Anatomy of a Guy’s Gym Bag

1. Lifting straps

I lift pretty heavy (no bragging). Especially on back days, the smaller muscles in the forearms just cannot keep up with the larger muscles in the back. Banging out 40 sets of gripping bars with heavy weights is just not possible… even with the best of intentions! Straps are an excellent way to get through those lifts without having to stop mid-workout simple because your arms and your grip give in. People that say “oh, straps are for pussies, just train your forearms more” are people that don’t lift heavy enough, plain and simple. Smaller muscle groups simply can’t keep up with larger muscle groups in terms of lifting capability.

I use the GASP straps with wrist buckled-wraps.

2. Wrist wraps

I use wrist straps due to the same logic as the straps, actually. On heavy chest and shoulder days, I need that little extra wrist support to push through heavy benches and presses. Not to mention the safety factor. Why risk damage to your wrists?

I use the Gorilla Wear elastic wraps in red.

3. Food & Supps

I generally time my pre-workout meals pretty well in order to not be too full nor too empty during my workout. But, nevertheless, I don’t want to get caught off guard, hungry halfway through my workout. So I always have a protein bar, protein shake (protein powder with oats in a shaker cup), and some pre-workout formula in my bag… just in case I need a quick boost of nutrients!

“Real” food, while nutritionally more preferable, makes no sense due to spoilage, but protein bars, powders, and formulas are quick, convenient, and compact to keep in a gym bag for an extended period of time.

4. Workout Log

I write down every set and every rep of every workout in my log book. And so should you! Even if you are the most experienced lifter, it’s next to impossible to remember how much weight, how many reps, etc. you did on that 4th set of leg extensions as you 3rd exercise 2 weeks ago on Thursday morning. Come on!

My log allows me not only to track progress, but also to test out new things— and thus see if they yield results. I use the low tech method: a book and a pencil. Sure, “there’s an app for that” with high tech methods of logging available, but none of the high tech methods are sweat proof, fall proof and gymbag proof… so I’m sticking to old school analog here! I encourage all of my clients to keep a log; it motivates you, keeps you accountable, and makes for accurate records.

I use a regular size Moleskin book with lines.

5. Shoes
Since you have to stand firm while lifting, shoes can either make or break your workout. I’ve tried all kinds of shoes— running shoes (too soft), weightlifting shoes (too hard), basketball shoes (not enough support), “fitness” shoes (just plain terrible) and even tried lifting on flip-flops (BIG no no!). Finally I settled for powerlifting shoes from Otomix. They have a very thin sole, so you have a good connection with the floor, which is key for heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts. They are flexible shoes, without being flimsy, and also uber comfortable. They run a bit on the pricey side, 115 euro’s here in NL, but that’s fine by me.
I’m on my 3rd pair already and I don’t think I’ll switch to another brand anytime soon.

6. Socks

If there is one thing I truly hate, it would be forgetting my socks. I know, its no biggie really, but it means I either have to go barefoot (NOOO!) or use the socks I’m wearing already (NOOO!) I seriously dislike either option. Therefore I always keep a pair of extra socks in my bag, just in case.

I use low-cut socks from Puma.

7. Other

Of course I always take an extra workout shirt, towel, and big water bottle to the gym, but that really goes without saying I think.

Guest Author Bio:

Peter has been into sports all his life doing anything from basketball, tennis and field hockey to squash, swimming and of course fitness and weightlifting. After running a social media marketing business for nearly 5 years, he decided it was time to turn things around and focus on his passion for sports and turn that into a business. Peter teaches his clients a no-nonsense approach of hard work, solid nutrition and proper rest. No room for fad diets and food hypes, but back to the basics of fitness and bodybuilding and making this a part of life. Based in Amsterdam with his wife and baby son, Peter is living the fitness lifestyle to the fullest and helping others to achieve their own goals.

Check out Peter’s blog for more information: Professional Gymrats.

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