For most, getting to the gym isn’t as simple as throwing on yoga pants and hopping in your car. Instead, it takes planning ahead to be fully prepared. A number of people head to the gym before or after a full work day, which means plenty of packing the night before. Although you can’t pack your meals in your gym bag ahead of time, there are a number of items you can always have waiting for you in your bag, so you never find yourself in an un-showered, shoeless, or silent predicament.
I usually recommend you start with the basics of what you’ll specifically need for your 1-2 hour workout, and then add extra according to your goals and schedule.
- Good training shoes are essential. Whether it’s lifting, running, or spinning, the shoes absolutely matter. Arriving to the gym without any shoes is going to put quite the damper on your training session, especially since most gyms (understandably) don’t allow you on the gym floor without the proper foot wear. It doesn’t hurt to have a couple extra pairs. Keep your favorite pair in your gym bag that you use daily, but store a second pair in your car, or even in a locker at the club, if they allow overnight locker rentals. I’ve had many clients miss out on a great session after leaving their shoes at home or work!
- Headphones and IPODs are important to most people nowadays. There are a few that don’t mind the music they play over the speakers at the gym, but for the majority of us, our own music at our own volume is essential to a good pump. Training is a place where you can focus on just one thing, relax your mind, and have a little you-time. Listening to your favorite kind of music, can help amp up your session and keep you motivated! Always keep your headphones and music player in your gym bag, so you’re never stranded in silence.
- Water is so important when you’re lifting heavy or working hard on cardio. Staying hydrated is essential all day, every day, but in particular when you are at the gym. I usually recommend keeping a few extra bottles of water in your gym bag in case you find yourself without any available! Whether it’s water or some other healthy type of hydrating liquids, having access to plenty of fluids is essential. So save yourself some money and carefully pack your own.
- Supplements are also good to store in your everyday gym bag if you use them. Depending on your goals, you may use pre-workouts, BCAAs, Whey, etc. Typically, when I meal prep for my week, I also divide out my supplements into containers and place them in my gym bag. This way, I never have to worry about feeling unprepared.
- Training accessories can be key in certain exercises, and should always be packed and ready to go. These could include lifting gloves, wrist or lifting straps, knee or elbow sleeves, and deadlifting socks. Sometimes, it may also include equipment your gym doesn’t carry, such as glider discs or resistance bands. It is better to over pack and have what you need, than to wish you had something you chose not to bring.
You can read more of this article in our Jan/Feb 2015 issue of ModelsMania