Happy Monday everyone! After a few weeks of being ill, I am FINALLY getting back into training and it feels SO good! Not only do I feel stronger and more energised, but I really notice the change in my moods when I’m exercising 5/6 times a week – I honestly think working out is one of the best cures for most things!
So with training getting back into full swing, I thought I’d do a little blog on what I keep in my gym bag, a mixture of things I use every session and some less staple items but still just as valuable! I’m not going to go into too much detail on my actual kit (will save that for another post) but more on the things I think can really a) help your workouts and b) make your life a little easier!
I’m kicking off with one a little left field. I have a cupboard full of vitamins and minerals that I (try) to take on a regular basis but one I rarely miss out on is my Vitamin E post-training. When we exercise aerobically, our body produces something called free radicals and when there is a build-up of these free radicals in the body that it cannot cope with, it leads to cell damage and on a more serious level – may help to develop diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which helps to ‘sweep up’ these free radicals and protect the body against them. Hence, it’s one I like to know I am always dosed up on, especially at peak times of free radical production! Long story short – keep the immune system high and the body in abundance of beneficial vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and slow down processes such as ageing.
I don’t use dry shampoo as a substitute for washing my hair, but it sure does help me when I’m glowing and sweaty from the gym and need to rush off to a meeting or to another client! Batiste is the only dry shampoo brand I’ve used, I remember having it in abundance in our boarding houses years ago (although admittedly, probably less gym based and more laziness!) and it’s remained a real staple in my gym bag, often saving me a lot of hassle and time. I don’t think it’s good to wash your hair every single day as it strips it of its’ natural oils and given I train 6 days a week – or I will be now that I’m feeling better – it’s nice to have other options. Plus, the smell is amazing! The floral ‘bright and lively’ is my personal favourite. All you need to do a spray a few bursts into the hair roots which will remove the excess oils giving hair a much cleaner and fresher look!
3) Protein Powder
No, not for bulking ladies (!) but for a healthy and beneficial post-workout breakfast if I’m on the go. There’s no faking it, we can’t always have our poached eggs on rye bread ready to go each morning because if we did, well, life would just seem a little too easy wouldn’t it ;)? If I don’t come prepared with something like a protein shake, I will tend to reach for the first thing I can (because I hate getting to the ‘hunger pangs’ point) and chances are it will be a lot less healthy and a lot more calorific! I tend to change up my protein here and there but I mainly use Sun Warrior Vegan Vanilla flavour and simply shake it with water and ice (if available) for a filling start!
4) Cotton Pads and Make up remover / Cleanser
Skin, skin and skin! I often get asked how I keep my skin clear and whilst of course genetics plays a factor, I also like to think I take pretty good care of it. For me that means keeping things as natural as possible and doing simple things like days without any make up and making sure I wash it thoroughly each night. But it also means not training with any make up on my skin to clog up the pores AND ensuring I wash it after each gym session. It makes no sense why we would allow our skin to sweat with a) A coating of something unnatural that will seep into the pores and b) To go about our day with a face that still has all the dirt and sweat on it from the session! So my cotton pads and cleanser are always in my bag ready for before and after the session to keep my skin breathing as best it can!
5) Apple Watch (Series 3)
I recently upgraded to the latest series 3 Apple watch and I am just a little bit in love! To be fair, it’s not something that remains in my gym bag as I wear it everywhere I go but it’s certainly something I wouldn’t train without. Knowing which heart rate zones I’m training in to maximise fat burn, learning how quickly I recover (and therefore how fit I am) and knowing how many calories I’ve burned from a workout are just some of the things that have massively pushed and motivated me throughout training. I highly recommend getting a decent fitness tracker so that you can start to measure your progress and keep on top of it all. I personally choose Apple not only for their fitness tracking capabilities but also for the lifestyle side, the wireless music, GPS (not in the UAE but in many other countries) and all the apps that contact with your phone and make life a little easier!
6) Resistance Bands
Yep, those little black, blue and red things you often see girls with the best bums working out with! Unfortunately, my genetics definitely didn’t play into my hands when it came to a big and beautiful butt and instead, I received my father’s pancake one so it takes quite a bit of work to build it! Honestly though, resistance bands have been one of my best friends for both glute activation pre-training to ensure all the right muscles are fired up, and to add simple and effective resistance to exercises, both with and without equipment. I just put up a lower body workout on my Instagram that uses the resistance bands so you can check that out here.
I often get asked which ones I use and they haven’t changed for the past two years so the answer is pretty simple! I swear by Beats powerbeats wireless earphones – they stay in, they’re super comfortable and easy to use AND the volume can be whacked right up to get you in the zone!
8) Workout Gloves
Some people won’t workout without gloves, some can’t be dealing with the hassle – I guess everyone’s skin is slightly different. I’m personally not a fan of the hard skin on the hands that come from using weights and equipment in the gym so I always have my gloves on hand if I’m going to be doing a heavy weight session or intense upper body. They are obviously there for grip too, but I would say for the majority of people’s training, the main benefit is keeping soft skin soft! Do make sure you get a size that actually fits your hands because otherwise it can be quite restrictive during training.
I hope you found this post useful and if you have any questions please comment below! What are the staples you keep in your gym bag? Could you add to this list?
This post was inspired by Batiste Arabia. Don’t forget to enter the competition for the chance to win over AED 1200 gym essentials hamper! Head to their Facebook page here. :)