For many, going to the gym is a highlight of the day. Even if you sometimes have to motivate yourself to get out of the door and into the gym, once you’ve had a workout, you’re always glad to have gone.
It’s where we go to clear our minds, challenge our bodies, and make sure that we continue to hit our fitness targets time and time again.
To get the most out of your session, it’s a good idea to do some prep beforehand. Perhaps you already have a protein-rich meal, bar or shake to give your body what it needs to get through your session, but what about the essentials you’ll actually be using AT the gym?
Prep your gym bag with these top four gym necessities.
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#1. Pack the right gear
While this might be a little obvious, having the right clothes and shoes is paramount to a good workout.
Sporting gear is made for comfort, controls sweat, and allows you to move more freely during workouts – without worrying that something might rip… Yikes!
Likewise, sporting gear might even have the extra benefit of allowing additional ventilation that normal clothes don’t. If you love running on the treadmill, a runner’s shoe is ideal because it will not only ensure more airflow through the shoe but is also designed to support certain muscles in the foot to facilitate your workout.
Your fitness progress could all depend on your choice of gear, so choose wisely!
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#2. Don’t go without your headphones
Even with some gyms playing their own music, you’ll still be able to hear the weights being lifted, feet pounding on the treadmills, and people chattering about their weekends.
While this a nice distraction, that’s not why you’re at the gym. You want to push yourself and focus on hitting your target, right?
The best way to do this is to drown out the distractions with tunes that keep you pumped. It also helps to compile a workout playlist before going to the gym.
Choose beats you love and something that you can match your movements to and see how much more productive your exercises can be.
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#3. Remember to stay hydrated
As you start to sweat, your body loses water and electrolytes. The best thing to do is to keep replenishing these supplies.
But running over to the water fountain can be a little counterproductive when you know you have to limit your workout time to an hour. So, what do you do?
Invest in a good quality water bottle that you can reuse every time you visit the gym. Make sure to fill it up before you leave home and after your workout, so you have something to sip on while on your way home.
While water itself can do wonders, sometimes you may need a little extra electrolyte push. Experiment with a sports drink mix, some herbal tea powders, or even an aloe concentrate. This is also a great way to stay hydrated if you don’t enjoy the taste of water on its own.
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#4. After gym care kit
Now, not everyone will head home to fresh up after their workout. Some people prefer to exercise before work or will head out to another commitment.
If this is you, remember to pack a new set of clothes, shower essentials, and everything else you’ll need to get ready. For those who are just heading home to clean up, simple cleaning wipes and deodorant will do the trick!
To keep the hunger at bay and fuel and up your energy levels after a workout, make sure you have a protein bar handy. It will come as a (deliciously) well-deserved treat after all the sweating you just did.
Another option is a post recovery shake – an excellent addition to any post routine. Protein shakes are packed with nutrients and are great at aiding muscle recovery. This means you can take on the day with all the energy and sustenance you need.
Getting ready to set off for a workout at the gym? Don’t forget these four essentials and ensure your workout is the most productive it can possibly be.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.