You guys- something really fun happened the other day and it sparked the post you are about to read. A follower of mine mentioned she was starting a new gym membership and was wondering what my take on gym essentials are. I was SO excited to share all the things I use most or- at least the things I would tell a friend about if they were getting in shape too.
I am by no means a fitness blogger. I am still amazed after a year and a half that I still actively use my gym membership. In no particular order- these are the things that I considered/ use(d) when heading to the gym.
- The gym itself. I know this seems silly but, the type of gym and location plays a very large role in being successful. When I was searching for a gym, I made a list of things that were important to me: the distance from my house to the gym, the things that are included in the membership and how much it would be a month. The distance needed to be within 15-20 minutes from my house. This was key because I knew the likelihood of me going out of my way was not something I would keep up with. I also knew I needed a gym with classes. I like having the option to drop into a class and not have to pay extra for it. My current membership has a rotating schedule with many classes to chose from. The cost needed to be in alignment with my budget. In the past, I would have spent a lot each month to visit a gym I liked in the area. Since my budget is as important to me as my health- I knew I needed to find something I was comfortable with. In the end, I found a gym that is 8 minutes from my house and could easily be added to my commute to and from work if need be, it has many classes to join for free and it is under $30 a month.
- Wireless Earbuds If you are going to be hitting the gym by yourself, I do suggest packing something to listen to. I love being able to pop my earbuds in and listen to Pandora or a newly released podcast on my phone. When I turned working out into something I looked forward to- me time, it was a game changer. I love these buds from Amazon. They are reasonably priced, charge quickly and have easily connect to your smart device. They are very similar to the Beats pair that I have for a fraction of the price. I opted for wireless as opposed to wired headphones/ earbuds because wires can sometimes get in the way. I do on occasion bring my wired set too if I forget to charge my wireless ones or if I misplace them- which happens more often than I would care to admit. Favorite podcasts? Yeah, we said it, Swiping Up, The Jasmine Star Show, The goal digger Podcast… just to name a few.
- Hydro Cup / Blender CupThis step isn’t something I always do but have found myself doing lately. I found the BEST shaker cup on Amazon (the Hydrocup) that allows me to mix my pre workout (gives me a little extra boost to beat that ” I don’t really want to work out” feeling) and post workout BCAAs ( to help your muscles recover and feel less sore the next day) in the same cup! Being able to get both at once without having to dirty another cup saved a lot of time pre and post workout. I also use a standard Blender Bottle cup too for when I need to shake protein shakes post workout too. When it comes to the actual powders I use- I’d say do some research and find one that works before for you if you want to go down that route. You do not need these things in order to get moving on your fitness journey.
- What to wear. If you have been following my instagram ( @just.add.pearls) you may be familiar with my love of Old Navy activewear. I literally live in their leggings, sports bras and tops. Their clothing washes very well, comes in all sizes and in my opinion, are very cute! As a place to start: get one sports bra with medium level support or higher- anything lower won’t work well for cardio exercises, a pair or two of leggings/ shorts or pants of your choosing- I would suggest more than 2 pairs to start depending on how often you plan to go and how often you do laundry ( I myself do laundry only when I have to and I workout 4-5 times a week… I’ll let you imagine how many pairs I have…) I am linking a pair of cotton yoga leggings because they are my favorite fit, hold up well and the fabric is breathable. You’ll also need a few tops to mix and match. The type of top is totally up to you- do you like tanks, short sleeves or long sleeves? I personally prefer long sleeves or tanks– I rarely reach for my short sleeves shirts and have no real reason why.
- A good pair of sneakers. In this case, “good” is subjective. If you have a running shoe that you love- wear them. For me- I have spent a lot of money in the past on sneakers that just weren’t comfortable. As someone with wider feet, I often ended cardio sessions early because my toes would go numb because my sneakers didn’t fit right. I recently found a pair of ADIDAS sneakers that I found to be cute to wear and fit my feet well without having to find a wider shoe or even break them in. The duramo sneakers are available on Amazon and are often on sale through the ADIDAS website or even Dick’s Sporting Goods.
- Accountability Partner. If you can find someone to go with you- consider yourself a gym go-er for life. I can’t promise you that there will be someone to keep you on track. You will probably need to hold yourself accountable but if you can rope someone into getting physically fit with you, I promise the gym going process will be much easier. When I started my most recent membership I had told a friend of mine and she decided to join as well. We now meet each other 3-4 times a week to work out and keep the other on track. Outside of my gym membership, I found another class that my sister and I joined. Even when I want to hit snooze again, or binge watch a show afterwork, knowing I have someone waiting for me to work out gets me out of bed and off the couch. Even if you can find someone who can go with you in person, there are many online communities that promote this type of motivation or you can always count on me to cheer you on!
Heading to the gym for the first time can be really overwhelming. I remember how awkward I felt and sometimes still feel. In all honesty, all you need to do is show up, lace up and get moving. Celebrate the body you have and what it can do and try not to get discouraged by what it can’t do- yet. Feeling unsure of what to do when you get there? Remember that most gyms have staff to help you navigate the gym and the machines- seek this help! I did many times and it really helped me to use the machines correctly to see better results. Remember, being prideful and not asking for help may lead to improper use of equipment, injury or delayed results.
What do I do there? Below is a sample of what my gym partner and I do during a week:
Each session begins with 20 minutes of cardio- be sure to get your blood flowing and heart rate up! We mix it up between using machines and pulling workouts from Pinterest- she and I take turns finding new workouts to do to keep things fun and ever changing. We also make time to stretch at the end of each session.
Day 1: Biceps and Triceps with abs
Day 2: Leg Day with abs
Day 3: Core and full body workout
Day 4: Back and Shoulders with abs
*We also make time for classes too- we enjoy barre, step, yoga and HIIT boot camp.
When it comes to classes- depending on the week, the class will replace the “day” listed above or sometimes we do it as an add-on to the week.
*On days where we do not have a class or a gym date planned- I opt for a long walk or workout at home. It is important to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Now it is time to get out there and get moving! I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions- please do not hesitate to reach out or leave a comment on this post.
Until next time,