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Best Fitness Gifts

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Updated November 19, 2012

Fitness gifts aren't for everyone, of course, but if there's an exerciser in your life, chances are there's something he or she wants to make workouts more efficient and more fun.  If you need gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life, below are some thoughts on what exercisers really want this year.  From heart rate monitors to fancy towels, you'll find it here.

1. Heart Rate Monitor

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A heart rate monitor is an excellent tool for any exerciser who wants to get the most out of his or her workout.  There are a variety of options out there, but you'll definitely want one that has a heart rate strap so your exerciser can see a continuous heart rate at a glance.  If he's a gear head, he might want a fancy GPS model which can track pace, location, speed etc. If she's into fitness and counting calories, she might enjoy a lighter version, like the Polar F6

2. Armband Heart Rate Monitor

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Heart rate monitors are great, but there are plenty of people completely opposed to wearing a chest strap. It certainly can be a pain to wear and use, which is where this armband comes in. It offers all the bells and whistles of a regular HRM - heart rate, time in target heart rate zone, calories burned, etc., but without the annoying chest strap. Just strap it to your arm and you're ready to go.

3. TRX Suspension Training

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If you have friends or family who love to try new and challenging workouts, the TRX Suspension System offers just that.  This network of straps connects to a door or ceiling (with an anchor) and allows the exerciser to leverage his own body weight for a variety of strength, endurance and power exercises.  What's great about the TRX is that it's different, it allows you to work your body with very little equipment and you can take it anywhere. Prices vary, but it's usually around $140 to $190. The package comes with everything you need - The strap system, a wall/ceiling anchor and a variety of videos.  There's also a package with the door anchor included, which is more travel friendly.

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4. Hydryx Workout Towel

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OK, so giving someone a workout towel seems a little lame. But this towel is actually pretty cool...literally. Once you take it out of the included tube, it instantly cools to help keep your workouts more comfortable. It's great for the gym, which can get steamy with all that body heat, or for summertime workouts as well. What a great idea and a perfect choice for the exerciser who has everything.

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5. Thorlos Experia Socks

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We probably all have that one person (hello, grandma) who gives us socks every year for birthdays or other holidays.  In fact, many of us let our socks fall apart, waiting for the holidays when we know we'll get to stock up.  If you're the sock recipient, ask for these Thorlo Experias, my all time favorite workout socks.   I normally don't spend much time raving about socks, but these are excellent for any activity.  They have padding at all the right places - The heel and the ball of the foot, while the rest of the sock is thinner, yet supportive.  They breathe well, stay in place and offer padding without the bulk.

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6. Kettlebells

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Kettlebells are the latest trend in fitness and a good choice if your exerciser loves a challenge.  There are a variety of kettlebell options out there, from medicine-ball like bells to basic iron models.  Kettlebell training isn't easy, so he or she should have some instruction before diving into a workout.  You might consider getting them a video if you're not sure of their fitness level.

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7. Personal Training Sessions

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Keep in mind that not everyone would be thrilled to get personal training sessions. So you shouldn't get someone sessions just because you want them to exercise or be healthy. However, this can be a great gift if your loved one has expressed interest in training but is reluctant to spend the money or intimidated to try it. In fact, many of my clients give friends and family personal training sessions for birthdays and holidays.

Each trainer will charge a different fee for sessions, but expect to pay around $50 to $100 per session. You might want to give one or two sessions and let them decide if they want more, or offer to train with them in group sessions.

8. Gym Membership

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Like other fitness gifts, a gym membership isn't for everyone.  Giving someone a gym membership because you want them to workout may cause instant relationship problems (perhaps, even violence).  However, if they've been talking about joining a gym, you're in the clear.  Before you commit to anything, find out exactly what they're looking for - Location, amenities, classes, etc.  Another option is to get them a coupon for free tours of gyms nearby and let them browse before you buy.

9. Healthy Dieter Gift Basket

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This kind of gift might be more appropriate for your boss or a healthy co-worker.  It's like a fruit basket, but without the bruised apples and mushy bananas. Say goodbye to the fruit baskets of old and hello to the modern version. This gift basket includes all kinds of healthy foods like green tea, soy coffee, smoked salmon, soy chips and dried fruit. It also includes a pedometer and a guided weight loss CD. At $85, it's a little pricey but this is a great, neutral gift for someone you work with.

10. Camelbak BPA-Free Water Bottle

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Is a water bottle a lame fitness gift?  I don't think so - but, then again, I think anything fitness-related is awesome, so you may want to get advice from someone with less of a bias.  With disposable water bottles filling up our landfills, most exercisers use re-usable bottles and this Camelbak is one of my favorites.  It's environmentally friendly and it has a little carrying hook, too.

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