Gift Guide: Fitness toys that fit budget and space
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As I look around my home gym, I realize I need a new house.
There's no way I have room enough for all the ultra-excellent fitness toys that keep coming out. It's not that I need any more of them -- you can get plenty fit with nothing more than a ball, a bench and a couple of sets of dumbbells.
But I want them.
No doubt the fitness buff in your life would appreciate more health-conscious gadgets, too, but space is always a concern. With that in mind, I've gathered some ideal gifts that take minimal amounts of room and moola. That way, if the giftee doesn't use your gift, at least he or she won't be tripping over it all the time.
And you won't feel as if you had just wasted a big wad of hard-earned cash on someone who is not only ungrateful but also still as flabbed out as ever.
That's so annoying.
I also threw in one luxury item that requires no floor space whatsoever -- in fact, it can actually create a whole new space in your bank account.
So here's the season's best:
Eye Toy Kinetic with camera, $50.
There are personal trainers hiding in your kid's PlayStation2, and this kit is all you need to summon them for a sweatfest. For the cost of a one-hour personal-training session, you can get in-home workouts with routines geared to your fitness level and real-time performance evaluations. Pick between two trainers for 12-week programs or individual workouts focused on a specific body part. Try out cardio, mind and body, and strength exercises inspired by aerobics, kickboxing, yoga and tai chi -- all great reasons to commandeer your kid's PlayStation.
Available at www.ebgames.com and any place PlayStation2 games are sold.
Microplane Essentials Gift Set, $41.95.
Orange-scented foot cream, marshmallow-soft spa socks and one of the best inventions of the 21st century: the Microplane foot file. Trust me, this little device can make your icky, desert-dry feet as smooth and buttery as a baby's behind. Choose the paddle style or the compact li'l orb that catches skin dust for easy disposal and cleans up with a little soap and water. A perfect way to give the lizard lady (or lad) in your life a true holiday miracle.
Available at www.microplane.com.
Island Thyme Deep Heat Balm, $16.
Make your workout balmier with this organic herbal rub. The Deep Heat is a spicy combo of cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, lavender and natural anti-inflammatories arnica and St. John's wort. Use it to preheat those chilly muscles or wind down from a rough day.
Available at www.nautiluscatalog.com.
SportBrain iStep X1, $40.
This is the perfect gift for the ultra-competitive, anal-retentive person. This is the person who would love to log every step every minute of every day, then download it all into a special Web site where they can track their progress and compare it with everyone else's.
Available at www.sportbrain.com.
The Tom Holland Fitness Retreat at Las Alamandas, Mexico, Jan. 21-28. Starts at $4,800 for two.
Sure, it's pricey, but here's what you get: fabulous, healthful gourmet meals, 1,500 acres of pristine, private paradise ringed by stunningly beautiful beaches, daily workouts with world-class triathlete Tom Holland -- and did I mention the food? This ultrachic resort created by British heiress/environmentalist Isabel Goldsmith accommodates just 30 guests, one of the features that makes it quite possibly the most relaxing spot on the planet. What better place for a week of power-walking, trail running, beach stretching and circuit training? You'll be toned, tanner and totally terrific -- new year, new you.
For more information, go to www.teamholland.com, click on "Services."
The latest piece of home-gym equipment from The Firm, this two-part bench invites skepticism -- but turns out to be ever so tough and effective. The buff Southern belles at this 20-year-old fitness company are pioneers in the aerobics/sculpting arena, so it's not surprising that their TransFIRMer works your tush and thighs in new and painful ways. Aces for the intermediate exerciser who wants a butt-kicking challenge.
Available at www.firmdirect.com.
CPR Anytime for Family and Friends, $30.
Give your favorite people a gift that could literally save their lives. Most sudden cardiac arrests happen at home, and the survival rate is crummy. But this nifty kit from the American Heart Association has everything you need to learn CPR in less than 25 minutes. It includes a 22-minute DVD, resource booklet and Mini Anne -- a blowup version of the traditional cardiopulmonary-resuscitation dummy. This isn't for people like day-care providers, lifeguards or fitness pros required to take a CPR course for work, but it works for everybody else. Teach the kids.
Available at www.americanheart.org, click on "CPR & ECC".
First Published November 19, 2006 12:00 am