Every job requires the right tools for good results. Your workout is no different. For a smooth and successful session at the gym, don’t leave home without a well-stocked gym bag.
Reusable water bottle
You’ll last longer and feel better if you’re well-hydrated. Water helps transport nutrients and oxygen to your muscles, while it carries toxins away. On top of the recommended eight to 10 cups you should be drinking every day, it’s important to get an additional cup for every 20 minutes you exercise. Don’t rely on the fountain “ it’s rife with germs, plus you’ll drink more if you carry a reusable bottle with you. But don’t pick plastic “ stainless steel water bottles are durable, will keep your water cold and chemical free. (Tip: Your water bottle can double as a weight for resistance training.)
The right shoes
Pumps for work, heels for play and good quality sneaks for exercise. The right shoe can actually increase your stamina “ you’ll last longer and be less sore the day after “ while an improperly fitted or inappropriate one has the potential to cause serious injury. To be sure you’re on the right track, get fitted by a professional who will study your gait and grill you on your activities to make sure you pick the right pair.
If your sports bra is all busted elastic and your pants insist on riding up, you won’t last long on the treadmill. Make sure you choose clothes that aren’t just comfortable, but functional too.
Your own towel
Work up a good, detoxifying sweat and then mop it up with your own towel. Bringing one from home cuts back on the massive load of laundry the gym does with its own towels, which they wash at high heat and likely with bleach. Choose one that’s the size of a hand towel and made of a soft, absorbent, non-abrasive material (bamboo and microfiber are great). Be sure to wash it regularly with a perfume-free laundry soap, which can help head off breakouts and keep your post-workout skin glowing.
A good mix
Studies show that listening to music while working out increases both performance and endurance. It’s not surprising; music provides a rhythm, sets a pace and helps keep your focus away from fatigue, boredom and other distractions. The benefits of exercise are amplified when your mind is relaxed and free of stressful or negative thoughts, so stack your playlist with your favourite upbeat guilty pleasures (hello Lady Gaga!).
The perfect post-workout snack mixes protein, fat and calories “ try a carton of chocolate milk or a few swipes of almond butter on a slice of whole-grain bread. After an intense workout, a quick snack will balance your blood sugar, give you energy to get home and help ease day-after muscle soreness.