If you’re a self-confessed “gym rat” you’ll know better than anyone just how important the gym is to you and just how much you enjoy your training, and indeed everything that goes along with your training. We all have different goals and targets in life, and indeed different goals and targets for our physiques as well. Some of us want to be lean and ripped, others want to be powerful and muscular, whilst others may simply want to look healthy and toned. In truth, it doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to become the next mass monster or if you’re simply trying to achieve the six pack that has eluded you for all those years, as whatever your fitness and exercise targets will be, the most important thing to remember is that you need to put the hours in at the gym and in the kitchen. Other than a strong will and the desire to succeed, studies have found that those of us with access to the best tools, gear, and equipment can really benefit when it comes to our training as life will not only be made easier, but training efficiency will also be greatly improved as well. To help emphasize this point, here’s a look at the ultimate gym rat survival kit.
Protein shaker cup
Let’s face it, you aren’t a true “gym rat” unless you own at least two protein shaker cups as these cups are considered one of the ultimate tools for physique enhancement. The premise is very simple, you simply add water to the cup, add a scoop or two of protein powder, and give everything a good shake to mix the powder into the water and to create a delicious high protein, nutrient rich beverage. To some of you this may not sound essential but if you’ve ever tried mixing protein powder into a glass of water whilst using a fork or spoon, you’ll know what we mean. Using a fork or spoon will result in heavy clumping which will mean that you end up having to chew your beverage rather than drink it. A protein shaker cup mixes everything together into a fine liquid, and what’s more, the harder you shake, the more additional calories you burn off, because hey, every little counts, right?
A smart shaker cup
“Hold on”, you’re probably thinking, “you’ve just talked about protein shaker cups, why are you repeating yourselves”? Well, yes, we did talk about protein shaker cups, but not “smart” shaker cups, we were talking about bog standard shaker cups. If you can afford a few extra bucks, we strongly recommend picking up a smart shaker cup or two as they’re so incredibly convenient. The basic premise behind these cups is that they’re built with added compartments which fix to the bottom of the cup, and are designed to store a whole range of different supplements. You have a compartment for vitamins and tablet supplements, and compartments for powdered supplements as well. You can’t store powder in a shaker cup and then add water because the powder sticks to the bottom, no matter how vigorously you shake it. Powder should always be added to liquid, not the other way around. Rather than having to store your protein in a plastic bag, which may look suspicious to some people, you simply add a couple of scoops to one of the compartments, attach it to your cup, then when you’re ready, remove it and dump it in the water and enjoy.
A notepad and pen
These are considered some of the most essential pieces of equipment you can use in a gym, and they cost virtually nothing. Yes, we’re talking about a notepad and pen as you will need to be keeping a training journal of all of your workouts if you wish to make any real progress. A training journal is ideal as it helps to track your progress, it shows exactly what you did the last session, it shows the weights and reps performed, and it gives you a target to beat. Not only that, but if you plateau or experience difficulty one week, you can refer back and see if you have done anything differently. If you tried a new exercise or a new routine, you will have it on pen and paper and could very well have discovered the reason for your sudden drop in performance.
Good quality footwear
Remember, gyms aren’t just about lifting weights as you should ideally be incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your routine in order to help burn fat and improve your stamina in general. If you’re running on a treadmill or performing a few laps around the running lanes, the last thing you need is cheap and uncomfortable footwear causing you blisters and damaging the soles of your feet. Always choose good quality, comfortable, and supportive footwear relevant to your training goals and targets. If you regularly follow powerlifting routines and Olympic lifts, you can purchase special footwear designed specifically for squatting and Olympic lifting. The bottom line is that when you train, not only do you need to be comfortable, you also need to be supported as well.
Lifting straps are another fundamental part of many a gym rat’s survival kit as they help to not only support the wrists and forearms, they are also ideal for anybody whose grip strength isn’t as efficient as it could be. These straps will help get a better grip of the bars and weights and as a result will help you to perform more repetitions and will help improve your form.
Weight belts are also very important when it comes to lifting weights as they’re designed to not only improve your form, they also help to protect the back and can help protect against hernias and abdominal injuries as well. These belts help to prevent you swinging the weights up and down and rocking back and forth in order to gain momentum, and they help keep the back straight, making them ideal for a number of free weight exercises.