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What's in my gym bag?

Today I’m sharing with you what I find is important to carry with me to the gym. So many times I wished that I had the that one thing in my bag that I happened to need but didn’t have! I suppose a lot of what I list will be similar to what you might bring to the gym with you, but maybe you’ll still find some items from my list that will make your trip to the gym even better.

Water bottle
I bring my reusable stainless steel water bottle with me almost everywhere: when going
shopping, to the park, I even keep a bottle filled with water in my car at all time. Staying hydrated is important and I drink water to prevent dehydration instead of drinking water when I’m already dehydrated (thirst is already a sign of dehydration).
DeCore Fitness offers chilled water bottles for you every time you come in, so don’t forget to grab a bottle from the fridge before you begin your workout. DeCore also has a cold water dispenser for your convenience if you prefer to use your own reusable bottle. I personally prefer using my own bottle because it has a flip straw that allows me to drink up comfortably without having to tilt my head back in order to take a sip from a regular plastic bottle. It’s helpful especially when running or walking because I can continue my workout and drink at the same time.

Snacks
It’s recommended that a large meal is not consumed 2 hours or less before a workout. A snack, however, can (and should) be eaten 1 hour to 30 minutes before a workout (for some of us half an hour isn’t enough time to digest the snack so opt out for an hour if you feel like you need more time). It’s also important to eat after a workout. Having a snack before a workout and after a workout helps me to stay energetic all day without swings of energy. I also recommend to all my clients that they all eat a small snack before they meet with me. It may seem contradicting to some since many people are trying to lose weight, but having enough energy is crucial to a good workout (the more energy you have -> the more you can push yourself -> the more calories you burn -> the more weight you lose). Having a snack after a workout helps to keep your body from going into a “starvation mode” when the body slows down metabolism. When your body slows its metabolism it makes it much more difficult to lose weight. Try to have a snack no later than 2 hours after your workout, but the sooner the better.
I usually have fruit or grains in a form of a granola bar before or after a workout. Fruit digests in 20 minutes if eaten on an empty stomach and is perfect on the go. Fruit and grains contain carbohydrates which are what the body uses during a typical workout. After the workout it’s important to stay hydrated, replenish glycogen in the muscles (carbohydrates are stored in muscles as glycogen- if not replenished soreness and muscle ache will last longer) and have some protein. It’s a misconception that one needs massive amounts of protein after a workout. In reality after a typical weight training workout or a cardio session 5-10g or protein is enough to rebuild and repair the muscles. A granola bar has 6-12g of protein – a perfect blend of good carbs and protein.
I also carry a granola bar with me in my purse as my “emergency” fuel. I try to eat often and not feel hungry for more than 30 minutes so that my metabolism keeps running and burning those calories!

Music player/Headphones/TV

I find it very helpful to listen to music or watch TV during my cardio workouts. DeCore Fitness has two TVs right in front of the cardio machines. Having a stimulus of music or the TV  somehow makes the workout go faster for me! When running outside I use my MP3 player and use headphones that are most comfortable to me. I use sports headphones that wrap around my ears so that they don’t fall off, but everyone should find headphones that work best for them – ear buds, ear pads, wireless or even noise cancelling headphones.

Just make sure that you wipe the headphones down with some disinfecting spray weekly since sweat and bacteria can grow on the plastic and foam which can lead to ear infections or acne.

Workout gloves
Some of us prefer to use gloves especially in the weight room. Gloves provide a cushion for your hands when gripping dumbbells, barbells or machine attachments. Some people prefer to “toughen up” their hands and create calluses which become the natural cushions of the palm.
I am currently looking for a pair of exercise gloves and I’ll be looking for proper fit (not too big or too snug), level of protection (some cushions are softer than others) and ease of putting them on and taking off. No one likes to struggle with taking their gloves off!

Bandages
Having bandaids in my bag is a must! I always put on a bandaid before I go to the gym when I have an existing cut to protect myself and others from germ exposure. I also carry back ups in my bag for existing cuts or any scrapes I might get while working out. I also use bandaids for blisters on my feet. DeCore always has a first aid kit available including bandages, so don’t be afraid to ask if you need them!

Timer/Watch
Depending on the type of workout I might be doing I will use my watch. I don’t need
it when I’m on a treadmill, but when I run outside my watch helps me stay on pace as well as keeps me from being late if my run takes longer than I planned. My watch is also helpful when I want to do my own circuit training or running intervals. Sometimes I will also make up a workout, time it, and try to beat my time next time I do that same workout. It’s a good tool if you want to measure your progress.

Extra socks

This might be a bit strange…why would I bring an extra pair of socks with me? Well, this might be a bit TMI, but let’s get real here… my feet sweat a lot! Some people’s feet or palms don’t sweat much, but mine do. After an hour long workout my socks are definitely damp if not wet. In order to  prevent nail fungus, athlete’s foot, blisters and last but definitely not least an unpleasant odor, I change my socks after my workout if I’m not going directly home after the workout. Sometimes before I get home I will run errands or pick up some food after the gym, and running around with wet socks is not pleasant and not healthy. The same goes for an extra T-shirt, shorts and undies- if I know I need to make several stops on my way home, I’ll change into dry clothes if I’m not taking a shower right after my workout.

If you plan on showering and changing into fresh clothes you’d of course bring shower essentials. DeCore has two changing rooms equipped with a shower, sink, towels, and even some hair tools such as blow dryers and hair curlers.

Sunglasses
When I exercise outside sunglasses are a must for me! Not only do they help me see where I’m going in the bright Texas sunlight, but they also protect my eyes from the harmful effects of sun rays. Another important reason for wearing sunglasses is preventing wrinkles around the eyes. When you squint your eyes you risk developing “crow’s feet” wrinkles.
Speaking of the sun, I try to put sunblock on each time I workout outside. I’m not perfect at it and sometimes I forget, but I realise how crucial it is to protect the skin from cancer and premature aging.
p.s. The mustache sunglasses will make you run like a man!

Extra scrunchies
There’s nothing more annoying to me than hair flying around and getting in my face when I’m exercising. It tickles me and distracts me so much! I always carry extra scrunchies, hair bands and bobby pins. I pretty much have one of each in every single bag that I own.

Antiperspirant/Deodorant
Don’t get me wrong- sweating is good for you! I’m not anti-perspiration, I’m just
concerned with, ahem, armpit scent. We all know that some days, for no reason our armpits decide to be more sweaty than other days. It just happens! This happens a lot after a long day of work, and when you come to the gym you realise it as soon as you change into your gym clothes. I use an antiperspirant made with natural ingredients which I use in cases of emergency!

 

I’d absolutely love to know what is in your gym bag! Are you a minimalist or someone who is prepared for any kind of scenario?
Olivia