The gym can be overwhelming for the beginner, so we have compiled a list of items that are musts when thinking about taking that fitnessplunge. So before you jump into the car and head down to the gym, make sure you have these essentials in your gym bag. Here is a checklist of what we recommend:
First and foremost you must look at comfort when selecting a shoe. A shoe that doesn’t fit properly can lead to sore feet, blisters, and even back problems. If you plan to use the shoes every day, then invest an extra few dollars on a good pair. I would rather pay $100+ for a pair of shoes that are really comfortable over $75 shoes that look good but don’t feel right. After buying a pair of shoes, always wear them around the house for a few hours to see how your feet adjust to them. If they become uncomfortable, return them and choose a different pair.
The type of shoes that you buy should depend on your fitness goal. If you are looking only to hit the weights, then any pair of shoes would be appropriate, but if your goal is mainly cardiovascular activity, then a good pair of running shoes should be in order. For those who are looking for one pair of shoes for all your sporting activities, then a good pair of cross-trainers is your best bet.
Shirt and Shorts
Clean pairs of shirts and shorts are a must. Not only should these two items fit properly, you have to make sure they are in good shape. Inspect your shirts and shorts to make sure that they don’t have holes, rips, and are not stretched out. You may ask yourself, “why should you make sure you look good at the gym?” Most guys will wear anything at the gym, but remember, by standing out and looking good, more girls will notice you.
Not only will your workout partner thank you for wearing a clean pair of socks, so will the rest of the people in the gym. Tube socks are sufficient for those who just enjoy working out, but those who do a lot of running can buy Thorlo Running Socks. These high tech socks maximize shock absorption and reduce calluses and blisters.
2. Gloves and Straps
You will find different types of people use different things when it comes to hand protection. You have the hard core trainers and opt not to wear any protective gear. You have those who use straps that wrap around the bar to protect their hands, and then there are those who wear gloves to fully protect their hands. What you choose will depend on your own personal preference.
For those of you who don’t care about the calluses and the rough hands, you should have some chalk available to help you with your grip if you find the bar slippery. Feel free to carry it around in a Tupperware container but your best bet is to get a wall climbing chalk bag that you can clip on the side of your shorts.
3. Weight Belt
A weight belt is used to support your lower back and prevent you back from arching. Arching your back during exercise can lead to lower back pains and possible problems in the future. Use a weight belt when you are doing heavy weights on exercises that involve your lower back. These include exercises such as squats, military presses, and deadlifts. It is best to make sure that you use the correct form throughout the entire range of motion when doing each exercise. If you feel that you are arching your back then make sure you put a belt on.
4. Training Log
Any person who is looking to set goals and achieve them needs a training log. A training log is a great tool to see how you are progressing over the weeks. You should also take down additional notes in your log. Write down things such as how much you should increase, what you tried new, what felt good and what didn’t. Furthermore, you should use your log to keep track of your diet and supplement schedule.
5. Water Bottle
Don’t you hate waiting in line at the water fountain when you are at the gym? Get yourself a Brita filter for home and a 1L (32 oz.) Nalgene water bottle and you should be set for your workout. The best thing about this water bottle is that you can’t lose the lid because it is attached to the bottle. Make sure you hydrate yourself before you workout, during your workout, and after your workout.
Use your watch to keep track of how long you are at each exercise and how long you are at the gym. If you find yourself at the gym for 2 or more hours, then you are doing too much socializing. Time yourself doing your exercise without talking to anyone and set a limit for your workouts. Try to limit your workouts so you are in the gym for 60 to 90 minutes.
A watch such as the Ironman Triathlon Mega-Lap has 10 alarms which can be used to remind you when to eat and when to take your supplements.
7. Meal Replacement Shake
Once you are done your workout your muscles will be craving food to help your body grow. So before you leave the house make yourself a meal replacement shake and pack it in a cooler or store it in a fridge at your local gym. It is best to replenish your body with a meal within the first hour after your workout so by having a meal replacement shake waiting for you; you can fuel your body with the proteins needed after a hard workout.
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