Having the right gym gear and developing an appropriate exercise routine are both necessary if your time at the gym is going to be productive. We look at some of the best gym and fitness club accessories to maximize your workout and ensure you are performing your best! Although the gym accessories needs differ somewhat from person to person, the following ten items are must haves for everyone at the gym.
1. Water Bottle
One of the most essential things is to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout and hence a water bottle is the most essential gym gear you can buy! Staying hydrated is the most important part of any workout because being fully hydrated improves endurance, muscle performance and strength. Dehydration can lead to a number of problems that decrease your performance at the gym including cramps that can stop your workout in its tracks. In order to stay hydrated, try to drink 4 ounces of water every 20 minutes of your workout and drink a glass of water before and after your workout. Additionally, it's easier to stay hydrated with a reusable bottle than it is relying on your gym's water fountain so consider bringing your own water bottle to every workout. We like this glass bottle with a great silicone sleeve for easier grip - we suggest avoiding the use of plastic bottles as the plastic breaks down into your drink causing a multitiude of issues!
2. Music (through awesome headphones!)
Multiple studies have shown that listening to music while at the gym improves your workout! Music will keep you focused and motivated to give you the extra something you need to finish that last set or stay on the treadmill for another ten minutes! That extra set or final ten minutes on the treadmill is often the difference between a good workout and a GREAT WORKOUT! Given you have a phone that can likely play music, invest in a good pair of headphones that will not fall off, get in the way, and be comfortable while you work out - and so others do not hear you playing Eye of the Tiger from Rocky. We like these reasonably priced bluetooth headphones that are well rated, last long, and are waterproof for those of you sweat machines.
3. Athletic Sneakers
The right athletic shoes can mean the difference between injury and success at the gym. Even if the wrong shoes don’t lead to a serious injury, they can cause blisters and joint pain that set your workout routine back weeks and cost you hard-won progress. In choosing the right footwear, make sure to select a sneaker that is best for your specific kind of exercise. There is no all-around gym shoe but instead a number of shoes are tailored to different activities from running to aerobics. See the most popular sneaker styles from Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Invest in the right sneaker/or shoe, this is not the type of gym gear you want to skimp on!
Most gyms don’t provide locks for their lockers so it’s always a good idea to bring a lock with you in order to protect any valuables that you can’t keep with you during your workout such as car keys or a wallet. Any lock will do but a combination lock is best for most gym-goers because it doesn’t require that you carry a small key with you during your workout which is easy to misplace. We like this model which is reinforced and much stronger than the lock you probably used during high school - and will protect valuables such as your wallet and your phone if you store it in the locker.
5. Protein Drink/Post-Gym Snack
A protein drink is a must have for anyone working out to build muscle or engaging in challenging workouts. Consuming a protein drink in the twenty minutes following your workout can significantly improve the outcome of your workout by giving your body the protein it needs to build muscle. Even if you aren’t working out to build muscle but maybe to tone muscle instead, it is still important to consume a post-gym snack high in protein. Our favorite protein powder is IsoPure which has zero carbs, great if you're trying to stay lean. Save money by bringing your own shake to the gym - invest in a BlenderBottle that can mix your powder with water at the gym. Protein bars are another option but most taste icky! If you are trying to build muscle, do not skimp on protein!
Towels can be used as a barrier between yourself and the machine or mat you are using or they can simply be used to wipe sweat from your face and hands. Your gym might provide a towel service but gym towels are rarely as absorbent as you’d want so make sure to bring your own - plus some gym towels are downright nasty and soaked in bleach. Even though the uses vary from person to person, almost everyone can agree that a towel is a must have item at the gym. These travel towels are great, and they dry quickly - plus you get three!
7. Guidance/Training/Personal Trainer
Unless you are already highly experienced with fitness - it is wise to invest in some education around exercising and routines to help you meet your goals. Want to slim down? You'll want to do something different for that than those who want to build muscle. The last thing you want to do is work out at the gym for months and not see any results, or results you did not want. Frequently women who want to slim down enagge in routines that put too much emphasis on muscle building - this helps eliminate fat, but then often "bulks" up the women who do not look like they slimmed down! For men looking to have a comprehensive resource on exercising, we recommend the Exercise Bible.
8. Fitbit / Fitness Tracker
First you need to set goals - lose weight, burn fat, etc, then you need to take a measurement of where you are now, and then track your progress. If you can't know where you are now, you will not know if you made ANY progress or if what you are doing is working towards those goals. That's why it so important to have some gym gear that measures your progress. Standard fitness trackers will measure steps taken, flight climbed, some will measure heart rate, and sleep activity. Newer models also add waterproof if you jog in the rain.
9. Lifting Gloves
Wearing lifting gloves at the gym is an important precaution for anyone using free weights or resistance machines. These gloves can prevent you from developing unwanted calluses and the firmer grip they provide can increase your weight lifting performance. These ventilated weight lifting gloves are highly rated on Amazon with over 1,600 reviews at a 4.5 rating! Plus you will look like a badass!
10. Shower Slippers
There are certain gym gear accessories that you need to bring to the gym if you plan to shower there. Foremost among these items are shower slippers. No matter how clean your gym is, it is always a good idea to wear something on your feet while you are in the shower or walking around afterwards in order to protect yourself from the fungi that cause athlete’s foot and other infections. A common infection is Plantar's Wart that can appear on the bottom of your foot that takes MONTHS to go away on its own without treatment (I know from experience!). Additionally, although many gyms provide soap, you may want to bring your own soap and shampoo as most supplied versions are of poor quality and may be chemical ladden.
11. Gym Bag
Bringing your gym gear with you to the gym every day is going to be difficult without the proper gym bag. Gym bags do not have to be expensive but it is a good idea to invest a little bit of money in a durable, reusable bag to keep everything secure and will last for more than a few months. You can find many different styles now to match your clothes and look cool at the gym. We like designs that can be used for travel as well to avoid buying too many.
These are the eleven must have gym gear accessories we recommend for the gym and with them, it is possible to prepare yourself for a more productive workout. Attitude and knowledge are highly important in getting the most out of your gym experience but neither of those things matters if you don’t arrive with the equipment you need to exercise effectively. Let us know below what you think are other important gym gear accessories to own and what has helped you become more productive at the gym.
Now that you know what to bring with you to the gym, be sure to rate your gym on Reviewagym.com and let others know how your gym is doing!