Holiday Gift Guide for the Athletes in Your Life

By Tia Norris, November 2019 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ. 

‘Tis the season for getting together with loved ones, eating delicious holiday dishes, and of course for giving gifts, too! I’m here as your resident fitness expert to make the gift giving process easy, at least for the athletic types in your life! Included below are some popular fitness pursuits, and gift ideas for each type ranging from stocking stuffers to splurges. 

Athlete: Runner

Stocking stuffers: 

– Quality running socks. Don’t underestimate the beating a runner’s feet take during long training sessions. Take into consideration the level of cushioning your recipient prefers (minimal to maximal), the height of sock on the foot/calf (no-show to full compression), and the ability to wick moisture and keep feet dry. A runner’s feet are their most important asset. 

– Visors and hats. Hats keep runners shaded, cool, and free from sweat dripping in their eyes and face … they’re essential. 

Solid bets: 

– Hydration backpacks, bottles, or belts. Hydration is a must, and investing in a well-made, durable hydration system is critical for serious runners. I personally prefer a hydration backpack for most runs, but also frequently use a running belt with bottles for shorter or cooler runs. Still, some runners prefer handheld bottles that slide over the hand for effortless carrying. 

– New clothes specially designed for temperature control. Plain ol’ cotton tees just don’t cut it when it comes to serious running. There are specially designed clothes for all conditions, and the more extreme the temperature swings, the more important it is to have the right gear. 


– New running shoes. Shoes are the most important part of all running equipment. This may require some dialogue between you and your special person to figure out their unique needs, but shoes can be a difference maker for any runner! Prices range from $100-$300 for the best pairs on the market. 

– Entry into a destination race. Buy your person’s race entry and surprise them with a trip and a reason to keep training. 

Athlete: Gym Rat

Stocking stuffers: 

– Liquid weightlifting chalk. Every weightlifter needs a grip of steel, but many gyms do not allow traditional weightlifting chalk because of the mess it makes. Search for liquid weightlifting chalk on Amazon, and your Gym Rat will no doubt thank you on those tough, heavy sets!

– Protein shakes or supplements of choice. Supplements are critical for many athletes, and they certainly aren’t cheap. Find out what your special weightlifter likes and stock them up!

Solid bets: 

– New gym shoes. Who doesn’t need a little more flash and/or function for their gym routines? Check out Nike, NoBull, Converse, and other popular brands to help your weightlifter to look sharp and lift hard. 

– A gym bag. We all need a well-designed gym bag with plenty of pockets to hold all of our tools, supplements, clothes, and toiletries. This is a gift they’ll use frequently and for a long time. 


– A personal training package. Many gym goers can benefit from working with a coach, but simply can’t afford the premium. This is a gift that will pay dividends for years and decades to come. 

– A massage package or a TheraGun. Everyone needs massages, but so few actually make the time or the investment to follow through on them. Treat your athlete with a little bit of self-care and recovery. 

Athlete: Triathlete

Stocking stuffers: 

– Supplements of choice. Similar to the Gym Rats above, every triathlete has their magic concoction of powders, pills, bars, gels, and chews that help them perform at their best. Find out what they like and refill their supply!

– Swim accessories like swimming paddles, flip flops, and sunscreen. 

– Bike accessories like new bottles, tubes, and cartridges. 

Solid bet: 

– Bluetooth wireless headphones or AirPods. Wireless headphones are a must for those long, grueling training sessions. There are plenty of options on the market and your triathlete will use these on every bike and run for years to come. 

– A good bike cleaning or tune-up. Triathletes are notorious for dirty, dirty bikes … treat your person of choice with a visit to the local bike shop for a cleaning, tune-up, and equipment upgrade.  


– New Garmin or sport watch. Triathletes live and die by their watches — we’re constantly watching cadence, watts, splits, and heart rate. If your loved one is due for an upgrade, this is a gift that will certainly help them go the distance and perform at their very best. 

– New triathlon kit. Kits are expensive but necessary — check out which brands and styles your special person likes and hook them up with a new look. 

Athlete: Yogi

Stocking stuffers: 

– Yoga mat and/or shoulder strap. This is one of the only pieces of equipment a yogi needs, so you can be sure that they’ll be using it constantly. 

– Membership to a meditation/mindfulness app. Sometimes, a guided meditation can provide the perfect reset during a stressful time. There are plenty of highly reviewed, highly effective meditation apps out there — this would be the perfect gift for your yogi-type athlete. 

Solid bets: 

– Membership to a new studio or membership package. Every instructor is different, and every style of yoga offers unique benefits … how about surprising your yogi with a new experience at a new location? 

– Décor around the house that matches the yogi style. Think: Bonsai plants, Buddha figures, wall decorations, tapestries, and more.

Splurges: a destination retreat. This one speaks for itself. There are a myriad of these types of extended retreats, especially around Phoenix/Sedona. 

A thoughtful and useful gift can last for years and can also be a heartfelt reminder to the recipient of you, with each use. And remember, you have to give gifts without expecting anything in return. Happy Holidays and enjoy your shopping.

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