Gift guide for the fitness enthusiast on your list

There are a variety of gifts out there -- at a variety of price points -- fitness fans are sure to love. A personal trainer offers some suggestions. (Thinkstock)

Josef Brandenburg, special to

WASHINGTON – If you have a fitness enthusiast on your holiday gift-giving list, there are plenty of items out there to stuff in stockings and pile under the tree. But where do you start?

Here are a few ideas — categorized by price point — that work for everyone on your list — from those new to the fitness game to the most seasoned workout buff.

Gift Ideas for the Traveling Fitness Enthusiast

  • Cheap: If you’re looking for an inexpensive — yet effective — gift, go with a jump rope. Really. This will fit easily into a travel bag and make for a great hotel room workout. In my experience, the cheaper ones ($10 or less) are better than the $40 ones.
  • Medium: In a medium price point, a pair of Valslides are perfect at $30. This product is named for celebrity trainer Valerie Waters, who invented these as a portable alternative to a heavy and expensive slide board. (Waters has helped to shape bodies like Jessica Beil and Jennifer Garner.) Valslides fit easily into any travel bag, and make for fantastic core and lower body work that can be done almost anywhere.
  • Medium: For around $35, check out the Tiger Tail. It’s like a rolling pin for your muscles.
  • High: If you have a bigger budget to work with, the gift of a suspension trainer, such as a TRX or Jungle Gym, would be welcome by any fitness fan.

Gift Ideas for All Fitness Enthusiast

  • Cheap: Perfect for a stocking stuffer, a lacrosse ball is a great gift at a low price point. For $5 or less you can give someone the gift of a portable massage therapist. With this ball, one can lean his or her upper back against the ball on the wall and get out the knots that result from sitting at the office all day. Another way to use the ball is to sit on it and work out hip knots that result from sitting.
  • Medium: Think out-of-the-box for this in-the-crate gift: a membership to a CSA, or community supported agriculture program. Prices vary from $25 to $100 per week. You can’t out-train a bad diet, so getting fresh, organic fruits and vegetables delivered to the door helps a lot when it comes to eating better.
  • Medium: A Rumble Roller is like a foam roller with thumbs. And for around $50, it can work out tight muscles a traditional roller might miss.
  • Medium: The kettlebell is the king of home exercise equipment — it targets cardio, strength, power and flexibility for a fraction of the price of traditional gym equipment. Make sure you don’t buy anything lighter than 12 kilos for swings. Bells that are too light are dangerous because they don’t require good technique.
  • High: For a higher price point, consider getting that special someone on your list a month of personal training. When it comes to this gift, prices vary. For the best prices, December — not January — is a good time of year to get a deal on personal training packages. If you have someone who is frustrated with getting started, who wants to go to the next level, or wants to prevent injury, getting some professional help can be just the ticket. Do a little homework, and don’t buy on price exclusively.

Editor’s Note: Josef Brandenburg is a D.C.area fitness expert with 14 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book “Results Fitness.” In 2004, he started The Body You Want personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the available time you have. You can also check out his blog, follow him on Twitter, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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