Gift-giving is a lost art now, especially around the holidays. Most people stress themselves out or procrastinate for so long that they just end up buying generic gift cards the night before, or pulling directly out of the individual’s carefully curated wish list.
No thought and no creativity. Ugh.
I used to be one of those people. Buying gifts stressed me out. Malls pissed me off (and still do!), and nothing screams “I’m in the Christmas Spirit” quite like a fistfight in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Putting a little more thought into your gifts this year doesn’t have to cost you a month’s worth of earnings, stress you out, or put you in a headlock with an angry PTA mom in the toy aisle. I’ve curated a helpful and affordable gift guide for the health conscious, fitness junkie in your life (who could be you!).
Everything is linked up here for you so you don’t have to search like a madwoman (or man) looking for these items!
Fitness and Pilates Gifts for Him or Her
I am now the proud owner of three Pedestal socks, and I truly love training in them! Barefoot training is super helpful in developing the strength around your ankles and feet, plus it gives you a lot of external feedback when doing things like squats or deadlifts. Since I’m not training for any particular sport where special shoes are required, I like to use Pedestal’s cool socks to train whenever I can. They have special grips underneath to keep you from slipping during a kettlebell swing for example, uses thick, durable and breathable materials, and I love that I don’t have to dirty up my regular (and less durable) TJ-MAXX-quality socks at my Crossfit Box. Plus, the founders are from my home city of Boston so I like to give my boys support for an awesome product!
Pilates FloWOD is my signature digital course for lifters like YOU who want to learn Pilates and improve movement quality so that your lifts get a lot smoother and you stay out of pain! I poured my heart into this course, featuring 15 videos that include: Hips, shoulder, and core workouts that range from 7 to 15 minutes; a beginner and intermediate 30-minute mat workout, plus a foam roller FloWOD when your body needs a little extra TLC. Get 10% off using this code: HOLIDAYFLOWOD10
These are the exact mini-bands I use with myself and clients on a daily basis. It’s easy to carry around in my gym bag and helps me with a lot of corrective, pre-hab, or booty-building exercises. Plus, they’re super affordable so it’s a win for your wallet, too.
Whether you’re into my Pilates FloWOD program or just a lifter, the mini-stability ball is the tool I use to either enhance or challenge an exercise for myself and clients, or to correct certain movements. I was also certified by STOTT Pilates and trust the quality of their equipment.
Another excellent tool for pre-hab, rehab, Pilates and mobility, these Therabands get a lot of use! I keep them in my closet and use them for mobility training or to enhance my at-home Pilates practice. You can also use them for travel workouts and do things like Pallof presses, bicep curls, overhead presses, glute kickbacks, and more.
My Pilates peeps who want a solid Pilates ring at home should invest in this one from Balanced Body. It’s a splurge compared to others you may see online but trust me, you get what you pay for when it comes to a Pilates Ring (read: the cheap ones are always falling apart!). As a Pilates instructor, I’ve tried a bazillion brands and this is one of the best ones out there.
For the Practical Foodie & Wellness Obsessed
There are three things I need out of my kitchen supplies and they are: 1) Efficiency 2) Convenience and 3) Affordability. These are my top food and wellness items of 2018 that hit on all three, makes my life easier, and keeps me eating and living healthy.
Here’s the deal: we all know we should drink more water….but like, what’s the fun in actually tracking all that? Hidrate uses a free app to help you track your water intake and uses a built-in sensor to alert you when it’s time to drink up again. Hello accountability!
There’s no charging involved, it’s easy to clean, integrates with your mobile devices easily, and keeps you hydrated. A lot of my clients have trouble increasing their water intake and I find that Hidrate water bottles solves that problem fast. Use my discount code BARBELLPILATES10 for 10% off your purchase! #HidrateSpark
I use my CrockPot every single week because meal prep is life but I also don’t want to spend 4 hours in my kitchen just making food. This model is EXACTLY what I have at home and I love it because it’s affordable, has a programmable timer, and is easy to clean. If you’re looking for an inexpensive slow-cooker that doesn’t require a lot of fuss or cleanup, you can’t go wrong with this classic model.
If you are willing to splurge for a handy kitchen tool that can get a lot done in less time, this is it. You can do a lot of what you do in a normal slow-cooker with the InstaPot, only faster and better. Meal prepping made easy and the best part is that now there’s a ton of InstaPot specific cookbooks out there to help you create some amazing meals. YUUMMMM!
Books to Uplevel Yourself in 2019
Earlier this year I made a commitment to read at least two books per month on everything from human attachment, business, relationships, money, and of course, good ‘ol fiction. As of this writing, I have read 16 new books, sometimes twice, and these are my top favorites.
Bedros Keuillian (creator of Fit Body Boot Camps) really delivered with his first book. A lot of business books only discuss the tactics that made him or her successful. But not Bedros’ book. He reveals all the mistakes and mindset flaws that made him almost lose his business several times! In doing so, he highlights the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship and how anyone, at any level can pivot their mindset and habits to create incredible success, leadership, and a brand people care about.
This is one of the most eye-opening books that I have ever read in my life. Not only does it dive into what attachment science is, but it gives you the tools and assessments needed to discern what yours and your partner’s attachment style is and how to work with it. The book markets to those looking for happy, healthy romantic relationships, which can be deceiving. I gained valuable insights through this book regarding parenting, communication, and honoring your innate attachment style. This read is for anyone with a pulse.
Don’t let the title of this book fool you. Loving Bravely is about creating powerful human connections that empowers both parties, including your significant other. This book is like self-therapy and I highly recommend it for everyone, even if you’re already in a happy relationship. You’ll learn so much about establishing healthy boundaries, uncover behaviors and beliefs learned from childhood, how to address conflict productively, forgiveness, and so much more.
Jen Sincero is as insightful as she is funny in her How to Be a Badass book series. While most finance books teach us the tactical things to build or create wealth, very few dig into the mindset shifts we must make in the process. I’ve read this book twice, and still draw inspiration from it when I feel my old money stories creep up. If you are constantly telling yourself you’re broke, stressed out about money, or simply want to elevate your earnings, start with this book. You’ll laugh a ton and get so much out of it.
This is one of the best novels I’ve read in the last five years, and I have my Mother to thank for the introduction. Author Kristin Hannah writes so beautifully and the story is captivating, breathtaking, and incredibly addicting. I finished it in two days, a record for me and proof that this novel is worth getting lost in!
If you love storytelling, these books by Laura Hillenbrand are a must-read. Yes, they do have films based on these books already (which I’ve never seen), but there is so much detail that even an Oscar-winning film can’t capture. These books were so detailed in their character development and history, that I couldn’t put it down. I am in awe of Laura’s dedication to bringing these stories to life, and can’t wait to read her next one. If you’ve seen the movies, I still think it’s worth reading the stories that inspired them all.