Fill Their Stockings with New Workout Gear this Holiday Season!

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year – holiday season! I get so excited about Christmas, and everything that goes along with it (and I’m especially excited to head home to see the family in a couple weeks). Have a fitness junkie on your shopping list – or are you looking for a little something for yourself this holiday season? Here are some easy to find ideas that fit into most any shopping budget:

  • BPA-free water bottles. My brother Eric gave me couple orange Nalgene bottles a few Christmases ago – and it’s a gift that keeps on giving. I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle, so it’s been one of the most useful gifts I’ve received in recent history.
  • Yoga or Pilates mat (and maybe throw in a DVD). The beauty of Pilates and yoga? All you need is enough space to fit a mat, so you can practice at home, on the road, or in the studio or the gym. Check out TJ Maxx and Marshalls – they tend to stock high-quality mats, for a fraction of the price you’ll see in sporting goods stores.
  • Heart Rate Monitor. I’m a huge advocate for heart rate monitors – I haven’t exercised without one in probably close to seven years. Depending on the features, they can run from as little as $40, or up to $400. My recommendation: check out Polar (I’ve been wearing a FT60 for about two years now, and I love it! They are currently on for just under $150).
  • Gym bag. If you’re like me, you carry your life to the gym with you (example: on Wednesday nights – when I go straight from work to teaching two classes, I usually show up with my regular bag, with my gym clothes, and my Pilates mat bag, with my mat, Piloxing gloves (need them? You can buy them here), my mic belt, batteries … yeah, I pretty much fall into the studio with my armloads of stuff).
  • Foam roller. I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with these evil saints in the last several weeks. One to use at home is on my list this year!
  • New gym clothes. Gym clothes are great for the outdoor enthusiast, the yogi, the hardcore cyclist … there’s something for every activity and every personality. Not sure what to look for in gym clothes? Check out my recent post here.

One quick reminder, though (and no, I’m not just looking at the gentlemen here): unless you have been specifically asked to purchase a gym membership, DON’T DO IT. You’ll thank me for saving you a fight (do you really want to hear your loved ones ask you if you think they’re fat?? Didn’t think so). Have fun shopping – and remember, window shopping does count as exercise, but that’s no excuse to skip the gym this time of year (and do still park in the back of the lot)! It is a busy time of year, but make time for yourself this holiday season – your health – and sanity – relies on it.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

Just a reminder to take a little time off to be thankful for all we have today. At the end of the day, our health and the speciL people in our lives are the most important things. Take time for good company and good food … and worry about getting back to exercise and good food tomorrow. Everyone deserves a cookie or two on Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Hope Santa treats you well this year 🙂

Working Out Back in My Old Stomping Grounds …

And by “my old stomping grounds,” I mean my first “real” gym. I’m visiting with the family in Illinois for Christmas this week, and naturally – me being me and all – it took all of two days for me to join my brother, Eric, on a (somewhat lengthy) trip to XSport Fitness in St. Charles.

It’s awesome to be able to go back to my first XSport when I’m home. It’s almost like a kind of homecoming for me, as crazy as that seems. It’s interesting to see how things have changed in the five years since I left – and even more so in the nearly 10 years that the club has been open. Plus, it’s kinda cool to be able to compare the equipment that they have in St. Charles to the equipment we have back home in Alexandria (because, yes, there are some different things, and yes, they have definitely updated the equipment in St. Charles since I was here last Christmas).

It’s always funny to come back here, because I always recognize at least a few familiar faces, even though it has been years since I’ve lived here. They may not be people I ever really knew, but when you are a regular at the same gym for long enough, you start to “know” people, even if you never actually talk to them (which is part of why I sometimes refer to people by descriptors – I don’t really know them, I just see them every single day).

The best part, though, was probably something I didn’t anticipate at all – I ended up bringing out my teaching pants as I was doing my stretches and abs. There was an older lady (who, I found, was in town from Florida visiting for the holidays) who I got to talking to … and ended up giving her a couple suggestions for ab and back exercises on the Swiss ball. I also got to chatting with this guy who turned out to be a fellow instructor – he said he teaches the bootcamp class – which I thought was kind of cool. You know us instructors … you ask for suggestions, we’ll give them to you, and we always like to meet fellow instructors (cause we’re a special breed and all)!

It definitely feels good to keep some semblance of my routine intact throughout the holidays, because I have no desire to take it too easy while I’m home. I don’t want to be playing catch up when I get back to Virginia – especially since the New Year mad-house season is just a few short weeks away. (Boo!!) My intention is to get at least a couple good workouts in while I’m home to make up for the cookies I spent most of yesterday afternoon baking (amongst other temptations I’d never face back home, because there are definitely certain foods I keep out of my apartment on purpose). I did about 7.5 miles (5k running – just over 26 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of quarter-mile intervals, side shuffles, and a little hill walking) on the treadmill in my parents’ living room yesterday morning, then Eric and I spent about two and a half hours at XSport this afternoon (I did some arms, an hour on the elliptical, and abs).

And it felt great to get back to the club where it all began … I love (LOVE) XSport Alexandria, and especially all my awesome classes and friends there – but because it where I fell in love with fitness, and where I first became an instructor, XSport St. Charles will always have a special place in my heart.