Gearing up for the gym? If so, it’s critical that you don’t neglect some of the key items that are needed for success. Packing your gymbag wisely will ensure you’re able to give a maximum performance each and every time.
If your gym bag currently consists of your gym clothes and a water bottle, you have much to learn.
Let’s go over the top 9 essentials that you might want to start packing immediately.
9. Your Lifting Straps
First things first, if you plan to go heavy, lifting straps are a wise move. These will help to support the wrist, ensuring you can maximally challenge your muscles each and every time.
For many people, their lift is strictly limited by the strength of their wrists, so by using these, you take that hindrance out of the equation. This way, you can max out and optimize the degree of strength and muscle gains you see.
8. Your Belt
Likewise, if you’re squatting heavy, a belt might be something to consider as well. This will help keep your spinal column in proper position, giving you the support that you need while also helping you maintain the intra-abdominal pressure necessary to execute the heavy squat correctly.
While not everyone chooses to use a belt, it’s worth experimenting to see if it’s something that makes sense for you. If your performance goes up, it’ll be a worthwhile piece of equipment to use on a regular basis to help hit new PR’s.
7. Your Pre-Workout
Packing a pre-workout supplement is the next must-do before you hit the gym. There are many different options available here depending on what it is that you hope to accomplish.
You can improve your mental focus, boost your energy level, or help delay the onset of fatigue during each session. Each pre-workout product will be formulated with a different set of ingredients all aimed to help you accomplish one key task: improve your performance.
Try a few pre-workout products and figure out what works best for you. Keep in mind that if you’re doing an evening workout session, you’ll want to go light on the caffeine. Many pre-workout products do contain a good dose of caffeine, which could then interfere with your sleep.
Instead, in this scenario look for a stimulant free product instead.
6. Your Post-Workout
Along with your pre-workout, you’ll also want to get a post workout shake ready in your gym bag for consumption. Your post workout shake should ideally consist of some isolate whey protein powder, which will be ideal for rapid absorption, along with some type of carbohydrate.
The type will be depended on your current bodyweight goals at the time. If you’re hoping to build muscle mass, you might opt for a high glycemic carbohydrate to spike insulin significantly and give you the anabolic effect you’re looking for.
Looking for fat loss? If this is the case, you might want to consider a food source of carbohydrates so you feel more satisfied. A banana would work great here and still provides some simple sugars along with some slower digesting starch carbs with fiber.
Getting your post workout meal in as quickly after the session as possible is going to be important for optimal recovery, so be sure that you always carry it with you. You can either mix your shake before you leave for the gym or simply carry additional water (or use a fountain at the gym) and shake it up there.
If going that route, be sure that you also pack a good blender bottle for optimal mixing.
5. A Journal/Phone
Another important item that should make its way into your gym bag is a journal or phone. In order to see progress over time, it’s critical that you’re doing more each successive workout session than you did the last.
Unless you have ninja-like memory capabilities however, it can be challenging to remember what you did each and every session.
This is where a journal comes in helpful. By tracking what you’re doing in that journal and bringing it with you to the gym each day, you have an immediate reminder of what you have to beat.
Some people prefer using a pen and paper journal while others may choose to use some type of tracking application on their phone. Whichever you preference, make sure you don’t leave home without it.
In addition to tracking your weight lifted, the sets and reps you performed, and the rest you took, you might also want to track things like time of workout, foods eaten before, how much sleep you had the previous night and so forth. This can help you see the ‘big picture’ and what may also be impacting your performance.
4. Your Music
Packing some music in your gym bag is also a must. For the vast majority of people out there, music is something that motivates them time and time again. There’s few things like your favorite songs to get you geared up and focused for those heavy lifts.
As such, pack your Mp3 player or your phone if that’s where you’re music is stored in your gym bag. Also look into the various types of earphones available. If having a cord running down your body is bothersome during the workout, you might consider investing in a Bluetooth set.
Listening to music will accomplish two key things, first being the motivational boost just described and second, it’ll help signal to others not to bother you. Your chances of having a fellow gymgoer come up to chat will be much lower if you’re donning a pair of these.
3. Support Gear
You might also want to consider packing some compression or support gear in your bag as well. For instance, knee sleeves of a number of varieties can be a great way to support your knee joint when squatting heavy.
Likewise, if elbow troubles have you down, you might look into an elbow brace or sleeve as well. Just do take note that some of these may help with lifting a heavy weight due to their compression properties, so take that into account. If using them and you see a sudden increase in how much you can lift, make a mental note that this added weight is thanks to the support gear.
If you are suffering from an injury of any sort however, they can be very critical for helping keep you in the gym and avoiding being sidelined.
2. Lifting Gloves
Lifting gloves are another gym bag item to make an appearance. If you’re doing heavy barbell rows, deadlifts, or pull-ups, you might find that these save your hands from blistering and keep calluses from forming.
In past years many people often found gloves very uncomfortable to wear but with new technology and designs coming out, many of the recent models are quite enjoyable to use.
Research your options and consider purchasing a pair.
Finally, the last item that you’ll want to keep handy in your gym bag is a good timer or watch. Depending on the gym you’re working out in, if a large clock with a second hand isn’t available, this will be your best bet for keeping your rest time honest.
How long you take to rest between each set can be a critical element determining the nature of results you see, so you don’t want to estimate this and let it stop you from reaching success.
You can either wear a wristwatch/stopwatch or invest in a timer that beeps after a certain time interval is up. Personal preference will dictate which is best for you.
So there you have the main items that you’ll want to consider getting in your gym bag. If any of these are missing, you could be sacrificing the results you see because of it.