Aug 28, 2014

Gym or Sports Bag Essentials

Gym bag essentials

When exercising or playing sports, it is important to be prepared and as comfortable as possible, it incredibly frustrating to arrive at the gym or your game, only to realise that you've left your equipment, your towel, headphones or water at home. To help you prepare for your workout by making sure you've always got all your essential items tucked safely into your gym bag, I've teamed up with Rexona Clinical for men to bring you today's post.

Here is a list of ten workout essentials that you won't want to leave at home:

1. Sports equipment

You should always start here. This is the specific equipment you will need for your sport, for instance, those of you playing soccer will need your uniform, boots and shin pads, swimmers will need goggles. Start with your equipment as it is amazing how easy it is to forget these things once you are concentrating on the rest of your bag.

2. Water or sports drink

Hydration is absolutely vital when exercising. If participating in mild exercise, a bottle of water should suffice, however if you will be sweating a lot, performing a high intensity workout, or exercising in the heat, you might needed the added benefit of some coconut water or a sports drink to replace electrolytes. If you aren't sure which to choose, coconut water is a natural alternative and is very high in potassium which will be beneficial for those completing moderate workouts. If you are sweating profusely or engaging in a very high intensity workout, you might want to choose a sports drink as it is higher in sodium which you will be losing through your sweat.

3. Towel

If you are working out in a gym then you will be required to bring a towel. Most gyms won't allow you to workout without one. To save space, you can invest in a sports towel. Sports towels are much smaller than regular towels, are highly absorbent, fast-drying and often have antibacterial properties. Even if you aren't working out in a gym, a towel will always come in handy.

4. Deoderant

Choose a good deoderant that will withstand the pressures your body will place it under during exercise. You don't want to be that person in the gym that makes life uncomfortable for those around them by not wearing deoderant, or wearing an ineffective deoderant that doesn't stand up to the requirements of exercise.

5. Music and headphones

I love to workout to music, good beats help push me along and keep me motivated. Not only do I enjoy my workout more with music, but I've found that I actually perform better too. Headphones are a must though as not everyone will enjoy your personal choice of music!

6. Snacks

For optimum performance and comfort during exercise, the Australian Institute of Sport recommends that large, healthy meals should be eaten no closer than 3-4 hours prior to exercise. If you need to eat after that here is a list of recommended snacks you can pack into your gym bag:

For consumption 1-2 hours before exercise:
  • liquid meal supplement
  • sports bar
  • cereal bar
  • fruit-flavoured yogurt
  • fruit
For consumption less than an hour prior to exercise, or during exercise when required:
  • carbohydrate gel
  • sports bar
  • jelly lollies

The AIS does note that a small percentage of people will experience an extreme reaction after eating close to, or during exercise which is due to a drop in blood glucose levels. If you experience fatigue, shakiness or dizziness during exercise then you might need to avoid snacks close to exercise, experiment with your meal times to find what works for you, or eat snacks higher in carbohydrates.

7. Strapping tape

Band Aids, sports strapping tape or electrical tape is good to have on hand in case of injuries, blisters, or equipment problems that need a quick and temporary fix.

8. Heat cream or gel

For niggling injuries or aches, a good anti-inflammatory heat cream or gel can work wonders. Apply it before and during exercise always taking care to follow the specific directions of the brand you choose.

9. Anti-inflammatory medication

When you have a strain or injury, ideally you should rest and let it heal but those of you who play competitive sport know that sometimes that is not an option. At these times, taking an anti-inflammatory prior to your game or event can help reduce pain, inflammation or swelling. Just be sure to always follow the guidelines or recommendations of your medical practitioner.

10. Hat and sun cream

These are absolutely essential for outdoor exercise, especially in our climate here in Australia. Choose a sweat or water resistant product with high, long lasting protection as sun cream can become less effective with profuse sweating and wiping with towels.
So there you have my top ten essential items to pack in your gym or sports bag. Having all of these items handy will help get you ready for an excellent workout, so get out there and enjoy!