Going to the gym ain’t no picnic. You have to prepare yourself thoroughly and accordingly; and no matter what goals you wish to accomplish, there are some essential things which you simply have to pack in your gym bag. We’re not just talking about a clean pair of socks or underwear, there are many items which can propel your workouts and take your training to a more serious level. Without further introduction, here is a list of things (divided into kits) you should definitely bring with you for those sweat-breaking exercises…
Weightlifting support kit
If you are into bodybuilding, than it is highly recommendable to own a good pair of weightlifting shoes, a lifting belt and straps, too. The shoes can help you lift weights with more ease, because they have a hard sole and are quite flat to the ground. This is what helps you generate more force during each lift and grants you more stability than a regular pair of sport sneakers.
As for the belt, well, it is a definite must. It is primarily used for protective purposes – core and lower back in particular. When you lift weights, a substantial amount of abdominal pressure builds up and the belt is what keeps everything tight, fastened and secure. Bear in mind, though, that you shouldn’t rely on the belt too much, or “over-wear” it, because it can lead to a weaker core, so use it only during heavy sets.
Finally, the straps are what help you get a firm hold onto barbells or dumbbells. Having a solid grip is essential for most workouts, so a good pair of lifting straps can aid in getting more reps as well as isolating a working muscle or group. Just remember that the over-use of straps can have similar consequences as the lifting belt – your grip can become weaker, so don’t use it on every set for each exercise.
Athletic support kit
Besides having a good pair of sneakers, a sports watch, athletic tape and even a workout journal also should have a place in your gym bag. The watch is quite essential because you can keep track of time, laps, workouts with multiple rounds and your heart rate, too, depending on its level of sophistication, of course.
Athletic tape is like an instant solution to many fitness maladies, the duct-tape in the world of workout. With it you can tape up injuries on the spot, take care of cuts and scrapes, protect your hands from all manner of tears and fasten your wrists and joints to grant additional support, thus minimizing injury risks. It is also quite cheap, but it does wonders regardless of its price.
If you want to keep track of your progress, then you need a journal to write down all your results and efforts. It is pretty much hard to remember by heart every exercise you’ve done, every amount of weight you’ve lifted and every personal best you’ve accomplished. Meticulously recording your workout sessions puts things into perspective and gives insight on what you should pay attention to and what to rectify for better results, so keep your pen and paper close.
Hydration and energy kit
This kit is clearly one of the most essential things you need to carry with you, because we all need a fresh source of energy and refreshment for each visit to the gym. We’ll start with a simple water bottle, which seems like it should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to bring one. Supplying our bodies with water is irrefutably essential during each workout session, but you should also aim to afford drinks that help revitalize you and help you recover, too.
After an intense training, you should also keep a few packets of electrolytes (Emergen-C), because they affect the amount of water in your body, acidity of your blood as well as muscle function and other biological processes. You lose these electrically charged minerals by sweating, so consuming regular water with these packets will definitely help boost recuperation.
Finally, keep a nutrition bar next to you to fuel your cells. Every gym bag should have a snack or two stashed in it, no matter if you whip something up in your kitchen, or buy it at a store. These short bursts of energy are crucial for maintaining workout consistency, so strive to invigorate yourself with an occasional bite.