Nothing is worse than driving all the way to the gym, checking in at the front desk, walking up to the treadmill for the warmup and then you open your gym bag and it suddenly hits you- wait, where are my headphones?!
They’re at home, still connected to your laptop, they never made it into your gym bag!
Alright, lets be real, this is a major first world problem, but if you’re like me, you would categorize this as a SERIOUS first world problem because working out without music is brutal.
So what’s my point here? Pack your gym bag and be prepared in order to get the most out of your workout!
I have some personal suggestions on what should make the cut when deciding what goes into your gym bag. And, although I like to show up to the gym rather over-prepared and with quite a heavy gym bag, I have limited myself to sharing only what I consider to be the “Gym Bag Essentials.”
So what’s worth tossing in there?
Deodorant. Last week I worked out during my lunch break. Long story short, I failed to put my deodorant back in my gym bag the night before. I spent the second half of my day wondering if my cubicle buddies could smell my B.O. Save yourself that pain and discomfort. Heck, I even pack in some cologne just in case the deodorant doesn’t do its job!
Whey protein. Protein is a super important part of maximizing the benefits of that hard workout. It is best to consume 30 grams of protein within 45 minutes of finishing your workout routine. Whey protein contains amino acids which help with the growth and repair of skeletal muscle.
Pre-workout. Sometimes you might be running a little low on energy before hitting the gym. I typically go straight from work to the gym at the end of the day. A little pre-workout goes a long way in getting me in the gym for a solid workout on those particularly long work days.
Protein Bars. In addition to having protein, protein bars typically have carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make it easier for protein to be synthesized and put to use in our body. Simply having a post-workout protein shake doesn’t cut it! For the best post workout nutrition, grab out a protein bar.
Shaker cup. Whether it’s mixing up your pre-workout supplement or post –workout protein, shaker cups just make the whole pre and post workout fueling much easier. I hard pass the luke-warm, germ infested, water fountains in a packed gym on Monday night and bring an ice cold, water-filled shaker cup with me instead.
Spare headphones. I have broken over 4 pairs of headphones in the last 6 months. No joke. Bring extra.
Sweat towel. Now maybe I am alone on this one, but sometimes I do sweat more than I am proud to admit during my gym workouts. Without my sweat towel I would be leaving behind a puddle of sweat… literally. I’ll end my point there and spare sharing more disturbing images of my sweat issues. Bring a towel. Your gym-mates will thank you for it!
An extra shirt. Now, I know, this one is perhaps a little odd, but what if you have an important event or some emergency that comes up while you are at the gym and requires you to be somewhere at least semi-important right after your workout? Do you really want to show up in a sweaty shirt? That’s your call, but the extra shirt has proven to be a lifesaver for me in a handful of situations.
There you have it! My 9 essentials but I will just say there are a few “optionals” I’d consider as well: heart rate monitor, fitness watch, yoga mat, and exercise equipment (like cones or sport specific items).
So to pack things up: Grab all your gear and walk into the gym confident- knowing that you got this workout in the bag!