Holiday Gift Guide: 6 Top Fitness Experts Dish on Their Wish List

‘Tis the season, and we’ve got the wish lists of 6 top fitness experts from Olympian Kari Traa to retail revolutionary Jennifer Bandier to guide you in your Holiday gifting (or receiving) endeavors. From limited edition art-inspired activewear to cozy merino wool base layers, Austrian ski lift tickets to an alternative to shoelaces, not to mention a guided Yoga Retreat in Bali (sign us up), the below picks are sure to get you inspired for an active Holiday – wherever the season takes you.

Jennifer Bandier I Bandier

Jennifer Bandier I

After spending time as a successful executive in the music biz (including managing Grammy award winning artists such as TLC) Jennifer Bandier transitioned her natural instinct for brand building and fostering emerging talent to the fashion and fitness worlds. But it wasn’t until a broken foot and weeks of wearing only fitness clothing that she realized she had stumbled (literally) into an untapped market: fashion-forward active wear. Following the launch of the first Bandier storefront in Summer 2014, the growing retail empire now counts 4 physical storefronts plus a booming e-commerce site offering the best in function-meets-fashion active x athleisure wear. Jennifer’s picks:

1. Our Ultra Silk Cheshire Print Legging ($175.00). “I absolutely love these pants, they are perfect for the gym or days when I am on the go and always give me a stylish edge. And of course I need the matching Ordinate Silk Cheshire Print Bra ($97.00) to complete my look!”

2. Apple Watch x Hermès ($1100.00 – $1500.00). “Who’s Christmas list is this not on?”

3. Glossier’s Mask Duo Set ($38.00). “These masks are amazing, I love using them together, 40 minutes of heaven!”

4. Our Bandier x The Transience Spacer Mesh Gym Tote ($175.00). “I love this exclusive Transience gym bag. We co-designed it so it really is special to me.”

5. “Moon Juice Action Dust ($55.00) always gets me going in the morning and ready for my workout.”

Stay connected with Jennifer: I IG @jenniferbandier I Twitter @bandierfit I FB Bandier

Related: read “24 Athleisure Picks Under $100” here

Kari Traa I Kari Traa Sportswear

Kari Traa

As if being a 3-time Olympic medalist wasn’t enough, champion freestyle skier Kari Traa tapped further into her Norweigan heritage to launch her own line of namesake ski-gear after knitting colorful beanies for friends at the height of her career – and realizing she was onto something. Already a best-selling sportswear brand in Scandinavia, the range of cozy merino wool base layers and fashionable-meets-functional activewear will make their full U.S. debut by Fall 2016, but you can scoop up select pieces early here. Kari’s picks:

1. “I can never get enough of our Rose Long Sleeve 100% merino wool base layer top ($100.00). Every season it comes in new fresh colors, and I just need to have it!”

2. “This year I need new ski boots. My old Lange boots ($149.95 – $699.95) are 8 years old and although I love them, it’s time to finally let them go and ‘rest in peace’.”

3. Baby Foot Deep Exfoliation For Feet Peel ($25.00). “I can’t remember how it felt to have baby feet, but some friends recently told me that this product will help me to remember. :)”

4. “I love to wear my Ulla merino wool base layer pant ($80.00) while skiing every day during the winter. It’s time to get a new pair!”

5. Gone with the Wind ($9.99). “Believe it or not, I’ve yet to read this classic by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. For many years I’ve heard so much good, bad and sad about this book. Now it’s time for me to form my own opinion!”

Stay connected with Kari: I IG @karitraa I Twitter @karitraa I FB Kari Traa

Katherine Greiner I KGBody

Katherine Greiner I KGBody

She’s the go-to personal trainer for Manhattan’s elite, counting credentials including kick-starting her career under trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson and frequently offering up fitness tips for the likes of ELLE, Condé Nast Traveler, Well+Good and The New York Times. Plus, Katherine devotes her free time to educating youth on the importance of proper fitness and nutrition as well as advocating for health education reform. Nice list? Check. Katherine’s picks:

1. Hickies no-tie shoelace replacement ($14.99 – $17.99). “I’ll never have to bother with tying my shoes again, and they look super chic & clean.”

2. Splits59’s KYM Reef Performance Tight ($122.00). “My go-to workout legging! I still have the first all black pair they did in this silhouette. Love the fun mesh and pops of color they’ve since added.” 

3. “Anything from the new Bandier Art collab ($45.00 – $260.00). The retailer just teamed up with a few new artists to bring their work to life in fitness clothing. I’m hoping this trend continues! Loving everything from this line.”

4. Swell bottles. “Keeps my water cold ALL DAY LONG (literally 24 hours!) and hot liquids hot up to 12 hours. The metallic ($42.00) and wood ($25.00 – $45.00) collections are my favorites.”

5. Aloha($1.90 – $44.00). “Not only do they make super tasty food, but they make choosing the healthiest choice, the easiest choice! During the Holidays I love gifting their chocolate bars – each one has a different mantra to encourage happy snacking. Bonus: use code KGBODY for 15% off throughout December!”

Stay connected with Katherine: I IG @kgbody I Twitter @kgbody I FB KGBody

Related: read “6 Workouts to Try Now + What to Wear (& Not Wear) to Each” here.

Alexis Damen I ALEXIS MERA

Alexis Mera Damen I ALEXIS MERA

Coming from a family lineage ingrained in the textile & garment industry (legit – since the 1800s), Alexis Mera Damen had no idea growing up she’d end up following suit. After enrolling in the Interior Design program at FIT, she switched degrees to Fashion Merchandising Management and landed her first gigs at DKNY Sleepwear, Lucky Brand Sleepwear and Tommy Hilfiger Sleepwear, to name a few. Now at the helm of her own label, ALEXIS MERA, the avid Brooklynite effectively blends the worlds of lounge / sleep / athleisure resulting in versatile, minimalist silhouettes transitioning from daytime to nighttime, weekday to weekend, yoga to brunch (to beyond). Alexis’ picks:

1. A 90 minute Deep Tissue Massage at Exhale Spa Central Park South ($200.00), because I work hard and deserve it! Seriously – I think it’s so important to take care of yourself, and that includes a little pampering. 🙂 Especially after working Holiday Markets!

2. A pair of my Rio Palm Print Joggers ($94.00), so I can dream of being in a tropical paradise during winter in New York (which usually feels like an eternity).

3. A few extra personal training sessions with my trainer, Natasha Corbett (inquire for pricing). She rocks!

4. I love oversized slouchy tops, and my Grey Dolman Sleeve Top ($94.00) goes perfect with my Palm Joggers. So I’ll take one of those as well! Thanks hubby, at least the shipping is free. 😉

5. Carbon38’s Thallium Printed Parka ($375.00), because it’s a-mazing. Love the print and zip + button details.

Stay connected with Alexis: I IG @alexismeranyc I Twitter @alexismeranyc I FB Alexis Mera

Related: read “Designer Dossier: {un}covering Alexis Mera” here

Michelle Watson I MICHI

Michelle Watson I MICHI

It’s no wonder Michelle Watson landed in the fitness industry after growing up in dance and martial arts, not to mention competing at an international level in golf and ski racing. A graduate from the world-renowned Parsons School of Design in New York as well as the prestigious Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada, Michelle earned her design chops at the likes of Donna Karan and RLX Ralph Lauren before heading out on her own to found MICHI in 2010. The rapidly growing active lifestyle label now resides in Toronto where its design & manufacturing center are located. Michelle’s picks:

1. MICHI Illusion Legging with Crocodile Texture in Black ($205.00). “These performance leggings are durable and comfortable for intense workouts, but are chic and flattering so they can stylishly be worn out at night.”

2. Private One-on-One Boxing Training with Michael Olajide, Jr at Aerospace NYC (inquire for pricing). “Michael is a former boxing champ and supermodel trainer, but more importantly it’s his intense workouts and incredible personality that make me put his private boxing sessions on my holiday wish list.”

3. Ski Lift Tickets at St Anton am Arlberg, Austria (pricing varies). “Skiing is my favorite sport and I’m heading to Europe this winter for work, so I’d like to squeeze in some of the world’s best skiing at St Anton am Arlberg!”

4. Swell Teakwood Water Bottle ($35.00). “I love anything nature inspired mixing function with beauty, so it will definitely get put to good use.”

5. MICHI Onyx Bra in Black ($135.00). “This bra is so versatile and comfortable that I would wear it layered for everyday, to a ballet barre class or out to a party.”

Stay connected with Michelle: I IG @michi_ny I Twitter @MICHI_New_York I FB Michi 

Related: read “12 Sports Bras for Every Bust” here

Alexis Novak I Alexis Novak Yoga

Alexis Novak

LA-based private and group yoga/yoga sculpt instructor Alexis Novak not only strives in serving her students as an instructor, but also as a support system for obtaining a realistic, healthy and balanced life. Which is why it’s no surprise Alexis has successfully generated a cult following clientele spanning Silver Lake to Bali – where she leads fitness retreats as well as volunteers her time teaching yoga to underprivileged Balinese youth. Alexis’ picks:

1. Yoga Travel Tree’s upcoming Bali Yoga Adventure ($2199.00 – $2499.00). “I LOVE this female CEO’d company. They provide international yoga (adventure) retreats that are educational,  inspirational, affordable, and so much fun!”

2. “Yoga gear from Carbon38. Two of my favorite brands they carry are Alo ($10.00 – $148.00) and Michi NY ($85.00 – $345.00) Bonus: use code ALEXISNOV50 for $50.00 off your next purchase! ”

3. Kiehls moisturizer (pricing varies). “As a yoga instructor my skin gets put through some damage with sweat, heat, and dryness. Kiehls is the best nourishing, non-chemical moisturizer to keep my skin clean and refreshed.”

4. Nike Green Air Zooms ($110.00). “I live in fitness attire and most of my wardrobe consists of blacks, greys, and navy blues. I LOVE the pop of color in these super comfortable running shoes.”

5. MeUndies Women’s Cheeky Brief ($16.00 – $18.00). “As I’m always wearing tight fitness attire, comfortable and non-invasive undergarments are a MUST. I live by MeUndies. They are the softest, and hold your body in all the right spots, from the yoga mat to my bed!”

Stay connected with Alexis: I IG @alexisgirlnovak I Twitter @alexisnovakyoga