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My Top 10 Training Tools To Look Good and Feel Even Better

Posted Apr 27 2010 9:13am

After 16 years in and out of gyms I am still surprised to see how many guys just walk into the gym straight off the street with only the clothes on their back…and the guys wearing jeans DURING their workout, well that’s just wrong.

If you are serious about taking care of your body and you make time to get to the gym then you need to make sure you bring the proper gear.

Yes, I know you can still get a great workout without any gym gear or gadgets but if you want to “protect this house” as Under Armour says then you need the right tools.

So after seeing my 2 year old daughter Matea tearing into my gym bag the other day like it was her toy box I thought I would share with you what lurks in the smelly and sweaty darkness of MY gym bag to help me stay lean, strong and pain-free.

1. Under Armour Gym Bag

I used the same old Adidas bag for over 10 years until I needed more room for my gear so I picked this one up at a Sport Chek store. It has room for all the gear you see, is strong and durable and matches my Under Armour shirt, shorts and socks. No I am not endorsed by them it’s simply the most comfortable workout gear which can be found at www.UnderArmour.com

2. Nike Frees

Surprisingly the sneaks I wear to the gym are Nike, but for ONE reason. These aren’t your normal running shoes which is not as great as you may think for running or training. I have the Nike Free’s 7.0 which are almost completely flat on the bottom keeping your heel flat to the ground and more flexible allowing your feet to move almost like if they were barefoot which is great for long term structural alignment and stability from your toes to your back. Online at www.Nike.com or at your local sports store.

3. Foam Roller

Your muscles are like rubber bands and most people have little “knots” or tight spots in their muscles that they don’t even realize how it’s affecting their mobility and range of motion inside and outside the gym. Foam rolling breaks up these tight spots like a 400lb Samoan giving you a massage. Yeah, it’s not enjoyable but the benefits are. I got mine short one which fits in my gym bag here, www.EliteFTS.com

4. Bands and Balls

You only see one medium size band here but a pack of different sizes are great for stretching, dynamic warmups and for simulating free weight movements. For you guys who can’t do a chinup on your own these are also great for helping you along by looping the band over the bar and placing your knee in the loop. Great way for your wife to do them too! The small yellow ball is also used similar to the foam roller but can get at smaller trigger points like your feet and your glutes. Got the bands at www.EliteFTS.com and this ball or a tennis ball found at your any sport shop will do.

5. Jump Rope

It might be “old school” but it is one of the most effective forms of exercise equipment for burning off that belly. Great for workout warmups and high intensity cardio. Not convinced? Try it for a couple minutes! Dirt cheap at Walmart.

6. Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle

One thing I do see a lot of at the gym is guys sucking back their protein shakes in those supplement branded plastic shaker bottles in hopes of putting on muscle. But little do they know those cheap plastic bottles leak BPA and estrogen-like compounds into the liquid contributing to man-boobs, not perfect pecs.  We got a whole bunch of these stainless steel water bottles for us and even little Matea at www.KleanKanteen.com

7. Chalk

Get a grip and use gym chalk to help you strengthen your grip and hold on to heavier weights. If your gym doesn’t allow chalk I would consider training at one that does or just be sneaky with it and clean up the weights afterwards. I still use an old Tubberware container that my dad used for his gym chalk for over 20 years!  Don’t use your kids colored chalk, get the right stuff! My block from www.Heavyweights.net has lasted me a while.

8. Training Journal

I think this is a MUST if your are serious about progressing and getting results from your workouts. Think of this as you would with tracking your financial statements, but you will get a better return on your investment with a training journal. I have been using these MuscleMag training journals for years and find them to have a great layout for recording your exercises, sets, reps, goals and comments. Plus one book last’s almost a YEAR training 3-4 days a week. www.Amazon.com or Amazon.ca for me.

9. Tunes

Before I got my iPhone I used this other small Mio MP3 player with headphones for years to keep me focused and intense in the gym. Luckily I train in a small dungeon of a gym where most of the time I can just connect my iPhone or player to the little stereo and crank up some Linkin Park. I am sure you know where to get an iPhone, but just in case you just woke up from the dead,  www.Apple.com

10. Belts, Straps and Wraps

These all seem to get a bad wrap lately (excuse the pun) but I think they all have their place in your training. Belts, straps and wraps just help to keep your form tighter and support you during heavy lifts.  I only use my belt for low rep heavy squats, usually under 4 reps. Wrist wraps for heavy dumbbell presses and barbell presses and wrist straps for heavy dumbbell shrugs. Don’t be like some guys and be wrapped up like mummies because of years of bad training habits. Use them, don’t abuse them.

Again EliteFTS is the top company in the world for gym equipment and gear. It’s where most pros and their gyms get their gear, and I can see why. Also love their hoodies for staying warm during the cool days heading to the gym.

Miscellaneous items:

Gym towel- You do sweat during your workouts right? A large towel is also good if you have to do any exercises on the  dirty floor. Got this one free with a tub of creatine.

Weight Collars- My gym don’t have any so I bring my own. Got them off Ebay for 5 bucks a pair.

Purple Fat Grips- wraps around the bar to give you stronger forearms with a thicker grip and red tape and yellow paint marker to mark grip widths on barbells and racks. The grips were free with tub of protein powder or you can get Fat Gripz at www.FatGripz.com

Membership card- My gym finally realized it’s 2010 and is installing a swipe card system along with new dumbbells and equipment

Calculator- To add up the thousands of pounds I lift during my workout. Math was always my worst subject….

Back Up Tunes- Linkin Park Hybrid Theory CD and extra batteries for when I don’t have my iPhone with me…which I hope is NEVER

I certainly don’t get any compensation for mentioning these sites, (but will gladly accept it!)

So what’s in YOUR Gym Bag?

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