For years, I would approach my workouts and fitness with a very lackadaisical attitude. What I hadn’t begun to understand was that fitness needs to be approached in the same way as any daily (or once a month…lazy bum) occasion. You wouldn’t show up to a business meeting without the proper clothes, paper, pens, and perhaps a prepared presentation, would you? Not if you wanted to keep your job, anyway. Once I started to treat fitness like an equally important event in my day, I instantly became more invested and therefore saw better results. Whether you’re a gym bro, a street runner or an apartment floor yoga participant, there are things that you should always have for your workout to work out (get it? friggin’ LAUGH RIOT over here). Here are my essentials:

  1. A clear head! I know that life can be taxing. Your dog just shit all over the carpet, your boss just doesn’t seem to get how essential you are to the operation, maybe you just plain don’t like to work out. Regardless of what’s going on, clearing your head before heading into your workout will only allow you to focus in and wipe your mental slate clean, therefore starting fresh after you’ve finished.
  2. A water bottle! Yes, that’s a Tinder bottle I’m using. I like it because it’s not huge, but it’s big enough that I know I want to finish the whole thing before my workout is over. You always want to have a bottle with you because it’s great to stay hydrated between sets or in the middle of class. Don’t rely on water fountains, they’re dirty and you’re more likely to slow down your whole workout on your trip to and from.
  3. A playlist! Even if it’s just Spotify or Pandora, put music in your ears. Working out isn’t about being social, it’s about getting work done. Personally, I like to listen to really cheesy techno and trance music when I work out because it’s what motivates me to get active. Plus, you don’t want to rely on what the gym is playing because it’s probably either a Top 40 station packed with commercials or heavy metal that’s only going to get you pissed off at yourself for forgetting your iPod at home (just me? that’s fair).
  4. Pen & Paper (or your phone’s notes)! Write down your workouts, people! Keep track of what you’re doing so that next time, instead of wandering around the gym wondering what to do next and creepily starting at the girl doing squats, you can track your progress and see the results on paper and in the mirror!
  5. Proper clothing! This is a big one for me. It was something that I avoided for a very long time because I thought it was ridiculous to treat the gym like a fashion show. That was until I went and got some good quality workout clothes. It changed the game for me. Looking good while at the gym (within reason, you shouldn’t be showing more skin at the gym than at the beach, dude) only made me feel better and therefore work harder because I had a better attitude. Workout gear is pricey, try shopping at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for some off-brand, really great stuff. That’s what I do.
  6. Your own cardio option! I’ve posted before about my love for jumping rope. It’s an awesome alternative to running or doing the elliptical or whatever. Plus, how many times have you gone to the gym after work only to have EVERY. SINGLE. MACHINE taken? Don’t allow yourself the excuse to leave. Throw a jump rope in your gym bag and have it just in case.

Last but most certainly not least…have fun! The gym/classes can be a VERY weird place sometimes. There’s that guy who grunts way too loudly, the dude who’s dressed like a Nike commercial but hasn’t actually done a single workout since he walked in the door, the girl who’s just kind of dancing in the mirror and taking up the entire corner of the free weight area…it’s only going to benefit you more if you can find the fun in it all and turn working out into a habit of enjoyment rather than a chore of necessity. Make it a buddy activity if that helps. Guys, you can totally go to the gym and workout with your girl, just don’t be the couple who literally use one another as weights, it’s weird.

What are some of your workout essentials? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Stay smiling, my friends!


About the author

I'm Parker York Smith, a curious dude still very much figuring everything out. I hail from the Midwest but have been dwelling in Los Angeles for the last few years being a pretty stereotypical west coast transplant. I'm a fashion geek, I love to walk (a LOT) and I do my best to find the bright side. I'm extremely excited about this blog and hope that (with some hard work and luck) it turns into what I believe it can. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please get in touch with me via my social networks (which can be found in the sidebar) or email me at

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