Over the past few years while working in the nutritional supplement industry, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know dozens of bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, both amateur and professional. While each one of them brings a unique perspective and fitness philosophy to the table, bodybuilding is itself a lifestyle that can mystify loved ones and complicate gift giving.
This guide is not so much for casual fitness enthusiasts as it is for the dedicated bodybuilders who eat, live, eat, sleep, eat, and breathe the swole life. During the holiday season and beyond, here’s what they’re looking for.
Protein. A LOT of protein.
The average container of whey protein weighs about 2 pounds and contains approximately 36 servings. If your bodybuilder goes through 3 scoops per day, they probably find themselves scooping out the very last of the powder on day 12. High-quality protein can be pricey – at least for those who have yet to browse our selection.
Treat the bodybuilder in your life to a BIG tub or bag of protein, like this 5.29 lb tub of Muscle Milk® Collegiate Chocolate, or better yet – a 10 lb bag from BSN or Optimum. Just be sure to know their flavor preferences, and try to find out if any aspect of the nutritional profile is important to them.
If you don’t consider yourself supplement-savvy, take a moment to understand the difference between protein powders and weight gainers. Weight gainers are high-calorie supplements used less frequently than protein powders, often with words like Mass, Gain, or Bulk in the product names.
Gym and Fitness Apparel
This may seem like a no-brainer, but bodybuilders, like everyone else, are very particular about their clothing choices both in and out of the gym.
Gym apparel must breathe well, survive countless washes, perfectly compliment the physique, and cover just the right amount of skin.
As a guide, take a look at the gym clothes that he wears the most now, and shop for new items that are similar. Does he prefer T-shirts? Tank tops? Stringers? Sleeveless tees? In addition to gym wear, some clothing brands have designed out-of-gym apparel specifically with the bodybuilder physique in mind. Rogue Fitness, Gorilla Wear, and apparel from Animal Pak are great options. Items from Muscle Club Apparel are on my list this year.
Bodybuilders sweat. A lot. For this reason, skin care is often top of mind among fitness nuts with intense training programs. While an acne wash may not be the stocking stuffer that he’s hoping for, consider gifting luxurious skin care items that are formulated specifically for men. Body wash, face lotions, moisturizers, and especially facial cleansers should be on your list. This Facial Mask for Men is my current favorite, and I’m loving the natural scent of tea tree products.
Does your bodybuilder go to great lengths to achieve and maintain a year-round bronzed look? Consider gifting a spray tanning session, or include a sunless tanning lotion as a stocking stuffer.
A Good Shaker Bottle
Take a look inside your bodybuilder’s dishwasher. How many shaker bottles do you see? A lot, probably, and there’s a reason for this – they’re used daily, and they don’t always last for very long. Bodybuilders often receive low-quality shaker bottles as freebies from supplement companies, and the lower the quality, the sooner they begin to crack and leak. Give him an upgrade with a high-quality shaker, like those made by BlenderBottle.
With headphones, as with all electronics, you usually get what you pay for. The lifespan of low-cost headphones is pitiful, but many bodybuilders continue the endless cycle because they don’t have the funds available to buy something better.
A pair of headphones in the $100+ range should be durable enough to survive a life spent in and out of the gym bag.
My advice: spring for the warranty just in case the sound quality declines with time, or it breaks. Also, do your best to determine whether he prefers in-ear or over-the-ear headphones.
A Good Blender
If your bodybuilder is deserving of a high-end gift of $100 or more, put it toward a high-quality blender. Like shaker bottles, many bodybuilders use electric blenders daily, and low-cost blenders don’t always last very long. Vitamix manufactures perhaps the best blenders on the market, with Nutribullet and Ninja not far behind. Hand mixers also make great gifts.
Want to know the bane of your bodybuilder’s existence? There are only so many ways to cook chicken. A bodybuilding diet can be extremely boring, so spice things up by giving the gift of spices. Seasoning kits are a fantastic complement to high-protein diet.
In bodybuilder lingo, ‘meal prep’ refers to the planning, cooking, storing, transporting and organizing of nutritionally sound meals. Meal prep comes in as a close second to cooking chicken as a top difficulty that bodybuilders face. Replace the worn-out plastic containers with non-fitting tops in his cupboard with food storage alternatives that are designed for bodybuilders. Products from Six Pack Fitness are among the best.
Don’t recognize the term?
A pre-workout is simply a flavored, often caffeinated, powdered beverage that gym goers mix with water and consume prior to fuel their workouts.*
Does your bodybuilder have a favorite pre-workout? Re-stock it for him. If he’s open to experimenting, get him something new to try.
A Trip To Remember
If your bodybuilder has been very, VERY good this year, take him on what I’d consider to be every bodybuilder’s dream vacation – a trip to the Arnold Classic or the Mr. Olympia. The Arnold and the Olympia are the two major annual bodybuilding conventions in the U.S., attended by tens of thousands of like-minded individuals. In addition to bodybuilding competitions with top-tier athletes, each has an expo event where attendees can meet their favorite fitness personalities, grab a bag full of free supplement samples and swag from sports nutrition vendors, and participate in fitness-based games and challenges. The Arnold is held in Columbus, Ohio in March, and the Olympia is held in Las Vegas in September.
This one’s easy. Find out his favorite on-the-go snacks and give him a fresh supply. Many bodybuilders go through almonds by the pound. Nutrition bars like Balance, Pure Protein, Quest, Kind, Oh Yeah, Power Crunch, and Muscle Sandwich are great options.
Sneak a peak at his supplement cabinet. What do you see besides protein and pre-workouts? Do you see fish oil, amino acids, multivitamins, digestive support supplements, herbs, or joint support supplements?* Stock him up!
Last but not least, don’t forget a hilarious (but functional) gag gift that will benefit you as much as him.