While some people may be looking at 2021 as the year they invest in staying as cozy as possible at home, or finally learn how to master cooking or seriously upgrade their WFH setup or even reinvent their skin care routine, there are those who are hoping that the new year will bring them closer than ever to their fitness goals.
These are the people who love working out and have probably started investing in a kind of home gym of their own, and they need presents just as good as everyone else.
To help determine the best products to invest in heading into 2021, we’ve chatted with health and fitness experts to uncover their secrets and favorite items to gift. After all, if the professionals swear by them, you know they’re high-quality. For more gift ideas, check out all our gift guides here, as well as our tips for making sure your presents arrive on time. And if you’re in a real hurry, be sure to triple-check shipping times and perhaps choose expedited shipping as well.
For the person looking to make exercise part of everyday life
Trx All-in-One Suspension Training: Bodyweight Resistance System ($169.95; amazon.com)
If they don’t have a ton of space, but want to work up a major sweat, personal trainer Miriam Fried recommends this TRX suspension training kit. As she explains, you can easily work out your entire body without building out an entire gym. Win-win!
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike ($228.33; amazon.com)
Now, building out a home gym or investing in substantial at-home fitness equipment doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. If you’re looking for a super solid bike option to gift that won’t take up too much space, this editor-favorite option has 14,000 reviews on Amazon.
Ativafit Yoga Wheel ($38.99; amazon.com)
Regardless of whether they’re a self-proclaimed yogi or not, this wheel will increase their flexibility, range of motion and release minor aches and pains, according to Dani Schenone, a holistic wellness expert for Mindbody.
“What I love most about it is the support it offers in spinal extensions, giving my heart center all the expansion it needs,” she explains. However, it’s not just for the spine. The yoga wheel is excellent for developing better balance, improving inversions or amplifying any pose too. “I pull out my yoga wheel weekly, and it has transformed my yoga practice,” she adds.
Everlast Pro Style Training Gloves (starting at $27.04; amazon.com)
Sometimes — say, every week of 2020 — you just feel the need to punch something. If they have a boxing bag at home, they need gloves that allow them to cross, hook, jab and uppercut their stress away. Travel and fitness guru Dr. Cacinda Maloney recommends these lightweight training gloves. They wick moisture, so your hands won’t feel sticky, and you can still keep moving.
Bala Bangles ($49; amazon.com)
They’ll be impressed by how adding a little more resistance to their daily workouts or chores can shape their stamina and overall fitness level. Danielle Cote, the director of training operations at Pure Barre recommends these functional and fashionable bangles that fit snug on your wrists or ankles.
“Whether you are wearing them during your favorite sweat session, while you’re out for a walk or cleaning around the house, these 1-lb or 2-lb weights pack in a sneaky punch to your day,” she shares.
Gaiam Yoga Mat ($23.98, originally $29.98; amazon.com)
“My favorite features include the cushioned rubber backing for joint support and stability, the dry-wicking surface the absorbs moisture and prevents yogis from falling during a mega sweat sesh, and the thick backing that adheres to the floor so that the mat doesn’t crinkle, curl or move across the room while flowing,” she explains.
Plus, it’s made with natural rubber, so it won’t peel like a synthetic mat.
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller ($59.99; amazon.com)
Foam rollers are a real game-changer when it comes to post-workout recovery. They work to loosen up muscles and act as a massage after a trying session, plus they’ll be able to work on your quads, calves, lats, back and much more with this top-rated option.
BalanceFrom Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand ($58.40; amazon.com)
This set of classic dumbbells is available in two weight levels, from a 32-pound set with weights of 3,5, and 8 pounds to a 50-pound set with weights of 5, 8, and 12 pounds. Both sets feature six weights coated with neoprene (which prevents slipping) and a convenient storage stand.
Aero Speed Hyperformance Jump Rope by Buddy Lee Jump Ropes ($39.95; amazon.com)
Jump rope: It may be one of the simplest workouts, but it’s an effective one. Fitness and wellness coach Gideon Akande says this is an ideal product for anyone who wants to turn up their cardio speed. Thanks to the weight of the rope, the ergonomics and comfort of the handle, and the swivel-bearing technology, he says they’ll have a perfect turn each time they hop.
“This high-quality rope takes a beating and lasts! This is a must-have in any home gym or fitness traveler’s luggage,” he adds.
Dynamax Soft-Shell Medicine Ball Standard (starting at $85; amazon.com)
If you’re looking to gift a medicine ball, Akande says to look no further. “It’s perfect for core work and sport-specific training,” he explains. “These medicine balls are impact-absorbing built to handle high velocity. Plus, they’re just fun to toss around.”
AmazonBasics Medicine Ball ($34.99; amazon.com)
This cheaper medicine ball option is a classic, featuring a textured finish that’s easy to grip and a rubber design so you can bounce the ball off hard surfaces.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike ($183.99; amazon.com)
As a podiatrist who frequently works with athletes, Dr. Velimir Petkov knows what aids a workout routine and what can cause injury. If they’re a fan of indoor cycling but don’t have the space for a Peloton, he says to try out this at-home bike.
“It is relatively light and portable but also sturdy enough to stay in one place while being used,” he continues. “It does have a digital monitor and various levels of resistance in order to make even the most passionate exercise aficionados happy.”
Ab Roller Wheel ($17.97, originally $24.97; amazon.com)
The ultimate tool for building up ab strength, this roller is well-loved on Amazon for its high quality and low price point. It comes with a knee pad and two bonus e-books that cover everything from ideal diets to different types of ab workouts.
Hyperice Hypersphere Mini ($79; amazon.com)
Since you only have one body, it’s vital to protect and nurture it, which is why a vibrating massage ball like this one is a necessity. As a fitness manager for Red Mountain Resort, Kim Watters shares that using this before a workout can help prepare muscles and soft tissue around the joints and after a workout helps in the recovery process.
“It fits easily around/close to joints like in the pocket between the chest and the shoulder joint or in the hip crease. It’s also handy in those hard to reach areas like around the shoulder blades or SI joints,” she explains.
Gruper Thick Yoga Mat (starting at $33.99; amazon.com)
Whether they’re going through a Vinyasa yoga flow or doing a 10-minute core series, they need a sturdy mat to keep them in place and focused on movement — not slipping. That’s why Jeremiah Maestre, a certified personal trainer for Performix House, recommends this thick mat. Not only can they use it indoors, but it’s suitable for outdoor workouts, too!
For the person resolving to eat cleaner, cook more or start meal prepping
NutriBullet 1200W Full Size Blender ($99.99; nutribullet.com)
Tommy Duquette, the co-founder of FightCamp and the former USA National Boxing Team member, reminds us that nutrition is one of the essential components of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, you could work out all day, every day, but if you don’t focus on a balanced meal plan, you won’t see the results you’re hoping to achieve. For those times when they don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to meal prep and cooking, Duquette recommends this blender.
“If I know that I have a full day of meetings after filming my workouts, I will blend up organic fruits and vegetables, coconut water, and protein powder for an easy to drink a smoothie,” he explains. “This Nutribullet is big, so I put it in the office fridge and keep refilling my glass until I can get a full meal.”
Spiralizer 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer ($25.97, originally $27.99; amazon.com)
Healthier eating resolutions often call for few to no carbs. The Spiralizer vegetable slicer enables them to turn vegetables into noodles for their next spaghetti dinner and stay true to that keto or paleo diet. The Spiralizer’s revamped blades are even stronger than before and can cut through hard root vegetables like sweet potatoes and turnips for unlimited vegetable-noodle possibilities. S Check out our full review.
Dash Rapid Egg Cooker ($15.99, originally $19.99; amazon.com)
For egg lovers out there, there’s no easier way to scramble, hard boil, soft boil or poach eggs than with this Dash egg cooker. It has an auto shut-off function, so their eggs will never overcook and they won’t have to babysit them if they’re short on time. Whether it’s for a quick breakfast or a protein-packed snack, cooking eggs has never been this over-easy.
Cosori Air Fryer ($119.99; amazon.com)
There are plenty of rave reviews for air fryers — and many loyal fans of the devices, like Cote. In fact, she says she uses this for everything: frozen food, fresh produce, creative recipes, or go-to basics. It provides a necessary crunch to healthy food while using little oil, ultimately resulting in 85% less fat than deep-fried food.
“Until I bought this, I had never considered all of the things that you could use it for,” she shares.
Utopia Kitchen Glass Food Storage Container Set ($29.99; amazon.com)
When it comes to food prep, storage sets like this option from Utopia Kitchen are a must-have.
’Anti-Diet’ by Christy Harrison (starting at $14.99; amazon.com)
Schenone says this one read changed not only her understanding of health and wellness but her life. If you’re someone who has struggled with body image, yo-yo dieting and weight loss, this can provide the fundamental shift they crave.
“It provides a historical look at the diet industry and uses scientific research to combat common beliefs about the body and health,” she explains. “It also offers usable strategies to reclaim your life and find true personal health and wellness.”
Vitamix E310 Explorian Professional Grade ($289.95, originally $349.95; amazon.com)
Hands down, Schenone says a Vitamix is the best kitchen investment she’s given herself. “I love being able to make myself a nutritious smoothie in the morning, some nut butter on sourdough toast for lunch, and a hot, hearty vegetable soup for dinner — all with the same appliance,” she raves.
Besides coming with a plethora of recipes and active Facebook groups you can follow for advice and secrets, it’ll also allows your recipient to easily cook good-for-your meals. As the biggest bonus, perhaps, it also self-cleans, so they can spend less time scrubbing and more time focusing on their health.
SodaStream Jet Sparkling Water Maker ($79.99; amazon.com)
Though we all know how vital it is to drink plenty of water, sometimes good old-fashioned H20 gets boring. To spice it up and still remain hydrated, Perz recommends this sparkling water maker. You can add natural flavors or fresh fruit to create yummy and healthy beverages.
“Also, you can feel good buying this because by creating sparkling water with this product you’ll be limiting plastic waste,” she adds.
’The New Health Rules’ by Frank Lipman & Danielle Claro (starting at $9.99; amazon.com)
When this book first came out, board-certified nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden purchased 12 copies and gave them out as holiday gifts. He says Frank Lipman is one of the great integrative and functional medicine doctors of our time, and this is one of the easiest-to-understand books on health he’s ever seen.
“Each ‘rule’ is less than a page, easy to understand, and absolutely up-to-date as far as the latest thinking goes. You can’t go wrong with this book,” he adds.
32-Ounce Hydro Flask with Straw ($49.95; hydroflask.com)
Since chronic dehydration is so prevalent, one of the first pieces of advice registered dietitian Laura Burak gives her clients is to purchase a high-quality water bottle that’s at least 32 ounces and comes with a straw.
“This way, you can easily track your water and aim to fill up the bottle at least twice a day instead of trying to estimate and losing track with little cups or bottles. The less thinking, the better,” she explains.
Why the straw? She says it works to increase your intake since it makes it easier.
Simple Modern Classic Insulated Tumbler ($20.99; amazon.com)
If you ask Petkov, this is the most amazing iced drink holder that exists. Because it’s insulated, it’ll stay cold as long as you’d like. “You’ll be wondering why you finished your drink quicker only to find out that the ice is still there and begging you to pour more drink into that tumbler,” he raves.
And if you’re more of a warm beverage fan, it’ll keep your coffee or tea toasty, too.
For the tech lover who wants to track a fitness progress and stay focused
Apple Watch Series 6 ($349.99, originally $399; amazon.com)
The latest Apple Watch hasn’t changed much with design, but it does something big with the display. It’s now always on, so whether you’re holding that yoga pose at the gym or riding a bike, you don’t need to take an extra action to monitor your workout. It’s a big change that doesn’t decrease the daylong battery life. The watch can still take an electrocardiogram, and it looks sporty in the aluminum variants. We have a full review you can check out to learn more.
Garmin HRM-Pro ($122.75, originally $128; amazon.com)
Recently, Duquette has started to wear a heart rate monitor while doing roadwork training outdoors. “Monitoring your heart rate is a concrete way to see if you are improving your overall performance,” he explains. “In addition to your heart rate, this device gives you information on running power so you can determine your output and make adjustments to fine-tune the efficiency of your workout.”
Apple AirPods Pro ($199, originally $249; amazon.com)
Apple’s AirPods Pro are a great way to tune out distractions when it’s time to zone in on your workout. These compact true wireless buds come with active noise-canceling technology, plus they’re sweat- and water-resistant, so there’s no need to worry when you’re killing it in the gym. For a complete breakdown of why we think these are such a great all-around option, be sure to read our full review.
Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch ($149.95, originally $179; amazon.com)
In addition to tracking your heart rate, sleep and other activity levels, Petkov recommends this fitness tracker since it can play music too. As a bonus, it’s waterproof, so if swimming is your sport of choice, it’ll help you improve your technique. Don’t forget about the built-in GPS, so you can go for long runs without worrying about getting lost on the trail or city streets.
For the person who wants to invest in overall health and wellness
You may be wondering what a DNA kit can tell them about their health or fitness abilities. Well, 23andMe’s Health + Ancestry Service actually provides incredibly detailed information on how their DNA can affect their diet, exercise and even sleep habits. They’ll receive reports on things including their genetic muscle composition (like whether their is similar to that of elite power athletes) and their genetic weight, to let them know if they’re predisposed to weighing over or under the average. It’s a great starting point to better understand how their DNA may impact their fitness or health goals.
Theraguns aim to help you unwind, take care of your body and recover from everything from injuries to workouts. We love the idea of gifting the Mini version because it’s ultra-portable and cost-effective. You can check out our review of the device and other Theraguns here.
Melt Hand & Foot Treatment Kit ($50; amazon.com)
For two years, Watters tried everything she could to get her hands on anything that would relieve her back pain. However, it wasn’t until she stumbled upon this hand and foot treatment that she realized the connection between her limbs and her back. “I noticed a difference in mobility and inflammation right away,” she shares. “This little kit also reduces bunion pain, plantar fasciitis, neuromas and stiffness and tightness through the whole body.”
When used on the hands, she says it reduces arthritis pain, carpel tunnel, neck pain, stiffness and tightness in the shoulder girdle.
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo (starting at $14; amazon.com)
Coite tried a handful of dry shampoos but never could understand what the hype was all about. But then, she tired Living Proof — and she became a believer.
“This dry shampoo leaves your hair feeling, smelling and looking great. It quickly absorbs sweat and oil and is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and silicone,” she explains.
Registered dietitian Leah Kaufman reminds us masks are our new normal. And since many people struggle to find the right mask that they can exercise with, consider gifting this one that she uses herself. “This mask is designed to sit away from your face to add breathability. It comes in a range of sizes and colors, so there are plenty of options to pick depending on who you’re shopping for,” she explains.
Dagne Dover Medium Landon Carryall ($155; dagnedover.com)
This gym bag is sure to garner compliments. The neoprene material is extremely lightweight and a breeze to keep clean. Simply throw it in the wash whenever it’s starting to smell less than optimal. There are lots of useful pockets and zippers to make organization easy, and the range of colors makes it a great option for everyone.
Nike Sportswear Club Fleece ($50; nike.com)
This iconic unisex fleece hoodie is a staple of athleisure, but it was designed with more than just style in mind. Super comfortable with a relaxed fit, this hoodie is perfect for the gym and for sporting around town.
Quay High Key Sunglasses ($69.99; amazon.com)
Perz is a fan of not only the style but the functionality of these cool shades, which come in a variety of colors. She uses them during outdoor workouts, hikes, and anytime she needs to protect her eyes.
Balega Hidden Comfort No-Show Running Socks ($14; amazon.com)
Maloney says for comfort and style during workouts; these socks are the best. Plus, they remain smooth and cozy, no matter how many times you put them through the workout, wash and rinse routine.
New Balance Women’s NB Tech Short ($29.99; newbalance.com)
When she need a great workout, Maloney swears by these shorts that check all of the boxes. “I work out hard and need a short that will cover my tush, yet gives me the material I need to keep cool,” she continues. “They are the right length and fit with a classic style!”