the joy of strength training


November 10th, 2007 at 12:55 am

What’s in your gym bag?

gym bagThis post was inspired by a conversation on another site about how much stuff people have to carry around with them in the gym. I flout all modern gym health & safety rules by taking my little rucksack around with me – there’s no way I’m going to carry this stuff around individually. There’s a little corner by the squat rack where I generally plonk my bag down and unpack.

So what’s in my gym bag?

  • Workout log & pen

Very important items! You can see from the picture that I have invested in a sturdy, attractive journal rather than a few scraps of paper or a flimsy jotter. Everything gets recorded: sets, reps, weights, timings, notes on form. I’ve had this log for a couple of years now and it’s good fun to look back to the days when I first started lifting properly. I also have an online log but this is less convenient to carry around in the gym!

I strongly recommend using a workout journal or log. Successful strength training is all about progression – steadily increasing weight or volume lifted. So it’s vital to know what you did last time. People in the gym who don’t have workout logs either do the same thing every week or just make it up as they go along. Neither tactic gets great results.

  • Liquid chalk

I apply liquid chalk before I start lifting, as I get very sweaty palms and bars can so easily slip out of your hands! Liquid chalk comes in a little bottle, which is expensive but lasts for ages because you only need a penny-sized blob. The stuff dries on your hands within a few seconds so it’s a convenient and discreet way to chalk up.

  • Gloves

These are just a back-up really. I prefer to lift without gloves – bit of a purist that way. I think you get a better grip and a better ‘feel’ for the bar without gloves on. I do get callouses but they aren’t that bad and in any case, I’m not really bothered.

Occasionally I will use the gloves if the bar hurts. For example, at a previous gym they had a pull-up bar with ridges cut into it. Presumably it was to help you not to slip but it just hurt my palms so I used gloves for that one. Also I find sometimes that if I use the monkey bars at a playground (outdoor training in the summer is a laugh!) they tend to be quite slippery and gloves can help.

  • Towel

Everyone should use a towel, it’s only fair on your fellow gym users!

  • Gym card

Well, I wouldn’t get into the gym without it. Otherwise it’s yet another piece of useless plastic taking up space in my wallet.

  • Water bottle

Reusable and I fill it from the gym’s water fountain. I got into the habit of taking a bottle round when I used to go to a gym that didn’t have a free water fountain – meanies!

  • Lipstick

Yes, amongst all these accoutrements of strength, a dash of the feminine. Sometimes it just makes me feel a little bit more human at the end of a hard workout. Also, my lips do sometimes go a bit blue after I cool down and I look ill if I don’t add a bit of colour!

So there you have it – the mysteries of my gym bag revealed. What do you carry in yours?

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  • 1

    I train at home, so I don’t have to worry about
    anything like that. But if I were to have a gym
    bag, it’d include pretty much everything you
    listed except the lipstick! LOL

    MonkeyMan on November 10th, 2007
  • 2

    I dont carry that much equipment, thats for sure!

    Gloves – always.
    Straps – occassionally.
    Dip belt – occassionally.
    Towel – always.
    Liquid – always.

    Stephen Hoyles on November 22nd, 2007
  • 3

    I have been wondering about using straps for deadlifts. Haven’t bothered so far though…should I?

    gubernatrix on November 22nd, 2007
  • 4

    I think it is down to personal choice, guber.

    I only really use them when going heavy, but other guys I know use them all of the time.

    For about £5 investment you can find out if they suit you!

    Stephen Hoyles on November 26th, 2007


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