02/10/14 by Rennie Detore
Your New Year's Resolution to lose weight is already 30 days old, and you're probably in the midst of taking stock of your progress now that January has turned into February.
And you've come to a resounding conclusion to that resolution: You've actually started to see a little bit of progress. So maybe you haven't hit your goal weight and those jeans are still a bit snug, but you've noticed that you're feeling better, have more energy and are skipping that 2 pm nap you've been taking at work.
But alas, all is not perfect when it comes to your going to the gym routine, and one aspect of your journey leaves plenty to be desired.
Your gym bag.
Yes, that tote or duffel bag you've been lugging around for the last month or so doesn't exactly fit the mold of the model carrying case in terms of the contents or lack thereof. The first rule of thumb is an easy one: make sure your bag doesn't need bagged. In other words, invest in a modern gym bag that mirrors the name.
That means no grocery bags (not even the upscale, cloth or nylon ones with handles) or rolling up your deodorant and shampoo in your sweatshirt and sweatpants and calling that a "homemade" gym bag.
Beyond the bag itself, you need a few items above and beyond the essentials for that trip to the gym, whether you're going first thing in the morning or right after work. Everyone knows they need clothes, but a closer look reveals you should be packing much for than the obvious.
1. Lock for locker
This one seems a little redundant but you'd be surprised to learn that most people who bring a gym bag filled with clothes, shoes and even valuables don't bother to add a lock to that all important contents list. It's too risky, no matter how secure your gym is, to leave your things readily accessible to the general public that migrates in and out of the locker room.
You can see this one coming a mile away. The same person who is crouched down in the corner on one knee after only a few minutes of a workout most likely are the ones that answer the following question with a resounding "no."
Did you eat before you came to the gym? Plenty of myths regarding weight loss point the finger at no eating before you workout so you can burn more calories while you're running or lifting weights. Wrong. You need food for energy, and without anything in your stomach, your exercise is going to exhaust you faster and have you heading for the sidelines is no time. Your gym bag should include some sort of emergency protein bar, shake or even a small bag of almonds, nuts or anything that can keep you from passing out in the midst of a pushup.
3. Extra clothes
Everyone knows your gym bag should have exercise clothes in it, so you're equipped to change from your work attire into your workout garb once you've traded in the office for the elliptical. But did you ever think that you should pack an extra outfit as well? There's nothing worse than putting in a long, hard and arduous workout and being forced to go home sopping wet with sweat. That isn't a pleasant car ride home as you are forced to peel your skin and subsequent soaked clothing away from your car seat, and rush into the house to find the nearest shower. An extra set of clothes nips this annoyance squarely in the bud.
This one really runs parallel to some degree with number three. If you're making it a point to really amp up your workout and sweat out that ham sandwich you had for lunch, you should be commended for your hard work. Conversely, if you're the person who is moving from one machine to another and leaving that annoying back and neck sweat behind, then shame on you for not having a towel in your bag.
5. Hair ties and headbands
Have you ever been in the midst of a kickboxing class and instead of focusing squarely on the instructor, you're busy pushing hair out of your face? At that moment, you probably wish you had a hair tie right about now. These are one of the more overlooked items and rarely do these must haves wind up in your gym bag. The same can be said for headbands, too. Not only do they keep hair out of your face but they also put an end to sweat beads rolling down your head and into your eyes or mouth. That's a salty snack you're completely fine with skipping.
As far as missing a workout? That's probably not going to happen now that you've developed a routine and that resolution to lose weight is within reach. Having pieced together a competent gym bag underscored with practicality as far as what's in it won't make or break your workout.
It will, however, make life and lifting weights a whole lot easier.
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