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5 Things You Should Always Bring to the Gym

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

What to bring to the gymTrain smart not hard. Always.

If you want to train smart though, there’re some things that you should have in your gym bag at all times.

And no, I’m not talking about weird pills or any stuff that can get you in jail.

In fact, you’re most likely to own most of the things I’ll mention in this post already.

So what are these 5 things you should bring to the gym?

Read on to find out.

1. Exercise Logbook

While training, have a pen and paper near you.

This will let you log the most important data about your workouts.

But why should you do this?

You want to do more each workout. And the only way to know how much you did the last time you were at the gym is if you write things down on a piece of paper.

Here’s what you need to log every workout (for each lift):

  • The weight used,
  • the reps performed,
  • the sets done,
  • the rest between sets (plus points: rest between exercises).

Write all of these things down as soon as you’re done with each set. Don’t wait till the end of the workout – you won’t remember a thing.

2. Stopwatch

You must keep track of the rest time between sets.

If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to see real strength gains.

What do I mean by that?

Let’s say you’re supposed to rest two minutes between your sets of bench press but you rest for three – you don’t have a stopwatch. That one extra minute of rest means a 50% increase in your rest time.

That’s a big change. Enough to let you lift more weight for more reps.

But this is not real strength gain, it’s just a trick.

Don’t be fooled by fake strength gains. Use a stopwatch.

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3. Water

Your muscle cells are mostly made out of water.

To keep your muscles strong sip on some water while you workout.

Use steel bottles to hold your water in. Plastic bottles are known to leach xenoestrogens – not good for your health.

4. Good Shoes

Low top Chuck Taylors.

Not only do they look cool but they’re also a great pair of shoes in which to lift weights.

Due to their thin soles which are made out of rubber you’ll have:

  • more stability and control (better feel for the weight),
  • better muscle recruitment (more muscle strength),
  • better lifting technique.

Don’t use running shoes to lift weights. They’re called running shoes for a reason.

5. Lifting Aids

Don’t let your grip strength hold you back.

Use lifting straps or weightlifting chalk to boost your strength in all of the lifts that involve your back muscles.

Since weightlifting chalk makes a lot of mess, most gyms won’t allow you to use it. Solution = use liquid chalk.

Awesome grip strength but without the mess.

If your goal is to boost muscle mass then you need to have these 5 things in your gym bag.

What’s your take on this?

Do you think that something is even more important than the things mentioned above?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }


Good stuff, Dejan!

I’m constantly surprised at how few people have logbooks with them. Maybe they have superhuman memory? ;)

I’ve never thought about bringing a stopwatch. Great tips, sir!



Thank you Henri! :)

My memory does a pretty crappy job when it comes to remembering the details of my workouts. I bet that’s the case for many others.

The stopwatch is really a must, especially if real strength gain is what you’re after.



Should you wear lifting gloves? I have really sweaty hands and I get awful calluses.



Aaron, instead of gloves I’d highly recommend you get some liquid chalk. The liquid chalk will make your palms dry like a boss :)

And in regards to calluses … I think they come with the territory. Especially when you’re lifting heavy weights.


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