I was so nervous when I first joined a gym. I was a 20 year old university student and had heard horror stories about people being ripped off or stuck in contracts for years. Even just committing to 12 months of paying $25 a fortnight was daunting. I sought the advice of my mother (who was also a fitness instructor). She told me to read the fine print but otherwise believed any money you spend on your health is a good investment. She was right.
I’ve had my gym membership for about 10 years and now go about five to six times a week. I love group fitness classes and do a mix of Les Mills including BodyPump, BodyAttack, RPM, BodyBalance, CXWorx and GRIT. My gym also offers BootyBarre, yoga and Pilates without any surcharges, which is brilliant. If these names mean nothing to you, it’s okay! I’ll be posting about them another time.
Honestly, a basic workout doesn’t require much gear – clothes, shoes and ideally a towel. But a few extra accessories can make life a lot easier and your sweat session a lot more comfortable. The five items below are things I use almost every day and can absolutely attest to their quality, durability and functionality.
1. Camelbak Water Bottle – $29.95
This is hands down the best water bottle I’ve ever owned. I have two 750ml Eddy bottles in purple (“Acai”) and light blue (“Rain”). One stays at work while I use the other for the gym and at home. Mine are two years old but they’re indestructible and really practical. I love these water bottles so much, I’ve given them to family members at Christmas. My boyfriend has too! Everyone has been equally impressed.
WHY I LOVE IT: Wide range of colours and sizes. Exceptionally durable. Lifetime warranty, which I used once when a lid started leaking. A replacement arrived within a week, no questions asked. More info http://camelbak.com.au/
2. Lululemon – Fast Paced Run Visor $35
Never has a hat been so practical and so versatile. The wide elastic strap is so comfortable, it’s a miracle. The visor part fits my head perfectly, and it’s broader than most so you get extra sun protection. I would own this hat in every colour if I could! Mine is at least a year old and I wear it almost daily on my 20 minute walk to the gym, as well as for my weekly 10K. Occasionally I wear it to the beach too.
WHY I LOVE IT: Exceptionally comfortable, thanks to the elastic band. Easy to tighten or loosen on the run (hello windy days). Machine washable. Top knot friendly. Check it out on the Lululemon website.
3. Lululemon – The (Small) Towel $25
I hate microfibre towels, largely because they were my sole drying companion during a six week camping trip in Africa. But I made an exception when I saw one with a gorgeous print at Lululemon. It’s compact, super absorbent and machine washable. This towel is so light the corners can fly up if fans are blasting during your BodyPump class. But a weight plate fixes that.
WHY I LOVE IT: Absolutely perfect for RPM/Spin classes, when you don’t want a big towel crowding your handlebars. Also my go-to towel for BodyAttack, as it’s a real sweat soaker. Full info here.
4. Lululemon – Run All Day Backpack $119
Yes, I’m obsessed with Lululemon. But their stuff is so good! I used to carry my towel and water to the gym, then I had a drawstring backpack. When that broke, I decided to upgrade. I’ve dreamed of running from my house to the beach with a bikini in tow and WOW, this is the backpack to do it! I only run quarter marathons (10K, ha) and hate being weighed down. This bag is really light and thanks to all the straps, cords and bungees, doesn’t bounce.
Disclosure: my first Run All Day Backpack rubbed on my shirt and made it “pill” around my stomach and hips. Lululemon recommended a different shirt, and then replaced my backpack (no questions asked). I suggest a test run! My sister has bought this backpack with no issues.
WHY I LOVE IT: So light. Plenty of pockets. Fits my body perfectly. Check it out on the Lululemon website.
5. Bodyworx Eva Foam Roller 12″ (30cm) – $33
No one likes a foam roller. But anything that can emulate a deep tissue massage, work out knots and be done in your lounge room is a win, right? Most gyms should have a foam roller, but I like having my own at home for post-run relief. I bought mine from Jim Kidd Sports about four years ago and it’s as hard and unforgiving as ever.
WHY I LOVE IT: I don’t. I hate foam rolling. But it’s essential to stop my IT Band from getting too tight. It’s not on the Jim Kidd website but a company called Dynamo Fitness is selling it.
On my wish list…
I’m still on the hunt for a good armband for my iPhone that won’t slide down. I also love the idea of wireless headphones but haven’t done any research yet. Any suggestions? Please post below! And yes, gym clothes are important too. I’ll post on that another time.
QUESTION: What’s your favourite gym accessory?