I just LOVE it when someone I know finds a new hobby as it makes gift-giving super easy. If that hobby requires the frequent replacement or upgrading of materials or tools- even better! I am an annoyingly practical person and prefer to gift people with things that they really truly want, will actually use, and also get some enjoyment out of. I call it the Gift Trifecta or Triple Crown of Presents.
When I started making fitness and overall health a priority; I began to get gifts that helped me keep up with my fitness goals, and this Christmas was no different. Yesterday’s present-unwrapping extravaganza yielded a bounty of health and fitness related items that I can’t wait to try out (although I woke up with a bit of a cold this morning, so wait I shall). I will admit that some of these gifts were on my list of requests for Santa and came to me through some serious hint-dropping (read: emailing of Amazon.com wish list to my husband), but not all of them.
A new cookbook was under the tree for me this year, and it was one I had never heard of but fell in love with as soon as I saw the title. The Thug Kitchen cookbook is built on the premise that we generally eat way more processed foods and animal products than is healthy (a premise that most experts seem to think is true). I started flipping through the book as soon as I unwrapped it (c’mon, who could ignore a title like THAT?), and had read it cover to cover by the time I went to sleep. The writing is funny, the photos made my mouth water and the recipes seem like just enough of a challenge where I won’t be overextending myself but will feel like I accomplished something important. In fact, after yesterday’s reading, there is only one recipe that I won’t make- the recipe for horchata because I don’t like horchata to begin with. I can’t wait until the holiday leftovers are eaten so that I can start working on some of these! I’ve since discovered the Thug Kitchen website, and you can too if you click here.
I received an enormous water bottle and a barbell pad from Don. Ever since the beginning of the summer when I failed to hydrate properly, I have become neurotic about my water consumption. At one point this summer, I was filling three normal sized water bottles to take with me to work everyday, and it became inconvenient because I would often leave them places and then not have enough water to get through the next day because I couldn’t find the water bottle to fill it. In order to make my life easier, I began buying the 1.5 liter bottles of water from the grocery store and bringing those to work with me, but I felt pretty guilty about the unnecessary consumption of plastic. My problem was solved yesterday with the gift of a 48oz Nalgene. I can keep track of one water bottle throughout the day and now I don’t have to waste our natural resources because it is reusable.
The barbell pad is a solution to another problem. Now that I’m using more weight, barbell squats have become, literally, a pain in the neck. My towel no longer provides enough cushion under the weight of the bar, and I’m left with a red mark (and pain!) across my shoulders and neck. This neoprene cushion that slides over the bar should help make squats more comfortable.
Other gifts received were a yoga mat (perfect for living room dates with Adriene), a headband that promises not to slip and will, hopefully, do a better job of keeping the flyaways under control than the ones I currently use (nothing ruins a workout like having annoying wisps of hair irritatingly sticking to your sweaty face and tickling you, can I get an amen?!), and a jump rope.
The jump rope was definitely on my wish list because I am pretty bad at it and I want to practice out of the public eye. I see people at the gym who are really talented jump ropers, and I want to look like them. I’ve actually been envious of anybody with talent for rope-jumping since my Jump Rope for Heart days in grade school; there were always a handful of kids who could spring spring spring with a steady cadence and made it look so easy, but I spent (and still spend) most of my time just barely hopping off the ground and snapping myself in the shin with the rope. It is my hope that, with some practice, I will be able to look more natural jumping rope since it is a good way to get a quick cardio workout, and it will be a very useful option to have in the weeks to come (we are, after all, approaching New Year’s Resolution Season) when the treadmills and ellipticals will be much busier than they have been of late (earlier this week, I was one of only eight people working out. The calm before the storm…).
As nice as it is to try out new stuff at the gym, these things are equally as practical as they are fun. Some of them will provide me with ways to make sure that I can still squeeze in some exercise when I can’t make it to the gym, and others will just make my workout experience a little easier no matter where I’m doing it or will maybe make sure that my health is still taking priority when I’m doing things other than exercise. The best part about gifts like these is that they keep on giving and not just in the sense that I’ll use them again and again, but in that they give me so much more than what they advertise. They give me the gift of good health, better self-esteem, and, essentially, a longer life, and who wouldn’t want to unwrap those things on Christmas morning?