Holiday Fitness Gift Dos and Don’ts

Shop smart this year to get the best value when giving a wellness present.

Don’t give someone a large piece of exercise equipment they don’t currently use. It’s not a coincidence that you’ll find a big, old, hardly used fitness device at almost every garage sale you see. If the person you’re buying for isn’t currently using that type of device on a regular basis, they most likely won’t start just because it’s new or you gave it to them. And if they’re not currently exercising at all, it’s almost certain it will sit dormant. That’s great for the economy but bad for your wallet.

Do upgrade their existing equipment if it’s cheap or old. If they use their current bike or elliptical trainer twice weekly or more, but it just doesn’t do all the things they’d like, as well as they’d like, or it’s just old and fraying around the edges, it may be time for a new one. But ask for expert advice before making the purchase. A nationally certified personal trainer is a much better choice for that than the commission-based salesman at the store. If you don't care about surprising them, you may just want to get a gift card for the price range you’re targeting and let them pick out their own new edition.

Don’t buy someone a gym membership with long contracts and high initiation fees. Low cost gyms make their money on high up-front costs, long-term locked-in payments and overbooking the membership base by multiples of their capacity. They’re able to do that because, since the monthly membership is so low, the majority of their members don’t come regularly or at all. They just don't think about the money they're wasting until months of unused memership goes by via those convenient EFT hits to their bank accounts. So if that’s you or your loved one, you’re paying for the high school kid in the next neighborhood who is there five days a week.

Do give them gift certificates for a free week at three or more gyms. It’s a cliché but a gym or fitness club membership should be more about value than price. Folks who pay $200+/month for a posh, full-scale health club membership but love the atmosphere and amenities and go a few times a week are getting more for their money than the well-intentioned but inactive members of the budget gyms I mentioned above. Same goes for private and small group training. The people who use those services don’t pay without using the sessions. They are much more consistent and likely to continue for the long haul. And they get a level of guidance and productivity that working out on your own can’t come close to matching. So if you know your sweetie is interested in a fitness solution but has no clue where to start, get gift certificates for any combo of a private training session, a trial membership in a small group fitness program, a week at a high-end club and a lower priced/end gym so they can experience the full spectrum of choices and find the best fit for themselves.

Don’t give a weekend away of lounging, unhealthy eating and drinking. Do I really need to expand on this?

Do give a weekend away with a fitness event and a dinner at a healthy restaurant. My personal favorite would be one of the many beach town events (Santa Cruz and the surrounding cities hold runs and other athletic events throughout the year) and dinner at Dharma’s, a great vegetarian restaurant in Capitola. You can find local event at Active.com and On Your Mark Events.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be giving a gift that makes that special person in your life better today and help them on their quest to live a long, healthy life for years to come.


To kick off the holiday giving season my fitness studio, Tri Valley Trainer, is currently offering a free private training session with all new one month memberships in our small group training program, Club TVT!



Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer in Pleasanton, which provides personal training, small group fitness and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com


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