Happy Sunday everyone! It’s time for another Angry Trainer Top 10.

This time of year is famous for sparking a lot of peoples interest in fitness for a whole host of reasons; there’s the added weight people put on during the holidays, the appeal of New Years Resolutions, all the fitness marketing out there and magazines that boast diet plans and ways to jump start your health and fitness. The result – people end up spending hundreds of dollars on treadmills, cross trainers, fitness videos and a whole heap of infomercial junk!

But forget the rip offs! Here’s the Angry Trainer gift guide for those of you interested in giving the gift of health and helping a loved one or friend jumpstart a new lifestyle. All of these gifts retail for $50 or less – so you won’t be shrinking your bank account as you shrink your waistlines. Just be sure to buy two and keep one for yourself!

1. Jump Rope: Jump Ropes are one of the cheapest and most under utilized pieces of fitness equipment. Even if you jump slowly, the rope represents a terrific challenge – requiring stamina, coordination, balance, and muscular endurance. Start jumping for just 30 seconds and add 10 seconds each additional session. In no time you’ll be a jump rope pro. For about $15, it’s a steal!

2. Natural Foods Gift Certificates: Let’s face it, chances are if someone is out of shape, their eating habits could use a tune up too. Getting them a gift certificate to your local natural food market will prompt them to see for themselves that “natural” food doesn’t mean tree bark and grass, but healthy, tasty alternatives to most processed foods. I admit it took me years to step inside of one, but now I do almost all my shopping there.

3. New Sneakers: Most people I come across are wearing sneakers that need replacing. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if they still look new, they’re okay to wear – they’re usually not. The shock absorbing and stabilizing materials in most sneakers wears out in 3-6 months depending on usage. So while they still may look great, they aren’t protecting your feet as they should. Think about what type of sneaker would best benefit your gift recipient based on their fitness level. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with an Asics cross trainer or running shoe. I suggest going to discount sneaker stores (I do) as you can find a great deal on last year’s or discontinued models.

4. Magazine Subscription: There are many fitness magazines available to suit just about anyone’s needs – and the good ones aren’t just loaded with pictures of models working out, or endless exercise routines. The good magazines also contain healthy recipes, lifestyle segments, reader write in’s, contests, product reviews and many other features geared towards living a healthy, fit lifestyle – providing a monthly boost of inspiration. There are many well-rounded, informational publications. Another $25 well spent!

5. 1 Month Gym Membership: Most fitness centers offer one-month memberships and don’t require a yearlong contract. The great thing is that they will also most likely offer a free fitness assessment for all new members. This can be of great value if you have a qualified trainer perform the tests. Take a look at my How To Pick The Perfect Trainer post for suggestions on how to find a great trainer. Don’t assume joining a gym has to require 12 months of fees and start up membership costs. It’s a buyer’s market!

6. Medicine Ball: These devices offer truly limitless fitness potential. A medicine ball is basically a weight that’s shaped like a ball – you can swing it and perform functional exercises, bounce it and work on coordination, hold it for added weight during lunges and squats, or do pushups with one hand on top – the possibilities are endless. And most come with a detailed workout sheet that demonstrates various form and exercise technique. Don’t think you can’t get a great workout with just a ball, as a properly executed medicine ball routine is extremely effective. They cost anywhere for $10 – $30 depending on weight, which means you can get more than 1!

7. The Success Principles BY JACK CANFIELD : Did the Angry Trainer just recommend a book? Yes I did and here’s why – achieving fitness success requires the same things that all other accomplishments do. It requires an understanding of self, a healthy mindset, a plan, and solid execution to reach your goals. Most people, including myself, have a hard time getting out of their own way and are their own worst enemies. The Success Principles is easy reading and filled with valuable daily tools and practical principles to help transform your dreams into reality – and that includes your fitness endeavors. If I’m recommending a book, it’s worth it – trust me. I just got this as a gift from

8. Boxing Classes: Some people are turned off by their perceptions of ‘conventional exercise’. So one way I’ve found to get people into fitness while “distracting” them is letting them hit and kick things. LOL. It’s true; I’ve had people that absolutely hate exercising say, “ I love this!” while boxing and kick boxing with me. It’s a great stress relief, and it can lead to other forms of training like sit-ups, pushups, jump rope and sprints to improve conditioning. It’s a great way to get someone started in fitness. I would look for individual instructors, boxing or martial arts gyms, or even your local community center for qualified classes. It’s a lot of fun!

9. Vitamin Store Gift Card: If you want to maintain a healthy diet you have to get into the habit of eating small, frequent meals – which means protein shakes and bars. Over the last few months I’ve recommended food bars like Zone, Balance, EAS, MetRx, and shakes like Muscle Milk to help assist in keeping the nutrients flowing. A gift card to a local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe is a great way to help someone stay on track with a new diet regimen.

10. Buddy Personal Training: Instead of just giving the gift of fitness to your friend or loved one, why not join them? Two friends exercising together with a trainer can have fantastic results as it creates accountability and responsibility. Plus misery loves company right? So embark on a new fitness program and achieve success together. It also helps to keep each of you motivated knowing that you’re in it with someone you care about. It can be a spouse, a sibling, a co-worker or just a friend – either way buddy training is a great way to get started. Most trainers will offer ‘buddy’ rates to fit your budget

So what do you think? Do you like my suggestions? Do you have a few of your own? I’d love to hear them… and Happy Holidays!