"Holiday Gift Guide"

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With the holidays right around the corner, that can only mean one thing.  Lots of shopping and lots of not knowing what to get everyone on your list.

Perhaps you have a gym rat on your list and you don't know where to start when it comes to getting them that something special.

Well, have no fear!!  This will be your go-to guide for that fitness enthusiast in your life that seems to have everything.

I will be updating this list frequently, so check back often!!

Clothing

Socks

Let's start at the feet and work our way up the body.

The first thing that we will discuss is socks.  It's hard to beat a comfy pair of socks, but not all socks are created equal.  The standard cotton sock just won't cut it anymore, that's why I like to go with synthetics.

  • First up is the Swiftwick brand of sock.  These things are comfortable, they wick sweat very nicely, and they hold up for a long time.  A 3 pack would be a welcome gift!!
  • The second brand of socks to consider are Feetures!  These socks offer more of a compression fit, and work great for runners.  The nice thing about Feetures! is they offer a lifetime warranty on their socks.  They come in many lengths, so if you're looking for a legitimate compression sock, this is the one for you.

Shoes

There are few things that affect performance quite like a good pair of shoes.  I am a firm believer that one pair of shoes will not work for all applications.  That is why I have multiple options depending on what is on the board for the day.

  • The first pair of shoes that we will discuss is a good all around gym shoe.  I run in these, do light squats, box jumps, rope climbs, and general met-cons.  These are Inov-8 F-Lite 235's and I love them.  I love them so such that I am on my second pair.  They also come in some great colors schemes.
  • The next pair of shoes that I use are just your normal, run of the mill, Converse All Stars.  These should be in your bag everytime deadlift is on the menu.  They are flat and easy to stay in the heels with.  I would avoid any type of running with these because there isn't much ankle support.  This is another pretty good all around shoe, plus they come in every color under the sun.
  • Last, on the shoe lift is going to be for the more serious weight lifting enthusiasts.  These are very specific shoes, but you will probably only need to buy one pair in your lifetime.  The Nike Romaleos are a dedicated lifting shoe.  There is a pretty aggressive heel that helps get the body into better positions for Olympic lifting and heavy squats.  If you want to make gains, these are the shoes for you.

Pants/Shorts

When it comes to covering up the lower half of your body pretty much anything is going to work.  I'm a big fan of black because it goes with anything and it just plain looks cool.  I'll give you a couple choices, but these will be more of a fashion choice than anything.

  • A good pair of pants to go with are a regular pair of sweat pants.  They are easy to strip off once the sweat starts rolling and are easy to put back on once the workout is over with.  I have a pair of Under Armour sweats and I really like them.

When it comes to shorts, there are two options to choose from.  A regular pair of mesh shorts with pockets and a drawstring, or swimming trunk style shorts.  If you go the swimming trunk route, make sure they have a split in the leg for squats.

Shirts

When it comes to shirts, simple is usually the best option.  A cool logo is a plus, especially if they really enjoy the brand or company.  Cotton shirts usually get pretty hot, so I normally go with either a 50/50 split or a tri-blend.  The blended shirts get crazy soft after a few washings and they normally don't shrink too bad.

Bags

If your athlete is anything like me, they don't like leaving the house without everything they might need at the gym.  That's why I invested in a very nice bag to keep all of my stuff in.  I have yet to pack mine full, so I'm always looking for new things to fill it with.

  • The Reebok Warthog Long Haul duffle is the bag I use every day.  I can keep an extra set of clothes, a couple pairs of shoes, mobility tools, different wraps, basically anything I think I'll need.  There is an abundance of pockets featuring a ventilated shoe pocket and a very handy waterproof pocket for sweaty clothes.
  • The Reebok Short Haul Backpack is the smaller, backpack version of the duffle above.  Good for anyone that doesn't pack for the unknown.

Accessories

When is comes to accessories, there's a hand full of items that I can't live without.  They make life in the gym much easier and more enjoyable.

Wraps/Sleeves

These are the wrist wraps that I've been using for the last couple of years.  They take a little longer to put on, but once they're on they are easily adjustable.  Wrist wraps are very helpful if you have pain when you go overhead or you're in the front rack.

Another type of wrist wrap that I've used before are these.  They are much easier to put on and take off.  It's more of a personal preference when choosing wrist wraps.

  • If you experience knee pain or discomfort when squatting or during any other activity, you should consider a pair of knee sleeves.  They come in different thicknesses to provide different levels of support.  I wear mine when I squat heavy to help keep blood flowing to my knees and keep them warm.
  • Lifting straps come in very handy when the weight gets too heavy to hold onto.  You can get very frustrated when you can't finish a deadlift because your grip gives out.