10 Gift Ideas for the Athlete in Your Life

10 Gift Ideas for the Athlete in Your Life

The season of gift giving and resolution making is upon us. Whether the people in your life are active or just starting out, the LA Fitness Online Shop has a lot of cool gifts that cater to their lifestyle. We’ll also be showing off some HyperIce technology that we think deserves a shout out, because with every great workout you need the tools for a solid recovery.  

From cozy sweaters to high-tech equipment, our holiday gift list is here to offer you some truly unique gift ideas. 

LAF Gear and Apparel

01.

The most versatile gift option is one that allows your recipient to use their gift however they’d like. LA Fitness gift cards* can hold $50 to $200 and can be used to pay for Pro Results® Personal Training, HIIT, Pilates, Hot Yoga, and more. Just type choose your design, your amount, and you’re good to go! 

02.

Warm, stylish, and perfect for the upcoming winter months, this Cropped Hoodie makes a great gift. Pair it with a quality gym bag or some headgear and your set is complete. If you don’t like the cropped sweater look, you can find the full-length version here. 

03.

We just celebrated our 35th Anniversary! This Charcoal Heather pullover commemorates 35 years of LA Fitness in a soft, moisture controlling jacket. If you’re planning to gift apparel to someone who overheats easily and rarely wears a sweater, this lightweight jacket is the easy winner! Don’t forget to check out the women’s section for this design as well. 

04.

The Half Dome Duffel is a medium capacity bag that is perfect for carrying your gym essentials. At 18″ wide and 10″ tall, it is easily capable of fitting a pair of gym shoes, your protein shaker, a small towel, and of course your phone, wallet, and keys. 

05.

Because of its sleeveless design and relaxed fit, the muscle tank is a comfortable, breathable piece of work out apparel. Represent your commitment to HIIT with this logo tank and show up to the gym to hit your workout hard. Don’t forget to add a water bottle to complete the gift! You can go with aluminum or reusable plastic. 

06.

Keep it simple with this t-shirt design. Made with a premium cotton and polyester blend, this fitted shirt is both comfortable and flattering. Complete the gift by adding an LAF or HIIT branded cap. 

07.

These Black Heather tights are a must! We all know the appeal of a good pair of tights. The comfort and flexibility they offer your work out is simply sublime. Grab a pair of these for the tights-lover on your gift list and add the LA Fitness Sport Bra to create the perfect duo. 

High Tech Recovery Tools by HyperIce

Clicking on the Recovery Tab on the Shop LA Fitness website takes you to the HyperIce website. Here you will find lots of cool gadgets and wearable tech that take your workout recovery to the next level! Here are 3 that we think would make a really nice holiday gift! 

Photo credit: HyperIce

08.

This is one impressive piece of tech. Quiet, lightweight, and with an interchangeable head, this massager ramps up your recovery. Similar devices are used in physical therapy offices because they are very good at releasing muscle tension and improving blood circulation. They can even help promote faster muscle recovery. It works by pulsing a controlled pressure to your muscles that you manually guide. This gift is a lifesaver for anyone who works hard in the gym and has the aches and pains to prove it. 

Photo credit: HyperIce

09.

This is no ordinary foam roller. Built into this extraordinary piece of technology is the muscle saving function of high intensity vibration. In addition to the benefits of regular foam rolling, this device vibrates to deliver powerful relief to your muscles, right where you need it. In fact, vibration massage is studied for its potential ability to prevent muscle soreness after exercise, reduce joint pain, and even increase muscle mass.1 That’s why this device makes our gift list! 

Photo credit: HyperIce

10.

The HyperIce ICT is an ultra-thin ice compression device that comes in different shapes and sizes for use on your back, legs, knees, and shoulders. This is a great gift idea for people who need to ice on the go without worrying about melting ice or dripping condensation. The material is also antimicrobial and machine washable! 

For more holiday tips and ideas, check out our blog post, Gearing Up for the Holidays, for 9 tips to help stay in shape this season. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

* Gift Card Terms and Conditions  

Sources 

  1. Fanous, Summer. “What Is Vibration Therapy?” Healthline, 19 July 2016, www.healthline.com/health/vibration-therapy#benefits. 

8 Holiday Cookie Recipes That are Kind to Your Waistline

8 Holiday Cookie Recipes That are Kind to Your Waistline

Counting calories during the holidays may as well be a task for only the mightiest among us. The effort either requires enormous willpower or a serious dislike for holiday dishes. Aside from the calories, however, the holidays are often a time when cooking and baking together is part of the joy of the season. 

That is why we’ve scoured the internet to compile a list of holiday cookie recipes that are more merciful on your waistline than their classic counterparts. You’ll find that it is possible to enjoy the tastes of the season without succumbing to the siren call of comfy sweatpants. 

01.

This recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie is a no-bake take on classic peanut butter cookies! This version tosses the flour and substitutes it with protein powder! The addition of applesauce is a surprising twist, but, including it in the cookie “dough” ensures your cookies are moist and still sweet despite the reduced sugar content. 

02.

Nothing says December like cold weather and snow-capped mountains. So, a natural season favorite would have to be Snowball Cookies! Arman Liew shares his festive recipe on The Big Man’s World. With only 4 ingredients, and no baking involved, you can see why this recipe is hailed as a simple yet delicious treat. No kitchen savviness required.  

03.

Recipe #3 – Flourless Tahini Cookies 

If you’re unfamiliar with Tahini, it’s a sauce or paste made from toasted sesame seeds. On its own, it can be somewhat bitter, though some people will eat it by the spoonful as a cough suppressant. Does it work? We’re not sure, but does it make some great cookies? Yes, yes it does. Try out this recipe by Jyothi on The Curry Trail and let us know what you think of this nutty, low-fat cookie! 

04.

With sliced almonds stepping in for oats, these “oatmeal” cookies are a low carb alternative to the real thing. The only actual oat component is some oat fiber which is added to give these cookies their texture. Recipe creator, Kim Hardesty, suggests substituting this ingredient for coconut flour if you want to go completely oat free. Check out her instructions on Low Carb Maven 

05.

The holidays are not complete without the spicy snap of gingerbread cookies. Easy to make, fun to decorate, and delicious to share, this seasonal favorite now comes in a healthier recipe. You won’t find a trace of refined flour or sugar, or any butter (if you choose coconut oil) in these wintertime treats. You’ll also get some tips on how to get that perfect gingerbread man shape. The details are all here, on Amy’s Healthy Baking website. 

06.

These Coconut Cookies are Paleo friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and even dairy-free. This recipe calls for only 4 ingredients, but the secret to this baked good is in the technique, not in any secret ingredients or special substitutions. Demeter breaks down her process in a detailed step by step guide on Beaming Baker. Take a look! 

07.

Recipe #3 – Flourless Tahini Cookies 

We had to include a recipe that plays on the classic oatmeal raisin cookie. Naturally sweetened with honey and made with nutritious ingredients like oats, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries, these energy-packed cookies deserve more time in the day than just breakfast. Regina’s popular recipe can be found on Leelalicious 

08.

Recipe #8 – Skinny Snickerdoodles 

We close off our list with another recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie because making snickerdoodles healthy looks like a tough undertaking, and this recipe looks just right. With different options for your flour and sweetener, and only a quarter cup of butter, skinny snickerdoodles look like a great addition to our holiday cookie list. Fill your kitchen with the smells of warm cinnamon and watch everyone within sniffing distance come by to investigate. 

It’s okay to indulge in a few healthier snacks this season, and of course, moderation is key. Some treats, like dark chocolate and almonds, even have some health benefits. To keep from over-indulging, read our registered dietitian’s Super Snacking Guide for ideas on how to keep your snacking on the healthy side. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Member Spotlight | Fountain of Youth

Member Spotlight | Fountain of Youth

“If there is a fountain of youth, there’s a good chance it can be found (after a certain amount of sweating) within the walls of the gym.” 

Paul S.

LAF Member, LA Fitness

Paul and Karen have been members of LA Fitness for over 25 years and have lived an active lifestyle for even longer than that. We reached out to this inspiring couple to hear first-hand how they made fitness a priority and managed to maintain it as a lifelong standard. 

Where Their Story Begins 

Well before these two even met, they each enjoyed activities like swimming, jogging, cross-country running, and long bike rides in the city and by the river.  

These weren’t any ordinary activities, however. Karen started swimming at age 6 and eventually joined her high school swim team, while Paul’s bike rides would typically be around 20 miles long! 

In 1978, Paul was hit by a car on his bike ride home from work. He had his eyes set on a 10K that was merely a month from then, and though he had stopped running due to a cross country injury 7 years prior, he promised himself he would recover from the accident in order to run the 10K. He has been running ever since. 


 

Paul and Karen Meet and Compete 

“Karen and I met at UCR where I had noticed her swimming and found out about a team triathlon coming up,” explains Paul. “She said she’d do the one-mile ocean swim in Baja on our team…We won that triathlon in 1982. Ever since, we have inspired each other to keep going and shared and traded our fitness ideas and commitments.” 

Winning the triathlon was clearly only the beginning of a lifetime of setting and hitting fitness goals together, but it was never just about training for the races. Paul reminds us that together, they “have looked at fitness as a very important part of life in the very long run.”  

“Probably the most unusual thing about both of us,” he says, “is that we both value health and fitness very highly and have for a long time, long enough ago that we can’t say when this commitment began.” 

25 Years of LA Fitness 

Over the years, Karen adopted some of Paul’s fitness routines, like lifting weights, and he adopted some of hers, like swimming. “In 1994, Karen had an opportunity to join LA Fitness (in Upland, CA) and she got me to join then too,” says Paul. “There was no LA Fitness near our home (in San Diego County) for another 8 years, but we used the Upland gym whenever possible, in hopes that someday one would open closer to us.” 

To put this information into perspective, consider this very rough estimate: San Diego is about 116 miles from Upland. This means that in moderate California traffic, that drive can take over 2 hours! 

Paul and Karen’s Fitness Regimen 

To keep his exercise routine consistent, Paul continued to work out at UC Riverside. In the ‘70s, he took a weight class that utilized an old Universal all-in-one station. “My current routine may still have echoes of those early days,” he says.  

“Later, when I had access to free weights and separate weight stations, I observed others and developed a routine that focused on my weaknesses and mixed up lifts so different muscle groups wouldn’t get overused. I added or modified lifts and the order I did things to get the most out of my time.” 

When Karen graduated, she found a job and utilized her lunch times to swim or run. “Later, she attended various gyms (that are no longer in existence) near home when she had the chance. She has expanded and adjusted her weight program as well, finding a routine that fits her best.” 

Building onto Their Routine 

“Once our local LA Fitness opened in Vista, we were in heaven. Our formerly limited routine could be infinitely enlarged because of all the machines and range of weights and cardio equipment available. Karen found much more suitable machines for her and continues to add or adjust her program. I have done the same.” 

At this point, Paul and Karen were able to add a core weight and a core cardio routine to their gym sessions. They complete their weight circuits twice a week and do various cardio workouts 4 days a week. “We don’t do cardio and weights on the same day,” clarifies Paul, because that would mean “we would have to reduce the intensity of both if we had to do both in one session.” 

“Here is where we might be different than most people,” says Paul. “We like cardio and we push hard. We attend one spin class each week and run once a week. Karen likes the different elliptical machines and will use the pool, while I will go between the stationary bike, rowing machine, and elliptical machines.” 

For the most part, Paul and Karen work out 6 times a week and have been doing so for years. Still, “we look forward to our trips to the gym as much as ever.”  

The Fitness Bug is in The Family and Encouraged by Friends 

As regular gym-goers, Paul and Karen have come to know many people at the gym who they’ve become close friends with over the years. “Even the maintenance guy at our gym often seeks us out to ask how the machines are doing,” Paul says.  

“Having been doing fitness for so long, age has become a slight modifier as well.  Neither of us can run or swim as fast as we could in our invincible 20s, but surprisingly we can do just about everything we ever have, with little change over time. We still challenge ourselves and will increase a weight every now and then. Karen and I do bench press together, and have fun encouraging each other (and now our sons, who also are members).” 

The Fountain of Youth 

If there was one thing these two enjoy most about working out, “it would probably be the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing the most important thing we can do to maintain a high level of health. We are evading a lot of problems people acquire as they get older mainly because we are serious about staying as fit as we can. If there is a fountain of youth, there’s a good chance it can be found (after a certain amount of sweating) within the walls of the gym.” 

Perhaps a great advantage is in the fact that they share the same love for fitness and healthy living. “We have met a lot of people at the gym who wish their significant other was there with them,” explains Paul. “Without that encouragement it must be a lot harder to maintain what should be a lifelong commitment. We both willingly set aside the time to work out and understand how important it is for both of us.” 

In addition to working out together, they also work out alone. They make sure to do what they individually need to do in the gym and will help each other on certain equipment throughout their exercise.  

Their Advice to You 

“If there could only be one piece of advice, it would be: Make fitness an essential part of life.  

The unsaid corollaries of that statement would be ‘Don’t quit, ever!’ and ‘Do a lot of cardio, and a lot of sweating.’” 

It may be easier said than done, but Paul and Karen have proven that despite injury, regardless of age, and with the support of like-minded support systems, maintaining an active lifestyle is possible and enjoyable! You just need to find what works for you and keep driving yourself forward. 

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 

For length and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided. 


 

Recommended Reading

10 Mason Jar Uses That Work

10 Mason Jar Uses That Work

Mason Jars became popular in 1858 when John Landis Mason invented an alternative for food preservation that was easier and more effective than the current methods.1 

Before these versatile glass containers became used for everything from food storage to decorative flower vases, they were the hottest new design that simplified your kitchen creations. 

The biggest innovations were the airtight lid that kept air, bacteria, and bugs out of your food, and the clear glass that allowed you to view the contents without having to break the seal.1 

Today, these jars have more uses than we can count. In observation of National Mason Jar Day, we’re giving you a list of 10 ideas to put your mason jars to good use. 

 

Nightlight

A simple string of lights can be bundled and placed inside a mason jar for a DIY nightlight. The result of this easy project is a warm household addition that is reminiscent of catching fireflies in a jar. 

Don’t be fooled by the utility of a nightlight either! They can be great tools for better sleep because they disrupt your circadian rhythm less than a light of regular brightness. 

Candle Holder 

Use these jars without the lid to craft some rustic candle holders. All you need are a few tealight candles to take these jars from ordinary to beautifully functional.  

Use them for a romantic evening in, as evening party decorations, or as accents on your holiday table setting. 

 

Salads

When building a salad in a jar, the results can be colorful and appetizing, but does it work? Our guess is that it can be helpful to have a glass jar, especially if you like to use acidic salad dressings. The glass won’t absorb and pass along the flavors to your next meal and the airtight seal can help keep your veggies fresh. 

When putting together your ingredients, you’ll want to pour the dressing first and add your heaviest ingredients next. Beans, corn, and other non-absorbent ingredients help separate your dressing from lighter ingredients that can wilt. When it’s time to enjoy your creation, shaking the contents out into a bowl helps distribute the dressing across the contents. 

 

Infused Water

Water is necessary for our bodies and for some reason we can be very good at depriving ourselves of it. Fortunately, someone decided it would be a good idea to infuse water with the fresh, crisp flavors of different fruits and herbs.  

Now that we’ve been enlightened, we can enjoy the refreshing relief of a cool drink of water in dozens of flavorful ways. Mason jars are, again, a great way to infuse your water because they are compact and can also serve as your drinking glass.

 

Iced Coffee and Tea 

Iced tea is made even simpler by using a mason jar because it can be prepared overnight. You can steep a tea bag in cold water, refrigerate it the night before, and it’ll be ready for your grab-and-go morning.  

Cold brew coffee concentrate can be diluted with water and then mixed with cream, sugar, and any spices you like to customize your drink. This one may not taste the same if prepared the night before but using a glass mason jar is a fun way to show off your expert coffee making skills. 

 

Oatmeal and Parfaits 

While we’re on the subject of overnight prep, overnight oats are another great option. Not only do they have a lot of great health benefits, you can take their flavor in so many different directions. You can also layer some fruit, yogurt, and granola for another tasty morning meal. 

 

Preserves and Pickled Foods

We can’t talk about mason jars and ignore what they were initially invented for. Take “homemade” to the next level and try making your own pickled fruits and vegetables, and toast-worthy jams.  

If you “quick pickle,” you’re essentially soaking your chosen fruits or veggies in a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt. This method requires you to refrigerate the jars. To properly pickle, the process is more labor intensive and requires a lot of boiling, transferring, and testing. This step-by-step instruction by Epicurious can help you pickle pickles that can be stored up to 1 year without refrigeration. 

 

Dry or Fresh Herbs and Spices 

Dry herbs are great to buy in bulk because they will keep for a long, long time. Store them in small to medium sized mason jars to easily see what you have on hand and for simplified stacking in your pantry or cupboard.  

You can also use the jars as mini planters where you can keep fresh herbs to grow in your kitchen. Be careful not to over water them because, as you know, mason jars don’t have holes for water drainage. You don’t want to risk root rot and you probably don’t want to try creating your own holes in the jar. 

 

Nuts, Seeds, Rice, and Beans 

Preserve the crunch of nuts and seeds and the freshness of rice and beans by storing them in a mason jar. These can also be purchased in bulk, and if you’re trying to minimize your impact on the environment, you may already have reusable grocery bags. Make sure your grocery bags are available for your next shopping trip by storing your previous purchases in mason jars!  

 

Original Gift Giving 

Do you have a recipe everyone loves, and you’d like to gift the tasty treat without giving away your secret recipe? Assemble a festive mason jar complete with all the ingredients for your famous hot cocoa, brownies, cookies, or other baked good.  

This works best when you have dry ingredients because you won’t need to refrigerate your gift. Making these yourself, as opposed to buying the store-bought versions, is also great because you can substitute high calorie ingredients and sugar for other components. You can still gift the flavors of the season but without compromising your own or the health-conscious lifestyle of your recipient. 

For more snack time ideas for your mason jar, check out our dietitian’s suggestions to this reader’s question about energy-boosting snacks. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Sources 

  1. Goldfarb, Anna. “A Short History of the Mason Jar.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 1 May 2019, www.thekitchn.com/a-short-history-of-the-mason-jar-234146. 

10 Thanksgiving Ideas to Revive Your Celebrations

10 Thanksgiving Ideas to Revive Your Celebrations

Thanksgiving is an ideal time to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. It is also a time to recognize that, for many people, this time of year evokes difficult memories and is a time when being with family is not as joyful as it might be for others.   

Knowing that with every life there is a unique history, we would like to offer 10 ways to observe Thanksgiving that can be enjoyed by anyone.  

Before we dive in, however, we’d like to take a moment to thank you, our gym members, blog readers, and social media followers, for your continued support. We appreciate your trust in our team, your commitment to health and fitness, and the feedback you share to help us give our best! 

Thanksgiving ideas to Revive Your Celebrations

01.

Invite a Friend or Family Member Who Might Be Alone for Thanksgiving

Even if your invitation is declined, everyone likes to feel included. Try broadening your invitation list this year and spread some feelings of warmth and welcome! 

02.

Try Something Other Than Turkey

Every Thanksgiving, approximately 46 million turkeys are eaten! Save some turkeys from the dinnerplate and try alternative meat or plant-based choices. 

You can easily make a main course out of fish, chicken, pot roast, and other meats, or take the vegetarian or vegan route and use hearty ingredients like mushrooms, squash, potatoes, cheese, and cauliflower to craft some delicious courses. 

03.

Try Hosting a Friendsgiving

This seems to become more and more of a common practice with every passing year. Friendsgiving is essentially a Thanksgiving dinner that brings together your friends, their friends, and new people who become friends, over good food and great conversation. 

With larger events, try asking your guests to contribute to the table by hosting a potluck-style event. This also encourage a diverse dinner spread because everyone’s cooking styles, food choices, and palates are unique!  

04.

Spontaneous Exercise Challenge

  1. Agree on the selection of a word like “Turkey,” “Cranberries,” “Thanksgiving,” or “Gravy”
  2. Have each person pick a number between 1 and 5 
  3. Have each person pick a basic exercise like push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats 

Any time someone says the word you chose in step 1, everyone in the room has to do their selected number of their selected exercise. The number and exercise will stay the same throughout the evening, and you’ll have fun trying to find your way around these common Thanksgiving words! 

05.

Plan a Pre-Event Gathering to Help Disperse the Workload

Plan a simple Pre-Thanksgiving gathering with your intended guests before your actual holiday feast. If you are able, walking to the store can help you steer clear of holiday traffic and impossible parking situations. Everyone can carry an item and even help you with some early preparations like decorating or cooking before the main event. 

06.

Serve the Less Fortunate

Whether you’re getting together with others or planning to enjoy some time solo, serving others is a great way to participate in the Thanksgiving celebrations. 

All you need to do is a quick internet search to find places in your area where you can volunteer. Don’t stop at serving food, however. If you can, sit and talk with the individuals and families who arrive to be served. Hear their stories, treat them like human beings, make eye contact and remember their faces. These small gestures can make a world of difference. 

07.

Plan Ahead

Even your hosts want to enjoy the gathering of their friends and family. You can help make sure that no one is left in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys the festivities by offering your help at least once or twice. 

If you are the host, try setting the table the night before. Lay out the plates, cups, napkins, and silverware, and any other items that don’t need to be refrigerated. This can help make your event day run more smoothly and with less last-minute scrambling. 

08.

Agree to Leave Debatable Topics at the Door

Some gatherings are particularly difficult because of discussions that become debates and debates that become arguments.  

Agree with your guests, prior to your event, that debatable topics should be set aside for the duration of your gathering. 

09.

Start a New Tradition

There are tons of simple but memorable things you can do to start a new tradition. It can be something like watching a certain movie, playing a game everyone loves, or creating a handmade addition for your cornucopia and adding a new one each year. This one is especially fun for new families or couples who want to commemorate each year of holidays in a special way.  

If you want to go a little further, try signing up for a Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot! You can find events in your area, here. 

10.

Get Creative with Your Leftovers

In the United States, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Thursday, November 28th. Canada celebrates early in comparison, and observed this holiday on Monday, October 14th. In either case, leftovers are a certainty with any feast.  

Whether you’ve frozen your leftovers from the 14th or are expecting more than you can manage tomorrow evening, you can get creative with your leftovers and enjoy them in inventive ways. Check out these turkey ideas to put a fun and flavorful twist on your post-event meals. 

For some delicious salad dressing recipes from our registered dietitian, read her post on Homemade Salad Dressings 101. Or, listen to our podcast to hear about how to navigate the path between Fitness and Food This Holiday Season. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

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