Even if you’re a dedicated gym rat, there comes a time when you need to upgrade your workout gear. And it might be in the best interest of your motivation, too, since when you have a new stash of goods you’re much more likely to hit the gym, trail or court, even if you’re feeling the dreaded workout burnout.
And, just like all of life’s other pursuits, being active requires the right uniform. You need specialty gear, apparel and extras that support your fitness goals so you’re not tempted to give up halfway through. Here are a few of the basics to get you started.
New to the fitness world? Start here. Coupled with a boss attitude, these are the staples you need to enter any workout facility ready to crush it. They’re also meant to help you take your routine with you wherever you go, whether it’s the park, the breakroom at work or the barre studio.
- A Reliable, Sweat-Busting Outfit — You could sweat it out in a T-shirt and jeans, but you’re putting your body in harm’s way and complicating your laundry routine when you do it. Investing in some moisture-wicking or dry fit apparel helps absorb sweat, which in turn wards off odors, keeping you fresh all along the way. The right workout clothing should also conform to your body, minimizing the risk of your clothes getting in the way and causing injury.
- All-Purpose Trainers — They say your gym shoes are the most important part of your fitness getup, and for good reason. They support your entire body while minimizing pain and discomfort, thereby helping you quite literally go the extra mile. We always recommend stopping by a dedicated sports shoe store to get a professional fitting so that you’re ready to hit the trail or track.
- A Pair of Boxing Gloves — Boxing gloves can help you reach your fitness goals, but in this case, they are a metaphor for something bigger. Like a jump rope, a resistance band or a yoga mat, owning a good pair of boxing gloves (and a punching bag, if you’re really committed) allows you to work out like a pro at home without a gym membership. If possible, invest in a few things that will keep you active and moving at home when you can’t get outside or to the gym.
Gym Bag Staples
Before you fill up your gym bag, well… you should probably add a gym bag to the list, too. This bag holds all of the fitness fundamentals that aren’t already on your body, ensuring that you’re set up for a good workout, no matter what.
- A Portable Hydration Station — It seems cliché, but it can’t be overstated: staying hydrated while you’re working out is not negotiable. Adults should drink between 7 and 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising, say the experts, not to mention the ounces you must put in before and after. Always make sure you have a bottle of water in your pack before hitting the gym.
- A Yoga Mat — Yoga mats aren’t just for yogis. They’re also an amazing way to create a comfortable, personalized space anywhere, whether you’re stretching for a long run at the metropark or are doing genuine sun salutations in your cube at work. You can also bring yours into the gym or workout facility so you always have a clean, dedicated space to stretch, meditate and cool down, away from the sweat and germs of fellow gym-goers.
On Your Smartphone
Can you imagine any sort of aerobic exercise without your smartphone? Besides the yoga studio — there, we’d definitely recommend leaving your phone in your locker — there’s no workout space where your phone can’t help enhance your workout.
- Tunes That Pump You Up — Aerobic exercise and fast music are a match made in heaven. There’s just nothing quite like hitting the trail or free weights to the tune of your favorite high-tempo workout song. Something about it just makes you want to move. On the same token, listening to some chill, reflective tracks during yoga or cranking up the salsa during Zumba can help ensure that your workout doesn’t get boring.
- An Arsenal of Health and Fitness Apps — If you haven’t checked out some of the latest and greatest fitness apps, we’d recommend taking a deep dive into the app store on your phone. There are classics like MapMyRun and Charity Miles, which track the route and distance of your walk or run, with the latter adding a charitable angle, but there are also plenty of novel options that keep you pumped up. Try Sleep Cycle to track your sleep habits, Aaptiv for comprehensive training and Lifesum for tracking nutrition.
- A Personal Safety App — OK, it may seem paranoid, but if you tend to hit the backcountry trails or suburban roads during solo jogs, you should think — but not too much — about personal safety. For good measure, consider investing in a top-rated personal safety app that you can use to alert authorities if you find yourself in a threatening situation. At the very least, having something like this on your phone will help make you feel safer when jogging in uncharted territory.
At the end of the day, getting settled into a solid fitness routine is about ensuring that you feel like you’ve set achievable goals and that your motivation levels won’t run dry after a session or two. If you’ve got high-quality gear and a positive attitude, you’re much more likely to achieve — and shatter — your long-term athletic objectives.