This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.
If you’re on a budget and shopping for fitness-related gifts this holiday season, we’re here to help. Fitness products can be incredibly pricey (we’re looking at you, Peloton). But the good news is not all fitness must-haves include Apple watches or smart home gyms. If your gift recipient spends their time at the gym or is trying to stay active, then sometimes all they need is the right gear to motivate them.
Whether they could use a new stylish pair of leggings or accessories that will improve their workout experience, there are plenty of cheap fitness gifts to choose from that are under $50. Use our guide as a point of reference as you shop for your fitness-obsessed friends and family this holiday season.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
There are a lot of activewear brands out there that will charge you well over $100 for a good pair of leggings. Spoiler alert: You don’t need to splurge on a solid pair. These Old Navy leggings are a fan favorite and one of our choices for CNET’s 84 Days of Holiday series. These leggings come in a variety of colors and lengths and are size inclusive. But what makes them stand out is how soft they are, plus the compression provided that keeps you in place during all activities. A bonus is that these leggings have two side pockets, which can hold larger smartphones and items like your keys, headphones or credit cards.
These are my go-to leggings when I’m looking for a durable yet functional pair that can handle everything from intense exercises to light activities such as a yoga class or a casual walk. These leggings usually retail for $40, but with Old Navy sales and other deals throughout the year, I’ve found them as low as $10.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
Under Armour’s Women’s Fly By 2.0 Running Shorts are affordable and an ideal choice if your gift recipient enjoys running on a track. These shorts are among CNET’s favorite workout shorts for women because of their budget-friendly price and comfortable fit. They even have built-in-underwear. Just note that we advise sizing up to allow more space in the waist area.
The UA Fly-By 2.0 shorts are meant to feel light and airy thanks to the mesh design on the side. If speed work is part of your giftee’s workout routine, then you can’t go wrong with a pair of these shorts.
Adding some core sliders to a workout routine is bound to make full-body exercises feel even more challenging. The great thing about this piece of equipment is that it’s cheap and portable so you can take it to the gym or carry it with you while traveling. Synergee’s Core Sliders are under $10 and are dual-sided so you can use them on carpets or on hardwood floors.
Using a pair of core sliders makes it easy to turn your mountain climbers, knee-ins, lunges, planks and hamstring curls into a full-body workout. They’re also low-impact so they’re suitable even if you’re just getting back into an exercise routine.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
If you’re looking for a protein shaker that’s affordable, look no further than Smartshake’s Revive shaker. CNET named it one of the best protein shakers on the market — and for good reason. The Smartshake Revive Shaker is made up of a BPA- and phthalate-free plastic and holds 25 ounces of liquid. It also has a compartment around the base where you can separately store protein powder while you’re on the go. This keeps your dry ingredients separate from the liquid in the bottle in case you aren’t planning on mixing it right away.
Unlike traditional protein shakers, this one doesn’t have a shaker ball. Instead, it has a mixing net at the bottom of the cap which provides a quiet and smooth shake every time. If you’re shopping for a friend who lives off protein shakes, they’ll appreciate the design and functionality of this shaker.
Any form of outdoor exercise requires good visibility. And when the sun is at its brightest, protecting your eyes is key. That’s why Goodr’s A Ginger’s Soul Sunglasses are an ideal present for the outdoor fitness enthusiast in your life.
Whether they like running, hiking, biking or walking, it’s important to have a solid pair of sunglasses on hand while exercising outdoors. Goodr sunglasses are non-reflective and provide UV400 protection that blocks 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, they have no bounce so they’re great for plenty of high-intensity activities. There are also plenty of styles to choose from so you’re bound to find the right look for under $30.
Screenshot by Mercey Livingston/CNET
If a Peloton bike is too expensive, you can still give someone an affordable Peloton-related item. The Peloton digital app membership is perfect for the friend looking to get a taste of Peloton before fully committing to one of their pieces of equipment. For $13 a month, they can enjoy thousands of on-demand and live-streaming classes ranging from bootcamps to barre and even outdoor running sessions.
You can access the Peloton digital app through your TV, phone, tablet or computer, so classes are always at your fingertips. Peloton is currently allowing new customers to try the app for free for the first two months before committing, which makes it an even better deal.
There are plenty of tools on the market that can help with post-workout recovery, but they tend to be expensive. Sometimes it’s best to go back to basics and opt for something as simple as an epsom salt bath. Muscle Rehab created its Bath Bombs for Athletes to relieve sore and achy muscles after a tough workout.
These epsom salt bath bombs are handmade in small batches and saturated with pure essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint and an arnica extract to help relieve fatigue and reduce inflammation. These are sure to be a hit if your gift recipient spends all day on their feet or has been hitting heavy PRs in the gym.
If you have a friend who spends their weekends running races, they’ve probably earned plenty of finisher medals. To help them display their accomplishments, a thoughtful gift idea is Gone For a Run’s BibFolio Plus Race Bib and Medal Display. Your gift recipient will be able to proudly show off their medals and race bibs from races they’ve participated in throughout the years.
This display can hold up to 24 medals and 100 race bibs, which is plenty if your gift recipient is a recreational runner. But if you need space for additional medals, Gone For A Run also sells an extension bar that can be easily added to the existing one.
Doing cardio doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hop on a treadmill or elliptical machine. Jumping rope can help get your heart rate up quickly and is an inexpensive way to squeeze in a quick workout. Renpho’s Smart Jump Rope is the perfect gift for someone on your list who isn’t keen on traditional cardio.
When you connect the Smart Jump Rope to the Renpho Fit app (available for iOS and Android), you can track your reps, calories burned and the duration of your workout. And the LCD screen on the handle can read your skip time and total number of skips even when you aren’t using the app. This makes for an ideal portable form of exercise even while traveling.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.