So you started hitting the gym and decided to buy a gym bag for your new habit. Unfortunately, that gym bag is only filled with the hopes of gainz right now.
So what do you throw in there?
The gym bag is our Batman utility belt. Depending where you are in the fitness journey and your goals you are going to need different stuff. Stuff that will help you make gainz and look better naked.
So to make this as easy as possible, I’ll go over what you need in each stage you could find yourself in the gym.
Everyone’s bag will be a little different. You might even be curious to what someone else has in theirs – just don’t say to anyone in the locker room “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” You won’t like the result.
Just as an fyi, this post is littered with affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, if you buy something through one of these links I’ll get a little cut of Amazon’s profit.
THE BEGINNER BAG
Headphones – Quite possibly the most important thing in my gym bag. I forgot to charge mine for 2 days so I had to listen to the crap playing over the PA system. No Tay Tay means I don’t lift well. I had the wireless Beats but the flat wire would aggravate the hell out of me until I lost it one day. I threw them at the wall. Needless to say they don’t work well anymore. My friend has the over the ear and swears by them.
Deodorant – Some days you just smell like ass. Like if you are trying to work out the beer you drank the night before. Be kind to other people’s airspace, keep some deodorant in your bag.
Band aides – I cannot tell you how many times I scraped up my shin or pinched my finger between weights causing me to bleed. Rather than spreading your diseases all over the place have some good band aides with you.
Music- If you want to hit PR’s you need some good music. Just in case you were wondering my eclectic playlist consist mainly of Taylor Swift, Sevendust, Eminem, Korn, Slipknot, Of Mice and Men and Marilyn Manson. Judge if you want, I’m just going to shake it off, shake it off.
Towel- If you are showering at the gym this is a given – you’re going to need to dry off. Some people carry around hand towels to put on and wipe down the equipment. I just use the paper towel and the spray the gym provides to wipe down equipment.
Soap and Shampoo – If you plan on showering there, the water won’t get rid of the smell like it would when you were a kid. I keep a travel size shampoo in my bag.
Workout Tracker – I use an app called Gym Hero but an old school pen and notebook work just as well. If you want to make any progress in the gym you need to be recording exercises, sets, reps and weight used at a minimum.
Water Bottle – If you want to be incredibly inefficient then you can skip the water bottle and keep going up to the water fountain or bubbler if you are from Rhode Island. I always take one so I can have water during the workout and then I can have my protein shake right after.
Lock – Some, like myself, like to live dangerously and not lock up their stuff. If you don’t want to find someone else enjoying your valuables, I suggest you buy a lock.
Protein Holder – Rather than carrying a five pound tub of protein around with out and look like a complete gym bro, I’d invest in one of these. You can hold two scoops of your favorite protein in one side and maybe some blow in the pre-workout side. Nothing gets you going like a few lines before the gym. [I am totally kidding about doing coke. Please don’t be stupid and do it.]
Bottle with Protein Container – If you want some next level stuff, some geniuses combined the protein holder and the shaker bottle. Efficiency at it’s finest!
Elastic Bands – These elastics were pretty much the only leg exercise I could do right after back surgery. A simple elastic is the equivalent to a gym Swiss army knife. You can stretch, work your hips and warmup using it in a million different ways. Hmm sounds like a good blog post someone should write.
THE BRO BAG
Weight Belt – Some people use it to hold up their pants, other people use it for max lifts. Be more the latter. A weight belt is to increase the pressure in your stomach for max lifts – not to save your back. Use it as such and not if you are doing five pound curls.
Serious Weight Belt – The difference between the nylon belt above and the leather of a serious weight belt are about feel, stiffness (hehehe) and cost. I use a nylon one. If you are attempting max lifts on squats or deadlifts you probably should spend the coin on one of these two belts.
Dip Belt – This by far is the most bad ass thing in my bag. At a certain point you are going to need to add some weight to your dip or pullup. This way is a lot easier than trying to hold a 70-pound dumbbell between your thighs.
Wrist Wraps – If you have little girlie wrists like me, lifting heavy causes pain. These are equivalent to weight belts for your wrists. They increase the pressure so you can go H.A.M. on curls.
Jump Rope – Want to slim down quick? Use one of these in between sets as your “rest” period. The generic ones provided by the gym are the same ones you would whip people with in middle school. They are crap, buy your own.
High Socks (optional) – One option to save your shins from the deadlift is to wear a pair of high socks. You can use soccer socks or specific deadlifting sock which are exactly the same.
Chucks (optional) – If you are deadlifting it’s better to do it either barefoot, with a shoe without a heel or a shoe with very little cushion. Reason being is so you have better stability when you’re lifting that heavy ass weight off the ground. If you want to wear shoes, Chucks are the answer you are looking for.
Chalk (optional) – If you have sweaty palms (which are better than hairy palms, I guess) holding the bar is kinda difficult. A lot of gyms don’t allow the dry chalk but they are fine with the liquid chalk. If you have sweaty palms invest in some of this. It’s a lot manlier than buying some bitch mittens.
THE POWERLIFTER BAG
Knee wraps – Like the weight belt and the wrist wraps this is to help increase the pressure in your knee so you don’t blow it out lifting 500+.
Knee sleeves – These are basically to keep the old knees warm and offer a little support while you beast away on the weights.
Slingshot – This giant elastic with sleeves will help you bench more by putting you in proper form and giving you that elastic bounce at the bottle of the movement.
Olympic Lifting Shoes – If you’re trying to squat, deadlift, clean and jerk or snatch heavy weights do yourself a favor and buy some lifting shoes. Most people workout in running shoes (like me) which is cushioned for running. Make sense right? Lifting shoes have a harder sole so you can transfer more power from you to the floor and back which will add more weight to the exercises I listed above. Extra cushion will absorb some of that power from you to the floor.
What’s in your gym bag?
Did I forget anything?
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