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Whether you’re trying to get more serious about hitting the gym on a regular basis or you consider your athletic club your second home, every athlete needs the right gym bag items to ensure the utmost performance during his or her workout. Sure, every gym bag needs the usual suspects, whether it’s towels, a water bottle or even your pair of lucky shorts you’ve been working out in since college, but there are always a few items that get overlooked when it comes to importance. Here are some of the other essential inclusions that are practically mandatory for every gym bag:
While many people tend to stick to just one pair of shoes for whatever activity they’re partaking in, it’s extremely underestimated how having the right shoe for each workout can aid in your performance and athletic recovery. When it comes to running, the type of shoe that’s best for you depends on whether you prefer outdoor or indoor training. Runners who tend to stick to jogging outside will need a shoe that’s equipped with sufficient shock absorption, for softening every step they take on a harder, uneven surface. Athletes who like to keep their running workout in the gym should consider investing in a pair that’s both flexible and lightweight, boosting comfort while on the treadmill or elliptical machine. As for weightlifting, keeping an extra pair of sneakers in your gym bag that is more snug with enhanced traction is recommended so you can avoid slipping.
With technology becoming more of a presence in all areas of our lives, there are many accessories and devices currently on the market that also can assist our workouts in the gym. Having an activity tracker handy in your gym bag can help you gain a better understanding of how your workout is actually impacting your body, as well as monitoring a number of health features. There are dozens of different devices on the market, ranging in uses and price, but having one that does essential tasks without costing too much is never a bad idea. Whether you’re trying to keep track of how many calories you’re losing with each step on the treadmill or checking in on your resting heart rate after setting down the dumbbell, activity trackers have done wonders for helping athletes get better insight into how effective their physical activity truly is.
People who put an emphasis on their weightlifting routines over other types of exercises should always have a number of accessories handy in their gym bags. For starters, weightlifting gloves can provide workout advantages in a variety of ways, ranging from improving your grip strength to helping your hands avoid enduring dryness or calluses. If you frequently put time into workouts that require proper back formation, wearing a weightlifting belt can not only assist in reducing stress upon your spine, but also is great for keeping you in perfect position.
It might seem odd to see someone pulling a pen and notepad out of their bag at the gym, but keeping track of how exactly you’re working out is a great way to stay on top of your exercise routines. Simply writing out what exercises you’re performing, how many reps you’re doing and how many miles you run makes it easier to see which areas of the body you need to focus on. In addition to keeping up-to-date with which types of workouts you need to perform, the exercise journal works as a means for adding motivation, as an empty page entry will shame you into getting back out to the gym.
Having proper hygiene at the gym is essentially in the eye of the beholder, but for those who are concerned for their post-workout cleanliness should always have some sanitation accessories in their gym bags. Whenever you work up a sweat, your pores are more susceptible to enduring the wrath of acne-inducing oils. Applying specific lotions or moisturizers that work to hydrate your skin and protect pores will keep your face looking great as you continue to boost the rest of your body’s appearance. Plus, you’re only doing yourself and others a favor by wiping off your hands with wipes after every time you use equipment.
Everyone enjoys the benefits of a massage, but athletes in particular should be treating themselves to the advantages of providing gentle, yet firm manipulation on their sore muscles after a tough workout. Keeping a personal massager in your gym bag is essentially like having a masseuse with you at all times, and after you get to the locker room after working up a sweat, going over your muscles with this device can help ease tension and enhance your athletic recovery process.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: