fitness-first-advent-calendar

I’m just going to throw this out there… I love Christmas. I love everything about it; the decorations, the excuse to wear fluffy socks and comfy pyjamas, the time spent with family, the giving of gifts and, of course, the food! But the past few years I’ve been a little disappointed with advent calendars. Let’s be honest, the chocolate is usually a bit of a let down and we probably all forget to open them daily after a few days and just scoff the lot at once mid-month!

So this year, I thought I’d investigate alternative advent calendars. Ones that you can be excited to open each day and find something new to enjoy. Something to help you count down the days to Christmas among the parties, shopping and Celebrations.

And you know what? I’m impressed! The retail industry is really killing this advent calendar thing. There’s a calendar for everyone – even ones with miniature bottles of gin or beer! But, this being a fitness blog, I thought I’d try and stick to the more healthy end of the spectrum with my selection (not to say enjoying a tipple or some chocolate/sweets every now and then is unhealthy, but let’s not go down that road!).

Here are my recommended alternative advent calendars…

Healthy Advent Calendars

For the beauty lover

Open up a daily treat from the Body Shop in the lead-up to Christmas. With shower gels, body lotions and make-up goodies, this advent calendar is packed with an incredible selection of beauty must-haves. At only £48 it’s incredible value for money:

https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/gifts/over-30-gifts/24-happy-days-advent-calendar/p/p002016

The Body Shop Beauty Advent Calendar

For the magpie

Oliver Bonas have outdone themselves with a charm bracelet advent calendar this year, complete with a bracelet and 23 charms. It’s jewellery box design is super cute and although it’s for ages 5+ I’m sure lots of women would love it too! Get yours for £20.

https://www.oliverbonas.com/jewellery/nutcracker-jewellery-advent-calendar-37952

Oliver Bonas Charm Bracelet Advent Calendar

For the coffee connoisseur

A selection of 25 different coffees (including filters) that are pre-ground for use in a cafetiere or drip-filter, this advent calendar is perfect for the coffee-drinkers of the UK. It even comes with a desktop flip calendar with info about each coffee and farm. Order from Pact for £39.

https://www.pactcoffee.com/shop/the-pact-coffee-advent-calendar

Pact Coffee Advent Calendar

For the tea drinker

Biscuit dunkers rejoice! This cute calendar contains a selection of different brews from PostTEA. The kit even includes a mesh metal ball tea strainer for brewing and twine/pegs to display your advent calendar. Available for £49 from Not On The High Street.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/posttea/product/pre-order-tea-advent-calendar-for-christmas

PostTEA Tea Lovers' Advent Calendar

For the pamper queen

This cute advent calendar from Berylune contains 12 mini handmade soap slices and 12 mini bath bombs – perfect for relaxing after a day’s heavy duty gift shopping! Who doesn’t need a little pamper in the run-up to Christmas? It’s yours for £30.

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/berylune/product/2016-bath-bomb-and-soap-advent-calendar

Bath Bomb and Soap Advent Calendar

For the bearded man

To my male readers, did you think I’d forgotten about you? Every CrossFitter knows at least 5 bearded men, and this advent calendar is perfect for you. With a different scent for each day, your beard will be well-groomed for all the beard baubles your family are bound to get you for Christmas! Yours for just £29.99 from the Bearded Man Co.

http://www.thebeardedmancompany.com/christmas-beard-oil-advent-calendar.html

The Bearded Man Beard Oil Advent Calendar

 

For the macro counter

If you’re really set on getting a chocolate calendar this year, why not try MyProtein’s protein chocolate advent calendar? With 1.35g of protein for each 27kcal piece, this will help keep you well on track over the festive period while enjoying a Christmas tradition. At just £4.99 it’s not to be sniffed at!

http://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/myprotein-advent-calendar/11332807.html

MyProtein Cocoa+ High Protein Chocolate Advent Calendar

For the fitness fanatic

Don’t worry if you’ve missed the chance to pick up an advent calendar, you can still open an advent calendar door each day with Fitness First’s healthy advent calendar. Just visit the site daily for exercises, recipes and tips. You might even recognise a certain friendly fitness blogger or two along the way! This one’s totally free – Merry Christmas!

Fitness Advent Calendar

Fitness First Advent Calendar

Those are my advent calendar finds. Let me know in the comments or on social media if you have any of these, or any other healthy alternative advent calendars! Keep an eye out for my CrossFit Christmas Gift Guide soon…

Affordable Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

Christmas. My favourite time of year! Cosy evenings, beautiful lights and decorations, time spent with family, and the giving of gifts – all bringing a sense of comfort and happiness. If you need a little helping hand in your decision of what to buy your loved ones, this gift guide may just be the thing you need… well, if your loved one is into CrossFit, running or yoga, that is!

I put this list together with the hope of helping you find a little something for your fitness friends/family, and also to showcase a few of my favourite items, or those I’m coveting myself. Products marked with an asterisk (*) are tried and tested. Everything else is based on personal opinions of style and/or usefulness!

Struggling with Christmas shopping? Check out this gift guide for CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis! Click To Tweet

I’ve included a range of products, from stocking fillers and more affordable gifts, right the way up to luxury/high-end items, to help you choose something appropriate for your budget. But enough chat… let’s get shopping!

Christmas Gift Guide – What to Buy CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis

Luxury gifts

Luxury Christmas Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Liforme Yoga Mat. £100. This is on my “to-buy” list… as soon as I can justify the £100 to get it! The markings on the mat help you to achieve perfect alignment in each of the postures, meaning you can focus more on getting the most out of your practice and less on whether your hands and feet are level in downward dog.

For the CrossFitter… Reebok CrossFit Fleece. £110. This may seem a lot for a fleece, but the design of this baby has taken WODs into consideration meaning you can train in it without compromising performance. Reebok also spent a long time working out the shape of CrossFit athletes in order to get the best fit possible. No more shoulder or lat constriction!

For the runner… adidas Ultra Boost Trainers.* £130. These are just a fantastic running shoe. adidas’s Boost technology has been around for a few years now and their shoe design seems to be going from strength to strength. The Ultra Boost shoes are their greatest shoe yet, with bouncy cushioning, stretchweb outsole and a knitted upper for the perfect fit.

High-end gifts

High-end Christmas Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Lululemon Bring It Om Tote. £68. Firstly, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the name! This bag has room for all your yoga bits – strap, blocks, water, cover-up and yes, even your mat. Though the bag is super-sleek in black, I would love if they had a choice of colours, but there’s no denying how functional it is. A great gift for yoga class regulars.

For the CrossFitter… inov-8 Fastlift Shoes.* £69.99. I am in love with my fastlifts. Having tried Reebok lifters I thought my luck was out getting a comfortable lifting shoe (sorry Reebok, I just wasn’t a fan), but inov-8 certainly lived up to their usual standard of delivering the most comfortable fit, complete with an extremely sturdy heel and sole. These shoes have been an absolute godsend for my lifting, and the new AW15 colourway is just lush.

For the runner… Pace Run Leggings.* £75. Give your loved ones cosy legs for their winter runs. These leggings are not only beautiful to look at, but also toasty with a thermal fabric. Sweaty Betty can be known for their great fitting clothing and these leggings are no exception. Plus, they make the wearer’s bum look uber-peachy… surely a benefit to the buyer too?!

Mid-range gifts

Mid-range Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Yogasphere Yoga at the Shard.* £40. Not a material gift, but one your yoga-loving loved one will remember forever. Imagine doing yoga at the dizzying heights of over 1,000 feet! This is an experience not to be missed, and… yogasphere plant 10 trees for every class booked so you can feel nice and smug for saving the planet at the same time.

For the CrossFitter… RX Smartgear Jump Rope.* Approx. £35. These jump ropes are brilliant – the cable rotates freely and the handles are comfortable to hold. You can also get varying weight cables for a faster or more controlled rotation. They are custom made and from America, but if you order now you should expect delivery with time to spare before Christmas. You can even pre-pay the taxes to save more time!

For the runner… Redbear Sports Christmas Jumper Running Top.* £28. I don’t think this running top even needs a justification… it’s a technical running top, that looks like a Christmas jumper. Oh, and did I mention it’s technical? What more can you want?! You may have seen a very similar item on my Christmas wish list last year – clearly this idea will never get old to me! Make sure you size up though – they come up small and you won’t want your loved one thinking they’ve just eaten too many mince pies.

Affordable giftsAffordable Gifts For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

 

For the yogi… Yoga Gym: The Revolutionary 28 Day Bodyweight Plan for Strength, Flexibility and Fat Loss.* £12. A must have for yoga lovers who want to take their yoga to the next level, or equally for newbie yogis who want to learn how to supplement their yoga practice with postures and techniques that will make them stronger and more flexible. I was lucky to receive an advance copy and I’m loving it already. Released on 17th December… just in time for Christmas.

For the CrossFitter… Be Better Athletic Wrist Wraps.* £11.99. When strength work gets heavy, the front rack position or snatch grip can get painful on the old wrists. These wrist wraps are little gems, helping to hold your wrist in a safer position and limited the stress on this complicated joint. Ideal for any CrossFitter looking to move onto heavier lifts.

For the runner… Led Lenser Neo Headlight.* £20. When the evenings get dark at this time of year, visibility is essential. You want your loved one to see and be seen, right? This headlight is superb… no doubt about it. The rectangular shape of the light casts a widescreen beam, meaning you can see the full width of the pavement ahead. It’s also light and comfortable, so your loved one is less likely to care that they look like a miner.

Stocking Fillers

Stocking Fillers For The Runner, Yogi and CrossFitter

For the yogi… Yummi Yoga Cookie Cutters. £6.50. How adorable are these?! Available in a range of shapes, your yoga lover can enjoy making cookies (healthy or not!) in their favourite yoga postures. A great novelty gift for that Christmas stocking or Secret Santa.

For the yogi… Activbod Mind Over Matter Balm.* £7. Perfect for helping focus and calm, this little balm is great for a pre-workout sharpener, or to pop on before laying down in savasana. Oh and it smells AMAZING.

For the CrossFitter… Goat Tape. £9.99. WTF is goat tape? Well I can’t explain the name, but I can explain the purpose! CrossFit can get a little tough on the old hands – this tape can be used to protect problem areas on the hand where the bar or rig might cause tears, or even to hold grips in place. Still confused about the name? Me too.

For the CrossFitter… Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on Lotion. £5. This stuff helps loosen tight spots which, let’s face it – us CrossFitters have a-plenty. A handy little roll on makes it easier than ever to apply deep heat right where you need it for that muscle soothing action.

For the runner… NATHAN StrobeLight. £9. You may have seen my post on the range of Nathan Sports goodies to help #fireupyourrun. This baby is perfect for a Christmas Stocking filler that will help keep your loved one safe this winter.

For the runner… Feetures Elite Cushion No Show Socks. £10. I can’t be the only one who used to routinely get socks in my Christmas stocking? Keep a shoe in (get it?!) with tradition by popping these comfy little socks in your favourite runner’s stocking this Christmas. They’ll thank you with cosy feet!

What’s on your Christmas list this year? Why not share this list with your friends or family if there’s something on here that you want… there’s nothing like a subtle hint in the form of a Tweet or Facebook comment!

Christmas Gift Guide for CrossFitters, Runners and Yogis

Please note that this post contains some affiliate links – if a purchase is made through an affiliate link then I will receive a small commission – this does not affect the price you pay, nor does it have an influence on my decision to post the specific product(s). To find out more about affiliate links and my policy, please see my Disclosure page.

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It was around this time last year that I started doing CrossFit regularly. After trying it in the summer I knew it was something I’d want to keep up but all the other boxes seemed to be a bit of a drive away. I was lucky to have a box open within a few miles of my home in November 2013.

“If  you want to do something often, make it easy for yourself.”

Baptism of Fire

My first WOD at CrossFit Raeda was definitely one to remember… the 12 Days of Christmas. There were 12 exercises, and you had to perform them like you would sing the song. So 1 burpee, 2 deadlifts 1 burpee, 3 toes to bar 2 deadlifts 1 burpee, and so on.

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My First Raeda WOD Photo Credit, CrossFit Raeda

 

I don’t remember the scores, but there was a time cap and I remember not finishing. I think I was on the 10th round. Now, if I’d ever not finished a race I would have been so upset. In fact, I think in my entire running life I’ve only ever pulled out of one race once I’d started and I berated myself for it. But this is where CrossFit is different. I can never quite put my finger on that feeling to describe it to someone, but whenever I’m asked what CrossFit is like all I can think of is the community. Some call it a “cult”, and maybe in a way they’re right. But all I know is that one year on, this is one cult I never want to stop being a part of.

How Far I’ve Come

So much about me has changed since I started CrossFit, there’s no way I’ll be able to explain it all. I’ve achieved things I never thought I’d be able (or even want!) to do. I’ve made so many new friends. I’ve fallen in love with a bar and plates. I’ve taken part in competitions. I’ve developed new skills. I’ve switched focus for the first time in my life from what my body looks like to what my body can do. All of this, and more, thanks to CrossFit.

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Then… Photo Credit, CrossFit Raeda

 

Now

Now Photo credit, Lauren Elizabeth Dodd Photography

One Year On

And now, one year on, we returned to a 12 Days of Christmas WOD. The exercises were different, but the concept the same. One year ago I took a scaled-down option and did easier versions of each exercise, this time around I did the RX for everything except the kettlebell exercises (I’d just returned after two weeks with a hacking cough) and I did so much better. I still didn’t finish within the time cap, but then no-one did. But I did make it all the way to round 12 this time! And as they say:

“it doesn’t get easier, you just get better”

I plan to continue getting better with my CrossFit family, and look forward to seeing how much further I am along in another year’s time.

Thank you to all the coaches and my friends at CrossFit Raeda for making this year such an amazing one.

Happy Christmas!

I love this bunch of nutters!

I love this bunch of nutters! Photo credit, CrossFit Raeda

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December 1st. The day when kids (and some adults!) across the globe will be opening the first door of their Advent Calendar excited to see a chocolate to scoff. I love Christmas, the decorations, the giving, the music and films, and of course the food. It is clearly a time when fatness takes over fitness, and the usual lycra gear becomes a necessity for day-to-day wear as trouser waistbands become tight.

But there are some other ways to celebrate Christmas with a fit twist. Here are a few of the best this year:

The Zero Calorie Advent Calendar

Brought to you by London fitness bloggers From Snickers to Marathon, Diary of a Dashing Fashionista and PT Mollie, the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar offers a little cheer every day between 1st–25th December 2014.

Behind each day’s door on the website, a new workout, recipe and health & fitness offer (from free class passes to discounts on top products) is provided with the aim to keep those interested in health and happiness on track.

Fitness Video

Last year I even offered my very own workout video (cringe)

You can find the Advent Calendar here.

12 Sweaty Days of Christmas

12DaysOfChristmas

Gorgeous sports brand Sweaty Betty are running their very own 12 Days of Christmas style competition with prizes being given every day from 1st-12th December 2014. With luxury prizes from spa breaks for 2 to Sweaty Betty gear and personal training sessions this is definitely not to be missed.

Join Sweaty Betty over on their facebook page and keep an eye out for the competition posts!

Advent Running

AdventRunning

A free and simple run challenge that aims to keep people running throughout the month of December, Advent Running is awarding a daily spot prize for the best photo, video or written description of the day’s run shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Use the hashtags #adventrunning and #runforsprouts

The challenge? Run 30 minutes a day, every day between 1st-25th December. Find out more here, and check out their facebook group for inspiration from everyone taking part! What’s more, they even have events where you can grab a beer or coffee, have brunch, or just party, all organised throughout the month.

Do you know of any other Christmas themed fitness events? Share them in the comments below or via my Twitter or Facebook pages!