Fitness Gifts for Christmas

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fitness gifts for christmas

Are you looking for fitness gifts for Christmas?  Whether it’s a gift for that special someone or a little something for yourself you’re sure to find a gift or two here that will be a great addition to someone’s fitness gear.   Fitness gifts are great because they can fit into many budgets.  Small items like towels and jump ropes are great for stocking stuffers and the bigger items are perfect under the tree.  I

Fitness Gifts for Christmas Under $50

This stylish Natural Fitness Yoga Hand Towel made of micro fiber is perfect for taking to yoga or carrying with you in the gym.
This C9 Champion Adjustable Speed Jump Rope is great for cardio whether your at home or on the road. Jumping rope is good exercise for a variety of ability levels so this jump rope makes a versatile gift.
You can use this Gaiam Classic Blue Backless Balance Ball Chair at home or at the office for sitting.  Dismount the ball and you’ve also got a fully functional stability/balance ball to use during a workout.
You can use the Stamina AeroPilates Magic Circle with Workout DVD for improving muscle strength throughout the body, especially in problem areas like the inner and outer thighs, upper arms and chest.  The padded grips help with better control and grip while exercising.
The GoFit Pro Gym-in-a-Bag is perfect for doing strength building exercises without the nuisance of dealing with bulky weights.  With three levels of resistance bands, handles, ankle straps, a door anchor, instructional DVD and carrying bag you’ll be ready to workout anywhere.
This Everlast Wireless Fitness Tracker Watch is a great way to keep track of your heart rate throughout the day and during exercise.
The GoFit Power Loops Set provides three levels of tension in a portable and easy to use format.  Great for leg and arm workouts, this set also includes handy fitness cards with usage suggestions.
Marcy High Impact Mats are a great option for creating a home gym space. They can be use under equipment or used to create cushioned floor space for your workouts.
Whether you’re actively into fitness or not this GoFit Foot & Hand Massage Roller would be a welcome gift for anyone who could use a little foot and hand TLC.
Rejuvenation Hand Invigoration Putty is a great tool for at home or on the go.  Target your hand muscles to help improve strength and dexterity while squishing away your stress.
Use  the GoFit 9′ Stretch Rope to help improve your flexibility.  An included manual will guide you through exercises to improve your range of motion.
The Gaiam Yoga for Beginners Kit includes a mat, foam block, strap and instructional DVD, perfect for anyone looking to start practicing yoga.
This Gaiam Restore Deep Tissue Roller can be used to soothe sore muscles after working out or a hard day of work.
This Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit is a great way to start incorporating a balance ball in your workouts.  The instructional DVD features Tanja Djelevic.

Fitness Gifts for Christmas Under $100

This Ignite by Spri Fitness Bench is a versatile piece of gym equipment that will provide a solid surface for sitting and reclining activities in your home gym.
The Misfit Shine 2 Activity + Sleep Tracker is a great little tool for tracking your steps, calories, sleep and more.  It even includes a gentle vibrating reminder to get moving.
With gloves, an inflatable punching bag and a 20 minute DVD workout included in this Everlast Everflex Cardio Strike Bag Kit you’ll be ready to start boxing your way to fitness.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper with Bands is the perfect little fitness tool for adding extra activity to your day.  It’s small footprint allows you to move it around and store it easily.
The Body Solid Tools Package includes a stability ball and three sets of hand weights.  The varying weights will allow you to do different exercises and make strength gains without having to rush out and buy new equipment.
This Body Solid Tools Core Essentials Package contains almost anything you would want to start a small home gym for doing body weight type workouts.  With a mat, bands, weights, parallettes and more all included in this kit you’ll have all the basics covered.

When searching for fitness gifts for Christmas make sure you take the recipient’s ability level and needs into consideration.  You may also want to ensure the recipient actually wants a fitness-related gift.  Despite your best intentions fitness gifts to those that aren’t expecting them can sometimes be met with a lack of enthusiasm or even with hostility.  It’s best to save this type of personal gift for someone you are certain would enjoy it.

Please note: The items listed are sold by a third party retailer and I have no control over the item, price, quality, third party item description, item changes, updates or incorrect information provided by the retailer.  Please contact retailer should you have any issues or questions regarding the items shown in this post.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post contains affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

50+ Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes

Are you searching for healthier Thanksgiving recipes?  Look no further because I’ve compiled a huge list of recipes from side dishes to desserts that are healthier than your standard Thanksgiving fare.

healthier thanksgiving recipes
Pexels

My quest for healthier Thanksgiving recipes started because I’m currently doing a Whole30.  Even though my 30 days are up before Turkey Day I wanted to see if I could come up with healthier alternatives to my usual recipes.  No matter what diet you follow it never hurts to see if there are tasty and healthier alternatives to what you usually eat.  I feel like it’s a bonus to serve your family healthier recipes too, no matter how they normally eat.

The recipes below may not be specifically geared for the holidays, but I felt like they were in the spirit of traditional Thanksgiving food.  Whether it’s less butter, less sugar, less grains, more veggies or whatever else, small changes can make a big difference without impacting the deliciousness of your Thanksgiving meal.

50 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey

Best Ever Brined Turkey and Gluten-Free Gravy from Gutsy by Nature

Perfect Roasted Turkey from Our Paleo Life

Rosemary Roasted Turkey from Primal Palate

Simple Roast Turkey Breast from Cook Eat Paleo

Ultimate Roasted Turkey from Cooking Light via My Recipes

Gravy

Healthy Mushroom Gravy from Perry Santanachote/Daily Burn

Low-fat Turkey Gravy from the Mayo Clinic

Easy Paleo Herb Gravy from Nom Nom Paleo

Turkey Gravy (Paleo/Whole30) from Simple Life by Kels

Low Calorie Everyday Gravy from Going Cavewoman

Stuffing/Dressing

New Brunswick-Style Potato Stuffing from The Domestic Man

Gluten-free Quinoa Stuffing from Carolyn Stalnaker/SheKnows

Healthy Harvest Stuffing from Martha Stewart

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing from PaleOMG

Grain-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing from Against All Grain

Out-of-this-World Healthy Stuffing from Bethenny

HG’s Save the Day Stuffing from Hungry Girl

Best Ever Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing from Paleo Foundation

Paleo Sausage, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing from Perchance to Cook

Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries from Little Bits Of

Low-Cal, Low-Fat Mashed Potatoes from Fitness Magazine

Healthy Garlic Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes from Apple of my Eye

Healthy Mashed Potatoes from Ahead of Thyme

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Ellie Krieger via POPSUGAR

Healthy Mashed Potatoes from Pillsbury

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Cook the Story

Cranberry Sauce/Relish

Cranberry Relish from Elise Bauer/Simply Recipes

Sugarless Cranberry Sauce from Wellness Mama

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce from Cookie and Kate

Cranberry Relish from Eating Well

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce from Busy but Healthy

Gingered Cranberry-Orange Relish from Eating Well

Veggie Side Dishes

Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots from Ellie Krieger/Food Network

Healthy Green Bean Casserole from Wellness Mama

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad from Chowhound

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Paleo Grubs

Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic and Cranberries from Paleo Leap

Rustic Leek Gratin from A Squirrel in the Kitchen

Roasted Carrots with Vinaigrette from the Pioneer Woman

Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables from Paleo Grubs

Celery Root Mash from Stupid Easy Paleo

Blistered Green Beans with Crushed Almonds from Heartbeet Kitchen

Dessert/Sweets

Pumpkin Pie Bites from Paleo Leap

Paleo Pumpkin Pie from Cook Eat Paleo

Healthy Pumpkin Pie from Chocolate Covered Katy

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Paleo Pecan Pie from the Healthy Foodie

Healthy 4-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse from the Roasted Root

Almond Flour Zucchini Bread from Against All Grain

Healthy Flourless Pumpkin Breakfast Cake from Big Man’s World

Pumpkin Bake from Former Fitness Flunky

Paleo and Vegan Apple Crisp from Detoxinista

Hope you found some delicious inspiration from these healthier Thanksgiving recipes.  A big thank you to all of the amazing chefs and cooks who take the time to develop and share their amazing recipes.  If you have a great recipe to share feel free to leave your link in the comments!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Whole30 Sweeteners

whole30 sweeteners
FreeImages.com/CWMGary-51046, FreeImages.com/Leno4ka90-76076, Pexels, Pixabay

Whole30 sweeteners are a bit of a gray area.  Sweeteners are technically verboten: “Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial” but the rules also go on to say “[f]ruit juice as a sweetener” is an exception and dates are also an acceptable food with certain caveats.

I finished my sixth Whole30 last week and am already thinking about going back.  Why Whole30?  Because I love and hate it.  The strictness keeps me totally in line and the results (feeling better!) are mostly worth the (sometimes incredible and annoying) effort.  What I really need to make it through another round are some fresh food ideas and that’s what got me thinking about sweeteners.

I don’t really need sweet food and I’m not talking about trying to create “SWYPO” (sex with your pants on) type goodies, but good cooking requires layers of flavors and a depth that sometimes can’t be filled without a hint of sweetness.

So what can you use as Whole30 sweeteners?

Dates

In the form of whole dates, date paste, date sugar

I love dates.  Sweet, chewy little bites of natures candy, but also dangerous because of that.  Eating whole dates as a treat is a no-no, but eating dates as a part of a recipe should be okay (again, no “SWYPO”).  Dates work beautifully in sauces and other dishes that get pureed.  Not so much for other recipes due to their clumpy, sticky nature.  I haven’t found any magical conversion rate when using dates or date paste as a part of a recipe so I usually start small and taste as I go.

The mere mention of date sugar will probably send hard-core Whole30 militants into fits of rage, but whatever.  Date sugar is just the powdered form of very well dried dates.  I love the idea of a powdered form for measuring and mixing ease.  Will it work like sugar?  Nope, but it will give sauces or other recipes a nice kick of sweetness without forcing you to bust out the blender or food processor.

Be very careful if you buy date sugar for your Whole30 as I have seen at least one popular brand add oat flour to prevent clumping which makes it unsuitable for Whole30.

Apples

In the form of applesauce, apple juice

Applesauce is an easy addition to baked goods, soups, stews or sauces that need a little boost in the sweetness department.  I like to buy the little 6 packs of individual servings and use those to prevent waste.

Apple juice can also provide a nice bit of sweetness in those same dishes.  It also works like a charm in marinades.  I was totally stumped on how to make really flavorful beef jerky sans sugar until I realized apple juice made an excellent addition to the marinade.

Oranges

In the form of orange juice

Just like apple juice, orange juice can be a great addition to marinades.  Chicken and pork are especially good candidates for marinades with orange juice.  Cuban-style mojo is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of oranges and marinade.

Prunes

In the form of whole prunes, prune paste

Like dates, prunes are a bit candy-like and can be dangerous when eaten by themselves.  As a part of a recipe they offer a deeper, richer flavor than other sweetener options, but are best blended to incorporate them well.  The slight tartness of prunes can be a good match for meat dishes, stews and other bolder recipes.

Bananas

In the form of mash, the riper the sweeter

Mashed bananas are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness in baked and other goods.  If you have trouble with custards, sweet treats and the like you may want to avoid eating this type of stuff while on Whole30 though.  This pumpkin custard and banana pudding are nice examples of recipes where bananas add just the right amount of sugar.  Bananas are also great as the sweetening element in smoothies, though they are frowned upon on Whole30.

Using moderation is absolutely key with these sweeteners.  When doing Whole30 you are not trying to recreate your old way of eating, you’re trying something totally new and possibly very foreign.  Use these Whole30 sweeteners judiciously to enhance your new way of cooking, but don’t abuse them.  After 30 days you might be surprised to find that your desire for sweet stuff has greatly dimished anyway.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Nestle Splash Review

I received a complimentary product to facilitate my Nestle Splash review, but all opinions are my own.

nestle splash review

Nestle Splash is purified water with fruit flavoring and a hint of sweetness added.  There are no calories, sugars, artificial flavors or colors.  Nestle Splash comes in 5 flavors: wild berry, strawberry melon, açaí grape, mandarin orange and lemon, which was the flavor I sampled.  The water is sweetened with Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.  There is no fruit juice in Nestle Splash as the flavors come from “natural fruit flavor”.

Nestle Splash Review

Taste

The thing that hint my tongue first above any flavor was the abundant sweetness.  While it is definitely sweet there was no trace of any fake sweetener aftertaste which I thought was pretty positive given that sucralose is usually a loser for me.  The lemon Nestle Splash has a hint of lemon flavor, but none of the kick of citric acid you might expect to find in something labeled lemon.  It’s more like an incredibly faint touch of lemon oil paired with other fruity, but indiscernible notes.  There is a hint of a plasticky after-taste which may come from the flavoring or may come from the plastic bottle, but I’m not sure which.

Overall Experience with Nestle Splash

The Good

  • It’s easy to drink.  The lemon flavor was not particularly amazing, but it was definitely an upgrade when you’re bored with plain water.
  • There are no calories, artificial colors or flavors in Nestle Splash.
  • It comes in 16.9 oz bottles which are the perfect size for purse, car, work, or on the go.

The not so Good

  • I’m not a huge fan of Sucralose because it can leave a bad aftertaste.  I didn’t notice it when drinking my sample,
  • While I am all for “natural fruit flavor” I’d like a little more info as to what that means.  Are they oils, is the flavoring derived from fruit or is it a chemical compound, etc.  I know this info is rarely something you get on a nutrition label, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested to know more.

Overall, I think Nestle Splash could be a refreshing option over plain water if you’re looking for something a little different.  The better I eat the less interested I become in artificially sweetened beverages, but if I was looking for a change of pace I could see myself grabbing a Nestle Splash.  I’d also be interested in trying the other flavors just to see how they taste.

Full disclosure: I was provided with a free samples of Nestle Splash for review. The opinions and views presented here are solely my own.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

RECOVERYbits Review

I received complimentary product to facilitate my review, but all opinions within are my own.

When I was offered a chance to do a RECOVERYbits review I was excited to give them a try.  I previously tried ENERGYbits and really liked them so I was interested to see if I noted any difference in these two products.

recoverybits review

About RECOVERYbits

RECOVERYbits are 100% natural, organic chlorella algae.  They contain 40 vitamins and minerals.  The tablets are 60% protein which I find pretty impressive for a vegan protein source.  They contain no soy, dairy, sugar, gluten or caffeine.  In my opinion, they are pretty perfect from a nutritional standpoint.  Lots of things that are good and pretty much nothing that’s objectionable no matter what diet you follow.   RECOVERYbits are best for recovery, detox , immune system, digestion and anti-aging per the info on the package.

recoverybits review

The Tablets

The package says you can swallow them or chew them.  The package warns they taste “green” if you go the chewing route and I distinctly remember a very green taste when chewing the ENERGYbits.   The little pills even have a green smell too.  Not offensive at all, just clearly very vegetal.  Mown hay maybe?

The Good

  • These little tablets are nutritional powerhouses.  Four grams of protein in just 30 tablets is impressive all by itself.  Consider all the other goodies packed into a small serving and they really become something special.
  • I tried my bits on an empty stomach and had no issues.   I have a very sensitive stomach so this was a big plus.
  • RECOVERYbits are easy to transport.  Whether it’s due to travel or you’re just on the go RECOVERYbits are easy to take with you.  You don’t have to worry about measuring powders or packing liquids, you simply count them out and go.  The tablets are also very sturdy so they aren’t likely to get crushed up when you’re on the move.

The not so Good

  • It’s a lot to swallow.  If you chew them you get smacked in the mouth with a big green flavor, but if you swallow them like the package suggests, one serving is too many to go down at once.  I broke them into stacks of five, but even then that was six swallows to get them all down.  To be honest, around batch 4 or 5 I did gag a bit.  I truly didn’t mind the flavor of the RECOVERYbits, but trying to swallow a copious quantity of tablets wasn’t appealing at all.
  • The price.  I did sample these bits for free, but to buy them through the ENERGYbits website you’ll pay $115 for a bag of 1,000.  At 30 tabs per serving it will cost you roughly $2.80 per serving and you’ll get 33 servings a bag.  The website does point out that the price is comparable to other bars or drinks you might purchase instead and I don’t disagree with that.  You may be getting a lot of nutritional bang for your buck if you can afford it, but RECOVERYbits definitely feel like more of a luxury item than a necessity at that price.

recoverybits review

Overall, I think RECOVERYbits are a great addition you to your routine if you are looking for a boost of nutrients.  I like the idea of using a product that is specifically meant to target recovery.  In my own routine I think I would add them in on an as-needed basis for use after intense workouts or times when my immune system might need a bit of extra support.  I don’t think I got the same boost from these as I remember from the ENERGYbits, but I like that there are different products you can use depending on your specific needs.

If you’d like to try RECOVERYbits or ENERGYbits for yourself checkout using code “BLOG” at www.energybits.com and receive 20% off!

Full disclosure: I was provided with a free sample to do this RECOVERYbits review. The opinions and views presented here are solely my own.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.