fitness · holidays

Best of the worst fitness gifts for the holidays: beyond the Peloton

I don’t know about you, but I love end-of-year lists: Best books, movies, bikes, recipes– you put it on a list, I’ll read it. Lately we’ve been pummelled with gift lists, and of course social media commentary on said lists. The Peleton ad had its moment, and of course we were here for you: Sam’s peloton post is here if you missed it. I thought I’d take a look at so-called “fitness” gift lists for 2019. In short, I was appalled. So I’m sharing my ire and amazement with all of you,

In no particular order, here are my picks for worst holiday gifts, 2019 edition:

Smart scale with app. No.
Smart scale with app. No.

No to the smart scale. No to the scale in general. You may recall that I bought a smart scale that won’t tell you what you weigh, but it does make value judgments about you based on your weight. Why did I think that was a good idea? Yes, scales have their purposes, but like any tool, it can be used in ways that harm us. Certainly it shouldn’t be a gift for the holidays. No.

Next:

Supposedly self-cleaning water bottle. Hmmphf.
Supposedly self-cleaning water bottle. Hmmphf.

First of all, let me say this: it costs $74. Who wants to pay $74 for a water bottle? Not me. Well, if it created its own water show like in the picture, maybe, but it doesn’t do that. I’m not really sure what it does, but I’m certainly not paying $74 to find out. Did I mention how much it costs?

Moving on:

Customized shoelace tags; if I were in the mood to wear such, this would not be my message (keep running). But that's me.
Customized shoelace tags; if I were in the mood to wear such, this would not be my message. But that’s me.

I don’t get this at all. Wouldn’t they make it harder to lace up your running shoes? And also, to read the motivational message, you would actually have to stop running, fish your reading glasses out of your pocket (if you’re me), bend over, and then take in the message. I do like the tie-dye laces though (sold separately).

What’s next, you may be wondering. Here it is:

Humongous towel warmer, which isn't even plugged in in this picture.
Humongous towel warmer, which isn’t even plugged in in this picture.

This large, guaranteed to be in the way no matter where you put it device, is supposed to warm up towels or pjs or other fabric items you’d like to warm up. It costs $140. Seriously– haven’t these people heard of a dryer? Won’t that do as well– actually better, because you don’t have to set up a clothes dryer in the middle of your bathroom? I don’t have a dryer, so maybe I could use my microwave. Hmmm… Still, not gonna buy this.

Is there more? Of course there is.

One of those cockamamie devices that claims to tone your abs just by wearing it.
One of those cockamamie devices that claims to tone your abs just by wearing it.

I remember seeing devices like this advertised on TV when I was a child. They bellowed about how you could get toned abs while grocery shopping, watching TV, etc. No. It didn’t work then, and adding a smartphone app to go with it won’t make it work now. I love the photo though– a thin woman, sitting on a yoga mat next to a pool, strapped into this device, presumably monitoring her progress by watching the app on her phone. Brilliant. Oh, it costs $199.99.

This one deserves its own blog post, but I’ll try to be brief here:

Posture trainer-- you stick it on your back, and it vibrates when you slump. Get it off, get it off me!
Posture trainer– you stick it on your back, and it vibrates when you slump. Get it off, get it off me!

I did some research on posture training devices– they are supposedly designed to improve posture and reduce posture-induced back pain. The Washington Post did a story on them here. A physical therapy researcher said this about such devices:

Of course, you don’t need gadgets to accomplish [improving posture]. Fischer recommends performing “reverse” stretches in the morning and evening — backward bending, for example — to counterbalance leaning forward throughout the day. “We talk about [body] symmetry, but we don’t think about it with our neck and lower back.” Regular neck stretching, mobility exercises and getting up from your desk once an hour to walk around and loosen up are also recommended — as are core workouts, such as Pilates, yoga or barre classes that help strengthen the muscles that help to maintain good posture. 

By the way, it costs $99. Save your money.

I could go on and on here. Believe me, I found loads of bad gifts– many of them on so-called “best gifts” lists. Just goes to show you– let the internet surfer beware. But I’ll end here with perhaps my favorite bad gift, which I bet most of us have received at some time or other:

An otherwise-useful item (this is a gym toiletries kit) marred by lady-athlete sayings.This one says "I don't sweat, I sparkle". Ugh.
An otherwise-useful item (this is a gym toiletries kit) marred by lady-athlete sayings. This one says “I don’t sweat, I sparkle”. Ugh.

We could have devoted an entire blog post (or several– have we done this?) to awful lady-athlete-fitspo sayings on T shirts, gym bags, and other items. Not to mention the pink-ing of all women’s athletic equipment and clothing (not that there’s anything wrong with pink, but we want choices).

Hey readers– what’s on your wish list this year? It doesn’t have to be something you plan on getting; what are you yearning for, if anything? I’ll be posting a wish list from our bloggers later this week, but I’d love some ideas from you, which I’ll also post.

5 thoughts on “Best of the worst fitness gifts for the holidays: beyond the Peloton

  1. I want to hear more about posture trainers. I am actually seriously considering buying one. Opinions please!

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