. Some things to keep an eye on and maybe ask if you aren’t sure is:
1. What kind of fitness are they into?
Bodybuilding, CrossFit, powerlifting, yoga, etc. This can really help so you look in the right direction.
2. Supplement favorites?
Are they sensitive to caffeine, does whey protein mess with their stomach, do they have a flavor they can’t stand?
*DO NOT JUST TAKE A STAB IN THE DARK AND GRAB THE FIRST THING AT WALMART.
This can be an area where you might just want to avoid unless you have a really good idea what they use and like.
3. Do they have access to a gym?
This can decide whether to get some items or accessories for the gym or home.
4. Do they have this item already?
If it’s a supplement or subscription box then thats okay because it’s an investment that is made consistently. However if it’s a set of bands, do they have this set already? Do they need another set or should we grab something else?
So what makes the list?
Whether you have a family member, gym friend or you’re doing a random acts of kindness for someone into fitness, I plan of having you walk away knowing exactly what to pick for them! I have created a list of 10 items that you can’t go wrong with! Lets get started!
1) Fitness subscription box
Every fitness lover finds monthly fitness subscription boxes super exciting! Think about it.. it’s basically a fitness Christmas each month! I love my monthly box I get from Iron Crate. We keep it exciting and fresh each month. We include the most trustworthy and highest quality products on the market. We also include workout programs to keep you busy in the gym and even throw in items that you can use such as shakers, gym accessories and fresh gear to wear!
Why try shopping for stuff and end up getting something they may not like when you can take out the middle man. We hand select the items each month and create a unique monthly Crate for our customers. We even take care of shipping too!
The best thing about Iron Crate is that the retail value adds up to anywhere from $80-$130 each month but the monthly subscription customers only pay $39.99 a month for a box full of fitness goodies! So you can get up to $130 worth of fitness for only $39.99!
Go grab an Iron Crate for you, a family member or a gym buddy to make their Christmas! You can save 15% off your first Iron Crate with using the code “CRATE15” at checkout!
Healthy snacks are such a great choice! The best part is that it fits all categories of fitness! Iron Crate has you covered again. We also carry amazing snacks packed with protein that make great treats for any fitness enthusiast. One huge favorite is the protein candies we carry from MusclePharm. They taste just like M&Ms but without all the sugar that will affect your blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of protein and the taste is out of this world 🤤 I snack on these all the time when I’m craving chocolate.. which is almost everyday. Grab some items and fill up a stocking for your fitness lover this Christmas!
Out of all vitamins, this one is going to be a huge seller this year. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D. They say that this specific vitamin may help protect against becoming infected with, and developing serious symptoms of COVID-19.
Healthline.com says “A new study that looked at 216 people with COVID-19 found that 80 percent didn’t have adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood“
That is going to be one thing right off the bat that increases sales on this vitamin. Let me explain why this is a great gift idea other than that. Vitamin D is known for helping to have healthy muscles, bones and teeth. It can also help keep your immune system healthy, regulate energy levels and aid in brain health. The benefits of this vitamin are a tool most of us need, making it the perfect item to throw on the Christmas list this year.
At home gym equipment
It’s 2020.. the gyms have been closed down once. Let’s be honest, it won’t hurt to have a couple things at the house just to be safe.
Here’s a list of home gym items I would go with.
4) Yoga mat
This is a good option because for most fitness categories, you will typically want some kind of mat or padding on the floor. This can protect the weights, floor and the lifter.
5) Glute resistance band
Let me explain why I LOVE these and think everyone needs one. Our glutes are naturally weak. Especially if we sit at school or at a desk all day. This can cause low back pain and issues with the hamstrings. This glute band can help increase strength in the glutes and hips.
If you are an athlete, this tool can aid you like no other. It can help pre-activate the glutes which essentially turns them on to increase strength during your workout. This can increase overall strength and lead to more muscle activation for bigger muscles and better performance.
I hear the girls in my gym talk about this all the time.. They want better and bigger glutes. This band WILL help if used properly.
I use this band for me and my clients before all of our lower body days in the gym. It is one of my favorite investments and I believe you will be just as happy as I was when you get one.
We sell these for an amazing price on Ironcrate.co , just click the button below and it will take you to the item on my website so you can pick one up before we sell out.
Going with the adjustable ones compared to the ones that are coming already set at weights will save moolah. It also saves space which is a plus. You can get a good pair from places like Amazon or even Walmart. I would get a set with some kind of iron weights compared to the plastic weights. That is just my personal preference though. If you are on a surface where you need to take care of it, then plastic might be a better idea.
7) Resistance bands
This is a great gift idea. It is highly utilized by many fitness categories and has many functions making it a good tool to have at home.
There are 2 main bands that will pop up when you type this into the search bar. The ones on the left are great for exercise variety. If you don’t have dumbbells or any weights then this may be a better decision because it will give you more options. The bands on the right are very popular for other things. They do not have handles like the other set and are a closed band as to where the other set is open. These are great for athletes that do explosive workouts. It is also a great tool to have added in if you have a squat rack or bench set that can add band resistance. They will typically have pegs for bands on the bottom.
8) A good pair of wireless headphones
Notice I didn’t say Air Pods or Beats? This is one I would ask about if you think that person is picky because just like supplements or flavors, this can be one of those gifts that the person may want a specific pair. If you have the budget, I think Air Pods or Beats are the higher quality ones on the market. However, one of my brothers and sisters has a set of headphones that look just like Air Pods and operate at just about the same level, so if that person isn’t picky, those are a better option if you have a lower budget in mind.
This is personally one of the items on my list this year. I like my normal headphones but I find myself always in a hassle messing with the cord. I do a lot of work involving my headphones and don’t always want to carry my phone on me so I like the thought of not worrying about the wire getting in the way or getting stuck on everything.
9) Shaker bottle custom to their favorite interest
The shaker bottle companies have been changing the game lately with their special series they are always dropping. They have bottles with teams, super heroes, food items and yes even some with avocados working out on them.
As someone that loves a lot of different fitness categories, there is something about having a flashy shaker bottle or one that is custom to what your interest are that makes you feel some type of way. Remember that feeling when you got that fresh new Scooby lunch box back in 1st grade, and you couldn’t wait to show it off? Yea that feeling. So take note of what their interested in and search it up.
10) Smart Watch
Apple, Fitbit and Fossil have amazing smart watch products. No matter what category your fitness lover is into, the watch makes working out so much fun!
This is also a great gift to get a beginner because it can really keeps them motivated by little things like “filling the rings” on the watches. Basically it sets goals for you such as walking distance, calories burned, time standing, etc. As you accomplish the goals, it fills up rings on your watch. This is like checking off something on a to do list. It gives a great sense of accomplishment!
Lets WRAP this up, get it.. Christmas.. gifts..HA, not funny, I know
There are a lot of amazing products out there that are going to be brought to your attention due to high marketing around the holidays. This doesn’t mean you have to get the 1st thing you see on the commercials. Next thing you know, you’re getting a shake weight for your grandson that is into powerlifting. So trust me, this is a good list that can really meet expectations for all fitness categories.
Wanna see another list for a specific category such as athletes, cross fit, runners, etc? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you want to see! Also let me know if you have any items that you think should be added to the list!
Your alarm clock goes off in the morning.. You get up to hit it and almost fall off of your bed due to how sore your legs are. The legs start to tense up and every step you take, you feel the bittersweet leg day soreness.
The last thing you can think about is trying to stretch out your legs when you feel like you can barley walk after training. Well let me discuss with you in todays article 10 ways to increase your muscle recovery so you can get through the soreness and back to the gym for the best performance possible.
#1 – Mobility work
When I have a set plan, mobility takes up a good portion of it for a couple reasons. One being that it helps my mobility in exercises and for my performance. Two, it helps with my recovery. I warm up for 10-20 minutes which includes the bike, foam rolling, dynamic stretches and pre activation work. My night time mobility consist of foam rolling, a few dynamic stretches and static stretches. This has been a game changer I have noticed when I stay consistent with it.
#2 – Supplementation Do you need supplements? Not really but do they help with muscle recovery? Yes, yes they do. Some of my go-to supplements I take for my muscle recovery include BCAAs, protein and creatine monohydrate.
These will reduce muscle soreness and aid with the construction of the muscles when they are broken down and in need to recover.
#3 – Contrast showers You know when you take a shower and it’s warm for like 2 minutes then gets super cold? Yeah, welcome to a contrast shower. Some people need their plumbing fixed and some people are just crazy like that.
This is a unique method that not a lot of people have the will power to do. It sucks and there is nothing exciting about it. However it does aid in recovery of the muscles. A contrast shower is when you utilize the cold and hot temperature of the water to exert different blood flow through the body. This essentially allows the blood to rush through the body for increased recovery and the heat acts as a method to loosen up some tightness as well. You go from as cold as you can stand it for 30-60 seconds and then to as hot as you can stand it for the same time. I only do this for 4-6 minutes at the most.
I wouldn’t necessarily do this everyday but include it 1 or 2 times a week here and there if your muscles are a little sore.
#4 – Sleep! So I have mixed opinions on this but at the end of the day, it is extremely hard to fight the science on this topic. Research says for best results, you should really try to aim for about 8 hours of sleep a night. Now does everyone get 8 hours every night? Probably not. Do I get 8 hours a night? probably not. Will this make or break you? Ehh maybe but probably not.
Look, for 2-3 years I went almost everyday on 4-5 hours of sleep because I would stay up to work really late and be up by 4:30am everyday to go to the gym. I am not saying this is the right way by any means but I will say I was able to withstand that and felt okay. My anxiety was getting super bad and I would sometimes have a hard time sleeping but I dealt with it.
Recently I have really tried to get 6-8 hours a night and holy cow, I feel way better. Literally a night and day difference. An article I read said that “sleep deprivation can have a significant negative effect on performance and recovery.” It also touches on how when you sleep, your body can undergo protein synthesis and help the recovery process.
#5 – Deep tissue massage This is very similar to foam rolling, basically the same concept. Now before you go and set up an appointment for a deep tissue massage, I just want to be clear that this isn’t the type of stuff you see in movies where you are relaxed and completely loving every second. This is painful, but a good pain. They are getting deep into the muscle to release tension and allow a better blood flow to happen so for that to work, they will typically use their hands and some massage tools. It is great if you can afford them or just even doing a couple a month is something you could try. Not necessary for recovery though, so feel free to foam roll instead if you’d like.
#6 – Keep hydrated Keeping hydrated is crucial for too many reasons to write about. However when you are dehydrated, you are putting your body at risk for many things, recovery being one of them. I read in an article that “exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and reduce the body’s ability to repair itself” So carry a jug and a bunch of water bottles and sip on it through the day, especially before, during and after a workout.
#7 – Limit alcohol I read this in an article and it was different and stood out to me so I wanted to include it into this post. It goes over how studies say that more than 1-2 drinks after working out could impair the bodies chance to recover. I honestly never knew that until I read that, so it is something I wanted to incorporate into todays article.
#8 – Ice bath This brings me back to the good ol high school days where we would jump in an ice bath after football and track practices. I have done some research on this topic and I found an article that actually goes over how ice baths may not be as good as we think for recovery. However it shouldn’t hurt if you use it here and there after intense workouts. It is said that the cold water constricts blood vessels and flush waste products from the muscles.
I would use ice baths once in a blue moon to help with muscle recovery.
#9 – Static stretch after working out I have always followed this protocol as a cool down method and to help relax the muscle from being tense. I found a very interesting article that mentioned “Static stretching initially reduces blood flow, capillary region oxygenation, and the velocity of red blood cells to the muscle, but this is significantly increased after the stretch.” This personally makes sense to me because of the mechanical strain being placed on the muscle when stretching and lengthening. This is just like what was mentioned in that article above, it will compress the vascular system. They said there is still research still needing to be conducted for further evidence. In my opinion, I would throw some static stretching in after training for its ability to relax the muscle and cool down the body after exercise.
#10 – Stress management I got a lot of positive feedback on the article I wrote last week, it was called 10 Ways To Manage Stress. I highly recommend you read that and learn a few techniques.
Another article I read said “When intense workouts are thrown into the volatile combination of high chronic stress and an already overworked body, you are asking your body to eventually break down in the form of lackluster results or, worse, severe injury. Any form of stress in your life is going to take a toll on your overall well-being and your body’s capacity to take on anything further.”
Take some time and manage stress, it will help with recovery and living a happier, healthier life.
Now that we have talked about what we can do to help increase our recovery, it is time to utilize this information and share it with a friend. Pick some of these out to try or do them all! Don’t forget to tell your gym buddy or a friend to help them with their recovery!
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a little bit of a busier weekend with it being more of a birthday weekend, woot woot. I finished an ab workout on Sunday and wanted something with a little carbs but not too many, I opened up Instagram and saw a recipe on my guy Dustin Myers page (go follow him @coachmyers_gutcheck). Great guy and amazing strength and conditioning coach. Anyway, it was a little different than this but not by much so I threw my own thing together and it turned out amazing! Full of nutrients and nothing that was going to leave me “too full” whatever that means.
Here’s a quick throw together recipe you can do within 5 minutes! All you need is:
Oats (half cup)
Almond milk (about a half cup or full cup depending on preference)
Almond butter (1 tablespoon)
Chia seeds (1 teaspoon)
Blueberries (I did a mini handful)
First you can take care of the oats and milk by mixing them and throwing them in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes. After you take them out, let it cool for just a moment then place a tablespoon of almond butter on top. Afterwards, I threw the blueberries in on one side, then came the chia seeds to top it off.
This snack is full of vitamins, minerals and many other nutrients to kickstart your day and give you some energy! This was delicious and only took a few minutes to put together. Try it out and let me know how you like it!! Also feel free to throw in different fruits and toppings to match what you are craving!
In this video, I am trying out a recovery method called contrast showering. It is using hot water and cold water to manipulate recovery time. It is also full of other health benefits but check out this video from tigerfitness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4rmr90mvzc and juggernaut training systems – https://www.youtube.com/user/CWSmith52 for more info on this topic. I don’t know as much on them yet because I just started to try them out but I will cover another video in the future and cover all of the benefits the contrast shower offeres!
IF YOU HAVE DISK PROBLEMS, DO NOT TRY THESE UNLESS YOU CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN. If these cause any pain at all, then stop use of these stretches. Other than that, give it a try. They are great for stretching and increasing mobility in the spine.
Today I am going to show you some of my go-to stretches for my lower body. I used to do these during football and track season. These will increase flexability in the hip flexors, glutes,hamstrings, lower back and more! Hope everyone is having a great Monday. I will see you guys tomorrow with another video!