When it comes to keeping fit, exercising and hitting the gym – the web is crowded with foggy information surrounding what you really need to get in a good workout.
The reality is incredibly simple and all the gear won’t help you without any idea of how to use it to its full potential. But bulking up that gym bag with some useful bits of kit can be incredibly satisfying and beneficial for your body.
So if you’re over the simplistic workouts and want to use equipment and supplements to optimise and maximise your workouts – you’re in the right place. Here are 5 things that I never go to the without to help you pack out your gym bag with the essentials.
1. Stainless steel water bottle
The simplest piece of equipment that everyone should have in a gym bag is a good, solid water bottle.
Carrying a water bottle when working out is imperative. Making sure that you’re hydrated should be your number 1 priority when training, but plenty of us avoid supping the clear stuff when in the gym. Your muscles need water to avoid cramping and by ensuring you’re hydrated, you’ll be making sure your body is performing at the highest level possible.
But instead of opting for a disposable plastic bottle (and giving the planet the finger), it’s a great idea to invest in a stainless steel alternative. Not only will you be saving a couple of polar bears by using, but you’ll also have a bottle that you can trust not to leak all over the rest of your gear and there’s nothing worse than training with saturated shorts.
I always carry my Kool 8 water bottle but there’s plenty of other options like Contigo, Simple Modern and many more. It’s always a good idea to pick a bottle that you like the look of. Something simple, modern and timeless is a must – after all – you’ll be using it for the foreseeable future!
2. Medicine ball
If I’m ever strapped for time and can’t quite fit in my normal workout routine on any given day, working hard on accessory and core work is a great way to make sure I still get a workout in.
There’s plenty of options for training the core and working on the accessory movements, but a personal favourite of mine is to build my functional strength with the use of a medicine ball. I always make sure that I’ve got a Power System medicine ball to hand in times of need and never go without. It’s a bit of a big addition to the gym bag, so I usually leave it in the trunk of my car, but it’s always there whenever I need it.
Medicine balls are also great for mixing traditional training methods up with a focus on explosivity with the acceleration and deceleration required when using the weighted balls. They can be thrown (to other people or against the wall), caught and slammed for a medieval style of training that’s increasing with popularity today. A must in my gym routine (and should be one in yours).
3. Protein Bars
Although there’s no real thing as an “anabolic window”, you can never have too much protein and any way to make sure I’m getting enough in is alright in my book.
It’s always difficult to hit my 200g daily target, but with healthy meal bars from Sans, I can get 18g of protein from a single serving, making it super convenient to pick a high protein snack. The meal bars include only all-natural ingredients with fruits, nuts, vegetables and whole grain oats to give a product that’s just real food – perfect for my lean, low carb diet.
You can never have too much protein and another convenient source can only be a good thing!
4. Foam roller
A foam roller is one of the most underrated pieces of gym equipment on the market today and for such a small price to pay for your new, foamy best friend, you can’t go wrong.
Foam rolling is great for recovery with a focus on self-myofascial release to reduce muscle tension, increase blood flow and increase elasticity within the targeted area. When it comes to picking the perfect roller, there are a few things to consider, but for beginners, a soft-core roller is perfect.
Rather than opting for an incredibly hard roller, a soft-core will gradually introduce users into the world of rolling without causing too much discomfort. There are hundreds on the market, but with all doing the same job, it’s entirely up to personal preference which one’s the best to choose.
Naturally, if you’ve been rolling a while then you’ll know the sort of thing that you’re looking for and that you’d prefer. Building in firmness and reducing the padding with time is advised to get the most out of the equipment – but starting soft and moving through the ranks is recognised as best practice.
5. Green tea extract vitamins
Last but not least, I use green tea extract vitamins for natural sustained energy and performance by enhancing the body’s ability to produce nitric oxide.
I personally shop at Vita Hustle to get my multivitamins in to make sure that I get the very best quality ingredients making sure that my energy levels are high, recovery is optimised and focus remains on training. With generous servings of Vitamin C, D, E, K, B6, B12, Biotin, Magnesium, Chromium and so much more, I can be sure that I’m getting the very best for my body.
Keeping the tabs in my gym bag has been a lifesaver with my memory and taking 4 daily early in the morning – as soon as I get to the gym, sets my day up for the hustle.