Health and Fitness – The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Not even we can spend all our time Overthinking It. Sometimes you gotta try Overdoing It. Here are some health, fitness, and personal-care gifts for when you switch the old noggin off.


This is it guys: the “meal replacement” wonder drink profiled in The New Yorker a few years back. Getting your calories from a drink isn’t a new idea (remember SlimFast?). What’s unique about Soylent is that its creators claim that it’s nutritionally complete. You can drink only Soylent indefinitely and not die of scurvy. Personally, I’ve only used Soylent to skip the occasional meal when I was busy and/or lazy, but it’s filling, tasty (yes, I honestly like it) and you feel like a cool Silicon Valley biohacker. When you’re ready to kick it up a notch, there’s coffee-flavored Soylent with caffeine added. The future is now! –Matt Belinkie

An Actual Goddamn Massage Table

This is not a joke entry. I actually bought this thing last year and regret nothing. It’s $80 with free shipping, and it folds down nice and compact when not in use. This is the real deal: face cradle and all. If you want to win the holidays, all you have to do is buy this, set it up in your bedroom, and leave it there until your significant other walks in and finds it. Then you come strolling in with Kenny G playing on your phone and a box of tea candles. You’re welcome. –Matt Belinkie

Rep Powder Coated Kettlebells

Equipping a home gym is a constant push-pull between capability, cost, and quality. Everyone has their own space and budget constraints and workout preferences, and there’s always something a bit newer or better on the market if you want it. As a result, there are few pieces of equipment I would universally recommend to everybody. But for cost-efficiency and durability, almost nothing beats a kettlebell. And when it comes to kettlebells, I have to say I’ve been loving my 24 kg powder-coated bell from Rep Fitness, one of the better mid-level affordable manufacturers of weights and gear. For whatever weight you want, this is a solid all-purpose kettlebell. The handle is wide enough for two-handed work, but narrow enough that one-handed comp-style workouts are not out of the question. The powder-coated finish gives it a solid grip, even with sweaty hands. And the black look with a dash of color coding makes it easy to sort a growing collection without losing a weight room edge.

Don’t know what weight to buy? Start with 35 pounds (16 kg). That’s a solid weight for both men and women. For a woman just starting out, maybe try 26 pounds (12 kg), and for an advanced dude, a 71 pound (32 kg) kettlebell is serious business. But 35 pounds is the most common weight. –Peter Fenzel

Rogue SR-1 Bearing Fitness Speed Rope

Crosfitters and Rocky fans unite: jump rope is finally cool again. It’s compact, travels well, and helps with interval training, crosstraining and mixed metabolic conditioning workouts. The trick with jump ropes, however, is the creep factor of jumping with a regular jump rope in a public park, and the tangle factor of using whatever old piece of wire is curled up in the corner of your a gym. To thread both these needles and access the awesome that is jump rope, you really need your own proper speed rope, and the Rogue bearing speed ropes are the bee’s knees. The actual rope can be trimmed to your own taste and is easily replaceable, and the bearing handles, with their clean rotation, last a long time, so it’s a purchase of real solidity and value. And the sound of a speed rope whooshing and smacking the gym floor is up there with the hiss of a popped can and the crack of a double to left field in the shared symphony of non-toxic masculinity, increasingly available to everybody. –Peter Fenzel

Weightlifting Wrist Wraps by Stoic

Some niche products are wishful thinking around half-baked ideas or useless junk, but some are absolutely perfect for very narrow situations. From the group of the latter, enter: wrist wraps. I’m still shocked more weightlifters don’t use them. Granted, there are a bunch of other reasons a weightlifter might wrap up her or his wrists: a wrist strap for a deadlift, or a glove with a wrist wrap for grip or to protect your hands, come to mind. But a simple wrap around the wrist, often with a handy-dandy thumb attachment, can give you a huge boost with overhead lifts, or huge confidence in racking any weight without straining your ligaments.

The idea is that any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the weakest link in the arm is the wrist. If you can stabilize your wrist, it makes your whole arm stronger—the same concept as wearing a lifting belt to stabilize your torso. Yeah, in lighter work, you’re going to want to go without the reinforcement to strengthen your wrist, but when you go even a little heavy, wrapping it up can make it both easier and safer. The Stoic wrist wraps above with velcro and thumb loops are heavy duty, for heavy weights. The WOD Nation wraps are lighter, wrap securely using only a string, and would be more appropriate for faster, lighter Crossfit-style workouts and similar. –Peter Fenzel

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