Gym Kit Essentials for a Newbie
If you have recently joined the gym, you may wish to gather yourself a fully functional gym kit.
Getting your kit together is an essential part of the preparation process. It gets you mentally and physically prepared for the potential onslaught to come.
The better prepared you are the less excuses you’ll have to draw on later.
Making sure that your kit is comfortable and functional can be the difference between feeling cumbersome throughout your session or gracefully completing it. No one needs a falling bra strap, chaffing bottoms, or ill fitting shoes.
Lets face it, sweating it out in the gym is not one of life’s finer looking moments, the last thing you need is feeling a tear in your shorts as you learn to squat.
It is worth investing a little to make your sessions a little more practical. For instance, if you’ve been blessed in the upper regions, a good support bra can make the world of difference and if you’re small framed, yanking your pants up every 2 minutes will eventually get irritating.
Not to mention there’s enough mirrors in the gym to make a modest person feel the need to smarten up a little. I’m not particularly vain but after an hour of catching myself in the mirror I soon went out and brought some new gear.
Having likely spent a bomb on membership itself, or even personal training, less is more when to comes to gym kits. Only spend what you need to in order to allow you to move and feel comfortable because it could affect your performance but, you don’t need to rush out and get all the latest gadgets.
Save it for a brand new wardrobe instead. 😉
You only really need a few things to get you going.
Gym Kit – All you need to get started
People will always tell you to wear suitable footwear.
In my mind that always meant trainers, although I have since learned that trainers cover a wide spectrum; running shoes, court shoes, lifting shoes, sprinting shoes, etc…
Thus, I have since learned that it actually meant wear appropriate footwear for the activities you plan to do.
Running shoes for example, are good for running because the cushion is designed to take much of the impact out of the joints during each heel, toe phase of your stride. Running shoes however are not ideal to muliti-directional sports/activities such as tennis as they very little lateral (side to side) support.
They also aren’t very good for Weightlifting as the sole is too soft so they will absorb mush of the force you’re trying to place on the bar.
With that in mind, and despite owning over 8 pairs of trainers, I actually personally only ever use Vibram FiveFingers (glove like shoes) for the gym.
I love being bare foot.
I like feeling the ground beneath me and feeling unrestricted. Vibrams are the next best thing.
Yes they look different and may get you a few stares but comfort rules for me and I don’t have to worry about kicking my shoes off when lifting – you may see some people do this in order get a more natural movement or to eliminate the cushion of the heel in their trainers.
Another problem with trainers is that despite buying my size, I never find they fit perfectly. Some cramp up my feet width wise, some get loose and my feet slip and slide resulting in blisters and I Always feel my toes are hunched up together and unnatural.
Vibrams however, allow for my feet to be in its natural position, allow me to train the arches of my feet and I feel, are better for my biomechanics. They’re also light weight, real comfy and easy to clean.
Hopefully at the gym, you’ll be doing a variety of movements in different directions and even at different speeds, so if your not ready for Vibram FiveFingers you’ll still need a good fitting all rounder.
A light weight gym shoe with good grip. You shouldn’t need thick cushions unless you have knee or hip issues, or intend to run a marathon on the treadmill.
NOTE: As I already spent a lot of time barefoot, I didn’t have any trouble transitioning into Vibram FiveFingers. If this isn’t that case for you though and you’re used to extra support you may need to give it some time to adjust to them.
Another obvious thing you need is appropriate clothing.
For the ladies I reccommend the following:
Working our way up, the perfect bottoms for me are 3/4 length sports leggins. They fit snug without being too tight, tuck my belly in comfortably and they’re probably the most flattering.
I find long sports leggins can be get too hot and looser trousers can get caught on equipment. Jogging bottoms are definitely too hot.
The only reason I do not wear shorts is because I don’t normally like too much skin on show. But again, snug fitting sports shorts can keep you cool and running shorts are also good for allowing full range of motion during certain exercises.
Keeping cool is a big component in the gym, even with air conditioning. I find loose vest tops and a sports bra underneath the best combination for achieving this.
T-shirts can leave me hot under the collar and tight sports tops still leave me feeling a little bit self conscience.
For the guys:
Really, anything that allows you to move freely. Most of the time you’ll likely benefit from using a full range of motion so I don’t reccommend anything that may be too restrictive.
When Tyrone (co-fouder fo GymNoobs.com) trains, he just wears a pair of loose fitting knee length shorts and a vest (sleeveless t-shirt). This ensures he can move freely and also helps prevent him getting too hot, which is easily done when training hard.
Just because you may not sweat a whole lot to begin with, it doesn’t mean you won’t eventually.
Plus, having a gym towel is basic gym etiquette.
No one wants to use a machine or bench with sweaty bum prints left on it. Most gyms will provide wipes or paper roll but it is just easier to bring a towel (hand towel will do).
Your towel is also a reminder that your there to do business. The aim is to sweat, at least a little.
Pretty damn important I think.
You should never go to the gym without a water bottle. In fact, some may argue that you should never go anywhere without one really.
I cannot express enough, the importance of staying hydrated – especially when training.
There are millions and millions of biochemical reactions that happen in your body everyday and pretty much all of them require water. So a lack of hydration can greatly affect your performance.
There are drinking fountains in most gyms, but you’re more likely to stay hydrated if it’s by your side at all times.
They’re not really essential, but they are good for helping you get into your ‘zone’.
You can choose the tunes you enjoy and are motivated the most by. It separates you from others and let you focus on the job at hand.
A Gym Bag
Last on the list is a gym bag.
You’re going to need somewhere to keep all of your kit, right.
Again like most of the above, your gym bag doesn’t have to be the most expensive one you can find. Just one big enough for your gym kit.
These days you can get perfectly suitable gym bags online for a very good price.
Of course there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other items I could’ve mentioned but in reality, no more than the above is needed.
No need for gloves, sweat bands and wrist bands (although great for when you start out with Kettlebells to prevent bruising your forearms), heart rate monitors, calorie counters, straps or specialist equipment. At this point they are all unnecessary.
Just bring yourself and your gym kit. A good spirit and your programme and that will give you a flying start.
One thing you definitely don’t need at the gym, is a book! Sounds crazy, but you do see it. Crazy I know.