When it comes to hitting the gym, some people tend to go a bit overboard with what they put in their gym bags. They look like their moving into the gym rather than just working out for 45 – 60 minutes. I don’t say this to put them down. By all means, take what you believe you need to get your workout on. You need to be comfortable and feel like you have everything you need to be successful.
I did a quick search on Google for essentials to have in your gym bag with the top four links suggesting anywhere from 11 – 23 things you have to have. Maybe I’m a simple man who works out in my home gym, but I only need 7 things and I think this is true for most of us. Here they are…
I have a simple pair of running shoes to work out in. Sure you can do research on what are the best shoes for lifting weights, but I feel like it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than just a pair of sneakers. Now, if you run more than a mile every workout, you may want to pay more attention to your shoe choice. I do have a separate pair of shoes for running, but I only use them on my running days.
2. Outfit: Shorts & Tank Top
I like to have a loose pair of shorts that give me plenty of room to move and stretch in. There’s no worse feeling than performing an exercise and feel your shorts cutting off the circulation in areas where you need circulation. I also like a loose-fitting tank top for the same exact reason. Range of motion is important so make sure you’re comfortable. No, I don’t need anything designer or expensive for my workout. And you don’t either.
3. Water Bottle
I don’t actually use a water bottle. I use an Atlin Tumbler cup with a straw. This is like one of those Yetti cups that keeps your water really cold for a long time. When I’m hot and sweaty, I don’t want luke warm water to drink. I want something ice cold, and the Atlin Tumbler does the job. You need to stay hydrated while working out, so keep your water cup filled and make sure you take a nice drink at least once with every type of exercise you perform.
Get an Atlin Tumbler via my affiliate link here:
A towel is required, not only in a public gym, but also in a home gym. If you’re getting a good workout in, you’re most likely sweating. You don’t want to be dripping sweat everywhere, so keep a towel with you. Use it to wipe away the sweat and also put it down on any equipment you sit or lay on. I’m kind of a germaphobe, so I tend to use a towel that has distinguishable sides. I use one side to wipe my brow and the other side to put face down on any equipment I’m using. This ensures I’m not wiping my face with the face down side of a towel that was on gym equipment.
5. Workout Watch or Stop Watch
I have an Apple Watch that I use to guide my workout and time my rest in between sets. It helps me check my heart rate and make a good choice when to start the next set. I start when the timer between sets runs out or when I see my heart rate drop below 120 bpm. This is where I feel comfortable when lifting weights. It also tracks my activity so I know how many calories I’ve burned, how long I worked out, and have a chart of my heart rate. If you don’t have a workout watch, you can use a basic stop watch on your phone.
6. Workout Journal
I’ve kept a workout journal for the last 15 years. I use it to track what exercises to do, how much weight I’ve lifted, and to help me gauge when it’s time to up the weights. For example, if my target is to perform a set of an exercise 8 -10 reps and I can hit 10 reps on all 3 sets for 2 weeks, then I know it’s time to up the weight. I also use it if I want to switch up my routines and go back to a routine I liked from my past. This way I can reference what weight to start and set some goals for the exercise.
7. Entertainment Source
Yes, we need some kind of entertainment. Sometimes I will use my Apple Watch to play music, or my computer to either play a YouTube video or an online training I want to listen to. This allows me to get my workout in and either be entertained or learn something along the way. Sometimes I’ll watch a YouTube video of other weight lifters making suggestions for weight lifting. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one working out and I learn something. LOL.
That’s it. Just 7 things. Not 11, or 23, but just 7 essentials that I need and believe is all that anyone really needs to hit the gym. What’s in my gym bag works well in my home gym but would also work well in a public gym. You don’t need 10,000 things in your gym bag to get a good workout on. Some people will even use what’s missing in their gym bag as a reason not to go. Don’t do that. Get these 7 essentials and get that workout in. Keep it simple!!!