The biggest part of being successful at the gym is having a plan. Most people you see going in and crushing every workout are there for a single reason: to work out. They know what exercises they need to do, and they don’t waste time between activities.
But going to a traditional gym requires more than simply going in and nailing a workout from start to finish. In particular, it requires bringing along workout essentials that allow you to be prepared, work out with ease, and clean up once you’re done.
From the right running shoes to medical alert bracelets to comfortable clothing, here’s how you can work out at 100 percent.
- Your membership card
If you belong to a gym, chances are you have a card that verifies you’re allowed to be there. Before you leave home for the gym, double-check to make sure you’ve got your membership card. If you’re lucky enough, you might have one of the keychain cards, guaranteeing you have it anytime.
- The right shoes
As can be seen from the fashion world, no two shoes are the exact same. The same goes for workout shoes. Whether we’re talking running shoes or CrossFit shoes, each shoe has its own usefulness. For running shoes, you can have shoes designed with high arch support while others have none. Or shoes that are heavy and sturdy compared to those that are light and flexible. CrossFit shoes are entirely different, living in a world similar to weightlifting shoes. They will have a flatter bottom to ensure stability while doing heavy lifts.
- Non-chafing clothes
Another important thing to consider for the gym is moisture-wicking clothing. Why moisture-wicking? They’re breathable and help move sweat away from the body without weighing down the clothes with sweat. Compare that to cotton t-shirts which will stick to skin, aggravate your skin, and (as runners will know) chafe your nipples—ouch!
Look for quality women’s and men’s workout clothes, as they’ll keep you comfortable while exercising, allowing you to finish your workout without being uncomfortable for the following days to come.
- A gym towel
Some gyms supply towels and paper towels to clean the equipment after you’re done using them. It’s a common courtesy to clean equipment, as it will leave the surfaces dry for other gym-goers.
Take it a step further and bring a towel of your own. Rather than using it on gym equipment, keep it just for yourself. It’s a simple way to keep sweat out of your eyes and stop it from collecting at the top of your back and chest.
- An identifiable water bottle
Another must is a water bottle that you can identify with ease. Why identifiable? You want to be able to find it wherever you put it. It’s common to forget your water bottle at some point or another, as you’ll get lost in the moment while pumping through a workout. But you should be able to survey the gym and find it with ease.
A simple way to achieve this is to buy a standard reusable water bottle and cover it with stickers that mean the most to you—whether they be of your college, your favorite bands’ references to movies you love, etc.
Source: NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock
- A medical alert bracelet
If you’re someone with a pre-existing health condition, it’s important that you wear a medical alert bracelet. Engraved with your personal details, from your name to the condition you live with, it makes you immediately identifiable in the event that you have a medical emergency while exercising.
This is important for a variety of conditions, from dementia to epilepsy to heart disease. For instance, diabetic jewelry can be essential for people living with the condition. In the event you become confused while exercising or, even worse, pass out due to a diabetic emergency, bystanders can look at your bracelet, see your condition and act accordingly—whether providing assistance themselves and/or contacting EMTs.
Coming from work or plan on showering?
Finally, if you’re the type who likes to work out once you’re done with work or hit the gym prior to going out, it’s important to bring along essentials that allow you to clean up. Here are some of the simple essentials you need to bring along:
- Gym bag
You’ll need something to carry all of your essentials. Have a safe place to store all of them.
- A lock
Chances are you’ll change upon getting to the gym. That means you’ll need a place to store your regular clothes, shoes, wallet, and more. Make sure to bring a lock if you plan on using one of the gym’s lockers.
- Body wash or soap
If you’re going to shower, you’ll need something to help clean the sweat and grime off your body. Bring a bar of soap in a Ziploc bag if you prefer that method. For ease of use, consider bringing body wash.
- Face cleansing wipes
Whether or not you decide to shower, you’ll want to bring along facial wipes. Even if you plan on running out of the gym once you’ve finished your workout, you can use a facial wipe to keep your face looking fresh and clean.
No one wants to smell bad while in public. Make sure to put on deodorant both before and after going to the gym—mainly for the sake of those around you.
- A bath towel
If you are showering, you’ll want to remember to bring a bath towel along with you. We all know the feeling of being in the shower and remembering at the last second, “Ah! Forgot to bring a towel with me.” Don’t be that person now.
- A quick snack
Remember to bring a snack with you. Whether it’s a protein bar or a bowl full of carbs, you want to bring something that will keep you feeling energized after the hardest workout.
You can bring all of the right gear with you, but the focus is what you need most of all. Cover the basics with the above gear so you can spend the rest of your time owning your workout.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.