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 walking in and nailing a workout from start to finish. More specifically, 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%.
1. 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 a keychain card or digital card stored on your phone, guaranteeing you have it anytime.
2. 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 options 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.
3. 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 fabric. Cotton t-shirts, in comparison, can stick to skin, aggravating it and (as runners will know) can even chafe your nipples — ouch!
Look for quality women’s and men’s workout clothes, as they’ll keep you comfortable while exercising and allow you to finish your workout without being uncomfortable for the following days.
4. 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 and sanitized for other gym-goers.
Take it a step further by bringing 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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:
7. Gym bag
Well, you’ll need something to carry all of your essentials, right? Bring along a trusty backpack or gym bag to have a safe place to store your items.
8. A lock
Chances are, you change upon getting to the gym. This 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, as not all facilities provide goers with a lock or have a built-in system.
9. Body wash or soap
If you’re going to shower, you’ll need something to help clean the sweat off your body. Bring a bar of soap in a Ziploc bag, or simply purchase a full bottle to leave in your bag.
10. Face cleansing wipes
Whether or not you decide to shower, bring along some 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 and, if you’re prone to acne, this could help combat breakouts.
No one wants to smell bad while in public! Make sure to put on deodorant both before and after going to the gym.
12. A bath towel
If you’re showering at the facility, remember to bring a bath towel along with you if they do not supply any. Nothing’s worse than stepping out and having to use your dry clothes to improvise!
13. A quick snack
Remember to bring a snack with you. Whether it’s a protein bar or a bowl full of carbs, opt to keep something easily transportable in your bag, to pack in a few calories when needed.
About the Author
Kara Foxx serves as the content producer for ROAD iD. Kara oversees customer stories, blog content, ambassadors, and social media from the Covington, KY office. Before joining ROAD iD, Kara was a content creator and social media manager for FOX 19 WXIX in Cincinnati, OH. She loves her dog and the Great Outdoors.