3 Things You Should Always Carry in Your Gym Bag
You can tell a lot about someone by what's in their gym bag...how prepared they are. What type of exercise program they're on. How funky their gym shoes are...
Your gym bag is a sign of preparation. Being prepared for a workout is kid of like being prepared for a test, or a game. The better the prep, the better the result. This is especially true for people who travel a lot, and live life on the go. Whether you're at home, or on the road, having these items will prepare you for anything that comes your way.
1) Foam Roll
10 years ago, you would only see foam rolls in PT clinics and chiropractic offices. Now more gyms have them, but they often hide them for personal training clients only. Many people have a love hate-relationship with the foam roll. They are highly effective, but can bring grown men to tears. Anybody who'd ever rolled out their IT band feels my pain!!
Foam rolls can be used for many things, but are most often used for what's known as self myofacial release, or SMR. Taking 5 minutes to foam roll everyday increases blood flow, and helps releases any tight muscular or fascial areas in the body. SMR can be done before a workout, or anytime thats convenient for you.
Tip: Spend 30 seconds to 1 minute each day rolling out these muscle groups: calves, hamstrings, quads, IT bands, gluten, and lats.
2) Mini Bands
Another physical therapy staple! Mini-bands are also becoming more popularized in mainstream gym culture, yet are unavailable to most gym members. Mini bands are small, compact, and extremely versatile. They can be used for lower body, upper body, and core work.
They are especially adebt at training the gluteus medium. The gluteus med, is a key stabilizer in your body. Weakness in the glute med, can lead hip, back, and knee pain. So while you definitely want to to do mainly compound lifts in your workouts, its important to devote time to training the muscles that help support those big lifts.
tip: Place a mini band just above your knees while doing a body weight squat. Keep the band from pulling your knees inward....I just introduced you to your glut med. BOOM
3) Post Workout Shake or Protein Bar
Turns put the Bros in your gym actually do know a little something...A post workout protein shake should be an essential part of your recovery strategy. Protein helps repair muscle tissue, and aid the synthesis of lean muscle mass. Research is mixed on the exact timing, but it is believed that the ideal time for protein intake is 30 minutes post workout.
Option A would be a shake and option B would be a protein bar. The reason being is that protein powder is more easily digested than a protein bar. So it gets into the blood stream quicker and well within that magical 30 minute window I mentioned earlier.
tip: My personal favorite protein is Orgain. Its a vegan protein with super clean ingredients. Amazon usually has it at the best price.
They say "by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail"...Well we're not going to let that happen. You now have the essentials to properly equip your gym bag. And the best part?....all this stuff is readily available, and inexpensive to buy....Now get moving and put that gym bag to use!