| By Anita Kus-Roberts |
Ever since I started competing, the Christmas season has been a time of terror. Halloween has nothing on this holiday! The workplace is a minefield of treats and food-filled gift baskets. Holiday lunches at work threaten to take away my hard-earned body. And of course, there is always cake. Always.
There’s no escaping it! While I’m dodging pushy shoppers at the mall, the smell of freshly baked cinnamon “something” wafts into my nostrils, instantly making me salivate. The stress of finding the perfect gift makes you want to give in to your cravings to reward you for your efforts. And it would be so easy with those extra-naughty holiday treats so readily available.
But it doesn’t stop there.
There are also the family meals and friend get-togethers. Not the civil type, but the kind where you feel like a kid backed into a dark, scary alley by a bully twice your size, pounding fist against palm. Or a drug pusher, telling you to try it – just this once. Replace “bully” with “babcia” and “fist” with “pirogi.” Or switch “drug pusher” to “friend with a bottle of Jägermeister.”
There’s no doubt that all gifts are appreciated, but why not make it easy on yourself and those around you who are struggling to get you that perfect gift?
Of course, there’s the awkward gift exchange where you walk away with boxes of chocolates, gift certificates to buffets and the ever-present bottle of wine — where the fitness fanatic must grin widely and say, I’ll have to save this for after my show! Or how about that sweater that’s now too big or small because the last time you saw the gifter you were “on” or “off” season?
There’s no doubt that all gifts are appreciated, but why not make it easy on yourself and those around you who are struggling to get you that perfect gift? Here is my gift to you: Ten easy gift solutions for the fitness fanatic! Print it out and pass it around!
Gift Certificate for his or her favourite sport-clothing store. Take the guessing out of the sizes and just get the certificate. No one will be hurt or offended. To be extra creative, insert the card into a reusable BPA-free water bottle.
The Competitor’s Gift Basket: get to your local grocery store and grab the following items: rice cakes, all-natural almond butter, salt-free herbs and spice blends, fancy herbal teas, coffee, sugarless gum, mustard and a bag of oatmeal. Grab a basket and arrange these items for a very thoughtful gift!
A New Cooler Bag with reusable containers: my cooler bag used to be zebra-striped. It now resembles LMFAO pants, (meaning it has been stained in various bright colours). Tip — make sure the cooler is big. Whether it’s for a guy or gal, they’ll be stuffing it full of chicken breasts and asparagus. And while you’re at it, why not fill it with some reusable containers and grocery-store gift cards?
Kitchen Gifts like a digital scale, measuring cups and spoons are always appreciated! There are even some excellent cookbooks on clean eating and cooking that can be bundled with these items. Your local department store should have all of these items. Go for bright, fun colors to contrast with the bland tilapia and chicken breasts that we’re measuring out.
Tanning Gift Certificate — and don’t forget the lotion! Some competitors like to keep a tan throughout the winter months. The harshness of short winter days leaves us craving the sun, and that bronzed body look.
Fitness Accessories: kettlebell, Fat Gripz, strength bands, yoga mats, towels to wipe down equipment, heart-rate monitors, pill organizers or a gym bag. For the big spender, fill a gym bag with fitness-related items, and maybe a gift card to a supplement store. Tip: for supplements, don’t attempt to pick out supplements for your loved one. Chances are he or she has preferred brands than you or the sales person may not know about.
A One-on-One Personal Training Session with a coach who your friend or family doesn’t regularly train with. This is a wonderful way to keep motivated and switch things up! This can be especially rewarding for the lone wolf in the gym. A trainer can always push you harder and motivate you when you need it most. You’ll want to pick someone who has a lot of knowledge and is notable in the fitness industry. You may also think about hiring a specialized trainer. For example, you may want to find someone who is certified in kettlebell training or Olympic lifting.
A Therapeutic Massage for those hard working muscles. I love my massage therapist! After a hard day of training, conditioning, eating, and cooking, there is nothing more pleasurable than a good old-fashioned kneading. Massage is wonderful for the body and mind. The type-A personality of most fitness-focused individuals needs to shut down every once in a while and relax, and their muscles need to be checked for knots and can be worked out. The benefits of massage are numerous, and include a wonderful next-day workout.
So there you have it, ten gift ideas for the fitness fanatic!
The holidays are a hard time for any physique competitor, so always remember that the best gift you can give them is understanding.
And for my dear competitors: Don’t forget to share your passion for fitness with those around you! Nothing is more loving than sharing in health and fitness.
Don’t forget to share your passion for fitness with those around you! Nothing is more loving than sharing in health and fitness.
With that in mind, I want to wish you all a very loving, healthy and fit holiday season! Now wish me luck in getting through 2011. Babcia has started kneading the dough for the pirogies, and I just received my first basket of chocolate at work. Friday = staff luncheon.
Anita Kus-Roberts is a trainer, figure competitor and fitness model who uses her extensive competition experience to transform the physiques and lives of her clients. As a performance nutrition expert, she brings to the table an equally extensive knowledge of nutrients, ingredients and their effects on various body types.
After 15 years studying ballet and contemporary dance and competing in track and field, Anita entered her first figure competition and fell in love with the sport. Since winning her first trophy, she’s gone on to compete in several national- and international-level competitions, and she’s appeared in numerous magazine spreads for publications like Oxygen and Inside Fitness.
Anita is driven by a dedication to expand her knowledge by keeping up to date with the latest research on training techniques and nutrition. Her unique approach to training involves understanding the specific needs and goals of each individual and finding the most effective path to reach them.