Fit City: Fitness-themed gifts for the athletes on your holiday list
From bike box to SPI Belt, stuff athletes will love this giving season.
Some people actually like sitting on the couch playing video games just not anyone on your holiday gift list.
For friends and family who prefer wicking shirts to cozy sweaters, running shoes to high heels, and energy bars to fruitcake, we've rounded up a selection of fitness-themed gift ideas.
From a lockable bike box to a collapsible wine container you can take camping to entry into a local foot race, we've gathered a collection of what outdoorsy folks are dreaming about this year.
The best thing about these suggestions? They're designed to keep the ones you love active — and, as a result, healthier.
And really, what better message can you send this holiday season?
Kroozwood bike box
Austin artists Daniel Tackett, a carpenter and sculptor, and Thomas Renko, a painter, teamed up to create this retro-cool version of a bike box. We like the wooden one best, with its cedar slats and chrome trim. Best part? The 4-pound, 11-inch-by-14-inch box with a slide-off lid is lockable and comes with pre-drilled holes to attach it to a front or rear bike rack. Perfect for hauling groceries and treasures. ($114 wood or $98 acrylic; Ozone Bike Dept. or www.kroozwood.com)
Tell your favorite athlete you care by getting him or her a Road ID customized with vital information in case of an accident. Choose from a wristband, shoe tag or dog-tag style necklace, each with a metal tag engraved with up to seven lines of text. (About $20 for wristband; www.roadID.com)
Austin's own Kim Overton developed this snazzy belt with an expandable pocket that holds your iPhone (actually, two or three of them!), plus ID, money and keys. It doesn't bounce when you run and now comes in funky colors like red plaid. ($19.95, RunTex, Rogue Equipment, BettySport, Jack & Adam's, Austin Tricyclist, Luke's Locker or www.SPIBelt.com)
Speaking of running, how about entry into a local race? Our favorites include the Livestrong Austin Marathon on Feb. 20 ($125; www.youraustinmarathon.com), the Zooma Half Marathon on April 16 ($75; www.zoomarun.com) and the Statesman Capitol 10,000 on March 27 ($30; www.statesman.com/cap10k).
Pilates? Dancing? Core strengthening? You name it, there's a DVD for that. Consider Jillian Michaels' ‘Six Week Six-pack,' Denise Austin's ‘Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates,' or, our personal fave, Dancing with the Stars' ‘Ballroom Buns & Abs.' ($10-$15 each; various retailers)
Up Beat Workouts
Do your runs turn into slow-motion shuffles? Try the Up Beat Workouts app from iTunes, which automatically synchs your running stride to the beat of the songs on your iTunes stash. Run faster, and the app picks a song with a faster beat. Slow down, and it matches the more mellow tempo. ($2.99; iTunes)
‘The Runner's Field Manual,' by Mark Remy
What Austin runner, beginner to calloused, wouldn't sprint across the city for a copy of this hilarious book about all things running? Flip through it to learn everything from how to circumvent road kill without retching, how to make arm warmers out of old socks, why it's a bad idea to get a pedicure before a race, how to treat a bystander who has accidentally seen your feet and how to negotiate the stairs after a marathon. ($17.99; Rodale)
‘Workouts in a Binder,' by Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hansen
Decide what you want to focus on (distance, speed or endurance), then pick a workout. This spiral-bound book is waterproof, so you can leave it on the pool deck for quick reference while you swim. ($29.95; Velopress)
Nite Beams LED arm band
Strap this band on your arm, press the button and suddenly you're as visible as a neon sign on Route 66. The band can be worn on ankle or arm, set to solid or flashing and comes in six different colors visible up to a quarter of a mile away. It's designed for runners, but suitable for cyclists riding after dark, too. ($20; www.nitebeams.com)
Armpocket Sport 20
No pockets for stashing your cell phone while you run? Tuck it in this carryall, which straps to your upper arm and won't slip. A touch-through window lets you use your touch screen while you work out. Made of bamboo and recycled plastic water bottles. ($29.95; Best Buy, www.armpocket.com)
Tikkina 2 headlamp by Petzl
Now that it gets dark early, you need lights to illuminate your way when you're trail running after dark. This compact, lightweight headlamp packs a bright punch, comes in assorted colors and easily stows in a pocket. ($20; Hill Country Running Co., REI)
Timex IronMan Global Trainer GPS mens watch
Runners are compulsive. We want to know our pace, distance, time splits and more. This one does all that, and downloads it directly to your computer. ($275 without heart-rate monitor or $325 with heart-rate monitor; Hill Country Running Co.)
The North Face Etip Smartphone Gloves
For those who have always wondered why you can't make your iPhone work when you're wearing gloves (and who hasn't?), we present these grippy gloves with silicone panels that let you use the touch screen on your cell phone, laptop or MP3 player. Never remove your gloves to answer calls again. ($40; Backwoods)
Shabby Apple sports bra
Shabby Apple's ‘Blossom' line features an array of pieces designed to add a touch of femininity to workout wear. We love this sports bra emblazoned with a delicate bird. Snug, supportive and not too revealing. ($22; www.shabbyapple.com)
Pearl Izumi jacket
We have discovered the world's most perfect windbreaker, and it's made by Pearl Izumi. The Barrier Lite Jacket is super light and comfy, cuts the wind just fine and wads up so tiny you can stuff it in a pocket when you're not using it. ($80; Bicycle Sport Shop)
PlatyPreserve collapsible wine preserver
Finally, a convenient way to carry your wine into the backcountry. (Did we just say that?) The lightweight and packable PlatyPreserve by Platypus is lined with food-grade polyethylene. Merlot with your dehydrated meal, anyone? ($12.95; Backwoods, REI)
Stuff your favorite athlete's stocking with vanilla gingerbread or mint chocolate flavored Gu energy gels to keep them running into 2011. (About $1.25; local running and grocery stores)