2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Themed Gifts for Fitness Fanatics

Um, how is Christmas only a week away? December is seriously flying by. Luckily, most of my Christmas shopping is done, and I’m really looking forward to this weekend and the beginning of next week to do some fun holiday related activities instead of rushing around with last-minute errands. I know many of you probably still have shopping left though, so I put together a holiday gift guide today to help you! There are SO many posts like these floating around the blog world, and I always love reading about what other bloggers are recommending. I did try to differentiate mine a bit though. Since I love themes more than anything, that’s what you’re getting!

Holiday Gift Guide: Themed Gifts for Fitness Fanatics

Here are some themed gift ideas for any fitness fanatics in your life! Each category has at least seven suggestions to choose from. Happy last minute shopping, friends!

For the yogis:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Yogis

For the weight lifters:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Lifters

For the runners:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

  • Race entry fee. Sign up for a race together!
  • Running jacket. For the early morning or late night runners, check out the NB Glow Beacon style. It’s reflective so you can run safely in the dark!
  • A new pair of running sneakers. I highly recommend the New Balance Fresh Foam 980. It’s my favorite running shoe, and you can read my review of it here. New Balance also has a limited edition glow version of this sneaker that has the same glow technology as the jacket.
  • Outdoor ear band. I love the Eddie Bauer stretch ear band.
  • Subscription to Runner’s World magazine
  • A running armband for your media player. This post outlines some good recommendations.
  • Just because these are adorable: Set of 2 running glasses

For the fitness instructors:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Fitness Instructors

  • iTunes gift card
  • A cute notebook or journal (for writing down class plans 5 minutes before class!)
  • Fun printed leggings. I am obsessed with every single pair of leggings that Athleta has, and I don’t think there’s such thing as owning too many pairs, amiright?
  • A workout headband. I don’t discriminate when it comes to headbands (as long as they stay put), but these Sparkly Soul ones are always just so darn fun.
  • For your early morning instructors, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. *hint hint*
  • Extra batteries in case the gym mic is dead!
  • Reebok Cardio Ultra studio sneakers. Check out my review of these here.

For the gym rats #1: Locker room/gym bag essentials

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Locker Room Essentials

For the gym rats #2: Rest and recovery day essentials

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Rest and Recovery

For the fit family:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Fit Families

For anyone who wants to be fit at work:

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Worksite Wellness

–Let’s chat–
Do you have any fitness fanatics in your life? Do you give them healthy living related presents during the holidays? Do you have any items you’d add to any of these themes or themes I didn’t think of? What’s on your wish list this year?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid to write about any of these products, nor are any of the links within this holiday gift guide affiliate links. I just wanted to share some of my favorite things, brands, and creative ideas with you. Some images were taken from the brand websites. All opinions are my own.

Boston Magazine’s Health and Wellness Retreat

Last month, my friend Erin invited me to go with her to a health and wellness retreat presented by Boston Magazine‘s Hub Health. The event was advertised as a day of rejuvenation, relaxation, and integrated wellness for women, so of course I was very appreciative of the invite to something so up my alley. Plus, it gave us an excuse to have a girls day at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston!

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

Our day began with a fresh breakfast while we heard from Melissa Malamut, Boston Magazine’s Hub Health editor, and Carla Tardif, the executive director of Family Reach and our host for the day. After the opening remarks, the general manager of the LA Sports Club attached to the Ritz led us through some stretching to get our blood flowing for the day ahead.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

After our stretch, it was time for our two morning seminars. Erin and I first went to a session called “Your Exercise Personality: Get Your Best Body and Best Life by Tapping Into the Power of Your Exercise Personality.” It was presented by Helena Collins of Life In Synergy, who I thought was funny and presented with a lot of energy. We spent a lot of time talking about how different personality types carry their stress in different areas. For example, as a “decorator,” I tend to be stuck in management, trapped in perfection, and I feel the best when valued (um, HELLO accurate). I learned that because of this I carry my stress in my shoulders, I need to work on posture to keep my shoulders back, and supermans are a great exercise to help strengthen my weak areas. While I really enjoyed learning the psychology aspect of this session and how certain key exercises can correct imbalances, I did not necessarily agree with Helena’s fitness outlook in general since she really knocked the gym, and well, I love the gym.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat - Helena Collins

Breaks were held between each session where attendees could mingle, chat, and help themselves to the snacks and drinks set out for us. We could choose from Kind bars, cucumber water (my favorite!), Zico coconut water (not so much my favorite), and Dasani sparkling water.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

For our second session, Erin and I went to Bianca De La Garza‘s seminar called “Sexy, Sleep Deprived, Superwomen.” This was one of my favorites of the day, as it was geared toward women who do so much that they run on empty and stretch themselves thin. Bianca shared her secrets to maintaining immunity, keeping productivity high, and removing negative energy from our lives. We talked a lot about saying goodbye to people who zap us, making mindful decisions about whether we are doing things out of obligation or out of joy, and realizing that we just can’t do it all sometimes. Something Bianca said during the session was to “never play for safety because it’s the most dangerous thing in the world.” This quote totally speaks to the power of getting out of your comfort zone to grow, so you guys definitely can see why this session resonated with me so much.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat: Bianca De Le Garza

At this point it was time for lunch, so we headed back to the main ballroom where we were served a farm green salad with grilled chicken. There was also a mixed berries crème fraîche for dessert. Delicious!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

As we ate, we heard from our keynote speaker, Janine Driver. She presented a session called “You Can’t Lie to Me: Advanced Body Language Techniques and 9 Dangerously Powerful Communication Strategies to Lead Your Best Life.” Her presentation was AMAZING. It was hilarious, informative, and emotional all at the same time. Oh, and interactive too. Check out Erin and I helping Janine right up front!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After lunch it was time for Rebecca Pacheco’s “Summer Detox Without the Diet” class. I was excited for this session because I really enjoyed Rebecca when she taught the yoga class at Fenway I went to last year. Aside from some of the different breathing exercises we went through, my favorite part about this seminar was that we did not talk about juice or diet detoxes at all. Instead, we talked about detoxing as an acronyn: Don’t buy the hype, Embody how you want to feel, Take time each day to move, breathe, listen inward, concentrate, study or learn, and honor your spirit, Observe your thoughts, and X out junky foods, self-talk, behaviors, and people who don’t nourish you. This is where I learned the phrase energy vampires that I wrote about in this post not too long ago.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Rebecca Pacheco[source]

Finally, the last class of the day was totally NOT up my alley at all. It was presented by Dr. Leonard Miller, the director of the Boston Center for Facial Rejuventation. I thought he droned on and on about skin and different facial procedures, and bleh. This session seemed so random amidst the rest of the day’s topics, but I guess I can’t love them all.

After the day’s seminars were over, everyone headed over to the LA Sports Club where we got to choose between a few different classes to take. Erin and I opted for a yoga class called “Sweat and Surrender,” and it was nice to just breathe, stretch, and lay in silence for a bit.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After class, Erin and I were hoping to sneak into one of the fifteen minute head/neck/shoulder massage slots, but all the times were booked. Instead, we explored the fitness center for a bit, including their roofdeck! We got some great pictures of the city from up there. It was gorgeous out!

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Finally, the retreat concluded with a celebratory cocktail hour! We freshened up in the locker room and then enjoyed some hors d’oeuvres and wine. I love when days of wellness or fitness end with a good adult beverage.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin[source]

After the cocktail hour wound down, Erin and I wanted to continue our night, so we headed down the street to Teatro, where we ordered a salad and a flatbread to share, and got another drink. I had such a wonderful time catching up with my friend after a day of being immersed in my passion. Thank you, Erin, for inviting me as your guest to the retreat! Hope we can go again next year. 😉

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever been to a health and wellness retreat before? What was it like? Which session of the ones I described do you think you’d like the best?

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Make sure your week ahead includes something for YOU.

An Unforgettable Night: Yoga at Fenway Park

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m really not a baseball fan.  I find it boring, so I don’t necessarily jump at the chance to go to Red Sox games.  I do enjoy going to one or two games a season for the atmosphere, but that’s about it.  However, when the folks at New Balance contacted me to see if I would be interested in attending the first ever yoga event at Fenway Park, I did jump at the opportunity.  As much as I hate baseball, I love my city of Boston.  And I can appreciate how symbolic Fenway Park is to all the people who live here.  I just knew that being a part of a fitness class held at Fenway was just something I couldn’t pass up.  And since yoga hasn’t been such a big part of my life as of late, I was excited to get back on the mat again.

FenwaYoga Event

Plus, New Balance not only offered to sponsor my attendance at this unforgettable night, but they spoiled me with a ton of new workout gear from their Anue yoga collection too.  These clothes are all SO comfortable and each top and pair of crop pants are so flattering.  I love the yoga flats too!  Obviously I wore as many pieces as I could to Fenway last week!

New Balance Tops

FenwaYoga Event

Class was held on the warning track around the field, so when I arrived I just snagged a spot between home plate and first base.  I was there by myself so I didn’t have any friends to sit near, but I did run into one of the yoga instructors from the Y, and it was nice to see a familiar face.  I snapped a bunch of pictures before class got started.

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

The class was taught by yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco of Om Gal.  You could tell she was just absolutely thrilled to be teaching this class, a once in a lifetime opportunity.  As a fitness instructor, I can’t even imagine what she must have felt seconds before starting class.

FenwaYoga Event

Rebecca led us through a 90 minute yoga flow.  I enjoyed (and appreciated) her attempts at bringing baseball into the theme of the class.  Poses that had to do with baseball words, saying “OM Team instead of HOME team,” playing Sweet Caroline as one of the songs, you get the idea.  As you guys know, I’m a sucker for themed exercise classes.

The only thing that I did not enjoy about class was the temperature.  It was FREEZING out and honestly too cold for outdoor yoga.  I don’t think many people came ready for such a cold night because it had been a beautiful warm day out before class started.  I didn’t even bring socks or anything heavier than a zip-up jacket, so I don’t think I got as much out of the class as I would have on any other day.  My muscles were just too cold to flow through the postures as effectively as I would normally be able to, and my toes were numb by the end.  Despite the temperature, I did really enjoy Rebecca’s style, and I would love to check out a class with her another time.

FenwaYoga Event

FenwaYoga Event

The best part of the night was just being in the middle of Fenway Park.  Literally, just being.  I tried not to think about anything else.  I tried to practice mindfulness.  This is something I’ve been learning a lot about in my wellness coaching class.  As I went from pose to pose, I couldn’t help but feel blessed.  Thankful for a lot of things in my life.  And inspired to do more, to continue to grow as an instructor and fuel my passion for fitness even more than I already do.  And as we laid in shavasanah at the end of class, everything was just so still.  For a place that is always moving and crowded with the hustle and bustle of baseball fans, it was just pretty freaking awesome to be lying there and looking up at the open sky above us.  In quiet.  In peace.

FenwaYoga Event

Thank you (again), New Balance, for sending me to such an unforgettable night.