Gift Ideas for fitness fanatics

December is upon us and so is the festive season. If you are yet to complete your Christmas shopping or if you just want to bank some future present ideas, here is the ultimate guide to sporty gift-giving.

For the tech-obsessed 

If you are looking for an extra-special Christmas present this year, there’s more exciting fitness-tech on the market then ever before! A fitness tracker can be a great all-rounder and there is one suitable for most budgets. Even the low-cost options can sync with your phone to track specific goals, monitor heart rate, activity levels and even sleep.

We like: Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker

A stock image of a man with an electronic tablet on his lap

For the minimalists

This Christmas we are trying to limit those present that sit in their gift bags long into the new year. If you are looking to buy something that’s a little different, an experience voucher can be the perfect gift . Why not treat someone to a climbing session at an Indoor climbing centre, a stand-up paddle board tour of the Harbour or a guided walking tour. If you get a voucher for two, they’ll have to bring you too!

We like: Stand Up Paddleboard Harbour Adventure 

For a stocking filler

It’s a fact that no one ever has enough socks, so stock up someone’s stash this winter. Pick up some padded running ones or maybe their favourite footy team’s. If you are aiming for a sustainable festive period, try bamboo socks!

We like: OddBalls socks 

For your Secret Santa (we won’t tell them!)

If you are trying to find that perfect £5 and under gist for a friend or colleague here are some of our favourite options;

  • Sport recovery bath salts
  • A selection of wacky protein bars/balls/powders for them to try out
  • A new mug or some fresh coffee if their fuel of choice is caffeine
  • A funky, personalised water bottle

We like: Dr. Salts Recovery Bath Salts

For the beginners

If you know someone just getting into fitness or sport, a few essentials will be much appreciated! With lots of us choosing to continue working out from home, compact equipment is the perfect present; think dumbbells, resistance bands and skipping ropes.

We like: Opti Dumbell Tree Set

For the fashion-conscious

There’s nothing like a new pair of leggings or fresh trainers to get motivated and moving. The huge range of sports-wear on offer at the moment can be a bit daunting, if you aren’t so clued up on their sport-style why not treat them to a voucher!

We like: BAM Bamboo Sportswear

For the one who likes to stretch 

We all know that person who’s recently got into yoga and is still practicing on their kitchen floor; upgrade them this year with a new yoga mat or yoga blocks. Many fitness classes (including ours!) require people to bring their own mats so grab a mat with a handy holder! We’ve been seeing some very funky mats in our facilities recently and might be sneaking a new one onto our wishlist too!

We like: Yoga Matters starter kit

Woman stood on yoga mat doing an upward arm stretch

For the footy fans

Have a family member who is obsessed by a certain team/sport/club? You can’t go wrong with a themed present, pick out a vintage print or perhaps some merch ready for game day!

We like: Football stadium prints 

For the one who rides bikes

Go for something practical for those who are always on the roads. This could be anything from a flask for long rides, a tube-free repair kit or for ultimate embarrassment; comedy bike lights.

We like: Thermos flask

Side-on shot of a man riding a bike on the road

Some things on our wishlists at Sport, Exercise and Health..

  • A high-vis top for cycling home on dark evenings!
  • Some sustainable active wear to get motivated in January!
  • Some new tennis balls that haven’t been chewed by the dog
  • An ab roller for a quick lunch-break workout
  • New hiking boots for winter walks
  • Candles and bath bubbles for post run recovery

What’s on your wishlist this year? Let us know down below or get in touch via Instagram @bristolunisport

Keep an eye out for our Winter Warmer offer starting 11 December which offers anytime access to the gym, swimming pool and classes for just £20 for two weeks! Available to buy online from 11 December. Last use date 22 January 2022. 


5 ways to stay motivated during the colder months


It may be getting colder and darker, but moving for your physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as other times of the year – if not even more important! Today we are sharing some of our top tips for staying motivated, safe and well during the winter months.

We will also be giving you a sneak preview of some of the things we’ll be doing to stay active over at University of Bristol Sport.

 1) Exercise with friends

Getting out and moving may seem less appealing at the moment, but meeting a friend will make sure you stick to your plans and boost motivation for your workout too. It’s a great excuse to temporarily escape those Christmas family commitments and boost endorphins in the process.

Making plans with others can also make you more adventurous and can give you the confidence to try new things and push yourself further.

Winter bucket-list: Why not suggest a wintery walk or festive fitness class to try with a friend.

 2) Layer up to stay warm

Exercising outside can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and will give you that all important variation to your workout. However, keeping warm whilst outside is key to making sure your workout is both safe and enjoyable.

Layers are really important, use the rule of three here; base layer, middle layer and top layer. The base layer will be key to keeping warmer for longer, it should fit snug to your body but still be breathable. The middle layer is the insulator and will work with the base layer to keep you snug, a light fleece is perfect. A top layer is there to keep you protected from wind and rain and remember; brighter the top layer, the safer you’ll be on darker evenings.

Winter bucket-list: Get layered up and find an outdoor boot camp or class to get the benefit of that fresh winter air.

An image of Clifton Suspension Bridge

3) Mix it up

It’s important to recognise when you’re stuck in a rut and to know when to mix it up. Trying something new, whether that’s a new activity or a new place to exercise or a new sport; making small changes can make a big difference.

Winter bucketlist: Try at least 3 new classes throughout December, this will give you a chance to find a new addition to your routine before the new year!

Image of a woman in a seated yoga pose with palms touching

4) Workout from home

It can be a very busy time of year for those who celebrate Christmas. If your day-to-day is starting to look a little different but you still want to fit active time into your day, home workouts can be a really convenient option. Don’t worry if you don’t have any home equipment, many workouts using just your body weight can be just as challenging and enjoyable, or you can use household items like a kitchen chair or even books!

Winter bucketlist: Join one of the @bristoluniactive live-streamed classes and try something new from the comfort of your own home.

5) Be kind to yourself

Our routines can look different at this time of year and that is okay. Whether you train for performance, to improve particular skills or just to feel good, take some time this season to rest and recover too. Whilst the festive season can be exciting and fun, it can also be overwhelming and stressful too. If you do need some additional support this winter, you can contact the university’s wellbeing team

Some other things on our team’s winter bucket list…

  • To go ice skating and try and stay on two feet for more than 5 minutes..
  • A long winter walk at Ashton Court followed by a hot chocolate
  • A 10km Christmas Eve run to blow off some steam!
  • To take some old friends climbing for a Christmas catch-up (followed by some mulled wine)
  • To practice 10 minutes of yoga every day during December

Keep an eye out for our Winter Warmer offer starting 11 December which offers anytime access to the gym, swimming pool and classes for just £20 for two weeks! Available to buy online from 11 December. Last use date 22 January 2022. 

What is B:Active and why should you get involved?

Welcome to B:Active, an inclusive activity programme designed for student life – from social sports to fitness classes, the aim is to make it as easy, fun and affordable as possible to get moving and look after your mental and physical wellbeing. But why is B:Active so great?

Location, location, location!


8 Reasons to join a class

Did you know that there are over 80 classes a week at the Indoor Sports Centre? With classes from Body Combat to Yoga fit to Spin, there is something to suit everybody and any level. Today we will be taking a look at  reasons why joining a fitness class can be a fantastic addition to your active life. Most of our fitness classes operate from the Indoor Sports Centre on Tyndall Avenue and are included in the Active Memberships. Our B:Active programme also runs its own series of low-cost and free classes on Campus and in the Residences, you can check out both timetables on our website.

1. It’s a great way to make connections


10 things you can do with University of Bristol Sport that aren’t sport

Despite our name, we are not here to just support students and staff in pursuing competitive sport. In fact, we offer a huge range of activities, events, classes and opportunities for all of our community. Keeping active plays a key part in helping you maintain a healthy, happy life at university and there are more ways than you might think to get involved! In this blog post we’ll be sharing some of these.


What to Eat Before and During a Run

Written by Dr Fiona Lithander, Performance Nutritionist and Dietitian

Dr. Fiona Lithander
Dr. Fiona Lithander

In this blog post, our in-house Dietician and Nutrition expert, Dr Fiona Lithander, gives us the information and advice that we need to stay well-fuelled before and during a long run. Whether you’re taking part in the University of Bristol Run Series Half Marathon or you like to de-stress with a long run in the evenings and on weekend, this post is for you!



Before a run

The key thing is to start your run well fuelled and well hydrated.  A pre-race meal is recommended about 3-4 hours before the start of the race. This may differ slightly between people which is why it is important to practice, to see what works best for you.


Starting a new Sports Club

The University of Bristol Student Roundnet Club was new on the scene in 2019. In this post Committee member, Antoine, writes about the experience of setting up a brand new Bristol SU Sports Club, and shares top tips for any students interested in doing the same thing next year with another new sport!

What is Roundnet?

Roundnet is a relatively new sport which is very popular in the US and is taking the rest of the world by storm. The sport is amazing because it can be played almost anywhere and really caters to all abilities; from your casual BBQ with friends to competing in a World Championship final. The European and UK Roundnet scenes are thriving with new and exciting clubs and tournaments, so it was definitely a great time to get into the sport. Roundnet is also well known for its incredibly friendly and inclusive community, which is at the core of our Club’s ethos.

Roundnet is a sport played by four players in teams of two around a circular net. Once the ball is served onto the net, the other pair have up to three touches to hit it back onto the net. Once the ball contacts the net, possession changes to the other team. There are no boundaries, it is a 360º game! A team wins a point once the other team is unable to return the ball legally onto the net.

Roundnet Rules graphic


Faces of the Run Series: Roy Kiruri

The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.

Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!


Name: Roy Kiruri
Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students
Run Series Event: Whole Series!




A marathon, not a sprint – encouraging your kids to get active

Picture of John Wilford, Sport and Health managerJohn Wilford is our Sport and Health Manager. He is also a Dad of three who has been navigating working from home and homeschooling over the past year, and he has some wisdom to share.


“A marathon, not a sprint.” This sporting metaphor has been a common refrain over the last year. The last couple of months have become more like a car trip though – “are we there yet?”, “you’re squashing me”, “I feel sick” “I’m hungry”

The February school break came as a welcome pause even though the break from school was being spent at “school”. Getting teenagers out of bed became even more futile and there were still cries of “the wifi is playing up”, but it was time spent playing games of Among Us and, Youtube content disrupted, instead of Maths lessons or Mrs Wordsmith.

One aspect persisted – physical activity levels stayed low. Previous lockdowns saw a national dip in levels for children with more 5 to 18-year-olds not reaching the recommendations of 60 minutes of physical activity per day than ever.


Faces of the Run Series: Rushab Shah

Our second Face of the Run Series is this year’s elected Sports and Student Development Officer, Rushab Shah. Rushab has been at home in Nairobi, Kenya since Christmas, which is where he will be running the Run Series virtual 5k on the weekend of 20-21 March.

A selfie of Rushab Shah and his Sister, Sachee, smiling
Rushab and his sister, Sachee, out on a run


Name: Rushab Shah
Staff or StudentStudent Sabbatical Officer
Role: Bristol SU
Run Series Event: Whole Series!