When I first started going to the gym I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to exercise, what equipment I needed, or how much time I should spend working out. It was a huge learning curve. If you’re relatively new to the gym, this post is for you. Below is a list of gear that I found most helpful when starting off at the gym. There are a ton of things you can bring, but these are the most useful things for beginners. I use these items almost every day in the gym.
Reusable Water Bottle
Hydration is key in any workout regimen. Whatever you do, don’t forget to hydrate yourself. My gym has water fountains throughout the gym that has a water filter to fill up your water bottles. I usually fill mine at least two times during a workout. It is much easier to have your water bottle with you at all times compared to walking to the water fountain in between each sets. That takes up time. I recommend the polar insulated water bottle. It has a soft plastic outer core that won’t make a noise when you drop it. I like the plastic water bottles compared to the steel ones because they don’t make a sound when you drop them. I am constantly dropping it between sets and it is pretty much indestructible. If you’re looking for a water bottle for bicycling, check out Bicycle New England’s water bottle review.
Resistance bands are important. I can’t emphasize this enough. Not only can you use them to warm up, but you can also use them in your gym routines. I use my resistance bands in all my leg day workouts. They’re perfect for glute activation/warmups, toning, strength, stretching and adding resistance. I usually do a warm up and then do at least 5-10 minutes of band glute activation to warm up the legs. This is important on leg days. You need to warm your legs up so your body knows your legs are about to get wrecked. Some examples of band exercises I do are glute bridges, front squats, clamshells, lateral band walks, band kick back and band hops. There are endless amounts of things you can do with resistance bands. These are a must have. I have the GoFit resistance bands. I love these because there are three different levels of resistance (light, medium, heavy). They are affordable and come with a little bag to fit them in. The kit fits perfectly in your gym bag or backpack.
I’m just going to say it. Gym music sucks! Having headphones are another must have for the gym. It helps me focus and get in the mind set. I’ve tried tons of different types of headphones over the years and personally prefer a cheaper pair of headphones. I usually lose them/break them and don’t want to invest a ton of money on a pair. Headphones are your own personal preference. Check out my post of the 5 best headphones under $50 dollars.
Unfortunately, my gym does not have free jump ropes. I had to buy my own. Jumping rope is a fantastic skill to develop and a great way to warm up before getting started in the gym. I recommend a speed rope with a metal interior. This type of jump rope is adjustable to how tall you are. It is very easy to adjust as well. It also comes with a small bag that fits perfectly in your gym bag. It won’t take up too much space. My favorite jump rope is the Survival and Cross Jump Rope.
BCAAs (Branched Complex Amino Acids)
Almost everyone in the fitness industry can agree that BCAAs are an important part of any fitness journey. There are many benefits in using BCAAs. They increase muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness, reduce fatigue and supports your immunity. I only take BCAAS on the days I work out. I keep it in my gym bag and take it right after I work out. My favorite thing about it is the decrease in muscle soreness. When I first started working out, I was sore after leg and back days. After taking BCAAs the soreness decreased. BCCAs have so many benefits and could honestly be a whole blog post. I use Cellucor’s BCAAs and have used it since I started working out.
These are the 5 basic things I think everyone should have in their gym bags. As your commitment increases, you can start adding other things as needed. Some other items I’ll discuss in future posts: fitness watches, heart rate monitors, protein powders, gloves, shoes, belts for lifting, fitness trackers, and apparel. I hope this helps you as you become your best person!