It might be too late for express shipping to save us, but we rounded up a list of some great gifts that are easy to put together last minute for the health nuts and fitness buffs in our lives. Read on for some suggestions that’ll make recipients think “How thoughtful!” instead of “You bought this on the way here.”
1. Gym Membership
This might seem pretty obvious, but for those who are already dedicated gym rats, it’s hard to find anything more useful. (Be careful when purchasing for friends who don’t regularly hit the gym already, as it could send a bit of a rude message…) Get your buff buddy a one or two-month membership to a new gym close to their work, or even a specialty facility they might not check out on their own. Past experience is key here. Remember that time your friend reminisced about rock climbing in college? A pass to a local bouldering facility might just be in order.
2. Personal Training Session or Gym Class Pass
Even experienced gym-goers can benefit from a little one-on-one time with a personal trainer. This is an especially quick pickup if you and that special someone work out at the same place — just swing by the front office and purchase some sessions during that next pre-holiday workout!
3. New Water Bottle
Simple, necessary, and — much like the gym bag full of swag above — stuffable with lots of other fitness goodies (think protein bars, small t-shirts, mini deodorant). Throw in some alphabet stickers so recipients can customize with their names (or nicknames, no judgment).
4. Gym Locker
Speaking of gym upgrades, make your friends feel like VIPs and rent them a personal gym locker for anywhere from a month to a year (if the gym offers overnight lockers, of course!). And don’t forget to pick up an actual lock to go along with it (that’ll also give you something to include with your holiday card, since it’ll be tough to fit the actual locker in a stocking).
5. Nutritional Consultation
New Year, new you, new (healthier) diet. Help that healthy friend outline some nutritional goals by buying them a phone or in-person consultation with a registered dietician. This is an especially great buy for those with specific fitness goals, like putting on muscle, running a half marathon, or just getting stronger.
6. Gym Survival Kit
This is the perfect combination of thoughtful and one-stop shopping. Head to the local sporting goods and apparel store and make a personalized kit for the friend you forgot. Start with a new gym bag and fill it with some or all of the following: Exercise bands, gym towel, yoga mat, workout journal, lacrosse ball (for rolling out tight muscles), pedometer, and foam roller. Easy to put together? Yes. Customizable for the fitness buffs on your holiday list? Definitely. Not near an open sports store? Head to the drug store for some more practical items like deodorant, shoe fresheners, hair ties (for the ladies), protein bars, and face wipes.
7. Yoga Class Pass
Everyone could use a little de-stressing after the holidays, so between that next savasana and heading out the door, stop to pick up a 10-pack of classes for some loved ones. Bonus: You’ll be able to get loose and relaxed together.
8. Ski Pass
January and February are prime months for snow sports, so buy those friends the excuse they need to get out and hit the slopes. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even invite you to come along.
9. A Fancy Food Gift Basket
Put together an assortment of healthy and interesting food items friends might not think to buy for themselves. Infused olive oils for salads (think basil, garlic, or chile flavors), whole-grain artisan bread, and offbeat spices make a great combo.
10. Healthy Home Cooking
No, we’re not talking about putting a turkey dinner under the tree (though maybe that’s not such a bad idea?). For those busy friends and family members, making the whole “dinner” thing a little simpler will be a real lifesaver. Fortunately, we’ve got a list of 10 companies that will make eating healthy at home easier, including a few who will actually deliver ingredients, recipes, or even fully-cooked healthy meals right to the doorstep. Get someone the gift of good food, and they’ll be thanking you with every meal.
11. Protein Powder
It's one of those things any serious gym-goer needs to buy, but those price tags can be pretty steep. Find out which brand your best bro (or broette) likes best, and hand it over nicely wrapped with a brand spankin' new shaker bottle.
12. The Perfect Gym Socks
We promise this is a better option than it sounds at first. For a fit friend, pick up the perfect type of socks for their favorite activities. Shopping for a yogi? Check out these Puretoes socks. If running's their thing, choose moisture wicking, synthetic socks. For serious lifters, tall cotton socks are the way to go. Not keen on the gift of only socks? Get creative and pack them alongside a new pair of insoles, sweet neon laces, a pair of gloves for cold weather outdoor workouts, or a new gym shoe bag.
13. Yoga Accessories
A nice block, strap, and towel are three things any yoga lover would get some serious use out of. Plus the combo wraps itself. Choose color coordinated items, wrap the block in the yoga towel, and use the strap as ribbon. If the athletic store or nearest studio is closed for the holiday, check at a local book store — bigger chains often have accessories right by the fitness book and DVD section.
What are your favorite last minute gifts? Tell us in the comments below or tweet the author @d_tao!