Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or training for your first 5k, setting lifelong goals will help get you there. Hard work and dedication are some of the ingredients to this recipe, but, having the right tools will be the icing on the cake. To achieve your athletic goals, you need to be equipped with the proper equipment to keep you healthy and safe as you push your body to the limit. Keep reading to know the top 5 tools you should pack in your gym bag to become the next best you.

1. Proper Footwear

Arguably the most important item to go into your gym bag are your shoes. Shoes are extremely important because they are what your body relies on for support all day. Poor shoes can lead to a variety of injuries. Back pain, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain— you name it! These ailments will sideline you from your next race, ride, meet, or competition. So, find the right shoes that work for you, not against you.

To go the extra mile, fit yourself with the Nike Pegasus to increase your endurance and give you company on your training runs. Or, invest in soccer cleats or tennis shoes to give you an edge on your competitors while on the field or court. With the right shoes, you’ll stay safe and healthy as you climb toward your goals.

2. Exercise Plan

You can’t become the next best Michael Phelps or Lebron James without a plan. To become the best athlete you can be, you need an exercise plan that targets the correct muscles and joints to maximize your performance. You need a regimen that incorporates strength training, core and balance, and cardio to boost your endurance, stamina, strength, and agility.

Don’t, however, ignore the wonders of recovery days. Going hard all the time will set you back rather than push you forward. Giving your body time to heal through easy days, days off, sleep, and proper nutrition will help your muscles recover and increase strength!

3. A Gym That Works for You

Finding a gym that meets your needs can be somewhat tricky. Take time to research local gyms around you. Is pricing a concern? Look for inexpensive gyms that still have the proper equipment to get you through each workout. Many gyms offer a free day pass or free trials. Take advantage of these opportunities to get a feel for the culture of the gym and the tools they offer that will help you succeed.

Or, maybe you want to create your own home gym? Working out at home doesn’t have to be expensive. With hundreds of at-home workouts to search through on the Internet, and budget-friendly equipment you can buy from second-hand retailers, reaching your goals has never been easier!

4. The Right Nutrition

Fulfilling your athletic goals means properly fueling your body. Highly processed foods, refined sugar, and a diet with no green vegetables, fruit, or protein can set you back. Looking into various supplements to take, such as B12, Iron, and Omega 3, can give you energy, aid in recovery, and ultimately make you stronger. However, proceed with caution when it comes to certain supplements. Confide in your physician to get blood work done to determine if you lack any nutrients or have excess!

Along with supplements, eating clean is extremely important. If you find yourself busy between going to work, stepping in the gym, and dealing with your family— cooking a homemade meal may not be on your to-do list. Using meal-delivery services can cut back on time while giving you easy to prepare nutritious foods that will help you perform your best.

5. The Right Activewear

To perform your best, you need to look and feel your best. Investing in proper activewear will help you crush your goals in no time. Cotton shirts and baggy shorts can be heavy, sweat-absorbing items that weigh you down and limit mobility. Pack your gym bag with moisture-wicking tank tops and shorts that are breathable and light. The right clothes will make you feel and perform like a pro in no time!

The Bottom Line

Achieving your athletic goals doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Find pleasure in your sport knowing you have the right tools to help you be better, every day. Purchasing the right footwear and clothing will boost your performance, while proper nutrition and exercise plan will help you build muscle so you can blow the competition out of the water!