09 December 2010 ~ Comments Off on Fitness Gifts: Protein Shaker

Fitness Gifts: Protein Shaker

Stuck on a simple but useful holiday gift? Want to give something that says, “I support your fitness goals” but doesn’t say, “you really need to work out more”? I’ve got just the thing: a deluxe protein shaker.

If you’ve had much experience with protein powder (and if you’re doing any kind of muscle-building exercise, you should), you’ve probably found that it’s difficult to quickly mix it into milk or water without blobs of unblended powder floating on the top. With some powders, you can shake until you’re blue in the face (an exercise of its own) and it still clumps.

No longer, thanks to something called the Blender Bottle. This is a protein shaker cup with a difference: a wire ball that acts like a whisk, breaking up those blobs and leaving you with a smoothly blended protein drink.

In addition, this protein shaker has a tight-fitting screw-on lid and a “pop-top” drinking/pouring spout so you don’t have to remove the wire ball to enjoy your protein. All parts are easy to wash and dishwasher-safe.

I discovered the Blender Bottle when I got one as a gift—believe it or not, I had taken to using my electric blender to make batches of protein drink, but once I tried this shaker I never went back. It only takes about 15 seconds of moderate shaking to fully mix even the clump-prone powders I’ve had lying around. To sum up, awesome.

Anyone who uses protein powder will thank you for giving them a Blender Bottle. In fact, this gift reduces the “what if they’ve already got one?” factor: even if they DO own a protein shaker, most people will be happy to have a second one to take to work or school. And if their old protein shaker isn’t a Blender Bottle, they’ll probably throw the old one away.

Get the Blender Bottle protein shaker at Amazon.com.

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27 November 2010 ~ Comments Off on Simple Workout Holiday Gifts: Iron Gym

Simple Workout Holiday Gifts: Iron Gym

The Iron Gym in its natural habitat.

With the holidays starting, there’s a dilemma that comes along with the thought of giving fitness-related gifts: will the recipient be happy or offended? It’s a dilemma that’s easily resolved as far as you’re concerned: don’t be afraid to drop subtle hints about the fact you’d like some new workout clothes, or fitness equipment.

In keeping with the Simple Workout charter, we’ll look at a few very simple gifts that can help you to exercise and eat better. Today it’s the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar. This is an inexpensive piece of equipment that can help you with two of the best bodyweight exercises in the world: pull-ups and push-ups.

Pull-Ups

The Iron Gym really shines when it comes to pull-ups: in literally seconds it fits on any standard door with normal-size molding, and you’re ready to go. With five grip positions (wide and narrow with overhand or underhand grip, or palms in) you can start with the easiest position for you, then as you get stronger, try a more difficult grip.

With most home bodyweight or dumbbell workout programs, the only exercise missing is the pull-up, and the Iron Gym takes care of that. Some days I swear I can’t walk by the Iron Gym without putting it up and blasting out 10-12 reps. It’s just so easy.

Push-ups

As helpful as the Iron Gym is for pull-ups, it also makes a great base for push-ups. Put it on the floor with the curved part of the bar facing up, and you have padded hand grips. Because your palms are facing in, you’ll get a slightly different exercise out of the Iron Gym than you would with your palms on the floor. In this position you can also lower your chest slightly below your hands, giving you a greater range of motion.

Again, it’s as easy as putting the Iron Gym on the floor.

The Rest

The areas the Iron Gym doesn’t handle so well are sit-ups and dips. I’ve outlined this and more in my Iron Gym review at the Tao of Bachelorhood, but suffice to say you can do both of those exercises without the Iron Gym. It’s still an awesome enough value for what it does well that I can recommend it highly. If it will fit your door (very wide doors and doors with no moldings are a no-go) it’s a great part of a home workout.

So if you’re looking for an inexpensive fitness gift to hint at, you should strongly consider an Iron Gym.

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