De-stress the Holiday Gifting Process

It seems like just a couple days ago we were getting ready to start our journey across Colorado… now, nearly 3 months later, I’m belting out “Santa Baby” with the radio, the smell of wood smoke fills the air and my house looks like the North Pole blew up in it.  Christmas is just two weeks away… CRAZY!!!  It bothers me how the stress of shopping and getting the “right” gift for the people we love can take the love, joy and spirit away from the holiday season.


As a fitness and wellness coach, my job is to lead people down a path of least resistance to a healthy lifestyle.  In my opinion, one of the first places we start to get “healthy” is to de-stress our lives.  So, in keeping with my profession, I am going to list some of my favorite gift items in the fitness and wellness arenas.  Some of the companies, I am sponsored by… but I am only sponsored by companies I truly believe in…so please don’t take this as a sales pitch.  Take it as a way to de-stress the holiday gifting process and get the active people in your life lined out or gift someone who is starting out on their fitness journey or maybe just treat yourself to something special.



*Note: These are all women’s items, but the men’s clothing line has similar items, I just can’t tell you what they’re like as I’ve never worn them.

  • Sports Bra : Soft and comfy.  Not sure for women that are more busty that I am, but for smaller chested girls, this is great.
  • Running Shorts : Number one for runners, these don’t ride up on you! 🙂  And they are cute!
  • CrossFit Shorts : Light weight, don’t ride up, breathable, dry quickly.
  • Booty Shorts : For that woman in your life that likes to show off her butt and legs.
  • Hoody : Comfy, cozy, warm for layering.  I love the high neck and the burnout style.
  • Jacket : Lightweight, breathable, dries quickly.
  • Tights : Durable, comfy, non-see through!



*Note:  These too are all women’s shoes, but the men’s line has the same shoes.

  • Distance Running Shoe : The Reebok ONE Guide 3.0 is what carried me through 500miles across the mountains.  My joints felt great, my toes were beat up, but nothing compared to what most ultra distance runners had expected.
  • Trail Running Shoe :  Durable, grippy, light weight… awesomeness!
  • Lifting Shoe : So comfy and more importantly for the lifter you love, they’re super stable.
  • Gym Shoe 1 and Gym Shoe 2 :  Love these shoes… they really are the best overall gym shoe you could ever get.  They come in every color for style, the are super comfortable, they are incredibly durable and they are functional.



These are just a few things that I find critical to my training.

  • Fit Bit Surge : The #1 best selling GPS watch in the US.  It’s great for tracking heart rate, steps taken, exercise stats, mileage and elevation.  I used this watch for the full 500miles of Move Mountains and it was a life saver.
  • Headbands : Doesn’t slip, controls hair, glittery fun! Good for stocking stuffer.
  • Water Bottle : Hot or cold, your liquid will stay that way for a long time.  It’s the perfect size to drink 3-4 of and have your daily intake of water.  I love this water bottle!



*Besides your typical gym equipment, here are some other equipment item must-haves to keep your body ready and able to continue to train day after day.

  • Crossover Symmetry : This is a MUST have in your fitness repertoire… the shoulder is a complex joint and in our society of keyboards, iPhones, and everything done in front of us… this will improve posture, shoulder stability/strength/function.
  • Lacrosse Balls : A must have tool for keeping your body a mobile, working unit.  A great stocking stuffer (buy 2 or 3).
  • : Use this subscription as a tool to teach yourself/your loved ones how to utilize the lacrosse balls (and other tools) to keep your body functioning as it should.  Improve mobility, improve athletic ability, decrease injury occurrences.
  • MarcPro : Use code KSTAR or WARRIOR when checking out.  This is a device that will help with muscle recovery and improve muscle performance… two things every athlete strives for and needs.


In the Kitchen

They say that 90% of our results are made in the kitchen… meaning that you can’t out work poor nutrition.  Here are my go-to kitchen items that keep my body nourished.

  • Immersion Blender : Seriously one of my favorite kitchen appliances I own. Cook whatever ingredients you want in a pot to pure into a soup, put this in the pot and start.  So much easier than transferring hot stuff to and from a blender.
  • All Clad Slow Cooker : I got this as a gift a few years ago and is on of my most used kitchen item.  An easy way to eat a good healthy meal when you don’t have the time to cook.  Plus I make my bone stock in this every week.
  • Woodchen Cutting Boards :  This really is my most used item in the kitchen.   It sits on my counter top and is a  I have the largest size you can get (chop block), but they are all amazing.  Made locally in Chico, CA (where I live), they are beautiful and it serves as functional decoration always sitting on my counter top.
  • NutriBullet Blender : This is perfect for making your bulletproof coffee or tea and/or your green drink smoothly in the morning.
  • Everyday Paleo Cookbooks : I have everyone of these cookbooks.  Sarah Fragoso, author and paleo expert, is a dear friend but also one of the best in the healthy cooking/lifestyle industry.  I frequent these recipes in the kitchen.



*I sought out PurePharma because they have the cleanest, purest products around.  Much of the supplementation we have access to does not hold true to these standards.

Use athlete code JLABAW53 for 10% discount!

  • Fish Oil : Reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.  Maintain healthy functioning brain and heart. Improve oxygen delivery.
  • Vitamin D : Improve immune function, maintain strong bones, reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • Magnesium : Reduce muscle fatigue, improve work capacity, increased sleep and quality of sleep.
  • All 3 of the above in 1 : A months supply of Fish Oil, Vitamin D and Magnesium in one simple packet. *best seller
  • SkratchLabs Hydration : A tasty all-natural exercise rehydration mix.



Now with all of that out there, I want to also suggest the gift of giving.  Talk to your family and friends and think about contributing to a cause or volunteering at a soup kitchen.  Maybe donate a bit of money in your loved one’s name to a charity they are passionate about and give them a card noting the donation.


I hope this helps you to find something special for that athlete in your life and takes some stress out of shopping.  And please remember, the holiday season is supposed to be about love and kindness… don’t let stress be a reason that’s lost.


Day 6: “Lydia”

Day 6 Thursday, September 24th

Cinnamon Pass to Lake City (17.1 miles)


Dedicated To:

Anna Stevinson, Burlington, WI

Lydia Shaeffer, Burlinton, WI

Sebastian Mayen, Guatemala

Elijah Cloukey, Bowdoinham, ME


I could feel it was day 6.  I woke tired and questioning if I could do this another day. But… I didn’t have any option… I was going to do this and I knew once I started I could finish. Just had to take that first step. Vaughn and Marcus drove me part way back up Cinnamon Pass where I stopped yesterday with Tory, my mom and Sam right behind us in my truck. We winded through the aspens on the jeep road and I realized this was the first time that I have seen my route before running it. Up until now every step was new territory. The day before we had set up a Karin on the road to know where exactly I had stopped. It seemed like FOREVER to get to that point, which didn’t help my mindset as to how that day was going to feel.

When we finally saw the rock pile on our right, we turned the cars around, Sam and I jumped out, hugged everyone and off we went. I’m not sure I could have started without her this morning. She was feeling much better and chugged along with me for another 3 miles… she was getting tired and urged me to go forward… but then I find out she ran an addition 3 on her own for epilepsy…makes me tear up! As I took off on my own, I kept thinking, “Once you hit the pavement, it’s only 2.5 miles to the cabins, then only 3 more miles to town…then rest day!”

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This was the first day that my thoughts controlled me. I bounced from positive thoughts of how amazing it is to be running through the mountains to negative thoughts of how hard it is to be running alone to moments of clarity of how lucky I am to be running at all. I’ve read that while ultra running you will have aches and pains that bounce around from minute to minute and I experiences this that day too. One minute my left Achilles was aching, then next it moved to my right knee, the next to my left hip, then next my upper back… My mind was beating me.

Then all of a sudden, I see Marcus and Vaughn ahead of me telling me to stop and look ahead. 100 yards ahead in the shade of the aspen stood a moose…broad side on the right of road. I was awe-struck. It was a beautiful moment… a moment that for some reason brought little Lydia Shaeffer into my mind…and she stayed there until I got to the cabins 8 miles or so later.

When I hit the cabins where my crew was waiting… I sat and the dirt and started crying and explained that Lydia carried me through. Lydia Shaeffer and her best friend, Anna Stevinson, both from Burlington, Wisconsin are two adorable little girls who have both battled epilepsy. On May 11, 2014 (Mother’s Day that year) the world lost an angel… Lydia died of SUDEP (sudden unexpected death of epilepsy) at the young age of 7.  She had a seizure in her sleep and didn’t wake up.  Anna lost her best friend. I will go more into this at some point in the near future, but what is so sad about this story is that Lydia was on a waiting list to get medicinal marijuana in the form of CBD oil. Anit-seizure meds didn’t work for her…she was just patiently waiting for the one thing she and her family knew could help. There is so much proof in CBD oil helping control seizure activity, yet it is still illegal in most states. In Wisconsin, they had just passed the law one month before Lydia’s death, but Lydia didn’t get it in time. The law was revisited shortly after and renamed “Lydia’s Law”. On this day, Lydia and the strength this young girl must have possessed carried me through…all the way into Lake City, 3 more miles up the road.

Pictured Left: Precious Anna who is now in second grade and loves “eating healthy” and is playing flag football this year.

Pictured Right: Lydia… the angel that I never got to meet but hold dear in my heart.

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Once in Lake City, my team and the Lake City locals made a small dream come true. In the middle of my run, I passed Tory and said…”I want gluten free pancakes”. I knew in my heart there was no way we would be getting GF anything in Lake City (SMALL town). However, once I crossed the Henson Creek Bridge in town and called it a day at 17.1 miles… Pam announced that my special order pancakes were on their way. We headed to the cutest little restaurant called Poker Alice owned by Steve and Linda. Turns out Pam came into town and asked if they had GF pancakes and explained what we were doing. Linda said, “We don’t even make breakfast, but I’ll tell ya what… If you go get the ingredients we’ll whip you up some GF pancakes.” And they did just that… in fact we had about 12 GF pancakes between all of us (I ate 4 of them!!!). When we were headed out, Steve handed us a generous donation to the cause. We asked where Linda was and he said she was upstairs on oxygen. Turns out she was just getting over a bad bout of pneumonia and he told her she could make the pancakes if she promised to go upstairs right afterwards. People are so amazingly kind. Steve and Linda, those pancakes made the end to my first week (123 miles in) complete! Thank you!

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Now… a day off!


Lessons Learned:

  • Little girls have the power to help Move Mountains! Thank you Lydia and Anna.
  • Small things make the biggest difference in life (ie: Seeing the moose, GF Pancakes)