The amount of fancy gym gear out there is ridiculous. Every sports store salesman will tell you that you need to have it all and it’s going to make the world of difference. But does it really? Not really. In reality there is very little you NEED in order to train well.
First we’ll go over what you do need:
As obvious as it seems, clothing is most important. Whatever you wear should be breathable, allow you to move and, most importantly, comfortable. Clothing that’s too thick and heavy isn’t going to make for great gym gear.
Next is shoes. Again, most important here is comfort. Go to any shoe shop and without a doubt they will try and sell you on the most expensive pair with the most impressive technology. From personal experience, most of the time this is hogwash. I’ve trained in snazzy training shoes as well as beat up old kicks (which are usually the most comfortable) and I know which I prefer. Comfort is most important when picking shoes.
Next is a sweat towel. This is mostly for hygiene and courtesy to everyone else but still really important. Don’t use a tiny little hand towel but also don’t use the huge bath sheet. Anything in between should be just fine. Some of the smarter sweat towels will even have a zip to keep thing like cellphones and keys which is quite convenient.
The last thing which is a necessity is a water bottle. At least half a litre. A lot of people will use a shaker bottle or something similar made from hard plastic. Biggest issue with those is that if you drop it, it will crack and spill everywhere. A better option is always a used energade/powerade bottle. That thinner plastic is much less likely to crack if dropped.
And that’s it. Those are the only things you really need to have in order to work out well.
Now the things that you don’t need:
Number one and the bane of my existence- gym gloves. These will make your hands feel worse than they should. And if lifting gloves feel ok it means you’re not lifting heavy enough. That’s not me being obnoxious, that’s the truth. They can also become dangerous if you’re using them while hanging from a bar. Skin contact with whatever apparatus you’re using will always give you better feedback.
The next three I’m going to group together: lifting belts, knee sleeves and wrist straps. The reason they’re grouped together is because people will use them for the same reasons: either they think it will make them stronger (it won’t) or they use it to mask pain. If your wrists, knees or back is sore, it means something is wrong. Adding equipment to your arsenal does not change that. You’ll just be setting yourself up for future injury. Likewise, these items will not make you stronger. They may even make you think you’re capable of lifting weights you can’t and this can also set you up for injury. These items have very specific uses and unless you understand those, you don’t need them.