Never Pack your Gym Bag until you Read This!
How not to be a Loser in the Gym: A Checklist for Getting it Right
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Getting the simple things right make all the difference. If you want to make serious gains in the gym, it’s the seemingly simple, consistently taken steps that make a Pro, a Pro. Missing essential components at the wrong time can ruin your training routine and sideline your success.
Pay close attention as Top IFBB Pro Physique competitor and Team ALLMAX Athlete Dr. Brett Khan shares with us the essential things that you need to make sure you pack to have a great workout…every time.
Considering every detail is critical to success. These routines make the difference between the perennial non-starter from the pro-in-waiting. Whether the goal is to become step on stage at the next Olympia or simply to lose sufficient flab to reveal a stunning six-pack, proper preparation is paramount.
It would be unthinkable for an elite soldier to enter a warzone without the right ammunition. Success on the field of battle is almost exclusively dependent upon being sufficiently well-equipped for the task at hand.
While the risks to life and limb are fewer (maybe a torn pec if you’re benching too heavy with improper form), such military-style preparation is no less important when battling the iron. In fact, it’s the only way to optimize efficiency, to produce the results you desire most.
Bagging the Essentials
Gone are the days when a lifter would enter the gym with a towel across one shoulder and a drink-bottle in hand (and that’s if he’s really well prepared). Now, to get the most from every workout and to feel like a pro from the first rep to the aftermath of a hardcore session, the smart bodybuilder will equip him or herself with the right ‘ammunition’ in the form of a gym bag well-stocked with all that is needed to get the job done.
While the sign of a true to champ is to get on with the job regardless of the circumstances, there is no doubting the importance of getting all the conditions right before settling into a results-focused workout. You’ll know this to be true if you’ve forgotten your favorite pre-workout formula, gym shirt, or training music (and, of course, headphones). The workout just does not flow as well as it otherwise should.
While many people are woefully disorganized when it comes to getting all the right training conditions in place (which underlies the fact that few people will ever go on to reach their full training potential), there are those who choose to prepare well in advance. We call these people professionals. You know, the ones getting all the results.
…the smart bodybuilder will equip him or herself with the right ‘ammunition’ in the form of a gym bag well-stocked with all that is needed to get the job done.
One such athlete is IFBB Pro and ALLMAX Nutrition champion Dr. Brett Khan. Brett believes in the importance of being ready. He seldom has a bad workout because he is always well-prepared. He stocks his gym bag with all he needs for a full week of workouts (adding fresh, clean clothing and shakers/containers each day). This way, he never has to rush around looking for essential items when his mind should instead be focused of getting the most from each of his six weekly workouts.
For Brett, and his pro peers, being well-organized is a fundamental prerequisite to staying on top. As such, a properly stocked gym bag is central to maximizing workout efficiency and making life easier.
Let’s take a look at what Brett puts into his gym bag and learn what his gym bag recommendations are for those wanting to take their own personal performance to pro level.
Brett breaks the composition of his gym bag down to three main categories: clothing and shower essentials, gym gear, and supplements. At any given time his is full to capacity with an assortment of valuable items, all intended to make life as a pro more efficient, effective, and easier to navigate. The first major suggestion Brett makes is to ensure you have a decent sized bag in which to hold the many items you’ll need to professionalize your workout schedule (taken from each of the three lists below).
clothing and shower essentials, gym gear, and supplements
The second consideration is the amount of space afforded to specific items. Brett’s bag has many different compartments in which to store both larger and smaller items (for example, towels and supplements respectively). The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re no fool and so you’ll less confuse lifting chalk for pre-workout supplementation (downing the chalk and using IMPACT IGNITER to enhance gripping strength).
Nevertheless, in the interests of convenience, hygiene, and the avoidance of possible cross-contamination it’s important to ensure that specific gym bag items are properly contained, labeled, and separated. Brett recommends buying individual storage separators if your bag does not have suitable compartments in which to house smaller items. A separate, smaller bag specifically for clothing may also be used if your ‘main’ bag is either too small or too heavily-loaded.
Clothing and Shower Essentials
A big part of feeling great and looking great (which can also enhance feelings of wellbeing) comes down to the clothing worn in the gym and the hygiene standards maintained following each workout. When we look good we feel at the top of our training game. Clean, fresh clothing adds a professional touch that accentuates one’s performance in the gym. The same holds true for basic hygiene and post-workout cleanliness.
On each training day Brett adds a fresh outfit to his gym bag. He may also include an additional set of clothes if his plans include meeting with friends or grabbing a meal in the immediate aftermath of a workout. To be doubly sure his preparation is on point he’ll also keep an extra bag in his car. Here he keeps an extra set of clothes in the event of an unscheduled workout or in the less likely event that a friend should need a shirt.
When we look good we feel at the top of our training game.
Needless to say, Brett also hits the showers after each workout (following his post-workout supplementation, of course). To look and feel his best he uses a few simply items that he keeps in his gym bag at all times.
For clothing and showering, Brett’s bag contains the following:
- All-in-one shampoo/body wash
- A loofah scrubber that can be easily dried
- A brush and hair gel
- Deodorant – because “no one likes a smelly date”
- A fresh towel (add this to your bag each morning with your outfit)
Place all of the above at the end of your bag (or in a separate compartment or separate breakaway bag)
Among serious lifters, being well-prepared for the workout itself is nothing new. While the types of equipment needed to facilitate a great training session will vary from person to person, the specific items one does need must be housed in a gym bag at all times, washed once a week, and promptly placed back in the bag (there’s nothing worse than pointlessly digging around for a pair of misplaced elbow wraps or container of lifting chalk).
By not having the right items at the right times, the effectiveness of an entire workout can be compromised. For example, for some, no lifting belt means a significant reduction in weight on squat day. For others, no headphones (and the hardcore music pounding through them) can greatly lessen workout intensity.
By not having the right items at the right times, the effectiveness of an entire workout can be compromised.
An additional workout mandatory for many is a training log in which to document training progress and plan for future sessions. Of course, it’s also smart practice to plan your entire training week well in advance and stock your gym bag accordingly.
The following is a list of training essentials that may, at any given time, be found in Brett’s bag:
- Lifting gloves
- Lifting chalk
- Wrist wraps
- Compression sleeves (for example, knee braces or elbow braces)
- Lifting belt
- Lifting straps
- Resistance bands (and/or sleeves)
- Fat Gripz (or any attachments of your own)
- A training journal
For maximum results it’s vital that Brett structure much of his nutrition and supplementation around his workouts. Among Brett’s must-have supplements are the all-in-one pre workout IMPACT IGNITER, which he’ll take immediately before each high-intensity session, ISOFLEX protein, which he’ll split into pre and post-workout servings, and AMINOCORE, which he’ll sip throughout his workout (and throughout the day).
Brett will also add a scoop of HVOL to his IMPACT to further stimulate the pump to induce massive muscle-cell swelling (though he says this is not mandatory for all lifters as IMPACT, alone, contains all that’s needed for a superior, pump-inducing workout).
Other products Brett recommends are ALLMAX CREATINE (post workout for faster loading and muscle/strength gains), GLUTAMINE (for recovery, muscle healing, and as an immunity booster), LEUCINE (to enhance muscle protein synthesis and fast mass gains), RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED (for rapid fat burning during a shredding phase), and CARBION+ (taken pre workout for sustained energy).
Needless to say, proper storage is essential when it comes to keeping supplements fresh and properly apportioned for maximum results. Says Brett: “for products in smaller containers like IMPACT, I’ll just toss it in the bag but if the size of your supplements are taking over your bag, invest in some smaller containers, keep or re-use some proper sized scoops and ration out enough of each supplement for the week on your bag prep day. Another option is to pre-measure, mix, and put your supplements in shakers at the start of each week. For me this means loading seven large shakers with protein and seven smaller ones with my IMPACT/HVOL mix. Then, when getting ready for the day, I just grab one of each and toss them in my bag along with my clothes for that day.”
Brett’s go-to supplement bag stack. (some items may vary depending on time of year and his specific training goals, but he’ll always include IMPACT, ISOFLEX & AMINOCORE)
- IMPACT IGNITER
- ALLMAX CREATINE
- ALLMAX GLUTAMINE
- ALLMAX LEUCINE
- RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED
Prepare to Succeed
Bodybuilding success begins with proper preparation. As Brett says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” While no wiser words have been spoken in the context of bodybuilding success, few trainees, otherwise dedicated as they may be, ever fully grasp the importance of ensuring every aspect of the bodybuilding lifestyle is take care of. However, by having a well-stocked gym bag ready when you are, much time can be saved and each important training consideration can be fully employed to get you to goal achievement faster.
Use the attached checklists to ensure your gym bag is fully loaded with training essentials and review the key points below to ensure you are keeping your gym bag game on point. In-gym efficiency, and ultimate training progress, is at stake.
- Purchase a bag large enough for all of you essential gym items (let the three checklists be your guide).
- Consider a smaller breakaway bag for clothing and/or extra items that do not fit in the larger bag.
- Keep smaller items in separate compartments.
- Spend one day a week planning your gym bag and preparing each of its item.
- Keep a smaller bag of extra clothing in the car (for those ‘emergency’ workouts).
- Wash your (gym) bag once a week (gym bags are known to get quite smelly).
- Don’t forget the water bottle (and clean, fresh water) and small containers for the smart storage of supplements and other apportioned items. ZipLock bags also work well.
Don’t forget to download the gym bag contents and if you have any questions email Brett at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll get back to you with the answers you need!