Most people carry a bag with them to the gym only when they have to change clothes before or after work. I think that is a big mistake. I personally think it is important for everyone to carry one and here’s why.
Before I head towards the gym, I prepare myself as I would prepare for a road trip. On a road trip you usually pack a map, or map it out on an electronic device. We also pack food, water, and other essentials. You should use the same approach when getting ready for your workout.
I prefer not to use the gym lockers. There is not anything wrong with them, it is just that when I have finished working out, I walk straight out of the door and I have been guilty of forgetting my bag. (Lol) I also use my bag during my workout for my “tools”. Carrying gym essentials does not require a large bulky gym bag. I use one that is similar to the one in the picture.
I am quite confident that everyone has seen these in sporting goods stores. They generally run anywhere between $10-$20 are light weight and durable.
Inside your bag, you should carry the following bare essentials:
- Music and headphones
- Notebook with pen or pencil
- Wash cloth or hand towel
- Hand sanitizer, travel size lotion
- Feminine Products
- Travel size deodorant
While everything on the list is pretty straight forward, I want to discuss why I suggested a notebook with a pen/pencil. To do so, I am going back to my road trip analogy. You would never go on a road trip without mapping it out and preparing for it, your trip to the gym is no different. Look at your workout as a road map to your workout.
Prior to beginning your workout, map out what you plan to do in the gym. Start with what body part or muscle group you plan on training, then build your workout around it. The following picture is a peek inside of my notebook that I carry with me everyday.
To keep record of your progress, write down how many repetitions and how many sets for each exercise. For example, if you did 3 sets of 10 repetitions simplify it by writing 3 X 10. If you are unable to complete your pre-set workout, take notes about what prevented you for future reference.
The first benefit to pre-planning your routine is that it will maximize your workout while saving you time. Your notebook will guide you directly to each exercise and eliminates walking around aimlessly trying to figure out what you are going to do. Keeping an accurate journal is also beneficial for maintaining a record of your progress. My journals have helped me get back on track after slacking off and reminded me about which workouts worked best for me.
I also suggested placing a snack in your bag because chances are you will be famished after your workout. Having a healthy snack in your bag like an apple or a banana, will prevent you from stopping for an unhealthy snack stop on your way home. It will also help keep you satisfied when you get home. It will prevent making the common mistake of grabbing the fastest thing available to you while you are waiting for or preparing your meal. The best and most beneficial choice is to drink some protein.
Grab your bag, and enjoy your workout!