Top 15 Christmas Gifts For Fitness Lovers

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.

#4 Subscription Boxes

These are such fun gifts! I get a monthly box from Iron Crate , It feels like Christmas every month when my subscription box comes in! They always bring great items I can use in the gym such as wrist wraps, shaker bottles, protein snacks, workouts and more! They even make cool themes each month! Use code “IRON30” at checkout for 30% off your 1st subscription box!

#5 Wrist wraps

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!

#9 Dumbbells

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.

#11 Supplements

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!

#13 Bottles

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! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

-Alex Costa-

Hydration 101

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

-Increases performance 

-Lubricates joints for high impact activities 

-so much more

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—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.

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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.

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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.

Have an awesome day!

-Alex Costa

Healthy Trail Mix Recipe

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This is super easy and fast to put together! Here’s all you need! You can use as much as desired for any of these but I try to even it out!

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💪Almonds 

💪Walnuts

💪String Cheese

💪Cranberries 

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I like to use one of the containers that my almonds came in to put all my ingredients in then just shake up and take on the go!

I put the almonds and walnuts in then just used kitchen scissors to cut the string cheese into smaller pieces then threw my cranberries in! BOOM 💥 You’re done already! This can fuel you up through the day and is great to take on the go if you’re in a hurry. 

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🏈Great snack for my football guys in two-a-days. It’s packed with protein, healthy fats for healthier hearts, joints and brain. Then also has calcium with the string cheese for stronger bones. The cranberries are great for blood flow which help with a lot of things but PLEASE watch if you are on any medications like BLOOD THINNERS, STATINS, ETC. please check with the doctor before if you are unsure. Also check for food allergies before eating.

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If you can eat this then I’m sure you will love it! Sweet and salty will really help satisfy your cravings if you want this as a weight loss snack, just use smaller portions. If you want to add some weight, add more ingredients especially the nuts due to the higher caloric count in almonds and walnuts. 

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Enjoy and let me know what you think!

-Alex Costa-

CHEST TRAINING TIP (FLYS W/ TWIST)

As you come to the top of the fly, try rotating the dumbbells towards you for a better contraction! I love throwing this variation in!

Try hitting these on incline fly, 3-4 sets of 12 reps! If you experience any shoulder pain or discomfort, stop the movement.

Become More Explosive With This!

💥BECOME MORE EXPLOSIVE🧨 

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This circuit is designed to help create more explosive power by accelerating the triple extension phase

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This means this circuit will help you with sprint power, jumping, becoming more explosive in your squats and deadlifts,etc.

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💥Hang cleans with a pause – 3 reps 

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💥Sled power pushes – 4 reps (2 each leg)

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💥Hurdle jump with a pause – 3 jumps

I like to do 2-4 working sets of this on extra days with @masonliberti in this current training phase. 

Tag a teammate and hit the gym 👊

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#ironstrengthandconditioning #gym #legday #legworkout #fitness #athlete #athletetraining 

#strengthtraining #speed #speedtraining #speeddevelopment #sprinting #sprinttraining #trackandfield #tracktraining #footballtraining #speed #increaseverticaljump #jumphigher #explosivetraining #explosiveworkout #athleteworkout #hangclean #plyometrics #plyometricstraining

Get FASTER At Home With This 1 Drill

GET FASTER 🏃💨

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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 🏃‍♀️🏃

#ironstrengthandconditioning #costafitness #gym #legday #legworkout #fitness #athlete #athletetraining 

#strengthtraining #speed #speedtraining #speeddevelopment #sprinting #sprinttraining #trackandfield #tracktraining #sprinttechnique #runningtechnique #getfaster #runfaster #hipflexor

How Do I Increase My Vertical Jump?

Siri, help us out!

Today I want to give you a few main tips to implement immediately to start seeing more progress on your vertical jump. Scroll down, watch these videos and read the short excerpts on what you can start throwing in!





“Hey Siri, how do I increase my vertical jump?”

When it comes to increasing your vertical jump, it can get tricky and need very personalized programming depending on the individual, goals, sports, previous injuries, muscle imbalances, etc. 

When I have athletes come in for vertical jump training, just like speed training, I will test them and run assessments on a variety of things. In order to see the most results, I base MOST (but not all) programs around a few main things. 

They would be:

🏋️Strength training (heavy)

🧘‍♂️ Warm up and pre activation

🐰 Plyometrics 

I will spend time going over many more things depending on the individual but these are some main key starting points you can implement immediately to start seeing better results!

 #ironstrengthandconditioning #costafitness #fitness #strengthtraining #jumptraining #increaseyourvertical #verticaljumptraining #vertical #verticaljumpworkout #basketballtraining #longjump #highjump #footballtraining #jumphigher #strengthtraining #dynamicwarmup 

-Alex Costa-

🎉Client Appreciation Week🎉

🎉Client appreciation week🎉

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I am setting up the very 1st Iron Strength and Conditioning Client Appreciation Week at the gym! Your business and support has meant the world to me so I want to celebrate by giving thanks to you!

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For all active clients, I will have a few things you can check out when you come in this week. Each client will be able to pick out 1 protein bar/snack this week completely free at the sign in area. There will also be a huge discount on all Iron Strength and Conditioning apparel which will be set out for you to view when entering the gym.

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I recently filled up all spots for training but I have a few clients that are leaving to return to college so I am opening a few spots. This is the perfect time to sign up and start working with me! I specialize in working with athletes wanting to increase strength, speed, jumping ability, etc. I can also help you if you are looking to add muscle, lose body fat or lose weight and care about your general health.

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I am truly thankful for all of the support of my clients and anyone who takes the time to read my post and articles, like, share, comment or just show any love at all. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Thank you for helping me turn my dream into a reality 🙏🏼

#ironstrengthandconditioning #gym #fitness #weightloss #bodybuilding #strengthtraining 

#healthylifestyle #healthyliving #healthandwellness #costafitness #fatloss #transformyourbody #transformyourlife #personaltraining #clientappreciation #giveaway #smallbusiness #thankful #fitnesslifestyle #healthy #healthandwellness

4 Tips to Starting and Keeping Your Weight Loss Resolution

So here we are. We made it out of 2020, and you’ve made a new year resolution to get healthy and shed that extra weight. You’re extremely motivated and excited. You go sign up for a gym membership that you’ve now committed yourself to for the next year. You rush to your local sporting goods store and invest in half of a wardrobe worth of workout gear, and of course, don’t forget the new shoes. You’re getting ready to demolish your pantry, clear out your fridge, and head to the grocery store to get your new spread of healthy food options. This is where I want to stop you, and hopefully, you haven’t gotten to this point yet. Honestly, I would prefer it if I’ve got you before you even pick up that gym membership. 

Now, before I go into this any further I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Clark, and I have lost nearly 100lbs in the last three years, and I’m continuing to lose more. This will be the first article I have ever written, but about this 100th time I’ve given this advice. I must preface by saying I am not a medical professional, certified trainer, or registered dietician. I am not here to give you professional advice. I am just an everyday average guy, who let myself get insanely out of shape, who’s somehow managed to lose a lot of weight, keep it off and continue to lose, and learn a lot over the past 3 years. 

I am not here to offer a workout plan, debunk any “fad diets”, or sell you the magic supplement that’s going to do all of the work for you. (Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist… yet) I am going to give you my own personal do’s and don’ts of beginning a weight loss journey and more importantly, a healthier life in general. So here we go, here are my top 4 tips on starting, and more importantly, sticking to, a weight loss journey.

Tip 1: See it for what it is 

As corny as it may sound: Accept that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet that you’re going to start and one day end. If you are simply looking to lose that pesky 10lbs for your friend’s wedding, or drop a pant size, then of course a short term diet could be your ticket, but we are talking about serious weight loss here. You are going to want to have a serious mental intervention with yourself, and understand that your primary goal is not to lose weight, it’s to become healthier and feel better about yourself, and in order to do that, you must change the way you live, it’s all or nothing here.
 

Tip 2: Make it unique to you 

Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment: I am not here to push the way I diet on you, or tell you that any one is better than the other. Quite frankly I have tried multiple different diet’s and eating patterns over the last few years, and no one in particular worked best for me. I tend to bounce around a few different one’s depending on how they fit into my constantly changing day to day work schedule. So what do I recommend? Do some research! Read about different plans online, request an appointment with a dietitian, or even look into meal prep services that check into your goals, and ship the meals strait to you. The same goes for workout plans. Check around at your local gym’s, most gym’s offer one day passes, don’t be afraid to try out a few. At this point for me, I’ve worked out at nearly every gym in my hometown. You can also look into home gym/workout options, or even consult with a personal trainer near you. All of the things I have listed above require time, money, and sacrifice. So before doing any of these things, I recommend you read step 3 first.

Tip 3: Don’t be in a hurry

Run the Marathon, not the sprint: This is not a race, it never will be. In my years of doing this I’ve realized very quickly that overwhelming yourself with high expectations and harsh deadlines can put a dagger in your progress quicker than anything else. If you take away anything from this article I want it to be this: START SLOW. Doing anything cold turkey is one of the most difficult pressure’s you could put on yourself. Although it does happen in diet, quitting nicotine, alcohol, or other vices, typically those who succeed were presented with a fairly significant health scare in some way or another that put them in that position. Given that you’re reading this article right now I’m going to say it’s safe to assume you haven’t had devastating news from a doctor that has you ready to change everything right now, and that’s okay! For the rest of us a slow process of elimination will work just as good. Your goal is to make this as easy on yourself as you possibly can, because we are shooting for the long term here. This is a process that will hopefully last for the remainder of your life, there is no sense in rushing it. I did not lose all of my weight by only eating lean meats and veggies while weighing out all of my meals. It took me 3 years to get to that point. I lost my first 20lbs by deciding to walk every day and cook more of my food instead of living in the drive thru. For some, obtaining noticeable weight loss may not take that long, for some it may take longer, at the end of the day this is YOUR work, and nobody else’s. My most reliable piece of weight loss advice is to start by taking a 15 minute walk every day, that may not provide the instant gratification that 90 minute workouts coupled with a restrictive diet will, but you have to remember that you are setting yourself up for the long term. Creating a habit first, is much more important than 6 weeks of great results that ultimately end in a crash and burn scenario. There are no secrets here. We all know that eating less and exorcising more will help us lose weight, but if it was that easy we would all do it right now, wouldn’t we? Trust me on this, take your time. Start with a walk, and then when you’re walking every, day maybe go ahead and cut out something from your every day diet. For nearly every person I have met so far, that one thing they first cut out was soda. For me, having never been a big soda drinker, it was Arizona Tea and Sour Patch Kids. Regardless, of what it is, just pick one to start. Don’t feel the need to do everything at once. As time goes on, find more exorcises, build that routine, cut some more things out every week or two, no matter what you do, pace yourself. 

Tip 4: Consistency

Consistency; Through all of the articles, all of the videos, all of the books I have explored through all of the varying opinions and advice all across the fitness industry, the one constant is consistency. Now when I say consistency I’m not referring to sticking to a consistent routine and never shying away from it. That is a completely unreasonable ask. What I mean is that when you fall short of your plan. When you slip up on your diet, when you miss a workout, you forget to walk, or your friend’s decided on a place to eat and you didn’t want to be the only one sitting there without a plate, or failed to meet a short term weight goal: don’t get discouraged! I have yet to meet a single person out of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to throughout the industry who haven’t fallen short of their goals at least a few times. The difference between those who are, and aren’t successful is simple: those who succeed are those who get back to the process after failure. As a compulsive binge/emotional eater I still to this day will slip up and eat my way through an entire large pizza and an order of taco’s within an hour and then spend the rest of the night asking myself “what have I done?” but the most important part of making those occurrences fewer and fewer is getting right back to work the next day. I wake up, avoid the scale, head strait to the gym and give myself a workout to be proud of. Staying consistent is the key factor in making this a long term, enjoyable journey that has potential to bring you many friend’s and great memories along the way.  

In conclusion

When it come’s to diet and exorcise, there is a plethora of recourses out there, go find them! Your journey is unique to you and I am not here to push my ways onto anyone. My goal is to give you a few bits of my favorite advice, a bit of understanding, and hopefully relieve some of the stress that come’s with beginning this process. I also would like to add that this may not all apply to you, and that’s absolutely okay as well, there is an abundance of ways to go about this and this is just one of many that I wanted to throw out there.
I would like to thank you for reading this, and wish you the best of luck on your journey! Feel free to explore this awesome website for an abundance of information fitness and training.

-Clark Morgan-


This article was a piece created by a great friend of mine, Clark Morgan. He has had amazing success with his weight loss journey and is now contributing an exceptional piece of content to help you with yours!

Elevated Lunges for Strength, Speed & Size

This is an exercise that will really help with:

⭐️ Growing and strengthening the glutes 🍑

⭐️ Increasing squat & deadlift 🏋️‍♂️🏋️

⭐️ Jumping higher 🐰

⭐️ Increasing sprinting speed 🏃‍♀️🏃

⭐️ Getting more flexible in the hips 🧘‍♂️🧘


Elevated lunges have recently became one of my favorite leg exercises for creating more strength, size and explosive power for my athletes.

Here are a couple details to pay attention to when doing this exercise:

👉Set up an elevated surface of about 4-8 inches. I typically use a couple weight plates to start off.

👉I would start without weight to really get the flexibility down and then you can start adding in weight to increase the intensity.


I like to program these after the main movement on lower body day. Depending on the client and goal, I will program 3-5 sets of 4-10 reps each leg.

For a better physique I would do 4-5 x 10 🍑 .

For strength and most athletic goals I would typically prescribe 3-4 x 5 each leg with heavier weights (only after you get used to the movement, because of the excessive stretch). 🏋️🏋️‍♂️


Tag your gym amigos and get to work 💪

#ironstrengthandconditioning #gym #legday #legworkout #fitness #weightloss #bodybuilding #athlete #athletetraining #strengthtraining #glutetraining #gluteworkouts #increasevertical #increasespeed #lunges

Have a great day!

-Alex Costa-