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12 Presents for the Fitness Focused Female

I see shopping lists come out each year with titles like “15 Things For Fitness Oriented Women” and “20 Presents For Women Who Run” and to be honest, half of the time the things on these lists are things that I look at and thing are either over priced, over extravagant or just unnecessary.

So to help you help your friends, family and significant others, I’m writing a list of things that I actually believe women like me would actually like to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Now let’s be honest this is for you ladies, because it’s the fitness focused gal that is reading and sharing articles like this with the people I mentioned above in hopes that you actually get something you want for Christmas instead of something that you’re highly unlikely to use.

So here is my list of 12 Presents for the Fitness Focused Female

FitBitA Fitbit – There are lots of other fitness trackers out there and receiving any of them would be a great present for fitness focused female. But my personal recommendation after trying a lot of them is the Fitbit. — I’m a big fan of both the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge. If the lady you are shopping for is a runner go with the Surge for sure.






Raw Threads Bamboo ShirtsBamboo – There are lots of nice fabrics out there to exercise and run in. Lot’s of them. But in my personal opinion none of them beat bamboo. I’m a huge fan of working out and running in the bamboo shirts from – their line includes lots of exercise themed shirts, tanks and hoodies. If you want to make this an even more special present include a gift card for their Club Membership This will cost you $100 but it will get them a $20 gift certificate, a custom shirt and the opportunity to purchase some of their race registrations through the Raw Threads Club Membership which often includes sold out races.



BondiBand HeadwearBondiBand – There is nothing more uncomfortable than sweat in your eyes. Whether you are in a group exercise class, lifting weights or on a long run. These amazing headbands are a no slip, no drip athletic head-wear. I swear by these wicking headbands. I try to never leave for a workout without one. They even offer a feature that allows you to design your own and put your own message on them to make them extra special and a more personalized present.




Victoria Secret Gym BagGym Bag – I could never have enough of these. Really. I have one that goes to the gym with me. One that stays packed for a last-minute run in the back of my car. One that stays packed with extra gym clothes and an extra change of clothes just in case I need them. I even have one that serves as a sauna bag. As far as brands go, there are two that I’d really love to have under the tree this year, the Under Armor Watch Me Duffle and the Victoria’s Secret Sport Essential.




New Balance Heat Hybrid JacketCold Weather Sport Jacket – Whether your Fitness Focused Female is a runner, jogger or walker, getting that cold weather cardio in can be really unpleasant without the right gear. These three jacks, which I will admit were some of the few items featured on one of the other Christmas lists I read. Other lists will list them as three different items. I’ll list a cold weather jacket as one but give you a few ideas of ones this runner chick would pick if you were shopping for me. ( In the order I’d select to receive them ) New Balance Heat Hybrid,  Saucony EXO Jacket, Brooks Seattle Shell



Sparkle SkirtSparkle Skirt – Lot’s of other lists will put other running skirts on their list. Here’s the thing, if you are going to buy someone a running skirt, skip the typical brand names that don’t offer anything special and unique and go for what runner chicks everywhere are in love with. The Sparkle Skirt. The Sparkle Skirts address the need for comfortable, FUN and efficient active wear giving you a great, no riding,no chaffing fit and the amazing addition of pocket room to carry everything you might need on a run in! If you order one of these amazing skirts please tell Sparkle Momma Leah Powell that Pandora sent you! If you want to buy me one I’m a size medium and really want the Big Bang, Haunted and Flitter Green and Red Queen versions.



Balega SocksSocks – I’m not kidding here. A Christmas without socks and an orange in my Christmas Stocking is a sad year for me. Really. And if you’re buying athletic socks, there is really in my opinion only one brand to be buying. Balega. They make lots of different styles but as a runner I am married to the blister resistant Hidden Comfort style. Though if you stuffed my stocking with anything by this company I’d find an exercise to wear them doing.




Altra Intuition Running ShoesShoes – Okay so if you’re talking about me there is only one running shoe that I recommend. I’m an avid Altra fan. You can’t get me out of them. I’m currently bouncing back and forth between 4 pairs of Intuitions ranging from 1.5, 2.0 and two pairs of the 3.0 model. I also have a pair of the Torins that I wear when I want a little more cushion for my run. But as a runner chick myself the last thing I want is someone buying me shoes I don’t want or getting me the wrong size. So here’s what you do. Look at the shoes your lady friend is wearing right now and jot down the brand and size. Now go buy THAT brand in THAT size. If you can tell the model stick with the same model. You can even take a picture of them and take them to the store with you to get an associate to help you. If you want to thank me for this list and buy me some shoes I’m a 9.5 in Altra Running Shoes 🙂


GymBossGymBoss – Whether you’re interval workout is Circuit Training, HITT Training, Kettlebell Workouts, Weight Lifting, Tabata or you are timing Running Intervals the GymBoss is where it’s at. I use mine (which I received as a present) all the time. This small, easy to set and easy to hear interval timer makes sure that I know when my work period is and when my rest period is when I am doing my Circuit Training and makes sure that I stay on track with my run times and walk times when I am out on the road doing a run. I recently broke the clip on mine so hopefully a new one shows up for Christmas!



Moving Comfort Sports BraSports Bra – Okay so I always promise I will tell you the truth. Here is the truth. You probably shouldn’t buy your fitness focused female a sports bra. Even though she probably really needs a new one. So many women are wearing bad sports bras! But do you and her both a favor and make her go pick it out herself and try it on, bounce around, do some jumping jacks in the dressing room and make sure she likes it. Buy her a gift certificate to a store that carries the Moving Comfort brand ( owned by Brooks ) In fact, go to their website, click on shop local, find a store that carries their sports bras and go buy her a gift certificate. Get creative with the presentation on this. Maybe grab her a Starbucks gift card or a gift card for her favorite place to buy a drink ( Tropical Smoothie Cafe ) if you’ve got one is a great choice and make it a fun little day trip for her.


Brita Sports BottleWater Bottles – I can’t go on enough about how much we love our water bottles. There are lots of different brands and lots of different uses. In the gym I like the Brita Sport Bottle that lets me refill it from a water fountain and have fresh filtered water. I’m also a fan of the Nathan Hydration Handhelds as well as the CamelBack 25oz Podium Insulated if I am on my bike for a long ride. If you are buying her a Sparkle Skirt like I mentioned earlier ladies that use them swear by the FredWater Bottles that fit in your pocket nicely because of the shape.




LUSH Beauty ProductsPamper Products – So anyone that is really into fitness as days when they really could just use a relaxing hot bath to help soothe those muscles. If your lady isn’t a bathtub type girl maybe it is a long shower with some products that just make her feel special and pampered. Either way LUSH products is the way to go. I’ll tell you right now the way to my heart is with a bath bomb. Seriously. From bath bombs, bubble bars and bath melts to shower gels, shower smoothies, shower jellies and shower scrubs LUSH has got something that is going to make your fitness frenzied female feel pampered, spoiled and relaxed. Put together a basket of a mixture of products so that she has them on hand those nights she really needs a little tender loving care after pushing her body to be the best that it can be. She’ll appreciate it.


stockingstuffersDon’t forget the stocking stuffers! If you’re shopping for stocking stuffers always think of things like gift cards for her favorite places, shoe strings, energy beans, energy gels, blister band-aids, anti-blister sticks, chap-stick, tissue packs and gum. These are things I’d love to find in my stocking Christmas morning and

There you have it. Twelve presents ideas that any fitness focused female would love to find under the tree Christmas morning and several ideas for stocking stuffers that say you thought about the things she enjoys and the things she might need when she was doing them.



The most important thing about Christmas presents is the thought that goes into them and any of these presents are sure to tell a fitness freak like me that you put a little thought into what you put into the box this year.


 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Exercise Journals Can Provided Motivation and Inspiration

SLide_25I keep an exercise journal, especially when I am training for a new adventure. Eleven weeks ago, just after my thirty-ninth birthday I jumped back into a vigorous training schedule for one of the biggest physical challenges I have taken on.

On August 30th after a summer hiatus to allow my knee some time to heal I reentered the training program that Olympic runner Jeff Galloway designed for folks talking on the runDisney Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is a four-day running event that takes place at Walt Disney World where you run a 5k (3.1 Miles) on Thursday, a 10k (6.2 Miles) o Friday, a half marathon (13.1 Miles) on Saturday and a full marathon (26.2 Miles) on Sunday for a grand total of 48.6 Miles over the four-day event.

Some people would say that you had to be Dopey to take on a challenge like this. I’ll reserve my opinion on that for the blog I write after I complete it and let you know what I think then.

Since I’d kept my cardio endurance levels up through the summer by spending time on an elliptical and riding a bike jumping back into that training program on at the end of August with a 9 Mile run was surprisingly easy for me. I made a few rookie running mistakes, like forgetting sunblock and not eating before I left. Silly things that an experienced runner and fitness instructor like myself should know better than to do. But when you get out of practice and out of your routine it’s easy to forget some of the little things.

Back to the point…my exercise journal from that first day

“9 Miles, 15k, First long run of the season. Knee OK. Lots of newbie mistakes though!”

My mileage has just kept going up from there. There have been a few entries where you could tell that I was struggling.

“Having a hard time not doing cardio on OFF days but sticking to the plan. Glad I have my classes to keep me distracted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays that I’m not doing runs.” 9/02

“Took the day of since my heels are still so hurting so bad. Figure today’s 45 min run isn’t worth jeopardizing this weekends 15 Mile run with soreness or additional blisters. Hopefully a good choice.” 10/01

“The stress of trying to figure out what I am going to do about the Dopey Challenge is really starting to get to me. I’m not sure that A) I can even afford to go to Disney World for as long as I need to do this event or B) That my body can handle it.” 10/05

About this time I saw a Podiatrist and started a routine that would help alleviate the pain I was experiencing in my ankles. I made the decision to stop trying to do all the exercises with my classes while training for this very challenging event. I decided that instead of trying to do everything and feeling like I wasn’t doing anything well, I’d start focusing on just trying to make sure that my training schedule became the most important part of my fitness routine.

JPBullCityI started making sure I designed classes for my students that didn’t require me to do all the exercises with them while still making sure that they got a challenging enough workout.

I also start taking my interval times down as my mileage started going up. I was so sore and had such a hard time recovering from the 9 Minutes / 1 Minutes that I started going back down to my old fall back of 4 Minutes / 1 Minute — then I started playing with 3 Minutes / 1 Minutes and finally 2 Minutes / 1 Minute.

I ran my 17 Mile run in Raleigh, NC at the Bull City Race Fest putting in 4 Miles before the start, running 3 Miles with my one of my best friends, Jeff Newell from Defying Obesity running 2 Minutes and walking 1 Minute and was amazed when I got to the finish line and didn’t feel like I was going to pass out! I even came home with some steam left in me!

I love being able to go back and look at my journal entries and see how much the changes affected by performance and my state of mind.

“My 45 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday seem to be getting easier! Maybe because I’m not killing myself everyday and giving my body more time to rest and recover than I was.” 10/26

“Ran 10 Miles with Ronda instead of my 6 today. Happy Halloween to me! We were fast! Finished just before dark.” 10/31

Just a couple of weeks ago I completed my longest run to date of 20 Miles. My friend Ronda ran the first 13.1 Miles with me and once again I surprised myself. When I had finished the 20 Miles I found myself thinking “I could run another 6.2 Miles and do a Marathon, if there was a medal waiting for me.” Once again, I didn’t feel like I was going to die or that I had pushed my body farther than it could go.

Keeping an exercise journal helps me feel accomplished. It helps me stay on track, helps me keep up with my training schedule and helps me hold myself accountable for the training that I need to do in order to make sure that my body is capable of the task that I am challenging it to do.

But it also helps me look back and see what I am doing right and how the changes I make either positively or negatively impact my training.

My blog has worked the same way. There are a lot of days when I go back and read a blog post about what I was doing in the gym way back when and it makes me smile and feel so accomplished when I compare it to what I can do now.

No matter where you are in your weight loss journey I recommend keeping an exercise journal. Jot down what you’re doing and how it is making you feel and hold on to it. Sometimes just going back and reviewing it can help provide the incentive and motivation you need to get back on track or get that workout that you’re debating in for the day. DSSPostSig

 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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