Are you a once a week kind of guy or a regular as clockwork everyday before work person? I’m talking hitting the gym. Either way, the chances are you are going to need a few bits of kit to support your session and also have you looking respectable afterwards.
We all have different ways of doing things when it comes to heading into the gym. Some of us walk in with our keys, phone and water bottle in hand, already in all our gym clothes ready to rock and roll. Others, turn up straight from work with a suitcase sized bag full off everything and the kitchen sink we think we might need someday!
When it comes to gym kit there are two categories. Must haves and nice to haves. 99% of us will already have and are using the must haves (and if not then why??). As for the nice to haves, well Christmas is coming up so maybe put a few of these of your letter to Santa this year. New kit makes us feel good, motivates us and means we are more likely to want to get ourselves into the gym.
This one doesn’t need explaining. You get hot, you drink. And make sure before you leave the gym that you refill it will fresh water so that you can stay hydrated post workout.
Basic gym etiquette, never enter the gym without a towel. You are going to need it. Not only will you want to wipe the sweat from your face but you also need to clean up the equipment after you’ve sat on it. Here’s a tip for you. Get a towel that is a different color each side. Use one side for you and the other for the equipment. You don’t want to wipe down the leg press then wipe that all over your face!!
Music equals motivation. Unless your gym has a resident DJ you are probably going to want to choose your own music. Load up your MP3 player with a decent number of upbeat tracks. And make sure you change them up every so often or you will get bored.
This is personal choice and far from essential, however if you are not into the rough hand look and don’t want callouses then get yourself a decent pair of lifting gloves.
Timer / watch / heart rate monitor / Activity Tracker
Again not essential but useful to keep track of progress. These days you can buy some great trackers. Not only do they track your progress in the gym and while moving around but they also record things like sleeping patterns. Pulse Fitness sell the POLAR LOOP ACTIVITY TRACKER. Give Mal a call or see the Pulse Facebook page for more details.
This is absolutely essential. Unless you are going straight home and jumping in the shower, you need to get this done a.s.a.p. Apart from the fact that lets face it you are going to not smell so fragrant, but also the sweat will cause spots, pimples and bad skin unless you sort it out. And don’t forget the deodorant after the shower for lasting freshness.
Trainers & socks
If you go to the gym straight from work don’t forget to check your shoes are in the bag. How many times have you discovered they are missing? And while we are on the subject, the gym is not a place for any footwear other than that designed to workout!
Ladies, it goes without saying that you can never have enough hairbands. There is nothing worse than loose sweaty hair stuck to your face while your are trying to pump out those bicep curls. Tie it back.
A clean set of lightweight, breathable workout clothes is in my opinion an essential item(s). It doesn’t have to be the latest fashion, or the most expensive kit you can find, but it does need to be functional. Baggy t-shirts and track pants are not a good idea. Apart from the fact that you will get very hot very quickly, you wont be able to see your muscles working. This is important for correct form. Fitted pants and a t back singlet (ladies) is ideal or for men a simple shorts and singlet.
A change of clothes
If you are going anywhere other than straight home after your session, make sure you have a fresh set of clothes with you to put on. Your friends don’t want to sit next to you in your stale sweaty gym gear!
Not essential by any means but I nice to have. For those days when your muscles are hurting and you want a bit of light relief.
Snacks and protein for recovery
If you have worked hard the chances are that you are going to be hungry after your session. Be prepared by keeping some healthy snacks handy. Nuts, good quality protein bars, or a protein shake. It’s important for recovery to get some protein into you within a short timescale after your workout.
If you are training towards an event or a goal then keeping a journal is a useful tool to track your progress. A basic notepad and pen, fitness specific diary or online program, the choice is yours.
If you are taking your session outside sunscreen is important. Make sure it’s a sports brand so that its sweat resistant otherwise its just going to wash down into your eyes once you start sweating. And that stings!!
And one final thought. When was the last time you cleared out your gym bag? Go and empty it out and get rid of the socks you used last week and the protein bar wrappers stuffed in the bottom. Replenish the shower kit and give the whole thing a wipe down.