We’ve all suffered our fair share of awkward gift exchanges over the years. The two-sizes-too-small hand-knit sweater from Aunt Sue, the $20 gift card for restaurants with $40 entrees, the blatant re-gifting of board games. It can be brutal.
If only those well-meaning friends and family members knew how easy it is to please their gym-going loved ones: Just keep them stocked on their favorite fuel!
This holiday season, casually send this Lift Guide (yes, that’s Lift Guide, not Gift Guide) to anyone who might be stuffing something in your stocking. And, keep its sure-to-please sports supplements, snacks, and drinks in mind when shopping for your crew. From pre-workout pump-ups to protein-packed treats, these bestsellers are sure to make muscles merry and fuel everyone’s yule!
Sure, you could power your workouts with Christmas cookies all month long, but if you really want to put those gingerbreads to good use, pair them with one of these must-have supps for a performance worth celebrating. These pre supplements will help the lifter in your life squeeze in that extra rep, turn up the heat on the treadmill, and go harder all-around.
BodyTech 100% Pure Creatine Monohydrate Powder is the unsung hero of any lifter’s routine, mixing into their stack without a hint of flavor but powering performance in a major way. It’s got a slew of science to back its benefits for strength and muscle-building and a must-have for anyone looking to make big gains this holiday season. For the faint of stomach, creatine in hydrochloride form, like KAGED Creatine HCl, is the gift that keeps on giving, ensuring gym-goers can crush workouts without a shred of tummy upset.
Of course, sometimes you need a not-so-subtle boost to power through the workout of the day, which is why a top-notch pre-workout is always a good option to put under the tree. BodyTech Elite Altered Strength Pre-Workout brings the heat with a potent combination of 333 milligrams of natural caffeine, seven grams of citrulline to promote pumps, and a number of nootropics (like ashwagandha and mushroom extracts) for intense focus. RYSE Godzilla Pre-Workout is another heavy-hitter, combining a hardcore dose of caffeine (about 400 milligrams) with a slew of other ingredients (including five clinically studied trademarks) for city-crushing pumps and general workout destruction. RAW CBUM Thavage Pre-Workout, meanwhile, may not go as hard on the caffeine front (a serving contains about 150 milligrams), but bodybuilding legend Chris Bumstead designed it with all sorts of other power players like l-tyrosine, Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, and Synephrine to get the fat burning, blood flowing, and energy revving.
Of course, the gift of a pumped-up performance doesn’t end with the supplements you sip before you start your grind; the right intra-workout supplements keep exercisers churning through set after set without running out of gas.
Staying hydrated is key here, so consider gifting an electrolyte supplement like Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier, which contains three times the amount of electrolytes as most sports drinks, in addition to essential vitamins like B12 and C. The drink mix also uses a precise combination of sodium, potassium, and glucose, to ensure the water it’s added to gets into your bloodstream and hydrates your cells at lightning speed. Another solid option: Bare Performance Nutrition’s Electrolytes, which contains zero sugar but a notable dose of electrolytes (including 500 milligrams of sodium) for maximum fluid regulation so dehydration doesn’t impact performance.
If muscle is a priority for your favorite gym devotee, they’ll need a steady supply of important amino acids for maximum endurance and muscle recovery while they sweat. XTEND’s aminos are always a popular option, and their RIPPED BCAA contains an impressive seven grams of branched-chain amino acids, plus fat-burning ingredients like CLA and Capsimax to support fat loss and muscle mass at the same time. BodyTech Critical Aminos XT also delivers BCAAs with an extra punch of citrulline, carnitine, and glutamine to support energy and recovery. Some exercisers prefer to down EAAs (essential amino acids) over the usual BCAAs, since EAAs cover all of the must-have amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. In that case, go for RAW EAAs, which is a no-nonsense, high-quality formula that offers all nine of the essential aminos.
Regardless of their specific goals or workout of choice, you can bet that most fitness lovers are downing protein after a good sweat, which is why gifting the muscle-building macronutrient (in any form!) is pretty much always a winning idea.
For creamy shakes and muscle-building baked goods, grab a tub of a protein powder with a cult following. Optimum Nutrition100% Gold Standard Whey (which packs in 24 grams of a blend of whey proteins in each scoop) has been a standout for pretty much forever—and the Vanilla Ice Cream flavor is delicious both plain in water and mixed into more elaborate recipes. Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Powder is another classic that’s withstood the test of time, offering 25 grams of quick-digesting hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, and 2.7 grams of muscle-loving leucine in each rich chocolatey serving. If you want to give the gift of fresh new flavor from a popular new-kid-on-the-block brand, though, go for GHOST Cinnabon Whey Protein. This blend of whey proteins delivers 25 grams of muscle TLC per scoop and tastes just like the sticky-sweet cinnamon buns you no doubt gorged on at the mall as a middle-schooler.
Of course, the cheer of post-workout protein can also come in the form of decadent, creative snacks, like Barebells Salted Peanut Caramel Soft Protein Bar, which tastes like your favorite candy bar but contains zero added sugar and offers 16 grams of protein to support recovery. Vaughn’s Treats Original Mallow Marshmallow Crispies also promise to delight, sneaking 10 grams of protein into a buttery, sticky treat you’d want to fill an entire stocking (and your gym bag) with.
From energy drinks to protein shakes, you can bet fitness buffs would rather be sipping on their favorite on-the-go bevs than eggnog or mulled wine, so call yourself Santa and put a case under the tree for them.
For all-day enjoyment, pick PRIME Hydration Drinks, which are having a real moment and pack in BCAAs, antioxidants, electrolytes (they’re made with coconut water!), and zinc for healthy hydration, recovery, and immunity.
Meanwhile, energy drink aficionados will love the sharp focus and clean, all-day boost of RYSE Fuel Energy Drinks, which come in a handful of fun licensed flavors (like Sour Punch) and contain 200 milligrams of natural caffeine, 500 milligrams of taurine, and a full spectrum of vitamins. BUM Energy also brings a smooth pump-up with as much caffeine as your average 12-ounce coffee (that’s about 112 milligrams), plus Cognizin citicoline for max brain power.
If it’s creamy goodness on the wishlist, go for a best-selling on-the-go protein shake like the JOCKO Fuel Molk Protein Shake, which is made from grass-fed cows, contains zero artificial sweeteners, offers a hefty 30 grams of protein, and just so happens to be a good source of calcium, too. Or, opt for a classic like the Labrada Nutrition Lean Body Shake. Available in 10 (yes, 10!) milkshake-level flavors, like Salted Caramel, this fan favorite contains an unbeatable 40 grams of protein and is fortified with 22 vitamins and minerals for nutrition that’s as complete as it is crave-worthy.