The Best Health and Fitness Gifts for Self-Improvement

From waterproof wireless ear buds and a foldable kayak to the “Peleton of boxing,” these 13 gifts promise to make 2021 better than 2020.

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We’ve already shared our favorite new American whiskies and goodies for the self-proclaimed foodies in your life— in other words plenty of ways to indulge your libertine vices. But what about ideas to actually improve yourself? You know, for those looking to hone their six pack, not stack another in the fridge. Whether it’s to pull yourself from the slump of quarantine-inspired indolence or for the insufferably fit friend you want to push off a treadmill, we offer 13 gifts to help make 2021 better than 2020.

Molecule 1 Mattress

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You can train till your muscles quiver with fatigue, but without proper recovery all that work is for naught. And the most important aspect of recovery is sleep. That’s why Molecule aims to optimize your rest and recovery period by crafting the most restful mattress in the world. 

Their Molecule 1 combines three specialized layers working in symphony to do exactly that: a firm 7-inch bottom layer for maximum support, a middle 3-inch layer split into three zones to provide targeted self-adjustment to the hips/lumbar area, and a top level proprietary 2-inch memory foam. Finally it’s all wrapped in material made of temperature sensitive polymers that wicks both heat and moisture from the body to ensure a cool and refreshing night’s rest. You’ll sleep every night like it’s Thanksgiving. Esteemed athletes of the highest order like Michael Phelps and Russell Wilson swear by it, and rumor has it even Tom Brady rests his pliable, tomato-eschewing head on a Molecule. If it’s good enough for the GOAT it’s probably good enough for you. $700-$1,100 

GREYP G6.3 Rebel FS e-MTB Bike

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Just because you can build a $2-million, 1,900-hp, 250-mph unicorn hypercar doesn’t mean you can build a bicycle. Luckily for upstart Greyp, their parent company Rimac Automobili can. Their G6.3 is the flagship model of their e-MTB (electric mountain bike) line and is thusly loaded up with goodies: 460W motor, 36V/700Wh battery offering 60 miles of power-assisted range and a bunch of data-gathering hardware (e.g. GPS, accelerometer, barometer, Bluetooth, heartbeat-reading wrist strap and front and rear hi-def cameras). A 4G eSIM card allows for over-the-air software updates and provides 24/7 internet connectivity so you’ll never be completely off the grid. 

But the point of these e-MTBs isn’t the tech — it’s to allow novice and moderate riders to climb hills and reach remote locations they normally wouldn’t be able to without motor assistance. Conquer trails with the Greyp as if you were a mountain bike pro, its carbon fiber frame, RockShox Pike forks (with 150mm travel), Formula Cura 4-pistons brakes and Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance tires offering world class off-road performance. $8,999

STRYDE Stationary Bike + Cycling App

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While Peloton clearly dominates home cycling and wellness systems, many consider the pricing… exorbitant. That’s where Stryde comes in. The Boston startup’s goal was initially to offer the broadest selection of cycling classes around, all streamed directly to your home. So they partnered with instructors and boutique studios across the country — instead of relying only on a single company-owned studio — to offer a broad choice of riding styles, music and instructor personalities. 

They believe ultimately this would translate into better overall fitness results. After much research the Stryde team realized they could design and build a better bike as well, at a much better cost than the competition. Thus Stryde was born. With a 21.5” hi-def screen, twin speakers, built-in browser (stream whatever they like, including Netflix) and an ergonomically designed stationary bike, Stryde offers Peloton results at a fraction of the price. $1,550 ($30 monthly membership optional)

URBANISTA Athens Wireless Earbuds

There’s a wide range in Urbanista’s 10 Year Anniversary collection, but its Athens wireless buds are specifically aimed at the athlete’s ears. The Swedish brand’s sports earphones feature well-designed silicone loops (swappable for perfect fit) to keep the Athens earbuds firmly locked into the inner ear, delivering crystal clear bass and 8 hours of battery life. Crafted with IP67 waterproof rating the Athens will let you run in the rain, sweat downpours and even swim without worrying about performance. Its compact, lightweight charging case provides an additional three full charges providing 32 hours of total playtime before you gotta rest. Your thighs will give up before the Athens earbuds will. If you’re looking for an Active Noise Cancelling option Urbanista’s London model offers a new Ambient Sound Mode so you don’t need to lower the volume or hit pause from your playlist to engage in conversation. $130 Athens$150 London

ORU Inlet Foldable Kayak

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Few exercises work the entire upper body and cardio system like kayaking — and Oru wants to make the process as easy as possible. Like inverse origami, transform their Inlet from a compact 20-lb box into usable watercraft in under three minutes. Can’t get much easier than that. The 10 foot kayak is Oru’s lightest, most portable and easiest to assemble yet, perfect for beginners or experienced kayakers tight on space. The Oru’s large cockpit even offers enough room to throw a dog or child into the aquatic adventures. $900 

PULP CULTURE Hard Pressed Juice

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If you want to catch a light buzz but don’t want to throw your training out the window, Pulp Culture claims to brew the healthiest alcohol on the planet. They take non-GMO cold-pressed juice and via trademarked wild fermentation create spirits loaded with live cultures (6 billion CFU’s of live probiotics in every can) and botanical adaptogens from medicinal herbs and superfoods. All with zero sugars and only 99 calories. Their Hard Pressed Juice is available in five flavors. $15/4-pack 

TB12 Performance Meals

You can’t train like a pro and refuel at Taco Bell. And even if you take your diet game seriously, sometimes you don’t have time to prepare an entire meal. That’s where Tom Brady comes in: his TB12 fitness brand (co-founded with his longtime body coach Alex Guerrero) isn’t just about vibrating pliability spheres, resistance bands and foam rollers, it’s about healthy eating. In partnership with The Good Kitchen the GOAT’s Performance Meals offer high-protein, nutrient-rich whole foods free of processed ingredients. 

Think options like Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables; Roasted Cod with Succotash and Chermoula Sauce; Quinoa and Chickpea Pilaf with Spiced Cauliflower; Thai Style Chicken Bowl with Rice Noodles; and Citrus Shrimp with Quinoa and Spiced Cauliflower. Stouffers this is not. We had a couple meals and the ingredients were far superior to what you’ll find in the frozen food aisle, with a surprisingly clean palate (even if flavor was a bit lacking — nothing hot sauce couldn’t cure). $13 for subscription meals ($15 a la carte)

THERAGUN Elite Handheld Massager

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If any of your friends have one, then you don’t need to hear anything from us because you’ve already probably been indoctrinated into the Cult of Theragun. The handheld portable massage system is a godsend for deep muscle treatment, basically pounding rebellious sore muscles into a state of lactic acid submission. You can adjust both speed and force of impact to modulate from softer massage to eye-rolling, deep tissue massage. Professional athletes like Paul George, Collin Morikawa, Amanda Anisimova, and Maria Sharapova all swear by the Theragun’s ergonomic design. There’s a PRO model, but the Elite does everything you need with 120-minute total battery life, Smart App integration via Bluetooth and a sharp OLED display. $399

LITEBOXER Home Boxing Reaction Trainer

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If you’ve exhausted the gauntlet of stationary bikes, resistance bands and YouTube yoga instructionals, Liteboxer tries to switch things up. The “Pelaton for Boxing” alternate offers a first-of-its-kind full-body workout by triggering LED light pads for you to punch, all synced to music of your choice. Its hexagonal pattern offers nine striking points which record power and display your accuracy results via “runway” lights. You can connect your phone via the Liteboxer app for trainer-led workouts and challenges, and mirror the content to your TV with Apple TV or Google Chromecast. The unique fitness platform offers a full sweat workout that slides somewhere in between dance class and boxing, and comes complete with gloves, hand wraps and three months of premium membership free. $1,495 + $29/month

NEON WITCH MARKET Spell Bath

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Few things aid a good workout recovery like a steaming hot bath, and Neon Witch Market’s strange brew worked wonders. Noticing the lack of holistic options in the mainstream market Neon Witch created its own Spell Bath alternative to all the chemical and toxin-laden bath products. Instead they opted to infuse their therapeutic Himalayan sea salt with sustainably sourced and organic essential oils, lavender botanicals and crystals hand-picked for their individual health benefits. 

Known for stimulating the immune system, Quartz was purposely selected so the customer could set any intention before jumping in the water (the crystals are even blessed by a Reiki — namaste!). While the anti-inflammatory ingredients in the Spell are recognized to alleviate anxiety, allergies, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and cramps, we used it for its efficacy profoundly reducing post-workout muscle aches and pains. $25

SPY+ Marauder Goggles

It’s blizzard season, time to hit the slopes. Get geared up with Spy+’s best goggles, the Marauder. The frameless design provides superb peripheral vision, and its magnetic Deadbolt system allows you to quickly, safely and easily swap lenses to adopt to winter’s capricious weather conditions: Most have one for sun and another for clouds, while the Nightrider Black comes with a Silver Spectra lens for daytime and a clear lens for night sessions Those lenses are no joke, either: anti-scratch, anti-fog, 100% UV blocking and enhanced for impact protection, they all feature SPY+’s patented Happy Lens technology (scientifically tuned to boost mood and alertness via long-wave blue light) so you don’t get depressed on the mountain. Wait a second — who the hell gets sad on the slopes?! With a unique Venturi ventilation system hot air is pulled out from behind the lenses for continuous clarity. Each Marauder comes with two lenses in a variety of Spectra mirrored colors. $144

HALCYON BOTANICS CBD Ritual Oil

The benefits of CBD on muscle recovery are well substantiated, the only question is not if to use but which brand to trust. The options are countless, but for organic quality you cannot beat boutique brand Halcyon Botanics. Launched in 2019 by Dr. Erica Oberg, one of the original founders of the Pacific Pearl La Jolla (private integrative medicine for the 1%), the NIH-funded researcher and founding Medical Director at Bastyr University San Diego formulated Halcyon Botanics with a focus on three pillars: 1. Purity of organic ingredients; 2. Potency of CBD; 3. Versatility of application. 

Unlike many CBD options it is Broad Spectrum meaning 100% THC-free so moms and military can use safely and confidently without concern, but still contains all the valuable cannabinoids and terpenes that make CBD effective. Billing themselves as the “Chanel of CBD” is more than just marketing: using only the highest quality, 100% organic and vegan ingredients in both the essential oils (vetiver, bergamot and cedarwood) and cannabinoids, all packed with antioxidants to calm the autonomic nervous system and heal the body and mind. Beautifully packaged in frosted Italian glass, the High Potency Oil Tincture (1000mg) is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and the Ritual Oil provides instant and profound effects when rubbed on sore muscles. $108

FITBIT Versa 3

Nowadays a fitness tracker is a mandatory piece of equipment for anyone taking training seriously. And it’s unsurprising that Fitbit, who are all but credited with creating the wearable category, provide the best option. Their new Versa 3 has everything you need in a clean, easy-to-use intuitive package. It combines all the fitness capabilities of the best trackers (advanced fitness and sleep tracking metrics) with the modern functionalities of a smartwatch (receive texts, phone notifications, calendar appointments, incoming calls, etc.) in a crisp color display enlarged from the Versa 2. 

The Versa also adds integrated GPS, a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels while sleeping and fast charging in its third iteration. You can also use it for Alexa orders, contactless payment and to stream Spotify, Pandora and podcasts for your workout. With a wide range of band materials and colors available, the Fitbit Versa 3 even allows for a surprising level of personalization. $200

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Nicolas Stecher