Fitness and Training

Essential Items to Keep in Your Gym Bag

When it comes to keeping a successful workout routine, preparation is key. Having the right items packed in your gym bag ready to go at all times is the greatest way to be prepared.

PRO Compression has compiled a list of five essential items you should have in your gym bag. From heart rate monitors to compression socks, you’ll want these items on hand to help take your workout to the next level—without breaking the bank.

Heart Rate Monitoring Device
Whether you’re talking about a Fitbit, smartwatch or heart rate monitor attachment for your smartphone, you should always have a way to monitor your heart rate during and after your workout.
Your heart rate can be broken down into “zones” that include resting, warm-up, fat burn, endurance and maximum heart rate. These zones help you to gauge where your heart rate is, which can be beneficial for high-intensity impact training (HIIT).

HIIT works by combining short intense workouts with rest periods. For each aspect, there is a target heart rate to achieve. During the actual workout you should be at 70 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. For resting it should be 60 to 65 percent.

Using the maximum heart rate formula can help you know your targeted heart rate. With a heart rate monitor, you will be able to hit your target heart rate every time, and you’ll be able to turn any workout into a HIIT workout.

Having a pair of workout gloves should be essential for any gear bag. While some swear by them and others refuse to touch them, it’s always good to have them on hand.
Workout gloves can help improve your grip, prevent blisters and calluses and relieve pressure on your hands. Even if you would rather have callused hands or don’t mind them, you should wear gloves.

A blister can prevent you from lifting again for a day or two, messing with your schedule and routine. Wearing gloves will help to avoid blisters and keep your fitness plan on track.

Compression Socks
Many people believe muscle soreness following a workout is a good thing. It means you’ve had a successful workout, likening the idea to “feeling the burn.”

Muscle soreness, however, is caused by a swelling of the muscles, which in turn causes pain. To relieve the pain, you’ll need to relieve the swelling. Enter compression socks.

These socks help reduce swelling in your muscles, which helps them recover faster. Swelling is caused by poor circulation in your legs and feet caused by overworking your heart and gravity during your workout.

Socks with graduated compression get tighter the farther from the heart they are. The arches of your feet will be tighter than your calves, and the extra rush of blood in your feet will help keep them from being sore or swollen post-workout.

They can also assist with heel pain and shin splints from running on pavement or concrete. The snugness of the socks promotes better circulation. This reduces inflammation and the pain associated with the inflamed muscle.

Mini-Foam Roller
One of the biggest mistakes made in the gym is to complete your workout without a cooldown or stretching period. Stretching and cooling down can help your muscles recover faster for the next workout.

Using a foam roller helps apply direct pressure to muscles and tissues while you’re stretching. This gets to the deep muscles and tissues, works out the knots and helps your muscles recover faster.

Post-Workout Supplement
There are a plethora of pre- and post-workout supplements on the market. Before going out and buying the first product you find, though, be sure to do your research; there are plenty of tried and true products that have been used for years. However, there are many that are just hype, too.

Find a proven supplement that promotes fast muscle recovery and healing. Read the reviews to be sure there are no ill side effects. When you’ve found one, keep it in your bag at all times. You’ll be grateful you did the next day.

Stocking Your Gym Bag
Your gym bag should always be ready with everything needed to get to the gym as often as possible, from additional apparel to any needed tech. Set yourself up with the essential gear to maximize your time in the gym, and don’t forget to include some snacks in your gym bag to refuel after your workout.

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