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Holiday Shopping Guide: Gifts for Gym Rats

Not sure if you have noticed, but since the temperatures have dropped below a thousand, the streets of Houston are full of the fair-weather runners and athletes who just can't hack the summer heat. (Like me.) Gym rats, running nerds, cyclists and any outdoor enthusiast or athlete appreciates cool new gear. Gift them with better health for Christmas!

And a note: Don't go buying fitness gifts willy-nilly for folks on your shopping list. Only buy these for folks who are actually really into the activity. No one wants a "Hey fatass, you should exercise more" Christmas present.

Here are a few ways to wish someone a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year.

For Runners

I put these Skull Candy Fix Bud Earphones on my Under $50 Shopping Guide, too -- that's how impressed I am with the performance, especially for the online sale price of $34.99. (I got mine in-store for the regular $40 price tag.) A few other of my runner friends love the Adidas/Sennheiser line of sport and running headphones.

Distance runners need a good foam roller for post-workout massage. Anyone who has ever had an IT band problem knows the importance of a high-quality foam roller. The Trigger Point Performance/The Grid Foam Roller (REI, $39.99) has three zones to provide varying intensities of massage, with sections designed to feel like different parts of the body (i.e., forearm/palm, fingertips, fingers/thumb).

At $210, this Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS heart monitor is definitely a gift for the runner you really love, but it's a really cool gift that certain running writers (*cough*) have on their wishlist. Easy setup, simple functions, this monitor records speed, distance and average pace.

For Yogis

First and foremost, classes are the best gift. If you know what your yogi's favorite studio is, buy them classes! There are always package deals available, and during the holidays most studios offer extra incentives.

If your yogi practices at home more than at a studio, there are several excellent DVDs to recommend. Anything by Shiva Rae is good, but the two of her best are Yoga Shakti and Daily Energy Vinyasa Flow. Both DVDs have set practices, or allow you to create your own by choosing sections of practice from a "matrix" in the beginning menu so you can customize your workout each day. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are longtime yoga enthusiasts, and Styler has a set of six DVDs for sale ($60) that offer something for yogis of all skill levels.

Traveling yogis can always use a new/extra bag. This simple cotton yoga mat bag is only $19.98, or get the whole kit 'n' caboodle with this Tree of Life Yoga kit that includes the mat, bag and an aluminum water bottle.

Gym Rats

UncommonGoods.com is one of the best online shopping sites around, and their Dr. Cool/Dr. Hot packs are amazing. Great for the gym rat in your life who requires frequent muscle relief from tough regular workouts.

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A new gym bag with lots of space, good ventilation and an anti-microbial pack for the sweaty gross stuff you have to stow away with the rest of your stuff: Adidas Striker Duffle (medium) is cool in a unisex black-and-yellow. Regular price $40, on sale for $22.49.

Stocking Stuffers

And a few ideas for stocking stuffers:

• Antibacterial hand gel • Flip-flops • Workout towels • Power bars, bananas, apples, trail mix, etc. • iPod/Amazon gift certificates for downloading new workout music

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