5 Things You Need Before Going To The Gym
Starting a work out program can be daunting, but it can also be an exciting new chapter of your life. These five essentials can literally help you hit the ground running. You don't have to buy high-end sneaks and the latest in running gear to get fit, but investing in essential equipment can help you shed pounds, look great and feel fantastic. Rev up your fitness routine!
Ditch your high school sweatpants and that old t-shirt you sleep in and invest in some high quality workout clothes. Quality workout clothes can also give you a confidence boost and increase anticipation for going to the gym.
Workout clothes should be comfortable, wick moisture, and have some activity specific features. Look for shirts, tanks, socks, undergarments and gym bottoms made with materials designed to wick sweat away from your skin. Look for fabrics like DRI-FIT™and luon™, or Lycra-blend fabrics that moisture wicking and are easy to layer. That way you can subtract or add layers as the seasons change. Good workout clothes might cost a little more than you expect, but the extra cost is worth it. The wear-resistant material lasts longer, washes better, and is usually less prone to tearing or piling . These clothes are also designed specially for your chosen activity and they will improve your overall workout. For example, if you want to take up a running, a pair of running tights can improve circulation in your legs and keep the large muscles in your thighs warm and loose during your post-workout stretch. If you prefer to run or hike at night, consider buying pants with reflective details for maximum visibility and safety.
Your footwear is one of the best ways to invest in your workout. Good shoes prevent injury, increase performance and support your workout. It doesn't matter if you run a mile a day or plan to lift weights, you should buy the best shoes you can afford. Luckily, these days athletic shoes come in every shape, color and for every budget.
There are many debates on what is the "best shoe". The truth is there is no "best shoe". There are many type of footwear and they all have different purposes. My first recommendation is that you research and find a local running stores to begin your journey of finding the shoe for you. For example in Washington D.C. there is Georgetown Running Company. This running store offers a variety of fitting tools as well as running and walking assessments to determine a person arch, gait, and weight distribution. Generally the staff at these types of stores are very knowledgeable and can provide experts opinions on footwear. Some even offer a return policy if you are not satisfied. Shoes do tend to cost a bit more at these stores, but you are not just paying for a product. You are getting a product, 5-star service, and continuing support with your investment. Even if you are not planning on becoming a runner your local running store will have a wide range of shoes for various uses. When you are shopping feel free to ask as many questions as you have and be very specific about what you will be doing in the shoes.
MrFit's Health Tip: No matter what type of shoe you invest in, make sure you inspect it for wear and tear every 6 to 8 months. Running shoes should be replaced every 350 miles.
Wipe off the sweat from your face and gym equipment with an ultra-absorbent microfiber hand towel. Get a medium one for sweat and a larger one for your after-workout shower. Microfiber towels are thinner and lighter than cotton towels, so they take up less real estate in your gym bag. Their anti-bacterial properties help prevent sweaty buildup in the fabric and keep your gym bag and clothes from smelling like a 16-year old boy's bedroom. Not only that, you can just toss them in with your regular laundry load and not worry about lint.
Reusable Water Bottle:
Water is essential to your workout because it lubricates your joints and muscles, allowing for better form and strength. It also stops dehydration. Don't rely on the paper cups at the water station or drink only sports drinks, which contain plenty of sugar and can sabotage your workout before you even begin. Safe water bottles are usually made from glass, steel, aluminum or BPA-free plastic.
Look for features that make it easy for you to drink on the move. You may want a spout or nozzle to make it easy to sneak a sip or two while on the stationary bike. A clip to attach the bottle to your bag is extremely helpful, so you don't misplace it while you move from the treadmill to the weight area of the gym. If you run, a bottle small and slender enough to hold while you log those miles.
Gym Bag, Heart Rate Monitor, Smartphones
Keep your gym equipment in a designated gym bag and make sure you stash it somewhere you won't forget, like your car or your foyer so you can grab it on the go. Good gym bags are lightweight, anti-bacterial and with enough storage to store your water bottle, shoes and other essentials. A shoe bag is also helpful if you tend to hit the gym before or after work, and many of them have waterproof computer compartments with that in mind.
A Polar™ Heart Rate monitor can help maximize your cardiovascular exercise by keeping track of your maximum or minimum heart rate. This is important to help you stay in the proper zones to get the most efficient workout. A heart rate monitor can also track your intensity of your workout and can give you a good metric to use for tracking your goals. You can also use it in tandem with most treadmills and other cardiovascular gym equipment.
Many smartphones also feature apps that log miles and keep track of your heart rate like Nike™ Running and Nike™ Fit to help you get into shape. Not to mention, you can easily program music to work out to using apps like Spotify.
With these essentials, you're sure to enjoy your workout and more importantly, look forward to your next one.
Warren "MrFit" Bloom
"When you're in great shape, you're telling the world that you're a disciplined,
motivated, confident, and healthy person-and hence a desirable partner." -Unknown
Warren "MrFit" Bloom NSCA, NPTI, CHEK (HLC)
3050 K St NW STE 150 Washington DC 20007