Hello my lovelies!
So, this is something I haven’t talked about on my blog so far….however I do think it’s time to start talking about this as it is a pretty large aspect of my life!
On January 1st 2013, I made a new years resolution that I wanted to drastically change my body composition with heavy weightlifting and HIIT training.
I had gained about 20kg (44 lbs) whilst I was pregnant with my son and I was having a very hard time getting the baby weight off…..however I promise to talk more about this specific struggle in a future YouTube video/blog post!
Before getting pregnant, my fitness routine comprised mostly of hours pounding the treadmill and surviving on soup and lettuce. Needless to say, I was “skinny fat”. I wore a size 10 with little rolls of chubb that I just couldn’t seem to get rid of!
I couldn’t comprehend how I could push and deprive my body so intensely, yet still have a jelly belly and thunder thighs!
It wasn’t until I was ready to lose the postpartum chubb that I decided to educate myself on nutrition, human biology and the mechanism of body fat.
Whilst I’ll talk about this in greater detail another time, I completely overhauled my fitness routine to include heavy compound & isolate weightlifting techniques and calisthenic (bodyweight) training to increase my body’s lean muscle mass. I also included explosive cardio such as sprinting and skipping to burn stored body fat.
Here are the tools I always keep in my gym bag to enable me to conduct my workout routine, no matter where I am! Great for both the gym and outdoors!
When you are performing any kind of resistance training, it can take a toll on the skin on your hands. As the skin is so soft and delicate, it’s easy to develop callouses.
Sweat and natural oils can also wreck havoc on your ability to grip onto objects, whether that’s a heavy weight or an overhead bar.
Wearing weightlifting gloves is a brilliant way to protect your skin whilst also helping to improve the grip needed during your workouts.
Weightlifting gloves are sold by all sports and fitness retailers, depending where you look, you could pick up a pair for as little as £3!
Loved by both weightlifters and yoga nuts alike, liquid chalk is also great for improving grip ability during performance.
What I love about liquid chalk is that it is perfect for all activity both gym based and outdoors!
I picked this up from Decathalon.com for about £5-£6.
Whether you want a visible six pack, or you are just looking for a way to keep your core strong for health and posture purposes, I thoroughly recommend an abdominal wheel!
So simplistic in it’s construction, the abdominal wheel is perfect for keeping the mid section and abdominal wall strong.
Go on all fours, hold onto the handles, and simply roll the ab wheel forward, using your ab muscles to control the movement and pull back to resting position.
Roll the ab wheel in slight diagonal directions to really stretch and work the oblique muscles, which can create the illusion of a Jennifer Lopez hourglass waist.
I bought this abdominal wheel for £3.99 from Amazon and I always have it to hand for a quick 5 minute ab pump after both my gym and outdoor sessions.
4. Skipping Rope
The mother of all cardio!
Low impact yet high intensity, skipping is a perfect exercise for people of all fitness levels. Skipping provides a highly effective cardiovascular workout, whilst also working the abdominal muscles and lower body.
This skipping rope is so lightweight and compact that I keep it in my gym bag at all times!
What I love about skipping, is that it can be done anywhere that has wide open space. Perfect for early morning exercise in the park!
I purchased this skipping rope for £3.99 from Decathalon.
5. Ankle Cuff
If you are wanting to build a booty, shapely hamstrings and a strong set of quads….carrying an ankle cuff in your gym bag is probably the simplest way to achieve your goals!
Simply attach the ankle cuff to a cable crossover machine (on the lowest peg to be aligned with your feet) and adjust the Velcro straps around your ankles.
The free range of motion with the ankle cuff allows you to move your legs in many directions, isolating and targeting all the different muscles in the legs for an effective body (or booty) building workout.
Adjusting the resistance and weight of the cables really enables you to sculpt and carve the legs and butt of your dreams!
Again, so small and compact, it’s able to lay at the bottom of my gym bag and can be used even when training in the most basic and no frills of gyms!
I purchased this ankle cuff for £6 from Amazon.
6. Resistance Bands (Booty)
More booty building equipment!
Only this resistance band can be used when doing either at home or outdoor workouts to really perk, tone and build a juicy booty!
Perfect for using in glute isolation exercises such as donkey kicks, single leg/hip extensions and side leg raises.
This band works but adding resistance to the isolated muscles that are being contracted, meaning that they have to work harder to complete a full range of motion….ultimately building more muscle!
I purchased this booty band in a set from Argos.
7. Skull Candy Head Phones
For some reason….I can’t work out without music!
And for some reason, my gym playlist features nothing but trap music and Beyoncé
I personally find earbud earphones to just be a little too weedy and weak to work out with. After two months or so, I end up losing sound in one earbud…and then I lose sound in the other about two weeks afterwards!
My gym life changed when I switched to using actual headphones as opposed to earphones!
Incredibly lightweight and compact, the headphones stay on my head throughout my entire workout and enable me to work out at many different intensities and in many different positions with no awkwardness and they never slip off.
They even do an awesome job of keeping my hair out of my face too 🙂
Plus Skullcandy headphones are really good at noise isolation (be careful when crossing roads as you can not hear a thing with these on!) and are pretty good when it comes to sound and bass quality too.
I purchased these headphones for £15 on Amazon.
8. The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Mist & Shower Gel
Yes, I am one of those annoying half wits who will spritz themselves in the middle of a busy gym!
Nothing is worse than stinking of body odour during a workout! (even though it really is perfectly natural to do so!)
What I love about this body mist from The Body Shop (in pink grapefruit….my favourite scent) is how sweet, fresh and sharp it smells.
Considering it is just a body mist and not a parfum, the scent really does linger on the skin and the clothes for a surprisingly long time. This makes for a really great bargain day fragrance!
I always find this mist really cooling as it lands on the skin too, which is ideal when you are in a hot, sweaty, crowded gym!
I always buy a matching shower gel to keep in my gym bag in case I ever fancy a shower 🙂
I got this body mist for £7 in The Body Shop (available in a large range of fruity scents) and the shower gel for £4.
9. Protein Shake
After weightlifting, it is so important to have some protein post workout to assist your muscles in healing after they have been torn. This way they can repair fully to be much stronger than they were before, resulting in the ability to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier!
Drinking protein shakes really has transformed my workouts, enabling me to develop more strength and lean muscle mass than I had ever done in my cardio mania years!
I personally prefer to drink soy protein isolate shakes post workout, as it is the most bio available plant based protein for humans.
I purchased my soy protein powder from The Protein Works. What I really like about The Protein Works is that the products are really high in quality, with 90% pure protein content and are GM free. Also 100% suitable for vegetarians and vegans 🙂
They also offer the best flavour options in the fitness world (vegan protein options usually tend to be quite bland), with Caramel Macchiato, Choc Mint Brownie, Choc Peanut Cookie, Chocolate Silk, Millionaires Shortbread and Vanilla Creme flavours available!
I try not to consume dairy, so I steer clear from whey protein powder, however The Protein Works gave me a free bag of whey protein with my first order, so I thought that I’d include it here too 🙂
So what’s in your gym bag? Let me know in the comments below!
The Curly Cockney