A few special items from our December issue Gift Guide

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler – December 3, 2012

 Austin Fit Magazine took the opportunity to showcase some wonderful items for all types of fitness personalities in our recent 2012 Gift Guide. But there are a few items that really needed an individual spotlight in order to fully shine. We chose one item from each of the photo spreads in our December issue for a more detailed description:


The Outdoorsy Explorer:  THOR Bone Splitter Tool, $90, toddwalkertools.com

This is one instance where a picture is not worth a thousand words. The THOR Bone Splitter Tool was originally designed for hunters to use in field dressing. Todd Walker is a farrier (that’s one who trims and shoes horses’ hooves) and he developed the THOR as an addition to his line of quality handcrafted farrier tools, which are carried all over the United States. The THOR is made of stainless surgical steel and surprisingly lightweight and wonderfully balanced, which has made it very versatile. In addition to the hammer, there’s a hand axe option for separate purchase; the holes in the handle allow a carabiner clip attachment. As a result, the THOR has been embraced by everyone from hunters to first responders to outdoor explorers for use in field dressing, chopping wood, setting pitons, and rescue activities that require precise chopping. The AFM office staff took turns trying it out; Alex Earle carried the THOR Bone Splitter Tool with him on the 2012 Night Ops Challenge:  “It was great.  I had to carry weight anyway as part of the event requirements, so I carried something functional. THOR came in handy when we needed to break up cinder blocks and such.”


The Fitness Diva:  Sleek Down Jacket, $165, and Quicker Knicker, $59, titlenine.com and Title Nine, 500 N. Lamar Blvd.

Now that winter has finally arrived in Austin, it’s time to pull out the warmer exercise clothes. The Sleek Down Jacket from Title Nine is a nice light-weight, water-resistant option; even though it’s down, it’s “sleek,” weighing in at only 15 ounces and having a slim profile with two zippered pockets on the chest. The fit allows for layering, so it’s perfect for the wide range of cool weather temperatures experienced in Texas. If the Blue Sea color pictured on our awesome Fit Diva isn’t to your liking, there’s an eye-catching Lipstick version. Pair the jacket with the Quicker Knicker, a three-quarters length tight made of quick-dry compression fabric. There’s a low-profile back pocket with a zipper, big enough for two GU packets, and an inside key pocket. Combine the jacket with the knickers and every Fit Diva in Austin has the perfect running-around outfit to carry her from winter workouts to whatever fits her fancy around town.

The Techster Athletic A-Lister:  One Bedroom Get Fit Suites, $509/night, omnihotels.com and Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, 700 San Jacinto

It’s easy to focus so much on what’s in the foreground than the background of a photograph, but in our Techster Athletic A-Lister photo spread, the background was a feature. The Get Fit Suites are great for the busy traveller who likes the option and ease of working out in his hotel room. While the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown does have a full-service fitness center, the 760-square-foot room allows for privacy and flexibility.  There’s a treadmill with flat screen TV, exercise ball, Bosu ball, weighted exercise balls, stretch cords…in fact, anything that’s marked with an “FS” on pages 42 and 43 came with the Get Fit Suite. All the features certainly made us feel as though we were living the good life as we worked the photo shoot: the stellar view out into the atrium, fresh fruit and chilled water to snack on, plush robes in the closet. The Suites are even equipped with a full kitchen, so that meals could be prepared in the room if you wished or leftovers easily reheated. A set-up like this could really take the sting out of a long business trip.  And did you know that Omni Hotels offer a Get Fit Kit for those staying in standard rooms?  The Get Fit Kit consists of a canvas bag with floor mat, two dumbbells, exercise band, plus chilled water and a hand towel, so if you’ve left your gear at home you can always work your fitness into your stay.

Check out this special deal for your holiday hotel stay at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown: http://www.omnihotels.com/Home/FindAHotel/AustinDowntown/SpecialOffers/StockingStufferSurprise

The Zen Master:  Mala Beads, $28-$42, crystalworksaustin.com and 908 W. 12th Street #A

“Mala beads” doesn’t refer to a brand; rather, mala beads are an important method for finding focused affirmation and consciousness. Mala beads are a form of prayer beads or focus stones and are used to help with chanting prayers or mantras. There are traditionally 108 beads (109 if you count the unifying, or head, bead) or a fraction thereof, such as 27. For math geeks, 108 is what’s known as a Harshad number (a Harshad number is an interger that is divisible by the sum of its digits) and the word “Harshad” means “great joy” in Sanskrit. Basically, the mala beads help you keep track of the times you chant a chosen phrase or word or say a prayer, such as the Serenity Prayer. If you use your mala beads for 40 days in a row, it is said that they will become imbued with power that will spread to anyone who uses them. Picking out mala beads is a very personal experience and you should let your heart guide you, as different stones have different associations and meanings. Rather than go online, take some time to look, feel, and listen to your heart while you peruse the mala beads and other spiritual items at Crystal Works of Austin.


The Busy Bee:  Revolution SE Stroller, $449, bobgear.com and REI (both Austin locations) as well as Babies R Us, Texas Running Company, and Kid to Kid Austin

Fit people on the go need a great way to get their kids around with them as well as incorporate them into their fitness regimens, and the Revolution SE Stroller by BOB has what it takes. Originally based in California and named “Beast of Burden,” the company shortened its name and developed a revolutionary bike trailer called YAK. They made their name by introducing a swiveling front wheel with a locking system that allows for greater flexibility and control in motion. In 2006, they moved to Boise, Idaho, where the Revolution SE Stroller was developed and promptly tested with the founders’ own kids. With the company’s swivel front wheel component, durable high-impact polymer composite wheels, and state of the art suspension, this stroller can certainly maneuver through crowds at the Trail of Lights, take on rough terrain at the Barton Creek greenbelt, and fight your way through grocery store traffic at Whole Foods Market. There’s plenty of room to carry gear or snacks in the Low Boy Cargo Basket, and the multi position canopy provides shade when and where it’s needed (there’s also a viewing window for you to keep an eye on what’s going on inside, which can come in handy if you’ve opted for the dual version).

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