Haven’t been to the gym before and not sure what to bring? Here are seven items you will definitely need in your gym bag.
Apart from oxygen, the one thing your body needs to survive is water. After all, our bodies are made of 70% water. Water lubricates your muscles and joints and transfers oxygen around the body. Exercising, even at low intensities, is thirsty work and you need to stay hydrated before, during, and after.
The good news is that your body will tell you how much it needs. If you feel thirsty, you are already getting mildly dehydrated. If you feel nauseous, dizzy or excessively tired, you are definitely dehydrated and you should take a break to get some H20.
It’s generally recommended to take a big drink break for every hour of exercise that you do, or a one-glass-of-water break every half hour. So if you’re going to be exercising for a while, you’ll want to pick a big water bottle!
Pro tip: Don’t fill your water bottle with sports drinks or protein shakes. Most of these contain sugar, which will only dehydrate you.
Cleaning up when you’re done exercising is important, especially if you sweat a lot. Wiping off your sweat will help to rid yourself of any dirt or toxins that your sweat has brought to the surface of your skin. It also removes a lot of the surface level of body odour. A towel is also useful for protecting your car seat if you drive home from the gym – and definitely useful to wipe your sweat off the gym equipment that you’ve used before the next person want to use it.
Gym clothes don’t have to be ugly. Shops like Lululemon Athletica Australia and Lorna Jane have made a name for themselves in Australia by providing beautiful gym outfits in quality fabrics (albeit for a price).
For those with less cash to spend on their weekly workout outfit, every department store now has an ‘active wear’ section where you can find some running shorts and a T-shirt or singlet in a lightweight fabric so that you don’t overheat and the sweat dries faster.
Cross-trainers or running shoes
Pro tip: Pick the right shoes for what you’re doing. Do you love the treadmill? You will want some lightweight running shoes. Do you need stability for lifting weights? You might prefer some heavier cross-trainers.
Everyone soon picks a favourite ‘power song’. It might have a soaring, moving melody or a fast, thumping beat. Either way, it gets your heart pumping harder and your muscles moving stronger.
Post-work-out protein snack bar
Exercising uses up a lot of calories and energy, and you will need to replenish that if you know you have more work ahead of you. Even if all you have to do after working out is drive home and go to bed, you should keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar to be sure it doesn’t drop too far, too fast.
Heart rate monitor
If you’re doing a serious cardio routine or stamina sports such as marathon or triathlon training, or you have a medical condition that affects your heart rate or blood pressure, it is worth investing in a simple heart rate monitor. The good quality ones are more expensive but this device has to be able to measure whether or not you are working your most important muscle too hard. Better to carry this in your gym bag than be carried out in a body bag.
Everybody’s workout routine is different, so you might have extra things that you want to bring with you, like sweat bands for your wrists or a scrunchie for your ponytail. Experiment! See what you like to have with you.
Just don’t weigh down your bag with stacks of things you’ll never use. You’re working hard enough already!
Good luck, champs.