Usually, I get this gift guide put together and published before Black Friday so you can get all those sweet, sweet deals. But US Thanksgiving and the first day of December really snuck up on me quite ferociously. Surprising considering that they happen every year.
I normally provide a list of roller derby specific (or at least adjacent) items that you can buy for yourself or your teamies. You can view previous years’ gift guides here (2016 2017 2018) to get a feel for that.
BUT THIS YEAR, I’M CHANGING IT UP.
I’m making a list (fuck checking it twice) of the 10 best things I bought this year. Some of them are fitness related, some of them are not. But they are products that I can’t shut up about — my partner has tried to get me to shut up — and I finally have a place to shout about them from the mountaintops.
So here is me, on top of a mountain, telling you about *Oprah voice* my favorite things *jazz hands*.
This is a simple one. And you might find yourself wondering, “Prime, why didn’t you have sliders already?” and the answer is that I don’t fucking know. Because they are great. After purchasing them, they quickly swam to the top of my MUST HAVE FOR HOME GYMS list. I’ve used them for hamstring curls, mountain climbers, reverse lunges, and shoulder work. I also used them to practice the momentum and weight distribution of a single-footed spin on skates. I haven’t nailed it yet, but the practice on the slider helps. A lot.
You can check out exactly what I’m talking about at the link above but these are easy (and cheap!) to find in the sporting good section of most stores. I found my pair for $5 at a TJ Maxx.
2) GLUTE LOOP
If you were in my workout challenge at RollerCon this year (or you ran into me on the last day when I was trying to lighten up my luggage), you probably got a bag with some latex mini loop resistance bands in it. I love them. They are great for training, avoiding dead butt when traveling, and using as an external cue for those of us whose knees want to knock in during squats. These fabric loops don’t roll up on your thighs like the latex ones do and are less likely to snap over time. They also have a larger range of resistances to choose from which is awesome if you have monster glutes.
Another MUST HAVE FOR HOME GYMS piece of equipment. They are more pricey than the latex bands (so start there if you are on a budget) but last longer. I literally stuff these into my carry-on bag whenever I fly to have on hand just in case. You know, butt stuff.
I’m living in these this winter. Am I wearing them right now? YES. I AM. Because I prefer leggings to most other pants and also I like to be warm. This is a brand that I’d heard good things about for their non-fleece leggings (eg. velcro resistance, breathable, etc.) and it all rings true with the fleece version. I will admit that sometimes I wish the fleece was heavier but it does take the chill off when I’m hanging out at home. (My old house is cold…)
I’ve been reading more and learning more about Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating. I love reading the data and studies and thick textbooks of info. But I also love this book which is a humor-filled approach to learning about both. And a lot more digestible. (LOL, see what I did there?) A lot of my clients have read it and love it. If you’re interested in learning more about anti-diets, intuitive eating, and fixing your relationship with food — READ THIS BOOK.
Also, an A++ Instagram account to follow.
It sounds weird to say that a wireless phone charger saved my life. But it kind of feels like it did. You see, we charge our phones on a counter next to the toaster oven and I’d rather not reveal how many cords we’ve singed. Or burned through entirely. The cord for this is just short enough to have the pad sit on the counter and I literally don’t have to waste my precious .25 seconds plugging it in. Think of how much time I’ll save.
The one linked above is NOT the one I have but it is similar to the one I grabbed from the $$ bins. A cheapy, does-the-job one from Target. It’s lasted me a month so far!
But only in the 6″ inseam or longer. In fact, even the 6″ felt a little short after walking around in them all day. What can I say? My thighs love to be together. I have the original black fabric and the newer heather fabric in the blue color. I love them both. Plus, they have a new shirt come out that says “fuck diet culture” on it. Sign me up.
Really though, I spend the money on Superfits because the company is (A) owned by a woman and former roller derby athlete, (B) committed to diversity in bodies both in the clothes they build and the marketing they create, and (C) they are really, really comfortable. I wish I had that “bopo fitness” discount to give you but no such luck.
7) THE MANA-TEA
If you know me, then you know I prefer tea to coffee. And, after reading a particularly disturbing article about teabags, I usually go with loose leaf. I stuck with one of the rusted, metal ball diffuser for a long time but I could never really get it appropriately rinsed out or washed. Then a friend of mine bought me an octopus-shaped one (I now have two, actually) from the same company that makes this Mana-Tea. The probably with the octopus is that the opening is small and getting the tea in and cleaning it is a pain.
Enter the Mana-Tea. It’s got a wide opening and is easy to get tea into and wet, sticky tea leaves out of. It looks cute hanging out on the edge of my mug and is reusable. All good things. I also highly recommend the sloth (Slow Brew) for all the same reasons.
Listen. I’ll never be cool, okay. That’s probably one of the reasons that I wear hip pouches/fanny packs/bum bags. But also, when you spend a lot of time in a uniform top and leggings, you need additional storage space. There just aren’t enough pockets. At RollerCon this year, I finally caved and ordered one of the vinyl hip packs from Dottie Brand. I thought that I’d just buy one of the octopus ones that were already there but they were sold out. So I went through the process of getting one custom-made.
I’m not the proud owner of a black, glittery, vinyl hip pack with a Pokeball on it that’s lined with Pokemon fabric. It’s amazing. Highly recommend.
So… I suffer from hormonal acne that pops up and runs rampant on my face for about a week every month. Give or take. It’s painful and makes me self-conscious and I hate it. At the recommendation of a fitness friend of mine, I tried this product. I don’t actually use it as a full mask (although it’s probably good for that), I just slather it on over the flare-ups that are really bugging me and it helps to calm them down. They don’t go away immediately but they progress through their miserable lives faster.
I don’t know why it works but it does!
I’ll admit that I haven’t been brave enough to iron/sew this on permanently yet. It just gets pinned to my different vests and jackets as I progress into full winter outerwear. I like this patch and I LOVE what it represents about how our community is growing and learning to follow the lead of voices that have been traditionally ignored and marginalized. BIPOCWhoSkate, Queer Skate Alliance, Asian Skater Network, and others are starting to build more representation for their communities in this sport and I think it’s awesome. Follow all of them!
Also, as a reminder for the season, you don’t have to bankrupt yourself buying gifts for folks.