A Beginner Lifter’s Guide: Gym Gear

Are you a bit unsure of exactly what you need to get started with lifting? In this gear guide, we will breakdown a few things that you might want to consider when deciding on your gym-specific-gear.

A locker with a gym bag inside
Photo Credit: Brave Heart


It actually really doesn’t matter. Some people like their clothes to fit a bit loosely, and some like their clothes to fit very well. Basically, it comes down to: wear what you are comfortable in. It is worth mentioning that having a thick hoody helps with mitigating the feel of the barbell digging into your traps / neck area during squats.


Vibram KMD Sport LS

This is an area that requires more consideration. Athletic shoes are inadequate for lifting in. They offer so much support and cushioning to your feet that you can easily develop imbalances or issues with strength and mobility in your feet / ankles.

Things to look for in a lifting shoe:

  • Very solid, firm heel (better for producing force)
  • Thin (less distance to travel)

It’s that simple. Shoes that easily fit this bill while being relatively cheap are wrestling shoes and minimalist shoes. Many people swear by Chuck Taylors, and it is pretty easy to find a pair for $50-$60.

The cheapest way of all is to go barefoot! Some even argue that it is the best and most natural way to train. Not all of us have that option available, however (like myself), so I decided to experiment with minimalist shoes. Stay tuned for a review on my recently purchased Vibram KMD Sport LS shoes.


Don’t even think about it. Really. Why?

  • The added material from gloves makes the bar bigger in your hands, and harder to grab.
  • Gloves take away from developing grip strength. Strong arms but weak hands, does that sound good?
  • They do not keep you from getting blisters and / or calluses.

If you’re worried about your hands being rough, there are measures you can take to prevent them from ending up that way through proper maintenance. Do yourself a favor and learn to lift without gloves. Worried about your hands slipping when they get sweaty? That leads us to…




I would consider this an essential, especially if you’re not using gloves. Nothing beats chalk when it comes to grip. It’s also cheap and easy to take with you. A lot of people dislike chalk because it is messy but you can always buy chalk that comes closed in a stocking, or even use liquid chalk. One application of liquid chalk is about the size of a quarter and lasts me an entire workout.



Picture of a notebook
Don’t lift without it.


This is also another essential. Not only does keeping a journal ensure that you are more successful, but how else would you track your progress in the gym? A journal can tell you where your weaknesses and strengths are, and even serve as a huge motivator when you compare it over time to where you started.

Honorable Mentions

  • Caffeine – The best natural preworkout!
  • Ipod – Nothing like an awesome track to get you through those hard sets.
  • Water – Explanation unnecessary.

Can you think of any other essentials to add to the list? Leave me a comment below.

Posted by Lady J

This article has 2 Comments

  1. A solid workout program to follow! It doesn’t even matter which one so much when you start as long as you are consistent, but I see too many people get bored, waste time, not improve, because they don’t know what to do and wander between machines and just do what they see other girls do.

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