First day in the gym and one of the first things I clock is the vending machines but these aren’t ordinary vending machines. They don’t sell your favourite chocolate bars instead they sell towels and padlocks…and they ain’t cheap. So my first gym bag essential has to be a Poundland padlock! Personally I prefer the combination locks because who wants to carry a key around the gym and then potentially leave it on the floor by that machine you used half an hour ago. Big up Poundland for their selection of padlocks. I ended up getting a pack of 2 that I think were designed for suitcases and splitting it with a friend but still it works just fine. I forgot to take it with me once and honestly it was the worst gym session. I couldn’t focus on what I was doing because I was so worried about my bag, I know realistically it was very unlikely that anyone would take my bag but still better safe than sorry amirite!
Gym bag item number 2 – BCAA’s. Now it took me a while to get on the BCAA train and I think it is very important to remember that supplements are NOT necessary to make progress. BCAA’s or branched chain amino acids are very popular within the fitness industry and you will see lots of fitness bloggers and the like promoting or talking about them. Your body doesn’t produce all the proteins your body needs, some of them have to come from your diet and BCAA’s contain 3 of those proteins which help to maintain and grow muscle. I drink them during my workout but you can have them before or after it just depends what you want to do. My favourite flavour so far (I’ve only tried 3 so it’s not that difficult a contest) is the MyProtien Tropical Storm flavour. I bought the smallest pouch nearly 6 months ago and I’m still not half way through it! I also bought this little tub from them to store it in instead of the pouch that it comes in because it is so much easier to transport. Fair warning though it makes a right mess trying to get it into the tub! I use the MyProtein active women mini shaker because 1 – it’s purple and 2 – its perfect size for a workout drink. Fair warning though the colour of your BCAA’s might end up staining the top of the lid…it comes off in a couple of washes though so it’s not the end of the world!
Gym music – I either love it or hate it. Some days they are playing all the tunes other days…not so much. For those days There is nothing better than a good pair of wireless headphones. I tried the wired ones…did not end well. I am lucky enough to own a pair of Beats and they are amazing but obviously a bit on the pricey side. There are plenty of cheaper options on Amazon if you shop around a bit. I also had an unfortunate incident where my headphones ran out mid workout. So I now keep my old pair in my gym bag as well as a spare pair should that happen again! These are great though they really block out all other sound so you can really focus on you and what you’re doing.
I know I’ve talked about this water bottle before but I honestly don’t go anywhere without it! If I’m doing quite a high intensity workout I need more than just my BCAA’s so this big water bottle comes in handy. I suppose I could just go to the fountain and back but that’s a lot of effort and I could lose my spot and I would definitely lose my rhythm and concentration (I’m easily distracted). The little hook means I can hold it on one finger as well so it’s easy to move around even though I also have my BCAA’s (all of the fluids – gotta stay hydrated).
Last but not least my final gym essential is my set of resistance bands. I love taking inspiration from other peoples workouts on Instagram and youtube and a resistance band is somewhat a must have. I can never workout where they are in the gym so I have found it easier to just bring my own. This pack contains 4 bands of varying strength – light, medium, strong and extra strong. Personally I use the medium and strong the most. Resistance bands are also great for at home workouts.