For anyone that goes to the gym regularly, packing a gym bag is a fairly routine procedure. You might be someone who likes to have one ready to go at your front door, leave one in the boot of your car – or maybe even pack a different bag depending on the type of workout you’re doing. Regardless, feeling organised and prepared for the gym will kick your workout off to a great start. Nothing ruins your vibe like forgetting your headphones or having to pay for a gym towel!
Here’s our list of gym bag essentials to get you ready before, during and after a workout:
Let’s start with the most obvious, shall we? If you’re not wearing your workout clothes to the gym, make sure you always have a fresh set in your gym bag. Forgetting a key piece of workout gear can be extremely frustrating (socks, where are you!?), so be sure you’ve got your tops, bottoms, socks and underwear packed and ready.
Most of us have unfortunately been there, done that and forgot to pack runners! Or maybe worse – packed two different types of shoes or two left feet!
Depending on the workout you’re doing, you might also need to pack different footwear. For example, if you’re doing a spin class you won’t want to be wearing big bulky runners. Similarly, if you’re planning on a heavy weights session, make sure you’ve packed the appropriate footwear.
Resistance bands should be a staple to any gym bag – they’re lightweight, affordable, and have many difference benefits. They can be used for warming up muscle groups, for activation prior to your main lifts, to add extra resistance to exercises, and to provide assistance in exercises like pull ups.
Most fitness centres will require you to bring a towel to the gym floor – and for good reason. Using a gym towel is not only hygienic, but it’s also good gym etiquette. Microfiber towels are perfect, as they dry quickly and fold down super small so it won’t take up too much room in your bag.
Staying hydrated is essential during exercise, so make sure you’ve got a bottle of water close by during your workout. We recommend using a reusable water bottle as they are better for the environment and keep your water colder for longer.
Many gyms have self-locking combination lockers, but some still require you to bring your own lock. If you’re leaving your bag in a locker with valuables in it, best to be safe and throw one in your bag just in case.
Foam rolling can be done both before and after a workout. Before exercise, rolling will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion and circulation. This can help you move better during your workout and protect you from injury. Post workout, foam rolling can help enhance recovery, so it’s a good piece of equipment to have in your bag.
It’s always good to have a protein bar, piece of fruit, shake or nuts handy in your gym bag. If you need a little pick me up before your session or want to re-fuel afterwards, having a pre prepared snack ready to go will keep your energy levels up and hunger at bay.
An essential for any gym experience is a good pair of headphones. Nothing gets you motivated like a pump up playlist, and quality headphones can make all the difference. So, whether you’re a fan of tiny earbuds or love the larger, over-the-ear style headphones, be sure to throw your favourite pair into your bag before you head out of the door.
A smartwatch is a great way to keep track of metrics like heart rate, calories burned and steps taken. This can help keep you motivated and accountable to achieving your daily exercise goals.
If you don’t record your activity on your watch, it doesn’t count right?!
Personal Care Essentials
Workout and sweat are a package deal and it doesn’t matter who you are, we all sweat! Keeping a few personal care items in your bag will help you freshen up after your workout and keep you protected from that unpleasant after-gym odour. A few must-haves include:
- Soap/body wash
- Cleansing wipes