Don’t be one of those people who sweats all over the show and doesn’t wipe the equipment down after use – it’s just plain gross! So, be considerate and always remember to pack your sweat towel. It might be a good idea to keep two in your bag at all times, just in case this gym essential slips your mind one day. Think of the face you pull when you see sweaty skid marks on the bench press. Create good gym karma and don’t let the person after you pull that face too, mkay?
A rumbling stomach can put anyone off their workout plans, not so? Instead of calling it quits when you get a bit hungry (read: hangry), be prepared and keep snacks in your gym bag! A great pre- and post-workout snack is a banana but this could very easily be forgotten in the bottom of said bag and we don’t want that to happen, do we? Sis. If you don’t trust yourself to remember to eat/remove said banana (it will be your squishy), pack a no-nonsense bar like these Nakd Bars, available at Dis-Chem, or a packet of raw nuts for that protein kick. Oh yeah. Your health halo is sparkling.
Nothing makes you lose motivation faster than a lack of tunes at the gym (or worse, hearing the weird girl belt out off-key snippets of whatever she’s listening to. Like sure, she’s living her best life but you’re trying to create a jogging rhythm and it’s killing the vibe). Sure, most gyms have some sort of music coming out of their speakers but it’s not always the kind you need to get you in the right frame of mind for a good old sweat session. There are only so many times you can hear Shape of You without wanting to intentionally slip on the treadmill. (Kidding, I still love you, Ed.)
It’s no good having a pair of headphones handy, only to realise that your phone/iPod has gone and died on you –talk about ways to ruin a workout! That’s why it’s so helpful to carry a portable charger around with you, to ensure you’re always pumped and ready to sweat! Those snazzy bluetooth headphones run out of charge just as easily, so get with the times and plan ahead.
These nifty things are great for relieving muscle tension and come in sizes small enough to pop into your gym bag. If you’re scratching your head at the very mention of the word ‘foam roller’, here’s a bit of a breakdown. The idea behind these gadgets is to roll over them in order to give your muscles a massage, which is known as self-myofascial release. Just a warning: it can be quite painful, especially if you’re very stiff. Watch this video series to make sure you’re foam-rolling correctly. A lot of gyms have a couple lying around, so you could just use theirs. Just try find a secluded spot so you don’t make a whale mating call while doing your quad rolls. Ooh baby, make it hurt so good.
Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver when you’re squeezing a quick session in on a busy day (or in your lunch break – go you, you health goddess, you!). This stuff will let you skip a hair wash and will save lots of time – especially if you’ve got long hair that takes forever to dry and style (story of our life!). You get dry shampoo in both powder and spray forms. Do some research online to find one you want to try out and test-drive it at home before relying on it when you have a big meeting in an hour.
Ladies, how often do those pesky hair ties break at just the wrong moment? Or, they just straight up disappear? (Somewhere out there is a mystical land of missing socks, hair pins and hair ties. I hope they’re happy together, wherever they are.) That’s why it’s a great idea to keep a bunch of spare hair elastics in your gym bag – if your hair tie breaks mid-workout and you land up having to brush strands out of your face every five seconds, chances are you’ll abandon ship before you were supposed to!
A good quality glass or BPA-free water bottle is another workout essential. Think about how much you sweat out during a gym session – you’ve got to replace it with something (which should be water…even though the blue Energade tastes like happiness). While it’s all too easy to grab a sugary energy drink to quench your thirst, having a water bottle on hand will gently remind you that good old H20 is best. Glug, glug.
If you get ready for school/varsity/work at the gym, you’re going to need a whole host of items that are oh-so-easy to leave behind – and doing so can really ruin your day. Trust us, forgetting a clean shirt at home is not fun – no one wants to put their sweaty workout top back on after a nice hot shower… ew! So, here is your checklist (guys and gals together – just ignore the make-up bag if you must):
By Nikki Samakosky