If you are new to the gym and you see all those die-hard gym junkies arriving in their Gymshark athletic wear and huge gym bags, you may be wondering what they keep in there. They’re not moving in, so what could they be bringing for an hour-long workout? I think you’ll find that the longer you attend the gym, the more you realize what you wish you had with you to make the trips more convenient. Plus, some of these necessities aren’t even supplied at every gym. For those of you who do weightlifting, this list will be especially helpful. To make a trip to the gym less of a hassle and more enjoyable, here are some essentials to bring with you in your gym bag:
1. Ankle straps
Ankle straps can be found on Amazon, or from your favorite fitness inspo. Often times, those who are more famous in the fitness world will carry their own brand of fitness gear you can buy from. Some people I have found with great products are Cristina Capron, Iulia Danilova, and Suzie B Fitness. You will also find that they sell some of the other products listed below. The benefits of keeping ankle straps, though, is that they are perfect for kickbacks, sidekicks, and other variations of these exercises. These straps attach to resistance machines and are perfect for working the glute muscles.
2. Barbell pads
Barbell pads can be used on free-weight barbells and on the smith machines (barbells attached to machines with added resistance). The benefit of keeping these in your gym bag is that more often than not, gyms do not carry them; however, they are such a necessity for heavy lifters. The barbells can be painful on your shoulders and back with the cold metal digging into your skin, these pads prevent that pain and provide support so that there won’t be any bruises or pain later. Also, hip thrusts (targets the glutes) are often done using barbells, but people are often deterred by the pain of the metal. This is another case where the barbell pad would come in handy.
3. Hair ties
If you work out with your long hair flowing and flipping about, then congratulations. I, on the other hand, get mighty annoyed by my hair in my face when I’m trying to work out. If you’re the type of person to wait until you get to the gym to pull your hair back, then make sure to keep some extras in your bag so you don’t forget and end up having to ask for a rubber band or something.
Immediately after weight lifting, our muscles have been torn from excessive use. This is the best time to eat or drink your protein. If it is within thirty minutes to an hour after, protein shakes are a go-to due to the fact that your body absorbs it better in the form of a shake right after the workout. Plus, some people find it hard to eat so soon after a workout, but your body needs that protein to repair the muscle tissue to come back stronger. Protein shakes can be kept in your gym bag, or just keep the powder and mix it in with your water. If you really just don’t like protein shakes, try a protein bar.
5. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are perfect for experienced and inexperienced athletes. They are great for getting your muscles accustomed to working out. They can be used for various arm movements, squats, kickbacks, sidekicks, and really any form of glute muscle activation. Not to mention, during your workout, they can be used to add extra intensity by wrapping them around your legs or arms during an exercise. There are many different brands you could use from fitness brands like the ones mentioned above. However, with resistance bands, you will want to ensure that you are buying a brand that won’t snap or roll when it is stretched. Check reviews before buying from any brand.
Preworkout can be super beneficial for getting yourself hyped up and ready to get to the gym. Most people use it because they find it hard to become motivated, or they become easily fatigued early in their workouts. There are many different brands in so many flavors. You can buy premixed pre-workouts, like Bang energy drinks, or buy the powder and bring it with you to mix it with water. Some workouts can make you jittery and possibly increase anxiety so be wary of what you buy and start with a small dose your first time.
7. Hand sanitizer
The gym is covered in sweat, germs, and who knows what else. It may be hard to believe but there are people who still don’t take days off from the gym when they are sick. Carry some hand sanitizer just to get rid of those germs. Not everyone wipes down equipment and there are countless sweaty bodies coming in and out of that gym every day. Need I say more?
8. Mini deodorant and perfume
For those of us who are self-conscious about the way we smell or who may be running errands after the gym, this is great to keep with you in your gym bag. After a workout, you may need to run by the grocery store or by the bank, or anything else; regardless, we don’t want to smell like sweat, so keep this with you and just spray it on after a quick workout. Or, say you left the house in such a hurry you forgot to apply some before the gym–put it on now.
If you are someone who can get through a workout, without headphones, and stay in the zone the whole time, I would love to know how you do it. For the rest of us, having music can be a way to get us hyped up or keep us focused on the exercise at hand. Personally, when I’m running I find that I can run for longer amounts of time when I am listening to upbeat music that allows me to zone out. If I don’t have them with me or they die in the middle of my workout, it is immediately much harder for me to get through. Always keep a pair in your bag and charge them daily or every couple of days. Trust me, the definition of a broken heart is your headphones dying in the middle of a cardio session.
10. Water bottle
Drink your water, you will become severely dehydrated and possibly make yourself light-headed if you are not staying hydrated during a workout. If you are already someone who brings your water bottle, make it a reusable one, save the environment.