For those of you who go to the gym to work out or go to classes it is good to have a bag packed and ready so that whenever you get the urge you can just grab it and go and hit the gym without adding in extra time or effort getting the items together. Keep it where it makes most sense e.g. in the car, at work or just by the front door.
This list isn’t just for people who go the gym the items are relevant and useful for those who workout at home/outside as well, you just don’t need to keep them in a bag ready to go anywhere.
So what kind of things do you need? We have put together list of things that should cover the basics. If you think we have missed something out that’s important/useful or even some tips you may have then let us know in the comments.
A rucksack, duffle or even a tote anything will do as long as it is sturdy enough to carry everything in.
Good pair of shoes
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the right shoes. It may not be practical to have a different pair of shoes for each of the different activities you do but so a good compromise is a pair of cross training shoes. However, if you do a lot of running or plan to then it is worth investing in a proper pair of running shoes and if you can get them fitted to ensure you get the correct size and width etc.
I will never forget the first time I was told first hand experiences from people losing toe nails after running marathons and the blisters from new shoes because they were not worn-in beforehand. Ouch….
Maybe you want to try the new type of shoes that have separate toes and are similar to being bare foot. They come in a variety of types so you can get the ones that are suited to your what kind of sport you will be partaking in. These are the ones that are going on my wish list…
For the men reading this you can skip ahead to the next item, unless you are looking for gift ideas for the lady in your life. Sports bras are a necessity not a luxury, it’s all about the support. Get the right size and the right support. These days there are so many great varieties and colors to choose from.
Workout schedule / log
Hitting the gym, whether alone or with others, you need to know what you are going to do and what you want to achieve. To get results you need to have a plan and you need to be able to keep track of what you are doing and when. Most gyms will help you by designing a workout schedule specific to your goals or you can go armed with one from a website. You can use the log to note what weights you were lifting, how many sets/reps you completed. Even to note down the seat position if you use weight machines, cycles etc. Also remember to record your jogging/running speed and distance you completed.
Ipod / mp3 player
Music, some people need it, some like to have it, others don’t. I find it helps to motivate me to run faster and push harder but it has to be the right kind of music though, we are all different and respond differently to different music. If you go to a gym to workout it gets tricky, obviously if you are in a class the instructor chooses the appropriate tempo and type of music but just out in the normal gym it can be a disaster.
If you are taking your music you need earphones, preferably ones that don’t fall out of your ears as soon as you start running or leaning over.
Great addition for anyone working out, sometimes you may want to do set times for each exercise instead of basing them on the amount of sets/reps. You can use it to time your run if running outside or just to keep track of your rest time between exercises/ sets.
We all know we need to drink water and lots of it, take some with you. I prefer to choose a BPA free bottle and use a 1litre Nalgene jut because it is convenient and holds enough water that I am not forever going to the water fountain to fill up during y workout. For working out outside I go for a smaller foldable water platypus type bottle, easy to run with and once empty I can fold it away.
Hair elastics and bobby pins
If you have long hair you might want to tie it up out of your face so you don’t end up a sweaty mess. It’s not fun trying to work out when your hair gets in the way every time you lean down to pick up weights etc.
Using free weights is great but maybe you need a better grip if you are lifting heavy, also some bars can take a toll on your hands and using gloves just makes for a better workout without leaving your hands with calluses.
If you work out you sweat, it’s just what happens, well if you work hard enough. So take a towel to wipe the sweat from your brow or alternatively use it to wipe down the equipment and benches once you have finished using them, gym etiquette!
Now you have successfully completed your workout time to hit the shower and freshen up. If you have the time then a full shower is in order and you will probably need the following in your bag:
Shoes for the shower…
A pair of rubber flip flops I in order, shower room floors like at the swimming pool as well is no place for bare feet. So grab a pair of cheap flip flops throw them in a plastic bag and keep then in your gym bag, easy.
Shower gel, shower oil, soap you need something to get clean and leave you feeling fresh as a daisy.
After becoming a sweaty mess you may want to wash your hair so don’t forget the shampoo and any other hair products you may need for afterwards.
Self explanatory really.
Separate towel from the ones you take to wipe your sweat, you need something to dry off with once you finish your shower. Some gyms have towels available just in case you forget but hey you pay enough for gym membership as it is without adding an unnecessary cost.
So there you have a basic list of items we think are good to have in your bag. Maybe some of the items can be multi use so you don’t have to carry so much. An iphone/itouch can be used for your music, your timer, your workout log etc.
Wherever you keep your bag the one thing you should always remember to do is take out the dirty laundry and add fresh clothes and towels and then put the bag back… yep nothing worse than getting to the gym to find a stale pair of socks and t shirt from a day or two ago.
What do you pack in your gym bag? Let us know in the comments below!