What’s in that gym bag?
I know if you have seen me walking into the gym carrying my giant bag packed with stuff you are thinking, “Why in the heck do you carry that giant bag with all the stuff in it to the gym everyday?”
It’s not just that I like to pick up and carry heavy things. It’s because I NEED all those things in my bag. I really do. I use them everyday. You may not think you need all of the things but there are a few essentials you might want to consider.
Here are the Top 5 things in my gym bag
Your body is 60% H2O and if you don’t have enough hydration your body will not function properly.
Here are just a few of the things your body has to deal with when dehydrated:
Your body can’t control its temperature as efficiently.
You will feel fatigued.
Your energy level plummets.
It can cause headaches.
You may have trouble remembering things and concentrating.
Let’s face it working out is hard enough with out starting with all of the above It’s even more important to stay hydrated while exercising so you can perform at your best.
The recommendation for water intake is commonly about eight 8-ounce glasses per day which is about half a gallon. If you are physically active (work out alot) or it’s hot and/or humid outside you need even more. That’s a lot of liquid! Water is great but it gets boring drinking plain old water all day long. I like to put a scoop of Rehydrate in my water. There are lots of different yummy flavors and it also contains electrolytes (these are super important for maintaining the health of your cells and help make sure your nerves and muscles function properly), amino acids (which help feed your muscles), antioxidants (which fight free radicals) and some good carbs (which fuel your muscles for sustained endurance). There are lots of sports performance rehydration drinks out there for you to try just be sure to stay away from those with added sugars and empty calories.
Workout shoes are expensive. I’m only going to wear mine in the gym. These are not my street shoes for being out and about and walking around the neighborhood, they are my kicking butt at the gym shoes. I can’t stress enough the importance off a good quality proper workout shoe. Improper footwear can cause injuries to your feet, ankles, calves etc. Plantar fasciitis comes to mind, and I hear that it is excruciating. So it’s worth investing in a quality shoe that is specific to the type of exercise you are doing, your foot type and your gait type. I’ve read several articles by experts —how you become a shoe expert I am not sure but anyway — the general consensus is that you should replace them about every six months. Did I mention that workout shoes are expensive? I walk into the gym in my converse or flip flops and change into my workout shoes to save wear and tear on the shoes.
3. PAIN RELIEVER
Yeah so I am not as young as I used to be, I can admit that. But even the youngest, fittest athletes get DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Its that awesome stiffness, discomfort, let’s just call it what it is—pain that you feel twenty four to forty eight hours after a workout. Just because you are sore does not mean that you should skip your next work out though. Topical analgesics such as Tiger Balm, Aspercreme, Benygay and BioFreeze can be effective in providing temporary relief so you can push through the next work out. Stretching, heating pads, warm salt baths and massages are also great for DOMS. Please note that there is a huge difference between muscle soreness from a work out and actual injury pain. If you have an injury you should consult a doctor and follow the physician’s advice. If you are sore from your last work out rub some BioFreeze on it and get back to business.
I sweat A LOT. You know that saying that goes, “Nobody ever downed in sweat”? Well, yes I almost have. On more than one occasion I have been in the middle of a workout, it’s a cardio peak, I inhale my own sweat, I choke. I gotta wipe that stuff off my face or I might die! Also sweat in your eyes hurts. Plus you don’t want to drop a bar on your face because your hands are sweaty or slide off your bench or leave a giant sweat angle on the floor for someone else to slip on and fall to their death. Sweat towels, they could save a life.
5. POST WORK OUT SNACKS
Let’s talk about being HANGRY. I love food and working out makes me hungry. Do you know why working out makes you hungry? Because you are burning off a ton of calories in the gym your body knows this and wants to refuel. Post work out snacks are important to restore energy and rebuild muscle. You should eat within thirty minutes to two hours after you exercise. If you can make it to two hours post workout session until you eat you are impressive. I have to eat something in the car on the way home. For real, because I am hungry after a workout. Don’t use your workout as an excuse to eat junk though. Refuel your body with the good stuff. I could go on for pages and pages about the science behind protein synthesis and nitrogen retention and glycogen restoration and all things biomechanics (wait I already lost you back at protein synthesis right) but I will spare you the science lesson and just say that you need the right protein and carbohydrates post work out. So what do I snack on after a work out?
Here’s a quick list:
FitAid — A great post workout drink. It’s full of B vitamins, branched-chain amino acids, L-Glutamine, L-Arginine, Vitamins C and D3, Glucosamine, Turmeric and CoQ10. Again I won’t bore you with science but your body needs all these things especially after a workout. It has a light citrus flavor and it’s carbonated so you feel like you are treating yourself to a soda but it’s healthy!
Quest protein shake — There are a ton of protein shakes on the market but Quest is my favorite because of the variety of delicious flavors. Salted Carmel! Cookies and Cream! It also dissolves quickly and completely in water. Also there is zero sugar in this stuff and it is made with all natural ingredients.
Blueberries — Low in calories but high in nutrients. They are a super food. Studies have shown they lower cholesterol levels, help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, help maintain brain function and improve memory and last but not least a recent study shoed that blueberries may help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Antioxidants are amazing y’all.
Justin’s Nut Butter — I know this sounds hilarious but it is delicious, especially the chocolate almond and they come in individually portioned packages that are easy to throw into the gym bag. Spread some of this nut butter on an apple or banana or rice cake. Yum
Almonds — Speaking of nuts…great source of protein and minerals that your body needs. This is another super food packed with good stuff that will do great things for your body. Just don’t eat too many at one sitting. It’s easy to start popping them in your mouth and loose track of how much you’ve had. Blue Diamond has individual packs that are the perfect snack size.
There is a whole lot of other stuff in my gym bag too UFC gloves, chalk, jump ropes, mini resistance bands, first aid kit, Fitradio, training binder, I could go on and on but that’s a blog for another day.
BY: Trudy Huter
fitness, Fitness Consulting, group fitness, Motivation
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