Your gym bag should be your fitness "bag of tricks." Although every gym bag is unique, and will probably reflect the fitness goals and personality of the person who carries it, every bag should have a few essentials. These fitness must-haves are perfect for anyone and any goal.
No more going to the gym empty-handed! Fill your bag with these items and set yourself up for a more productive workout. Whether you're just starting out or have been in the trenches for years, you'll benefit from a bag stocked for your success.
1 / Quality Workout Threads
Without good training clothes, your workout is probably going to be less than satisfactory. So, if you hit the gym after work, remember to pack some breathable, well-fitted clothing. There's nothing worse than unpacking your gym bag in the locker room and realizing you've forgotten shorts!
It's also important to remember fit over fashion. Don't waste time worrying about your gym attire—pulling up or tugging down your clothes while you work out is annoying. Your butt might look great in those tight pants, but those low squats are going to be problematic. Keep the moon outside, buddy.
2 / Good Shoes
If you're an advanced lifter, you may prefer lifting shoes to traditional cross-trainers or running shoes. Whatever choice you make, make sure it provides the support you need for the type of training you will do. Box jumps or running in sandals would turn out even worse than it would look.
3 / Shaker Bottle
A gym bag isn't complete unless it contains a quality shaker bottle. You can use it for your all of your refreshment needs. It can hold your pre- and intra-workout supplements, water, or shake up your post-workout protein/carb combo. Be sure to grab a good shaker bottle so you end up with a protein that's easy to drink instead of some nasty, clumpy mixture you have to choke down.
4 / Workout Log
A workout log is absolutely essential to consistent progress. Use your workout journal to record sets, reps, weights, and rest. You need to know how much you lifted in past workouts to lift more in future workouts. A gym log is an essential tool for anyone trying to build their best self. Be sure to track every session!
5 / Towel
Sweating is normal—especially in the gym! But nobody wants to sit in your sweat. Bring a towel to wipe down the equipment after you finish using it, or simply to keep your sweat to yourself.
6 / Music
Most people find music incredibly motivating, but it has to be your music. Your personal selection will deliver better results than the "Call Me Maybe" crap they play at the gym. Use your phone or an Mp3 player, and pack some headphones.
7 / Timer Or Monitor
Finally, if you want to keep real-time tabs on your progress every step of the way, keep a quality heart rate monitor in your gym bag. You can use this during cardio and lifting sessions to monitor your heartbeat and stay in the desired zone. Some heart rate monitors will even give estimations of total calories burned, so if fat loss is a primary goal, give them a look.
If you like circuits, HIIT training, Tabata, or CrossFit-style (timed) workouts you will want an interval timer. Interval timers, like the Gymboss, are customizable, easy to use, and help you focus on your workout, not your rest times. In some cases, timed workouts can be one of the best ways to up the intensity of your training and overcome a plateau.