Off to the gym? If you’re heading there straight after work or during a lunch break, you’ll need to get changed into the correct attire first so your gym bag has to be packed with everything you need for the session and the immediate aftermath. Here’s a quick guide as to what to include…
The right kind of bag
Let’s start with the bag itself before anything else. Clearly, you’ll need something fit for purpose. A carrier bag bought from the local supermarket and stuffed with kit will draw the wrong kind of attention from other gym goers – apart from the shabby appearance it’s really not practical for this job. Likewise, anything too large and cumbersome is no good either.
A small sports holdall or backpack is perfect, preferably something with smaller, zipped off sections so that you can keep toiletries separate from clothing, and valuables – watch, wallet, mobile phone – separate from toiletries and clothing. Men’s Health has a decent selection here.
Stylish and practical kit
Stylish? Well, yes. Without getting too showy about it, it’s important to dress well for the gym and that means in terms of style and practicality. Guys, this isn’t a time to pull out that decades-old football shirt or the shorts you wear for gardening. Girls, sticking on the baggy t-shirt you like to wear while chilling out watching TV in the evening won’t do, either. Essential kit fits properly, is breathable so it deals effectively with sweat, and looks sharp too – you’ll fit right in. Cotton shorts and t-shirts are unsuitable as they’ll get heavy once perspiration sets in. Check out these mens gym clothes from Superdry to get an idea of what you should be wearing. Don’t forget underwear, too.
Arguably the most important thing of all to get right. The wrong footwear during any kind of sporting activity can lead to injury. Poor grip, traction, a lack of cushioning or support – unsuitable footwear puts you at risk of suffering from those problems, which can then easily lead to fitness problems. Generic running shoes will see you right, but if you want to get serious and really specific you can focus on the footwear you need for certain workouts. This guide from GQ breaks it down nicely, showcasing the best gym shoes for every workout.
Filled with fluids, obviously. You might prefer water to simply re-hydrate during and after the workout session, a sports drink including electrolytes and minerals, or a protein shake. But you’ll need something, and you’ll want a decent-sized bottle to sup it from.
Your gym will almost certainly have music playing, either over speakers or via strategically-placed flatscreen TVs which are within view. But it might not be to your taste; music is a very personal thing and what motivates one gym goer might leave another uninspired. Best to bring your own device – mobile phone, iPod or Mp3 player – together with headphones. You need to respect the privacy of others too, so keep your beats to yourself.
In fact, perhaps two. A smaller hand towel to wipe down equipment after you’ve taken your turn – it’s good gym etiquette to keep everything in sound hygienic order ready for the next person – and a larger one for the post workout shower.
… and anything else you’ll need while showering off afterwards. You might want to include a cheeky bottle of perfume or eau de toilette if you’re heading straight off for dinner and drinks afterwards.
So that’s it – the basics you need to have in your gym bag. And one final tip. When you return home, don’t leave everything unwashed and festering in there until the next time or you won’t be too popular with your gym buddies!