What’s In My Gym Bag?

Lololololol… trick question! I don’t actually have a gym bag. Well, unless you count my purse, which is technically a gym bag, and also I keep some of these things in my car, sooooooo… these are the things I just really need to have with me at the gym!

The Plan

Before every gym workout, I like to plot out what is scheduled for the day with an actual pen on actual paper. This prevents, as my husband likes to say, “fuckarounditis”, gives me a picture of what to expect for that day, and keeps my goals moving forward. I’m currently following a strength and conditioning program (from Chrissy King Fitness), and prior to heading to the gym, I’ll write down a clear plan of what my lifts are for the day, and what weights I want to shoot for. I really like keeping this as a journal, because I can easily flip back to see, for example, how heavy my squats were last week versus how much I want to try this week. I also log what and when I ate that day, how I felt overall (strong? dizzy? putzy? on fire??), and if there’s any changes or cues I want to remember for next time. It’s nice to be able to reflect back and adjust as needed. Could I use an app? Sure, but this feels better for me.

The Work

Once I have my plan outlined, I lace up my Chuck Taylors. I would prefer to train barefoot, but that’s frowned upon in commercial gyms, so Chucks it is. The sole in a Chuck is hard and flat (no arch), which kind of mimics being barefoot in a way- I feel just as strong doing kettlebell swings in them vs. barefoot.

The next most important thing for a workout is, obviously, music. Or podcasts. Is it weird that I need music for cardio but prefer to lift to a podcast? Anyway, I’ve been liking my over-ear bluetooth headphones pretty ok, but sometimes they are a bit too hot/sweaty, especially during the summer months. So I’ll switch off with my tried-and-true Yurbuds Inspire corded earbuds. Problem is, then I need something to hold my phone, so I use this super rad running belt. Ok. Fine. It’s a fanny pack. But it’s stretchy and water/sweat resistant and light and holds my phone at the gym, and is also great for walks.

What am I listening to?

Well, I’m pretty obsessed with all things Twin Peaks: The Return right now, so I have a few podcasts I’m liking in that territory; also, My Favorite Murder is still at the top of my favorites. For music, I find either “80’s party” type playlists or stations based on something like Disclosure or Cut Copy to be my go-tos right now.

If I could find a liquid chalk I like, I would also bring that with me, but so far I haven’t had any luck.

The Recovery

Hello again, Mario Badescu! My face gets super red and hot after a workout, so keeping a mini sized toner on hand is sooooo refreshing! I usually do get to go home to change after a workout, but washing my hands and a spritz is mandatory before leaving the gym in order to feel human.

When I get home from a long walk (I like to go on “podcast walks” in my neighborhood to enjoy the fresh summer air and get some vitamin D a few times a week) or from a leg day at the gym, I like to throw my legs up the wall for 10-15 minutes. I’ve had a tweaky hamstring for the past few weeks, and I feel like this simple recovery pose really helps to un-tweak that, plus keep my low back happy. It’s also just really comfortable and relaxing, and as a bonus, confuses my cats.

And finally, since I’m now in my 40’s and don’t recover like I used to, I try to roll out on a foam roller after every workout (either at the gym or at home- foam rollers are cheap!), then I’ll focus in on any trouble spots (especially my feet) with a small rubber pinky ball while I watch TV at night.

What are you bringing to the gym? Is there a good podcast or audiobook you’re into right now? Do you put your legs up the wall? Should I pony up for a dedicated gym bag?? Let me know!

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