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Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist

When packing your bag to go the gym, there are some essential items you don’t want to forget. To avoid the potential for future mishaps, use the following guide as a checklist, and pack your bag in advance so you can always go prepared.

A gym bag

Okay, so this sounds obvious. How can you pack a bag if you don’t have one, to begin with? You don’t need anything too expensive; however, it needs to be big enough to pack your gym essentials. While you might not care about making a fashion statement, a carrier bag from your local supermarket just won’t make the grade.

A water bottle

Possibly the most essential (and life saving) piece of equipment you need. Going to the gym will exhaust you, and it is vital you keep yourself hydrated. There are many water bottles on the market, though you can always reuse a plastic bottle that you can refill when you need to. Not only can you drink plenty of water during exercise, but you can also give yourself an impromptu shower when you’re feeling hot and sweaty.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog

A sports bra

We advocated the use of a sports bra on this website, and with good reason. You need to be comfortable when exerting yourself, and you won’t sweat nearly as much when wearing one. Please note: for obvious reasons this item is for women only. Male readers will have to face difficult questions when caught with one of these in their gym bag!

Nutrition bars

An extensive workout will give you hunger pangs, so carry a few nutrition bars in your bag. Otherwise, you may  give in to temptation on your way home and buy something unhealthy that is going to undo all the hard work you put into your exercise routine.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog

Extra clothes

Whether you are going out straight after your gym session, or just heading home, a fresh pair of clothes will help you feel more comfortable. From a tank top to your socks, bring spare items that will do your body a favour after you have finished your workout.


Unless you plan on making very little effort during your workout, you are going to sweat! For your benefit, and for that of those around you, make sure you layer on deodorant before you get down to your exercise.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog

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An obvious option, but you should bring a couple of towels with you. One can be used to wipe your weary brow during exercise, and the other will be perfect after your shower. Many gyms allow you to rent a towel from them, but why should you pay money when you can just as easily bring your own.


A sweatband is a fashion accessory you don’t want to go without. Not only will a forehead sweatband keep the drops of sweat away from your eyes and body, but it will also keep your hair away from your eyes during those crucial moments of your workout. Buy a sweatband for your wrists as well, giving you the opportunity to wipe away any sweat without breaking your stride.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog


Whether you use your smartphone or an iPod, make sure you create a music playlist to help you get your blood pumping during the session. Remember to bring a pair of headphones with you, as your music tastes may not belong to everybody in the gym; at least I find that’s the case with my 90’s tunes, haha. Why not treat yourself to some Beats headphones?

Fitness tracker

To help you see how many calories you have lost during your session, a tracking device is a must. Your smartphone probably has an app that will do the job, but serious aficionados should consider buying one of these fitness trackers, which are some of the best currently on the market.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog

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Training shoes

Invest in the right pair of shoes, and you will get the full benefit from your workout. You need to avoid blisters and cramping, so buy something that will give you the comfort you need. From using the running machine to lifting weights, you need something that will cushion your feet and leg joints.

Shower shoes

We can never have too many pairs of shoes, though we probably wouldn’t wear shower shoes anywhere else! No matter how clean the gym shower looks, there are hundreds of pairs of feet a day treading across the floor spreading bacteria. Your feet will thank you for the purchase.

Gym Bag Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist | UK Lifestyle Blog[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2018-05-10T21:32:57+00:00 May 10, 2018|Health|

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday

It’s hard to believe, but you’re nearly halfway through the year already, and you’ll finally be coming out the other side of the freezing cold weather. Surely this should be when all the resolutions and lifestyle changes should be made and implemented, right? It’s so easy to get sidetracked into staying indoors (where it’s warm) and eating comfort food in front of Netflix in the winter months, and after what feels like the longest winter ever, it’d be no surprise if your health and fitness have been last on your list of priorities.

But hey, it’s crucial to a long and happy life that you look after your body as much as you can. You’ve only got one after all. And, with spring (kinda) here, and summer just around the corner (fingers crossed); there’s no better time to take on some fresh changes that will give you a much-needed boost and kick-start into the warmer months.

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday | UK Lifestyle Blog

Fortunately, there are plenty of small changes that you can make and things you can enjoy that will ensure you’re leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Nobody’s here to tell you off for eating chocolate when you have a craving, or tie you to the treadmill for hours a day; it’s about enriching and enhancing your life with great things.

You’ll love the way you feel when you’re fit and healthy, and you’ll reach a point where you can’t imagine not having those healthy choices in your life, which will see you through the colder months again at the end of the year (sorry for mentioning them). The following are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those who want to make some positive changes to their lifestyle so that they’re as happy, fit, and healthy as they can be.

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday | UK Lifestyle Blog

Plenty of hydration

It sounds so simple, but so many women are forgetting to stay hydrated throughout their day. Drinking the odd coffee at work and enjoying a glass of wine on a Friday don’t count towards flushing your toxins away, and ensuring that all of your organs (including your brain) are able to function efficiently. Caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration, which is why they can cause headaches, migraines, and even UTIs.

Your liver and kidneys need plenty of water to flush out those nasty toxins, and drinking plenty of water every day will help to prevent diseases of your organs, and keep lesser-known conditions like anasarca at bay. Simply make sure that you’re getting into the habit of drinking a glass of water afterwards and throughout the rest of your day. Eight 500ml glasses, evenly spaced through your day will not only keep your insides in tip top condition; you’ll have fresh, youthful skin to look forward to as you’re glowing from the inside out.

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday | UK Lifestyle Blog

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Nourishing food

Pack your plate full of colourful and nourishing ingredients and forget about sad salad leaves and a soggy tomato (nobody wants to eat that regularly, or ever). When it comes to your vegetables; the more colour, the better. Finding fresh and seasonal produce to add to warm salads, stews, and soups will ensure that you’re able to satiate a large appetite and will know that your nourishing your body with plenty of vitamins and fibre.

Doing a bit of research now will ensure that you can kick your bad food habits and fill up on tasty alternatives for the rest of the year, so check out some simple and delicious recipes online and get inspired. It’s not about starving yourself or going hungry, as this will only make you reach for the sweet stuff; it’s just time to enjoy more of the good stuff (that will definitely fill you up).

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday | UK Lifestyle Blog

Fitness fun

For you to stick to your exercise and fitness plan, you’ll need to find something that you enjoy and look forward to. If you hate running and have bad knees; it’s no use telling yourself that you’re going for a run every day, as you’ll go out once and do a U-turn, before giving it up completely. I ran a half-marathon a couple of years ago and pushed myself a little too far weeks before the race, and although I ended up completing it, I did end up with an injury that’s still with me today. It’s cost me a fortune in therapy to resolve it and it’s getting better but I’ve been looking for different ways to exercise that are low-impact and only using my treadmill occasionally. 

I absolutely love the sea, and in the summer you’ll find me in the water almost every single day. Whether I’m out on my kayak or hiring a stand up paddle board, I could easily spend hours out on the water. Even in the winter, I try and get out in my winter suit at least a few times… my partner thinks I’m 100% crazy even I drag him into the freezing ocean on a random Thursday evening. Living just 2 minutes from the beach, getting back on a surfboard and investing in more lessons was an obvious choice for me so I picked up a 7′ 6 NSP SurfBetty last month.

I Made These 3 Tiny Changes and it Transformed My Everyday | UK Lifestyle Blog

Surfing isn’t for everybody, especially if you’re not near the coast. You don’t have to get in the sea to exercise – it’s worth looking into the latest fitness trends and signing up for some classes near you. Look at it as another way to socialise, and get your health and fitness levels up in the meantime; it’s a win-win. Other people will always encourage you to keep going back, even when the weather sucks, so keeping your fitness light, fun, and social is the best way to start your new way of life. And, who knows what exercise it could lead to next!

2018-06-04T01:09:51+00:00 May 2, 2018|Health|

Cardio Before or After Weight Lifting? Here’s Why The Answer Varies

A lot of people wonder if they should hit the treadmill right away or focus on building muscles. It’s such a simple question, yet the answers bounce in either direction; where the weight-loss expert advise you to do your cardio after lifting weights, the bodybuilders are preaching a workout that works the other way around. It’s no wonder we’re confused and inclined to stop taking anyone seriously at all.

Here is, finally, the scientific explanation for all the confusion, making your weekly workouts a bit more manageable.

Cardio Before or After Weight Lifting? Here's Why The Answer Varies | UK Lifestyle Blog

The hard stuff

When you exercise cardio, you impact the cells in your body differently than when you’re building muscles. Cardio increases your endurance and is wonderful news for your cardiovascular health, so it makes sense that the cellular changes your body requires to adapt to resistance training – which happens when you’re lifting weights – looks a bit different.

Heading from a sweaty session on the treadmill to a hefty session with weights means that the two stimuli would like to cancel each other out. You’ll usually end up with a bit of improvement in both areas, both with regards to building strength and to increase your endurance, but not as much as you could have had.

It’s no reason to give up on either yet, though, as you can reap the complete benefits of both workouts by simply dividing it up. Focus on cardio exercise on one day, for example, and let your body build strength and resistance on another day.

Easier said than done with a busy schedule? That’s when you need to know which one to do first and why you should be considering all of this in the first place.

When you want to lose weight

Back in the days, everyone talked about burning that weight off by running. Then it became trendy to bulk up a bit, and people preached weight-lifting and #TeamNoCardio; it’s no wonder we’re confused. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, it’s useless to only lift weights – per minute, cardio burns the most calories and should be your exercise of choice when you’d like the scale to show a lower number rather than a higher one.

The cardio will deplete our body’s supply of glycogen which makes it more likely to help itself to your more long-term storage of energy, such as fat. Combine a long run with a healthy diet and control your calorie intake with dieting shakes to reach your goals; just remember that weight loss is, of course, a permanent commitment and about finding the right balance.

It means, of course, that you need to be easier on yourself when lifting weights afterward. You’ll be tired after a long run and have less energy to spend on heavy lifting, so keep it short and sweet to avoid injuries.

When you want to build muscles

If your goal is the other way around, you should always start with a good weight-lifting session first, while you still have the energy for it. Those who have completed a good run and shakingly walk over to the weight-lifting room knows the feeling of drained energy.

You won’t be able to lift as much as you could have, you’ll be losing weight rather than building muscles, and will end up wishing that you had just stayed at home. Heading straight for the weights as soon as you enter the gym, on the other hand, and you’ll be ready for action and able to complete a lot more reps. It’s the kind of stuff bodybuilders love.

The most important thing to remember when you want to gain weight or boost your muscles is to eat enough afterward. Even if you did cardio before starting on the reps; eat a lot to avoid seeing your body consume all of your hard work – your muscles, that is.

Bring a shake with you to the gym so that you can start to restore as soon as your workout is complete; have a look at this article for a great guide to calorie-dense food your muscles will thank you for.

Again, the best choice is to divide the two sessions and allow your body to enjoy the benefits on separate days. If you find exercising a bit intimidating, it could be a good idea to start with cardio nonetheless – most people are more familiar with this type of exercise, and you shouldn’t let the weight lifters dictate your workout and make you avoid the gym altogether.

2018-01-08T03:32:58+00:00 August 29, 2017|Health|
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