15 Cool and Unusual Gifts for the Fitness Fan

Some of the Coolest Fitness Gifts Around

I'm a big fan of new fitness toys and trends, but I'm also an advocate for sneaky tools that encourage NEAT activity in everyday life. This list has a few items from each category, each of which would make an awesome gift for the fitness lover in your life. Just be aware - the price point for these items ranges from $25 to several thousand - know your budget before you venture down this rabbit hole.

Ninebot One

Ninebot One

Um, hello. The Ninebot One by Forward California is like a mix between a skateboard and a Segway, and it's ah-mazing. This electric unicycle (yes, an electric unicycle!) works as a personal transportation device that requires core stability and control to steer it - talk about NEAT activity! The device is weatherproof and runs up to 22 miles on a four-hour charge, boasting the stamina to take you across practically any terrain or incline. If you have a generous budget for gifts, the three versions of Ninebot Ones range in price from $650 to $900.

Hot Cherry Therapeutic Pillows

Hot Cherry Therapeutic Pillows
Hot Cherry Pillows

There's a lot of confusion out there about when to use heat therapy and when to use cold therapy, but the rule of thumb is this: If you're dealing with muscular soreness or aches (rather than an actual injury to the bones or soft tissue), heat therapy's the way to go, and Hot Cherry Therapeautic Pillows are the simple solution.

These pillows are filled with clean, hollow cherry pits, and when heated in the microwave for a few minutes, they emit a moist heat that soothes practically any minor ache or pain. I swear by their larger, triple square pillows ($50 to $55) to wrap around my back and hips when my low back pain flares, or around my shoulders when my neck is tight.

The company also offers Cold Cherry products that use the same hollow cherry pits for cold therapy. Just store the pillow in the freezer and apply it as you would an ice pack or a bag of peas.

Jabra Sport Coach

Jabra Sport Coach Headphones

The Jabra Sport Coach wireless earbuds are a very cool concept for the cross-training athlete who wants an easier way to plan and manage interval training workouts. Unlike other wireless headphones, the Jabra Sport Coach works with its companion app, Jabra Sport Life, to enable users to plan, track and analyze their cross-training workouts using 40 different bodyweight and equipment-based exercises. You can use one of the app's pre-planned interval training routines, or you can create your own. Then, simply start the workout and receive in-ear voice coaching through your earbuds to notify you when to start and stop each interval, and what exercise is coming next.

THe Jabra Sound app also lets you play your stored music through the headphones while you simultaneously receive in-ear coaching, so you don't have to choose between coaching or listening to your favorite jams.

The Jabra Sport Coach earbuds cost $150, and the accompanying apps are free.

Sensoria Smart Fitness System

Sensoria Fitness
Sensoria Fitness

For the athlete who's constantly looking to improve form, function and overall performance, there's a new tech accessory designed to deliver real-time feedback on gait, cadence and heart rate. The Sensoria Smart FItness System is different from most devices because it uses apparel with built-in sensors to deliver biomechanical feedback. These sensors monitor foot landing technique, noting how you're landing during activities like running, providing real-time feedback with the complementary fitness app to help you improve form and performance.

The Fitness Running System comes with two pairs of Sensoria Fitness Socks (to monitor foot landing technique), two anklets (to monitor cadence and foot contact), a heart rate monitor and either a sports bra or t-shirt compatible with the heart rate monitor. The whole shebang costs $389 or $399, depending on whether you select the sports bra or the t-shirt.

Hands High Apparel

Hands High Apparel
Dick's Sporting Goods

I laughed out loud when I heard about Hands High Apparel ($33 to $75, depending on selection), and I'm not the only one - late night funnyman Jimmy Fallon recently endorsed the brand.

The concept is genius - why not put the logo of your favorite sports team in the armpit of a shirt or sweatshirt, rather than the chest or back? This way, when your team, I don't know, throws a Hail Mary pass for a last-second touchdown, and you jump into the air, throwing your hands high, everyone can witness your fandom under your arms. And when they're not doing so well? You can keep that logo under wraps. Plus, the apparel is well-made and comfy - I suggest an uber-cozy sweatshirt for your favorite sports-loving fitness fanatic.

Smart Rope

Smart Rope

Jumping rope is one of my personal favorite ways to fit in a cardio workout, but tracking jumps and staying motivated (especially during a tough workout) isn't always easy. The Smart Rope offers a fun way to encourage jumping activity because the LED-embedded jump rope works with the free Smart Gym app to manage the tough stuff for you.

In addition to tracking your jump count, the Bluetooth jump rope syncs with your phone so you can follow suggested interval training workouts, gain awards, engage in friendly competition with others and manage your jumping history.

You can get the Smart Rope jump rope system from Touch of Modern for $90 and download the app for free.

Recycled Bike Pouch

Recycled Bike Pouch
Necessary Recycling

Whether you have a friend who cycles competitively or one who simply bike commutes to work, this unique bike pouch is guaranteed to put a smile on his or her face. The pouch itself is made of recycled bike inner tube, leather and denier fabric, and the bike inner tube is actually taken from bikes ridden during the UCI World Championship bike races held in Richmond, VIrginia in September 2015. At $35, the bike pouch is an affordable gift, and a portion of the proceeds go to help support Richmond Cycling Corps, an inner city youth program that uses cycling to help change the lives of youth living in public housing projects.

The bike pouch is available on Ring of Charity.



You probably have a friend who uses a standing desk... but did you know sedentary standing isn't actually that much better for you than sedentary sitting? Total sedentary activity - whether spent sitting or standing - is actually the lifestyle culprit that needs to be addressed to help prevent chronic diseases. In other words, it's not the sitting or standing, specifically, that leads to detrimental health effects, but a low level of activity throughout the day. This is why NEAT activity is so important, and precisely why the Fluidstance is an amazing gift for your standing desk friend, provided you have the $289 to $489 to spend on a present.

The Fluidstance is a bit like a wide skateboard (or a short snowboard) set on a slightly arced platform designed to rock, spin and teeter. The motion is subtle and easily controllable, particularly if you're standing at a desk, but does require constant engagement of the lower body and core to help keep you stabilized. The company even had the board vetted by a third-party organization to make sure its benefits were tangible. The testing agency found that participants' heart rates increased by an average of 15-percent when on the board (compared to sitting) and participants saw an increase in range of motion when on the board of roughly 24 degrees (as compared to standing still).

Plus, it's just fun to use. If you've ever been snowboarding or wakeboarding, it has a very similar feel.

Bedgear Dri-Tec Moisture Wicking Performance Sheets

Bedgear Performance Sheets

Quality sleep is an active person's best friend, and while it seems like any ol' bed and any ol' sheets should be able to do the job, you'd be amazed at how your body responds when you give it a really good bed and really good sheets to recover on. If you want your best friend (or lover!) to think of you fondly every time they crawl into bed, give them the gift of Bedgear's Dri-Tec Moisture Wicking Performance Sheets ($195 to $285, depending on size).

These sheets are designed to help you sleep cool and dry, regulating body temperature so you can fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night long. The sheets' 3D structure keeps air flowing, pulling heat away from your body, and the lightweight fabric features a secure grip to keep them tight to your bed without clinging to your body.



The MORFboard is one of those products that made me go, "Wow, I want one!" It's a functional training system with fun, play-like features and a smart design that enable it to morph (hence, the name), from one tool to another with ease.

Designed by former professional action sports athlete, Eitan Kramer, the MORFboard consists of a base (think of something a bit like the deck of a skateboard) and four x-tension packages: the BOUNCE, SKATE, BALANCE and REBAND. With a simple click and twist of segments built into the base, you can switch out the x-tensions for a completely new workout. In other words, your base can become a balance trainer, a strength training tool or a skateboard. It's like a million possible workouts in one... plus a mode of transportation, too.

The MORFboard isn't currently available to order, but the online store should be available soon. Expect the base package (the base plus the BOUNCE x-tension) to cost about $250, with additional x-tensions costing around $70 to $80. In other words, buying the "full quiver" should run just under $500.

Comfort Revolution Hydraluxe Cooling Gel Bed Pillow

Comfort Revolution Cooling Gel Pillow
Comfort Revolution

There's something about a cool pillow in the middle of the night that just makes you happy, amiright? For the athlete looking for a great night's sleep, consider buying the Hydraluxe Cooling Gel Pillow from Comfort Revolution ($80). According to a 2011 independent test, the pillow sleeps cooler than other pillows, including those made of cool foam, ventilated foam, latex, fiber and down. Plus, the memory foam under the Hydraluxe gel cradles the head and makes it feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. And as we've already established, sleep is a fitness buff's best friend.



If you have a friend who's been complaining about bike storage, consider buying him or her the CLUG ($25) - the world's smallest bicycle rack. Truly, I didn't understand how tiny or amazing this bike rack was until I got a sample to test out. It's tiny - as in, it fits in the palm of your hand. But, sized correctly (they're available in sizes to fit road bikes, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes), they really can hold any bike in place, right up against a wall. For the bike commuter, buy one to install at the office, and a second one at home - it's the perfect minimalist solution that helps protect bikes and walls!



Alright, so this was one of those products that made me go, "Really? Would someone really use that?" And the more I thought about it, the more I was like, "Yes. Actually this makes total sense."

Here's the deal: The Runbell is essentially what it sounds like - a bell you wear while running. Much like a bicycle bell is used to notify pedestrians and other bicyclists when they're about to be overtaken, the Runbell is designed to be used the same way - to notify others that you're approaching them, giving them time to react and move out of the way.

Luckily, the bell isn't like a cat bell you wear around your neck. Rather, it's a ring you wear on your middle and pointer fingers with a bicycle-style bell that sits on top of the pointer finger. To ring the bell, you use your thumb to pull back on the hammer, and when you release it, you receive a satisfying "Ching!"

The Runbell is also solid, making it a reasonable weapon (think brass knuckles-style weapon), if you found yourself in a dangerous situation. Plus, it's not an item most people would think to buy for themselves, so it's the perfect gift-giving solution. At just $25, why not?

Juicepresso Platinum

Juicepresso Platinum

Two things that almost always go together are fitness and nutrition. If you have a fit friend in your life who swears by her daily green juice, give her an upgrade to her current machine. The Juicepresso Platinum ($550) is the quietest and smallest juicer on the market, making the task of pressing spinach and green apples into a tall glass of green a lot more palatable.

Don't assume that the smaller footprint means slower or less-efficient juicing. The test model I tried was every bit as efficient as my previous juicer (another cold press juice model), and the 72-hour juice life makes it a lot easier to make ahead and store. The platinum version also comes with a wider, slanted chute to accommodate larger pieces of fruits and vegetables, a one-piece, dishwasher-safe extraction system for easy cleaning and lids for the provided juice pitchers to make storage easier.

Plus, juicers aren't just good for juicing - you can use this cold press model to make everything from sauces and baby food to fruit "ice cream" and almond milk. It's perfect for your nutrition-obsessed friends.

Catrike Recumbent Bike

Catrike Recumbent Bike

I don't know why, but recumbent bikes seem to get the cold shoulder from their upright friends, This is a shame because recumbent cycling is like, well, the best thing ever. How often do you get to fit in a great workout while sitting down? Plus, recumbent bike seats are way more comfortable than upright bike saddles, and it won't force you to place excessive strain on your low back.

Sound like something worth looking into? Catrike recumbent bikes are some of the best outdoor cardio machines on the market. They're fast and fun, and a great workout to boot. Designed to max out at about 45 miles per hour, they're perfect for the speed demon looking for a safe ride (Hey, if you wreck, you're closer to the ground!). The latest model, the 5.5.9 is the premium grand touring edition, perfect for long rides. Bikes like this don't come cheap, and th3 5.5.9 is a significant $3,150, but that's not actually all that different from many road bikes.

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