It’s time to get swole, burn some calories, and get sweaty—but are you prepared? Nothing’s worse than getting to the gym and realizing you forgot something (besides that one guy who screams like Chewbacca after releasing a deadlift). Whether you’re training for your first 5k or you’re a seasoned athlete, you need to be prepared for both the expected and unexpected to maximize your gains. Make sure you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll every time you step foot in the gym with these 10 must-have items!
1. Gym Bag
First and foremost, you’re going to need a gym bag to carry the rest of these essential workout items. As you scour the Internet or go to your local sporting goods store, look for a gym bag that is breathable, water-resistant, and has multiple compartments to store items. Remember, you want a bag that’s big enough to store your gear, but not too big where it won’t fit in a locker.
As they say, “You are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both.” When it comes to the gym, you need the right shoes to keep you supported every step of your athletic journey. To stay safe while you squat and lift, look for shoes with a low heel drop, high traction, and stability. Then, as you hit the treadmill, flaunt your fashion sense with trendy Nike running shoes for men and women.
If you watch The Office, the last thing you want is to end up like Andy Bernard after running the “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.” With that said, you want to invest in the right apparel to stay comfortable, dry, and ultimately not chafe (like Andy). When searching for an athletic top, choose one that isn’t too tight fitting and is made of moisture-wicking materials like high-tech polyester fabric.
The same goes for athletic bottoms. If you want to crush leg day, invest in gym shorts that are breathable and don’t restrict your range of motion. It’s also convenient to find gym pants or leggings that come with pockets so you can store your music player or phone as you pump some iron.
Despite what cheeky workout t-shirts and gym posters say, going to the gym can be a drag some days. One of the best ways to get motivated to workout is by listening to a bomb playlist with pump-up music. Snagging a pair of Bluetooth headphones will block out loud noises like clanking weights and get you in the zone. Even better, wireless headphones will ensure you never get caught on something as you walk throughout the gym.
6. Water Bottle
As you push your body to the limit, you’ll begin to sweat and get hot. The best way to stay cool and hydrated is by having a handy dandy Nalgene water bottle on you at all times. Sweat is made up of 99% water, so staying hydrated throughout your workout routine will ensure you don’t get cramps or pass out from dehydration or overheating.
If there’s one thing you should know about working out, it’s your body’s “anabolic window.” This is the period after you’re done working out where your muscles are most sensitive to protein and are able to recover, grow, and become stronger. It’s said that you should take protein within one hour after working out to satisfy the anabolic window and properly recover. Having a protein shake ready to drink after your workout will help you reach new levels and gain more muscle.
8. Odor Eliminator
We know, it’s a taboo topic but sweating makes you smell… bad. Not only should you apply deodorant before your workout, but you should also keep your gym bag smelling clean and fresh as well. Stuff your gym bag with odor eliminators that will make you question whether you were at the gym or out in a field of fresh flowers.
There are two types of towels you should always pack in your gym bag: a sweat towel and a bathroom towel. A sweat towel will allow you to wipe away drips beading down your forehead as you lift weights or increase your cardio on the elliptical. Once you’re done, a bathroom towel will allow you to clean up with a refreshing shower as you rush to work or go to a happy hour.
10. Personal Hygiene Products
With so many people sweating and touching equipment, gyms can become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. That’s why stocking your gym bag with personal hygiene products is crucial to staying healthy. Fight off germs with these cleansing items:
- Hand sanitizer
- Wipes for equipment
- Body wash
- Shower sandals
Preparing for the gym can be a workout in itself. However, once you get in the routine of packing your bag with these essential items, it’ll become second nature. Make everyday gain day with a gym bag that’s fully stocked and ready to go!