As every regular to the gym knows; it’s what you carry in your bag that matters. With the right gear, you can maximize your time at the gym, so there are some essentials that you don’t want to miss out on. Should you be a fitness beginner, here are some of the necessary items that should be part of your packing procedure.
#1: The right gym bag
Here’s a no-brainer, but if you’re going to pack your things into a gym bag, you will need an actual gym bag! You would be lost without one, and while you could carry your belongings in a carrier bag, know that they are not really fit for purpose. The right bag will be light enough for you to carry, strong enough to hold everything it needs to, be both washable and breathable to prevent any nasty odors, and with wet and dry compartments to manage and protect your gym gear. Check out these top-rated gym bags for 2019 as useful examples.
#2 Items for personal care
Personal care items are not only there to help you freshen up after a busy workout session, but they are also there to protect you and other gym users from common locker room contagions, such as athlete’s foot. With this in mind then, ensure you pack at least two towels, one for your workout and one for the shower afterwards. Bring antifungal ointment to protect your feet when in the shower and locker room, and wear shower sandals or flip-flops to alleviate the need for any other athlete foot treatment. Pack in soaps and shampoos to give you a proper clean down in the shower. And finally, for the sake of yourself and other gym users who work out near you, remember to bring deodorant, applying it before and after your workout in the gym.
#3: The correct gym shoes
For starters, ensure you buy gym shoes that fit you nicely. It’s a no-brainer, we know, but to maximize your time at the gym, you do need to wear something that’s comfortable on your feet. And while you could buy all-purpose shoes for your workout, you might also consider buying shoes that are fit for specific gym activities, such as weightlifting, cross-training, and spin class. Having another pair of shoes will also give you time to dry one pair out in-between activities, ensuring your feet stay dry during your next gym activity, and reducing the chances of any musty smelling odors on your feet and in your shoes. Check out these tips on choosing the right gym shoes, and then go online to purchase anything suitable for your budget.
#4: Something to eat
For workout success, you need to know that nutrition is important. You want to eat something before heading to the gym to fuel your body for the intensive exercises you are about to embark on, and you want to eat the right foods after your session, so you don’t compromise any of the hard work you have put in during your session. As food examples, it’s worth considering these pre and post-workout snacks, so eat what you can at home, and then pack something into your gym bag to both fuel your body should you get hungry during your workout, and to give you something nutritious to eat before your journey home.
#5: Comfortable workout clothing
As with your shoes, you need to wear clothing that is comfortable to wear. These should be breathable to ensure you don’t get too hot or sweaty while working out, and reasonably loose fitting to avoid rubbing and chafing. Clothing should include a workout top, shorts or sweatpants, a headband to alleviate the problem of dripping sweat, and extra pairs of underwear (including socks) for both comfort and hygienic purposes after you have completed your workout. You can be as fashionable as you like, but remember comfort and practicality have to come before your sense of style at the gym.
#6: A water bottle
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but when working out, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. You might only tire and give up early if you don’t, and without hydration, you are also putting your health at risk, with muscle cramping and liver dysfunction just two of the side-effects of dehydration. While there are usually water fountains and vending machines at the gym to help you hydrate, it’s cheaper to buy yourself a reusable water bottle, so you don’t have to a) stand in line at the fountain, and b) pay the exorbitant prices many gyms charge through their drinks machines!
#7: An MP3 player or similar
This isn’t an essential, but to avoid the piped music at your local gym (which might not be attuned to your personal tastes), you should bring along your own music device, be that an MP3 player, iPod, or smartphone, to pump out music that will keep you in the ‘zone’ during your workout. Ensure your device has enough battery life (charge it before leaving the house), and remember to carry it in a waterproof pocket of your gym bag to keep it dry and secure.
#8: A fitness tracker
Wearable fitness trackers are near-essential for tracking your progress at the gym, such as counting the number of steps you have walked or for checking on your weight loss. Many of them monitor your heart rate and respiration too, so for health purposes, you might want to have something attached to your body while you’re working out. Of course, aside from their obvious benefits, some trackers also look quite stylish, with stunning AMOLED screens and stylish band designs, so if you want to look swish and cool, check out the best fitness trackers of 2019 for both practical and stylish benefits.
With your gym bag packed and ready, you should have all you need for your time at the gym. Don’t forget any of these essentials we mentioned, but if after reading our article you have noticed something missing from our list, please let us know for the benefit of ourselves and our readers.
We wish you every success during your time at the gym!