So you finally want to lose a few pounds or gain a bit of muscle. Good for you. Hitting the gym and getting some exercise is one of the best things you can do, no matter your age or fitness level. But if you’re a first-timer or you haven’t hit the gym in a long time, you might want a refresher on the top gym essentials for men.
While all you really need to get fit is a pair of comfortable sneakers, some clothes you wouldn’t mind getting sweat on, and the motivation to keep at it for months, there are tools you can use to enhance your gym experience. Here are some of the best ones I’ve found that you might want to try.
Gym Essentials for Men (Beginners)
So, you’re just new to the gym or you haven’t stuck to a gym long enough to see results…
Unless you’re competing professionally, your best lifting years will be the first three when you see all the gains without busting your butt twice a day in the gym. Beginners can gain up to 25 pounds of lean muscle in the first year of lifting which decreases to five or fewer pounds as you get more advanced. The toughest time in the gym will be the first couple of months when you feel clueless about the weights.
But I’ve been there and it’s all in your head. If you just focus on getting better each day and stop comparing yourself with other guys, you WILL see good enough results to make women chase you. And it starts with this gadget…
Just because you entered the gym doesn’t mean you will benefit from it. Gyms are full of distractions, hot chicks, and harsh comparisons, and unless you’re 100% focused on what you want to achieve, you won’t work hard enough to make that boring walk to the gym count.
Stop socializing, put your earphones on, and keep it simple: You and your music VS. the weights. The right music can improve your focus and performance in the gym. A 2012 study by Brunel University in London shows that people tend to run faster and exercise harder when they listen to their favorite beats. The same study attributes this increased endurance to the distraction that music makes to the listener which affects how he or she perceives fatigue.
Here are our choices for the best wireless earphones:
How you look in the gym affects how often you train. I see so many men resist going to the gym just because they’re too fat/skinny or because they think they don’t look good or cool enough for a gym, especially one with a lot of hot women. If that’s your case then a drop of mental toughness followed by the right gear can boost your confidence until you show them those hard-earned muscles.
Basically, you want to avoid basics and anything you can wear to a restaurant or a date. Just because you’re going to sweat doesn’t mean you should wear worn-out stuff to the gym. Unless you’re so jacked you don’t care what you wear, you will feel like you don’t belong. So, get yourself a few gym t-shirts that go with your gym shorts and pants. Below are our favorite selections. Don’t go crazy. Just aim for one clean, fitting, and sweat-proof t-shirt for every day you hit the gym.
If you’re looking for the best thing to bring to the gym, here are our choices for the best workout t-shirts:
- New Balance Men's Impact Run Short Sleeve
- Nike Dri-FIT Miler
- Rhone Men's Reign Short Sleeve Workout Shirt
At least one towel
I hate it when I don’t shower after the gym so I always use two towels whenever I go; one to wipe down the machines and lay on while bench-pressing and one to dry myself after showering.
Deodorant and antiperspirant
“Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you..” – Phoebe Buffay - Aka. Regina Phalange
No one likes a smelly partner, especially in the gym. Most people use deodorants to lessen their bad, pre-workout odors, but if you tend to sweat excessively, then a good antiperspirant can temporarily plug your sweat pores and limit how much you sweat during the workout.
If you don’t know what to choose, here are our choices for the best deodorants and antiperspirants:
- Old Spice Aluminum Free Deodorant for Men (High Endurance Sport)
- Baxter of California Deodorant for Men
- Dove Men + Care Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick
Most gyms have soap, but I prefer to use mine because God knows whose hands have touched it before me. A good shower gel will keep you fresh and neat by removing the sweaty dead skin off your body and giving you a pleasant, perfume-like smell that can give you some attention as you walk past women in the gym.
If you’re wondering what to use, here are our choices for the best men’s shower gels:
- Bath and Body Works 3 Pack 2-in-1 Hair + Body Wash
- Tom Ford Private Blend Oud Wood
- Puracy Natural Body Wash
You should never shower in the gym, or anywhere in public, without covering your feet. The last thing you want to have in the gym is someone peeing in the same shower before you. A good pair of bathing shoes are easy to use and easy to dry. It will solve the problem without wetting your bag or taking up so much space.
Here are our choices for the best bathing slides:
Gym Accessories for Men (Intermediate)
If you’ve already been to the gym long enough to be one of the bros, the following two sections will cover the top gym accessories that are useful for guys who have been going to the gym for a while:
Are you the type of guy who brags about how heavy they bench press? Then the last thing you want to have in the middle of a heavy set is a few drops of salty sweat moving all over your forehead to your eyes. It’s annoying, your spotter can’t deal with it, and can even cause injury if you – God forbid – you dropped the weight.
If you have a sweaty head and don’t know what to do, here are our choices for the best men’s headbands:
- Under Armour Men's Performance Headband
- Acozycoo Mens Running Headband (5 Pack)
- Poshei Mens Headband (4 Pack)
Water bottle (Your water bottle)
True story, today I forgot my personal water bottle at home so I bought one and kept it next to me as I was doing my back workouts. Twenty minutes later, however, I noticed I was sipping from a Nestle bottle the whole time even though the one I bought from the gym café was Aquafina.
So, yes. I was drinking water from someone else’s bottle.
Drinking water – from your own bottle – is something you should always do in the gym. It’s as important as your protein shake. Whether you want to add muscle or drop some holiday weight, you need to stay hydrated all the time, especially when it’s hot. Water makes up more than two-thirds of our body, and constantly sipping water between sets is a good way to maintain your energy while going hard in the gym.
A good shaker
Most serious lifters use supplements to enhance their gym performance so they can achieve their goals faster. If that’s you, then you need a good shaker for your pre or post-workout drinks.
I’m in the middle of a bulking phase and I need no less than 300 grams of protein every day.
Do you think I can get all that without using supplements like whey protein?
Sure, no. Even though you can still get your macronutrients from whole, real food, you can get there faster if you throw a few supplements into the mixers. Protein, creatine, pre-workouts, carbs…these supplements will enhance your performance and, with the right shaker, you can carry them to the gym
A nice watch
I have an Apple watch, and I use it to track my:
- Rest time between sets
- Heart rate
- Caloric expenditure
- Sleeping time and quality
Plus, it has more than 20 types of workouts to choose from in case you want to exercise solo.
Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, the following selections of smartwatches will match your taste:
What you wear to the gym should be dictated by the type of your workout. But, overall, if you’re someone who hits the treadmill each time you visit the gym then you need a good pair of running shoes to protect your feet from injuries.
Running shoes, according to Nike, are meant to be light and cushioned. The way those shoes are designed – including the cushioned high heels - offers extra flexibility and durability and allows you to run for long periods of time while limiting soreness and discomfort. The right running shoes should reduce the impact of the ground on your foot and take some of the pressure off your ankle and toes.
Confused about what to wear? These are our choices for the best men’s running shoes:
Men’s Gym Accessories You Need to Try (Experts)
Gym buffs have their own aura. They’re the big guys who gain respect automatically the moment they set foot into any gym even if no one knows them. These dudes use slightly different gadgets than other, less advanced guys, to help them lift bigger and reach their goals faster. If that’s you, here are my favorite 5 gym essentials for men who go to the gym quite often:
Women find rough hands sexy. It kind of means you can do the hard stuff and can take things into your own hands. But just because you hit it hard in the gym doesn’t mean you should shake people’s hands with scratchy, almost bleeding hands that are full of pores. Wearing gym gloves won’t make you less manly.
These gloves will support and protect your hands against friction and which allows you to lift while feeling little or no pain in your palms. Also, for those with sweaty palms, putting on a pair of gloves will absorb the excess sweat and reduce slipping.
Below are our choices for the best men’s gym gloves:
You need stability and good posture so you can do heavy lifts such as squats and deadlifts. That’s why most training and powerlifting shoes tend to be flatter and have lower firm heels to keep you balanced and safe as you do difficult movements.
Don’t know what to wear to your next leg day? These are the best men’s lifting shoes in the market:
Anyone who does heavy pulls like deadlifts and shrugs knows the importance of wrist straps. They’re like your mini spotter. Those straps give extra support to your wrists, thus giving you extra control over the weight, so you won’t worry about dropping it. If you want to go heavy and break your weights then a pair of wrist straps should be in your Amazon cart already.
A lifting belt
This is something that both beginners and advanced lifters can use. Those with back injuries, or who want to prevent back injuries, may benefit from wearing one while doing heavy deadlifts, squats, and Olympic lifts. Those belts contract the ab muscles and reduce the gaps between them to take some pressure off your lower back which makes you less likely to injure it. Also, make sure not to wear it all the time as it may cause spikes in your blood pressure which isn’t good for some people.
Before you go heavy, these are our choices for the best men’s lifting belts:
- Flexz Fitness Lever Weight Lifting Leather Belt
- Body Reapers Weight Lifting Belt for Men & Women
- IBRO Powerlifting Lever Gym Belt
Knee and elbow sleeves
Some people have some weak spots that need some assistance, this includes the knees and elbows. For the past five or six years, I started every single workout by warming up my shoulders for a good 10 minutes, and yet I still feel some discomfort in them whenever I do heavy pushes, so I started wearing elbow sleeves.
There’s no specific workout for your elbows or knees which makes it hard to work around any discomfort you may have in those parts whether it’s caused by past injuries or bad genetics. The only thing you can do is protect and warm them to allow as much blood to them. One of the benefits of using those sleeves is increasing blood circulation and reducing pain and inflammation in those areas covered by the sleeves.