Minimalist Gym Gear Guide – Best Things To Bring To The Gym

In this article I want to give you guys a list of gym gear recommendations and what I personally use to make sure my workouts are optimal. As you know I’m all about saving time and here I’ll mention only the stuff I bring with me to every gym in over 15 different countries and it’s the equipment that worked for me so far. I’ll list down the brands of gear that worked for me, if you have other preferences feel free to go with that but this equipment here has served me for years all around the world.

Let’s keep the intro short and sweet this time and crack into it!

The Minimalist Gym Gear Guide

If you really think about it there’s only a few things you really need to get the most out of your workouts in terms of gym gear. Knowing that I still believe that it’s an area worth investing some money into so beside giving the basic guide I’ll put in my recommendations:

This guide is split into:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Workout Gear
  • Tech equipment

Gym Clothes – What Clothes To Wear In The Gym?

My Recommendations For Beginners – Stick with the proven basics

  • Plain white t-shirt
  • Comfortable wide shorts (Basketball style)

Basic Gym Clothes

Since you’re just starting out they key, what you wanna be careful with is, make sure that your clothes don’t limit your range of motion! This is worst mistake I see in the gym. Often you’ll see guys using super tight shorts or shirts and while it looks cool it’s a very bad idea for performance. One other crazy example I see all the time is dudes working out in shorts made from old jeans which completely destroy their squat because they can’t crouch properly. Don’t be that guy, during summer always wear elastic shorts that don’t interfere with your movement or wide gym pants that are comfortable during winter.

As for shirts, tank tops, plain white shirts or no sleeve shirts work fine during summer however in winter you want to make sure you’re warm so it’s better to get a nice wide hoodie depending on the temperature inside of your gym.

My Recommendations For Intermediate/Advanced Lifters – What I wear?

aAdidas Tech Fit Gym GearFor me Adidas works the best, I found it to be very consistent over the years and its perfect for both summer and winter. In winter I might wear something over these 2 to add extra layers but for summer they are perfect.

The downside of this is they are quite expensive if you’re just starting out and for my first year in the gym I was working out in a 3$ plain white shirt and 5$ shorts. The idea is not to wear anything that can be holding you back in terms of range of motion.

Gym Shoes – What Are The Best Shoes To Wear While Training?

My Recommendations For Beginners

Shoes are a much bigger issue than clothes, with shoes you wanna be extra careful simply because a lot your workout performance directly depends on how good your shoes fit. An example would be if your heels are elevated while you do deadlifts or any type of pressing movements while standing you’re changing the entire mechanics of the exercise and for this reason you wanna make sure you are wearing flat hard sole shoes.

I only wear 1 types of shoes in the gym right now, and they are Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. These shoes last for years even decades, it’s the best investment you’ll ever make in terms of gym equipment.

Powerlifters love these shoes, they are super durable and plant your feet very strong on the ground. Some of the big names in powerlifting can be found setting Personal Records in Chuck Taylors. When Arnold wasn’t squatting barefoot, he had on Converse. The 71-year-old Pete Bennett also set a world record for the squat in his age class at 465 lbs in a pair of Converse.

Chuck Taylor Converse Gym

World champion female powerlifter Laura Phelps Sweatt chooses Chuck Taylors as her shoe of choice. And lastly, Louie Simmons, one of the most respected people in powerlifting today, says “Chuck Taylors are the best. Don’t have $100 shoes and a 10-cent squat” in his squat article.

My Recommendations For Intermediate/Advanced Lifters

If you prefer to do Olympics high bar squats get Olympic weightlifting shoes such as Adidas Adipower or a cheaper solution like Rogue Do Win. For all other workout days I would still use Chuck Taylor ones.

For those who absolutely hate Chuck Taylor shoes you can get Vibram FiveFingers barefoot ones for around 100$.

adidas adiPower Weightlifting Shoes

Workout Gear – Optimizing Your Performance

My Recommendations For Beginners

Adidas Performance Gloves
Get a nice pair of workout gloves, I like to use the ones from Adidas, they are called Adidas Performance. The reason why I use these is they keep my hand pretty cool during summer plus if I ever break them it’s very easy to replace as it’s a brand very well spread out in the world. So if you travel and you gloves get destroyed you can easily replace them. One pair lasts me a year of training and I don’t go easy on them, they are pretty durable and well worth the investment.

4 key thing to look at when you’re buying workout gloves:

  • Comfort – Make sure you try them on and that they aren’t too loose or too tight. If they are a little bit tighter that’s fine, most of the time they will expand a little.
  • Durability – Read some reviews online about your gloves, if you have to replace a 20$ glove every 3-6 months you should get a 60$ glove that lasts a year.
  • Material – I don’t like leather because it smells horrible.
  • Wrist wrap – Make sure your gloves have a wrap around the wrist for extra stability

My Recommendations For Intermediate/Advanced Lifters

Guys at this stage already are lifting pretty decent amount of weight and know the importance of having good workout accessories.

2 things you must have at this stage:

  • Weightlifting straps
  • Weightlifting belt + Small Chain To Attach Weights
  • Optional: Dip Belt – Weight-attachable belt for pull-ups

Weightlifting straps – Best Return On Investment For Muscle Building

Everlast Weightlifting Straps
Straps are essential for pulling exercises because you don’t want your forearm to give out before the back muscles are properly stimulated. For bodybuilding type of exercises weightlifting straps are essential due to higher repetition range of pulling exercises and the longer time under tension. Your forearms are much smaller than back muscles and they will fatigue pretty early in the workout if you’re using very heavy weights (as you should be) to stimulate your back.

I got a pair of Everlast Lifting Straps 3 years ago and after 3 years of heavy abuse they’re still good. They cost around 10$ and if you don’t have one buy them right now.

Note: Some gyms might have a lot of straps available, I still prefer to have my own for travel purposes or if the gym is crowded you don’t wanna be wasting time on waiting for straps to be available.

Weightlifting belt

A lot of confusion surrounds using weightlifting belts in your workouts. You’ll read stuff like your back and core muscles get weaker if you use a belt in the gym. All of this is nonsense, what actually happens is that by using a tight weightlifting belt your abdominal muscles have something to press on and actually get stronger!

You might have a variety of belts available in your gym but I recommend get your own because it can last for years if the quality is good and you want to get used to the same one as it can affect performance. Find a comfortable belt and stick with it, it’s gonna help you get stronger, protect you from injury and improve your abs.

For weighted pullups or dips get a small chain which you can attach some weight to the belt. This is a solution if you don’t want to buy a Dip Belt, if you’re one of the lucky ones your gym might have a dip belt available. But in any case I recommend getting your own weightlifting belt, you wanna invest some money in it because it can help you a lot in the long run.

Note: Wearing a bad belt (wrong size or fit) is WORSE than having no belt at all. Be very careful with this!

I recommend one of these 2:

You will need to spend some money on these 2 but they are durable and will last you years of heavy lifting.

Rogue Leather Weightlifting Belt

Tech Equipment for Gym

There’s only 2 things I recommend with tech stuff:

  • Stopwatch
  • Mp3 Player

Stopwatch – A MUST-HAVE!

Gym Stopwatch
If you’re not measuring your time between sets you’re not gonna get any results, period. There is no way to estimate how much you rest between a set without some kind of watch, and if anyone says that they can “feel” how much they rest it’s a lie. Grab a stopwatch from eBay or local stores for under 10$, there’s no excuse for not getting one!

I see a lot of guys using their smart phone as a stopwatch in the gym, that’s also fine I’ve used it myself however there’s a few risks: it can get crushed by heavy weight, stolen, plus it will distract you unless you put it in airplane mode. I recommend all my clients to leave the phone at home or in the gym locker, there’s no need to having it in the gym with you during the workout unless you are expecting a very important life or death call.

Mp3 Player – Extra Dose of Motivation

Sansa Clip Zip Gym MP3 Player G
I wrote an article on the blog that has benefits of music for workout so I don’t wanna get into that right now, you can read that article here: Top 10 Workout Songs

However in terms of equipment I use a standalone Mp3 player in the gym Sansa Clip Zip. For the same reason as the stopwatch I don’t recommend using your smart phone to listen to music in the gym, instead get a nice small Mp3 that can play for hours.

I like Sansa Clip Zip because it also has a Stopwatch app so I don’t need any extra devices, this is the only device I carry with me to the weights. It’s very small and easy to attach so it doesn’t interfere with your workout performance. Battery also lasts for a few days of workout sessions and the songs are very easy to copy onto the device. I highly recommended getting one of these little mp3 players, it’s been serving me flawless for longer than 2 years.

Conclusion

So there you have it, it’s basically all you ever need in your gym bag. I hope you guys got value out of this article and that I helps you on your journey to becoming a stronger and healthier version of yourself.

If you have any questions or comments about any one of these items mentioned here let me know.

PS. I’m gonna be taking on new clients for 1 on 1 coaching sessions over Skype. If you’re interested check the details at: https://shockingfit.com/coaching/

PPS. Under this article you’ll find a link to download my entire 12-week workout routine, check it out it’s 100% free.

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  • Sanningskommissionen

    Where’s the towel and shampoo/soap ?
    More important than mp3-player.

  • Paul Brewer

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