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Darin St. George: Gift suggestions for the exercise freak in your life

Darin St. George

Now that Thanksgiving and the following day of calamitous shopping are behind us, the holiday season is now in full swing.

Many people look forward to it, but there are many people who "Bah, humbug!" it, too. One thing for sure is there is no escaping it. I'm in the former group; I love everything there is about Christmas and all the fun my children have looking forward to it.

My daughters Taylor Rose and Emily Hope have their lists written out for their stepmom and me and we, of course, have forwarded the lists along to Santa as we do every year. We need to make sure that all the interested parties know which Polly Pocket goes where, right? Seeing as we were looking at their lists and prioritizing which gifts are "must haves" and which aren't such a high priority, I thought I'd write about what to get the athlete that has everything.

And, maybe give a few subtle hints to my wife, Andrea Jean, about what I want, as well.

Kettlebells are making a comeback. These are really a great addition to your home gym. They offer versatility that most gym equipment can't come close to. The purpose of many kettlebell exercises is to cause various muscle groups to work in conjunction with one another, causing your practical/functional strength to increase dramatically. You'll improve your strength and explosiveness through your hips using moves like the clean and press and the snatch and the swing. Your hand-eye coordination and motor skills will develop through moves like the Turkish Get Up.

I will take my medicine in a 20-pound ball, thank you. Medicine balls are a great way to challenge yourself and build all-around strength. They can also be a blast if you incorporate them into a larger circuit of exercises as I often do. Wall ball (squat and toss the ball off cement wall repeatedly), tossing the ball to a partner between pushups, sit ups or anything else you can think of will test your speed, aim and agility all at once. Seriously, there is no end to exercise when you have an active imagination and a medicine ball.

Some fancy new workout duds are always acceptable. Let's face it; you've washed that "lucky bench press day" shirt to death and it is torn to shreds and still smells, right? Maybe it's time to invest in a few new shirts or shorts. All the big companies have made tremendous discoveries in wicking, cooling and heating in recent years, and when seconds count in athletics, sometimes clothes do make the athlete.

These are just a few ideas for those out there looking for what to get their favorite fitness coach, ah, I mean, loved one. Whether they've been naughty or nice is up for you to decide.

Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his Web site atwww.TrainerX.com.