Whether you’re an avid gym junkie or just starting out, going to the gym is not always easy. Your schedules are crammed and jam-packed with work, family life, social gatherings, hobbies, and for some, attending school on top of that. It can be hard to find the time to not only get to the gym but to prepare to get there! Here are my top 10 items I keep in my gym bag to cut down on prep time and to add value to my time while there.
This may seem like a given, but how many times have you seen someone at the gym with workout attire on but no athletic shoes? Yes, I am also talking about shoes for this topic! For those of us who can only get to the gym after work, it is so helpful to have a set of workout clothes in my bag complete with athletic top, pants, sports bra, socks, and my favourite lifting shoes. Plus if it’s a cute outfit I’m even more excited I get to wear it while working out.
For me, this topic is a huge one! If you are like me – and most people at the gym, you can’t get the most success out of your workout by listening to other people sweat and grunt through theirs. I need to have motivating music or podcast in my ears to keep my not only going, but distracted enough to get my workout done without looking at the clock! My headphones stay in my gym bag. I have had one too many times where I am at the gym scraping by my workout because I forgot to grab my headphones on the way out the door. If I keep them in my gym bag, they are always there and ready to keep me pumped and to get my heart rate up and to keep it up while I work out. Research has shown that listening to your favourite upbeat music can enhance the quality of your work out and increase your chances of keeping the habit of going back to the gym.
This is a HUGE need and you should never go to the gym without one! Yes of course, if you end up forgetting your water bottle while you’re trying to run out the door to the gym you can take small breaks in between sets and hustle on over to the drinking fountain. But who wants to do that? Most of the time I end up waiting behind someone else who is filling their water bottle up themselves — or I take too many breaks trying to get water from the drinking fountain that I get de-motivated and lost track of my programming. If you keep a water bottle or shaker cup in your gym bag you can have it there to use any time you need it.
I don’t know about you, but one of the things that gets me through a strenuous lifting session or tough programming is knowing I can drink my delicious post workout shake when I am done! My favourite is Chocolate Peanut butter Allmax Hexapro protein powder. I keep a small container in my gym bag. And you know what the best part is? The patented scoop locked technology they have that keeps your scoop in one place at the top of the container and never buried under mounds of protein powder? I don’t know about you but I hate digging through my fresh protein powder to find the scoop! It is also sweet enough to mix with water so after you are done with your workout, add a scoop to your water bottle or blender bottle and you are already one step ahead of the game when you get home. Studies suggest it is optimal to consume a nutritious meal or post workout shake one to two hours after you finish. This way I don’t skip a beat and can drink it on the way home.
This is one of my favourite items I take with me to the gym. If I do not take time to cool down, roll out, and stretch right after a workout- it doesn’t happen at home! Not only does it not happen at home, but I am even sorer and sorry the next day when I wake up. Rolling out helps stimulate blood flow and increase oxygen delivery to your sore muscles. It also aids in breaking down scar tissue (Andrews). This aids in recovery but also prevents injury for the next time you workout. There are a lot of different styles of foam rollers so you can choose which one works best for you and slip it right in your gym bag to take with you.
Now, I know most people are already wearing deodorant when they get to the gym. In the case that you are like me and may have forgotten to put it on altogether this morning… it’s nice to have a spare stick in your gym bag. Also in the case that you are showering after your workout and heading to work or to another engagement or place it is definitely a good thing to remember.
I don't know about you, but there have been countless times I get to the gym, plug in my headphones and turn on my music only for the screen to pop up that says "LOW BATTERY". This is the worst time for this to happen! I am a person who needs to listen to something while I am working out and if my phone is dead or dying that means I have 5-10 minutes of the pump and then I’m done for. This way if I do get to the gym with a low battery, I can charge it while I get dressed or just take a few minutes to get more power so that I can finish my workout.
We are busy people. I can guarantee you no matter what stage in life you are in, you are so busy you forget to eat or to grab a snack on the go. By keeping a banana, peanut butter singles, apple, or granola bar ( or a few) in your gym bag you can ensure you aren’t working out with little to no energy. If by chance you are full or not hungry when you arrive for your workout, these items will make a great recovery snack you can pair with your protein shake.
If you are in need of that extra boost after a long day of work, you are going to want to keep your pre-workout in your gym bag! This way you have it with you to drink on the way to the gym and by the time you arrive and are changed and dressed, it will be time to get your swole on. My go-to Pre-workout is Allmax Nutrition Impact Igniter Fruit Punch. It is perfect to add to water and Ice for a refreshing drink before hard programming.
Last but not least after sweating and getting a good workout in, it’s nice to have a towel to wipe off with. Not to mention it’s more sanitary for the next people who tread where you have been so diligently working out. You can minimize the spread of bacteria and on another note, if it’s cold outside, you can wipe off before putting your coat on and venturing out into the cold air.