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Christmas List #2

December 15, 2011

The thing I love about good advice is it never goes out of style…  For items to purchase, read this entry first.  These are still my number 1, 2 and 3 recommendations.  As well, my warning still stands true, don’t damage your relationship or friendship making someone feel bad for who they are.   Only offer lifestyle help to people who want it!

Okay, this brings us to our list for this year.  I am going to assume that you gave all of the items form last years list and are looking to me for some new items to give your friends who are getting fit.  No problem, I am here to help.

The List:

#1 Tights

If you are shopping for a runner (or outdoor winter athlete), then I would go with tights…  I wouldn’t have said tights normally, but I did.  The thing is, I am not a tight fan, I have never had a tight wearing body and tights are generally disturbing to me, except on totally fit bodies (and then I hate them for showing off their fit bodies).  The thing is, tights are not like they were and almost everyone is wearing them running in winter and fall weather because they are awesome.  They are like a second skin, warmer than the first.  About two thirds of the people who were running the Fall Classic this year were wearing them (it was below zero and before 9 am).  People of all shapes.  They all looked normal (and warmer than me).  If you are worried about what your ass looks like in them, just wear shorts over them.  A lot of people did, more than half.  These are also perfect for snow shoeing and cross country skiing, and I bet they would make a good baselayer for skiing too.

So we have established that these are what you need.  Depending on temperature there are many options.  Check out these below, from SUGOi.  I have had bicycle shorts and tri shorts from them and there products are excellent!

MidZero Tight

Here is the men’s midzero tight at $75.00.  There is a sizing chart on the page.    In any case, you can get tights from a variety of sources, just pick the right size.  Lululemon has a woman’s tight here.  If you are buying for a woman, you cannot go wrong with Lululemon.  Another absolute go to store is Mountain Equipment Coop.  You can find their tights here.  As well, you can get Under Armour, Nike and Brooks tights at Dick’s Sporting Goods Store.  I have an Under Armour shirt that is fantastic several Nike shirts that have been great.

#2 Pants

I have run for 2 years without giving into the tights (although they are on my current Christmas wish list).  I run in a pair of these running pants.  They are quite comfortable.  I also cross country ski in them and snowshoe.

These are the Espresso Pant from Sugoi.  Lululemon has the Free Pant that looks great, and there is a host of pants, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc  available from Dicks.   Running pants are pretty good go to exercise wear and they look fine in the gym as well.  Especially during the long grey days of winter when your legs are looking a little too pale!

#3 Base Layer

Your friend now has their legs covered and god knows they probably have a bunch of shirts from all of the events they have been doing (I hope they do at least… if not, encourage them to collect a bunch this year).  What you need is a layer to wear under any of those shirts.  Just one simple thermal baselayer top and you are good to go all winter.  This layering thing makes a lot of sense and fitness experts use it.  If you layer properly you can exercise deep into winter with no complaints at all.  Really…  I have a nike baselayer top.   On the left is the Sugoi Carbon L/S.  Here is very nice looking Nike baselayer, and Under Armour has one here.  If you know of a running shop in your town, they could set you up with any of these.

#4. Hat

You could use a good toque style hat.  A small toque is best, but it should still cover your ears.  MEC has a couple that look pretty good, here and here.  I use some old toques that I have gotten out of cases of beer over the years.

#5 Activities

Now that you have base gear, this is exactly the same stuff you need for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.  Is there anywhere nearby that you can take a friend skiing or snowshoeing.  Both of these activities are remarkably fun and very wintery.  I know in Vancouver we rarely get snow (maybe once or twice a year for a total of 3 days), but on the north shore mountains it is snow packed from October to March.  I love escaping to the mountains and it really doesn’t feel like exercise.

#6 Indoor Bike Trainer

CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer

If the person you are shopping for has taken up cycling then you cannot beat an indoor bike trainer.  This is assuming that they already have a bike.  If they have a big race planned for next year, such as the Whistler GranFondo or some other bike race, (or a big tri) they will need to be on the bike over the winter and into spring.  I have a CycleOps Fluid Trainer.  There are many excellent products depending on your budget and needs.  These are big tickets items to be sure and should only be considered for the hard core biker or biker want to be.

Conclusion

In any case, I hope you have a great holiday!  Enjoy some great food and time with family and friends.  Get out and get some exercise in, even if you just bundle up and go for a walk.  You should be able to keep as active as you were before the holidays and maybe even more.  Make some time for yourself amid the shopping and family activities to exercise.  Get your kids if you have some and GET THEM OUTSIDE if the weather allows.

I will be back before the end of the year with some thoughts about planning for the year ahead.

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