5 Gym Bag Must-Haves

We all know working out generally sucks. From forcing your body into weird pretzel-like formations to lifting things that no normal human has to lift (unless you’re like, Hulk or Thor) and to running at ungodly speeds, your body does a lot for you, just so you can be the best #Beast at the gym. Here are some things you can do to make the process a little easier on your body:

1. A Massive Water Bottle

We all know hydration is the key to health, happiness and flawless skin. But the process of hydration… well, that’s just plain tedious. Especially when you’re at the gym, getting your grind on and you realise your cute little 500ml water bottle is empty and you have to cross the entire gym to refill it. And I don’t know about you, but I do not go to the gym to move far distances. I go to the gym to sit on the stationary bike and watch YouTube videos, duhhhh. So, save yourself the energy and buy a 750ml or even better yet a 1L bottle to save yourself time, energy and effort. Your body thanks you in advance.

2. A Good Sports Bra

Still whopping the gym in that bra from Grade 10 P.E. class? Girl staaaaaahp. You’re only doing damage to your chest oranges (or apples or grapefruit or melons). Not wearing a well-fitting sports bra may lead to breast and back pain, and EVEN WORSE: sagging. Our blessed boobies do not contain muscles, but they contain ligaments called Cooper’s ligaments which do not bounce back once stretched. Regardless of your breast size, save yourself the booby trauma and get a well-fitted sports bra specific to the training you do. If you mix it up, ensure the variety of your sports bras match the variety of your workouts. Here’s some help with getting started.

3. Healthy Workout Snacks

No, babe, unfortunately, a Big Mac, fries and 6-piece chicken nuggets from McDonald’s does not count as workout fuel (I’m pissed about it too). Your body needs fuel to function at its best, which is why you should always have a light meal or snack 30 mins-2 hours before your workout. However, you should always listen to your body and see what works for you. Some great pre-workout snacks include a banana, a smoothie, some apples and peanut butter or, my personal favourite: carrots and hummus. The same applies after your workout: refuelling your body after your workout is important for replenishing your energy (regardless of whether you are trying to lose a kilo or two) and healing your muscle tissues. And remember to re-hydrate as well!

4. Comfortable Shoes

The gym and converse DO NOT bode well together. They do not offer the necessary ankle support, shock absorbency or stability that a proper gym shoe offers. They may seem a bit pricey initially, but I swear, they will change your life. You will never want to stick your feet into anything else! I personally loved Adidas Cloudfoam shoes. They’re soft and squishy and I feel like a fairy walking on clouds. They make working out so much more comfortable. And who doesn’t appreciate some soft comfort when their trainer is screaming “ONE MORE” at them? Also, why is never just ONE more?

5. Wet wipes and Dry Shampoo

Okay, so your body won’t thank you, but your lazy-ass self will. Also, Cape Town’s water supply is also eternally grateful. As students, we do not always have the time or patience for a full-on shower after a workout session (gross, but also.. meh), especially if you’re squeezing it in between classes or before movie night with the girls. The wipes are complete life-savers and allow you to remove sweat, makeup and dirt all in one swipe. The dry shampoo, on the other hand, allows you to go from Medusa to Camilla Cabello in just a few spritzes, saving you time and money. Side note: try to shower as soon as possible, as sweat tends to clog pores and cause all sorts of skin nasties, which you do not have time for.

Go forth and slay, little gym beast!