December is a great time to send fitness-themed gifts to friends and family. It’s the final month of indulgences, and going into the new year, it’s time for resolutions! One of the best resolutions for the year is to pay more attention to one’s health, weight and well-being. Whether your dear ones are on the fence about starting their fitness journeys, somewhat into it or are the picture fitness itself, there is a wide range of gift for everyone.
Gifts for the beginners
This simple accessory is indispensible no matter what form of exercise one picks. It is also an obvious hint to all those who still lead sedentary lives. Whether you end up falling in love with yoga, weights, combat sports, running, cycling or the high intensity stuff like HIIT and CrossFit, you will need the mat for your floor stretches, sit-ups or a headstand practice. There are plenty of options—from thick to thin, from straw to non-skid rubber—available from Decathlon, Cult and yoga schools too. My favourite is the Lulu Lemon Reversible Yoga mat at just 5mm thin.
This is the safest bet, considering the stupendous spike in the popularity of athleisure apparel over the last couple of years. So, even if you don’t end up successfully nudging your target on to the path of fitness, they would still end up wearing the clothes in this work-from-home world. And if they do start working out, they would look the part.
In the technical range, Reebok offers some of the best clothes for both men and women. Pick from the brand’s Myoknit and United by Fitness collections which combine comfort and smart design. Puma leads in the athleisure clothing category and also check out Columbia for the slightly pricier options. For Made in India alternatives, I’d suggest HRX, which makes really good jerseys with styles and prices that are on point.
Nothing sends out the message loud and clear like a gym pass or a subscription to online fitness sessions. While subscriptions picked up once the lockdown forced all gyms to shut, gym passes, quite popular in the west, have been slow to catch on in India. However, as gyms reopen and work travel resumes in 2021, gym passes could be very handy.
Fitternity, the workout discovery service, has OnePass, starting from ₹2,200, which grants access to over 12,000 gyms and studios across the country. OnePass Virtual opens up a world of over 100 daily Zoom fitness activities for you to pick from. Cult Fit has a similar online subscription service.
Gifts for those with intermediate fitness
A very useful accessory that is often overlooked even by the gym rats. These are extremely helpful if one does a high volume of pushups and dips or lifts moderately heavy weights. They protect the wrists and also improve balance by adding support.
There are loads to choose from, including the padded ones from Nivia and others that use Velcro fasteners. My favourite are the long ones made of canvas-like cloth with a string at the end to tighten the wraps as per your need. I have used Rogue wraps which are brilliant but if you can’t find those, there is something similar available from Decathlon.
No one really thinks of blocks when they start yoga. But they are really useful, especially when one is trying to move on to more advanced asanas. And they are useful for non-Yoga fitness enthusiasts as well as they help in various stretches.
Again, Decathlon has the answer to your yoga blocks needs, and you will be spoilt for choice if you search online.
Gifts for the fitness buff
This isn’t for the faint of heart but it is such a great accessory for body weight exercises. Athletes often train with weighted vests on when they are in the explosive strength gain phase. All movements are several times more effective with a weighted vest on. Plus, it’s a great feeling.
Decathlon offers two weighted vests while there are plenty more from local brands available on online marketplaces.
Weights are expensive and occupy a lot of space. However, bands fit in a shoe box and can be used as effective substitutes for weights. So whether you are working out at home or are traveling, bands are brilliant. You could do almost everything from bench press to dead-lift, from bicep curls to squats with resistance bands. You could even use bands to help you with your pullups and muscle-ups if you are advanced enough.
As with everything that involves exercise, Decathlon has affordable options and then there is Rogue which makes really good bands.
If it is a runner or a cyclist, they would appreciate the carb-rich gels while the gym regulars would love a tin of BCAA or creatine. Anyone active would always smile at the sight of protein shakes or recovery sports drinks.
GU gels are extremely popular and you should also try the ones offered by Indian start-ups Fast&Up and Unived, which offers vegan options. Fast&Up also offers a plethora of workout drinks, which help you recover quicker and also help you hit those PRs. ON, GNC, Ultimate Nutrition, Muscle Tech and Labrada are the leaders in protein and BCAA supplements.
A gift for everyone
No matter what your favourite form of workout is, you will invariably suffer from stiff muscles. Often just stretches aren’t enough, and this is where the foam roller comes in. It helps break down knots and massages tired, tight muscles in the back and legs when used correctly. This, any coach will tell you, is going to be your best friend if you have been feeling a bit sore frequently.
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.