Last Minute Christmas Shopping Guide

If you’re anything like me (and 96.4% of all men), you have left your Christmas shopping to the last minute.

And the stores are all sold out of Red Ryder BB guns.

So, whatcha gonna do?

I’ll tell you what you’re gonna do.

You’re gonna give your friends and family the gifts of health, fitness and smaller love handles.

And I am here to help with my Health Habits Approved™  Last Minute Christmas Shopping Guide.

Category 1:  Health Club Memberships

Don’t do it.

The latest research shows that overweight gym-goers feel more embarrassment and intimidation about exercising, exercising around young people, exercising around fit people, and about health club salespeople than individuals of normal weight.

And most health clubs do nothing to address these feelings of embarrassment and intimidation.

As a result, the people who need that gym membership the most are the same people who are most likely to quit.

So, unless you enjoy throwing your money away, don’t buy them a gym membership. Just don’t do it.

Category 2: Personal Training

Once again, don’t do it.

Starting in the new year, I will be starting a Health Habits Fit Club for anyone interested.

  • All for the low, low cost of $0.00

Note – I will give you more details later in the week.

Category 3: Book Learning

There are a lot of really crappy health/fitness/diet books out there.

And sadly, some of the worst are some of the best sellers.

So, to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I went through my library and picked out my favorite health/fitness books.

And here they are

If you’re still confused which books to buy, shoot me an email and I can help you narrow down your selection.

Note – you don’t have to buy the books through my little Amazon store…even though I would appreciate the 4% kickback I get from them.

Category 4: Cardio Equipment

It’s a FACT* – 68% of all cardio equipment purchases are used primarily as over-priced clothes racks.

And 90% of those people who employ their cardio machines as luxury clothes racks feel intense remorse and shame every time they recall what lies underneath that pile o’ clothes.

So, if you’re going to buy your loved one a piece of cardio equipment (bike, elliptical, treadmill) ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they going to use it?
  • Is this the type of equipment they enjoy using?

Bike people don’t use treadmills and vice versa

  • Is the equipment going to last?

If you can afford it, avoid the “home grade” equipment and move up to the “light commercial” or even the “commercial grade” equipment. The “home grade” has lower quality bearings, motors, etc. The end result is that they break down sooner. And breakdowns = service calls = $$$

  • What does the warranty cover?see #3
  • Bells & Whistles?

To me, this is the least important stuff. Unfortunately, it is also the stuff that salespeople use to get you all excited in order to sell you an inferior piece of equipment.

Remember, the primary use of cardio equipment is to improve your cardio. And, you don’t need all sorts of on-board computers and video monitors and internet connections, etc to improve the function of your heart & lungs. All of this flashy stuff should go in the “want” category, not the “need” category.

However, if money is no object, go nuts on the bells & whistles.

* actually I have no idea what percentage of cardio equipment ends up as expensive clothes racks. 68% just seemed like a good number.

Category 5: Non-Cardio Fitness Equipment

Do NOT buy this!!!
do not buy have been warned

Once again, I need to warn you that when it comes to fitness equipment, there is a lot of junk out there.

My advice:

  1. Avoid the shopping channels
  2. Avoid anything that promises chiseled abs in 6 weeks
  3. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
  4. Take a look at some of the items I have collected here.

For much less than the price of a 12 month gym membership, you can build a compact home gym that will meet all of your needs.

Here’s what I recommend:

Exercise Mat

I have grown to love my G2 mat.

It’s cushier than a yoga mat, but not as cushy as a gymnastics style mat. As Goldilocks would say, it’s cushiness is just right.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a visual reminder to stretch more often.


Resistance / Strength training

Forget about buying one of those “home gym” multi station gizmos.

Seriously, just forget about it.

For about $200, you can have a strength training center that is next to invisible, won’t break down and gives you a significantly better workout.

What you need to do is:

  1. Buy a set of Jump Stretch or Iron Woody resistance bands. These bands never break and will give you more workout than you can handle.
  2. Buy a 4 ft long safety grab bar and install it (vertically) where ever you want your new home gym. Alternately, you can go with a painted or stained wooden handrail for a more rustic look. Be sure to install it well. We don’t want thos screws coming loose.

Here is an article I wrote than might give you a better idea.

Note – I am currently working on setting up a sales arrangement with either Jump Stretch or Iron Woody to get you guys a better price.

As an option, I would also recommend a chin-up bar. It’s not vital, but there is such a high payback from chin-ups, you really should consider it.

I prefer an “Iron Gym” style chin up bar that you don’t have to screw directly into your door frame.

Note – There’s no need to worry about this chin-up bar collapsing under your weight. I have used it at home during on of my strength phases. I weighed 265 lbs at the time.

So, what’s next?

Core Strength

Buy an ab wheel…end of story.

It’s the best thing for functional core strength and a bullet proof lower back.

Check out this info on ab wheels

Pain Relief / Flexibility / Massage

For the less than half the price of a massage, you need to buy a quality foam roller and a massage ball.

The foam roller will break up all of the knots, tight muscles, scar tissue, etc in your thighs, back, calves etc.

The massage ball does the same thing for all of your nooks and crannies that the roller can’t get to. I rely on it for the small muscles in my upper back.


Okay, that should do it for your Christmas shopping.

Unless somebody wanted to get me something…hint hint…the new 2010 Camaro is just my size