If you have a gym rat on your holiday gift-buying list, rejoice: These guys are often the easiest demographic to buy presents for. The fitness world, in all of its scammy, overwrought magnitude, is full of things that, sure, would be useful to have in your gym bag, but usually don’t fit into a budget already flush with things like protein powders, supplements, and a beefy grocery bill. But trust us: anyone who isn’t a fairweather gym-goers will want something from this list.
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Here’s something to know about working out with heavy weight: It’s really hard on your joints. That’s why you usually see lifters wearing chunky belts around their guts, wraps around their wrists, and braces around their knees. If you have a gym rat in your life who’s getting into heavy stuff, here’s what we recommend: Harbinger wrist wraps ($13.45), a sturdy weightlifting belt ($15.51), and Rehband knee sleeves ($38.95). Safety isn’t necessarily sexy, but neither is being an achy old man.
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Wrist straps get a lot of flack because they help you hold onto heavy weight, or help you keep doing pull-ups when your grip gives out. Most folks (us included) would say you’re better off without them, as they can detract from strengthening your grip. But sometimes you just want to pick up heavy shit. These Harbinger straps, like their wraps, get the job done.
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Four Laps Gym Duffel
We’ve got such a crush on this little duffel. It’s compact, with only enough room for essentials—shoes, shorts, shirt, shower kit—so you won’t get clocked as the Bag Guy in your locker room. Plus, it comes in a stylish camo that looks more like it came from a New York street-style blog than a bass-fishing outfitter.
We’ve got such a crush on this little duffel. It’s compact, with only enough room for essentials—shoes, shorts, shirt, shower kit—so you won’t get clocked as the Bag Guy in your locker room. Plus, it comes in a stylish camo that looks more like it came from a New York street-style blog than a bass-fishing outfitter. [$40; fourlaps.com]
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Home Gym: Rogue Folding Rack, Bar, Weights
Here’s how the pitch for an at-home lifting kit will sound: No more gym fees! Pro-level gear we don’t have to share with meatheads! After a few months it pays for itself! We agree with all of that, but you should be prepared because it’s not cheap. Rogue makes some great home-gym options, including a rack that bolts to the wall and can swing out, like a Murphy bed designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pair it with a nice barbell ($350) and a set of weight plates ($498), and for around $1,200 you have what most folks would consider the perfect setup.
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Gym rats and the people who love them know that weight lifting can enhance mental health. (It’s science). You can take that one step further with Headspace, a subscription-based guided meditation app that helps lock in a little peace of mind during a stressful time to be alive. A year of subscription is less than $100 and has programs aimed at helping with anxiety, sleep, motivation, relationships, and bunch of others, all guided by a soothing British voice. Worth every penny.
[starting at $12.99; headspace.com]