For the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Athlete – I’ve had great experience with my online orders through mmawarehouse.com, combatsports.com and fightergirls.com. Inexpensive items like hand wraps, a cool mouth guard, ankle support, cool decals for Jiu Jitsu GI’s or Muay Thai shorts can be found in an array of colors, brands and styles. Other items like board shorts, vale tudo shorts, muay thai shorts, rash guard shirts and GI’s for Jiu Jitsu are little more costly as are items like sparring or bag gloves, muay thai gloves (I recommend Fairtex but it is pricey), in-steps/shin guards and head gear. If you go for a gym bag, I recommend a mesh bags because they help “air out” gear to reduce bacteria growth. Look into Defense Soap and Tiger Balm for a cool stocking stuffer. Most of these items can also be found at Academy or Sports Authority.
For the Runner – I’ve been successful in finding good running gear at a place like Academy and Rogue Running. Accessories like an attachable night light, anti-chafing product for the long distance runner, hats or headbands and water bottles would make good stocking stuffers. A new watch or heart rate monitor could be really cool too. If you’re interested in looking into apparel, look for dry fit clothing and no matter the season you can’t go wrong with a running tank top or dry fit shirt. I’d recommend buying your athlete a gift card or surprising them by going shopping if you’re looking for shoes. Shoes need to be tried on for sizing and comfort and vary in specificity like trail running, street running or track running. I’ll just say that Brooks are my all time favorite running shoes. I also always appreciate a great fresh pair of socks too!
For the Yogi – Apparel is really great and you don’t need to go with Lululemon, although their sports bras are the best (and not just for yoga). Look for comfort and somewhat loose fitting clothing. I prefer tight leggings and a loose dry fit top. Yogi’s don’t need much. If your yogi practices at a studio, it’s nice to have your own mat and yoga towel. Yoga mats can be found at Target, REI, Wal-Mart, Academy, at a Yoga studio or online (I love my Manduka Mat & Towel). There’s a lot of great books out there that focus on meditations, breathing, styles of yoga that your yogi may be interested in. A few of my favorites are by Baron Baptiste.
For the Weight Lifter – I can go on and on about awesome gifts for the weight lifter, especially if he/she has their own home set up. For this purpose, we’ll assume your lifter is a gym goer. Having your own pair of weight lifting gloves and/or wrist support and knee wraps are great! A weight lifting belt may also be something your lifter may like. For the Olympic lifter, look into an awesome pair of weight lifting shoes! I don’t have a recommendation on which kind but I do have a pair of Inov8’s coming my way….I’ll post a review about them in the future.
For the Boot Camper – Easy. Light Dry-Fit clothing & socks, light weight shoes and nothing too “squishy” (My Inov8 230’s are perfect), a calorie burn counter watch would be very cool too as well as other accessories like a gym towel, water bottle, headband and sweat bands.
For all of the above, one thing I would certainly recommend is a Trigger Point Kit or at least a Foam Roller! I love and use my kit everyday sometimes twice a day. My kit includes the FootBaller & Block, QuadBaller, 2 Massage Balls and sleeve. I had to get the Foam Roller separately but I got one 13″ and one 26″. The 13″ is perfect and a cheaper. I’ve seen Trigger Point at REI, Rogue Running and of course online.
You can’t go wrong with a Gift Certificate to Academy, Target, REI, Sports Authority or even an amazing massage! Look into Crossfiber Massage (a highly refined system of corrective treatment designed to aid in the restoration of damaged muscles and soft tissue in the entire body), Myofascial Release Therapy (a highly specialized stretching technique used to treat a variety of soft tissue problems), and Craniosacral Therapy (a relaxing light touch therapy where the body is encouraged to loosen restrictions and increase fluid flow through and around the spinal cord and brain. It helps the nervous system function better so your body can support you during stress). In the Austin area, I highly recommend North Austin Massage Therapy and see Carmen. I see her about every 6-8 weeks…it’s painful so don’t expect a soothing aromatic massage but very much worth every second when done.