Packing a gym bag is second nature for regular gym-goers. They already know what to pack in their gym bags and when to pack. Some even keep pre-packed gym bags in their offices, home or car, so that they can just pick and head to the gym. However, if you are visiting a different gym that you are used to or you going to the gym for the first time, you might be confused as to what you should pack in your gym bag, or even forget to pack some important items. To prevent such issues and make your work easier, we have prepared a list of the essential items that you should always have in your gym bag when going to the gym.

Workout Clothes

Nothing can spoil your day than arriving at the gym, only to realize that you forgot some of your workout clothes at home. One of the easiest ways of ensuring that you’ve packed all the clothes that you will need for your workout is by preparing a list, and then pinning it in your gym bag. If possible, you should pack workout clothes that can last you an entire week instead of packing them every day you are hitting the gym. And that’s why it’s highly advisable to have several items like socks, t-shirts as well as underwear, instead of just having one or two sets. Some of the workout clothes that you should pack in your gym bag include:

  • Gym shorts: Some gyms tend to have dress code regulations. Therefore, ensure you check the rules and then buy several gym shorts. For instance, you can invest in cross-training shorts, basketball shorts, and running shorts. These shorts are allowed in almost all gyms and they are comfortable. Furthermore, they are breathable, fast-drying and lightweight, making them ideal for all types of workouts.
  • T-shirts: Your workout clothes should also include some t-shirts. Any cotton t-shirt that fits comfortably should do just fine. It’s important to note that workout t-shirts become dirty quite fast. Therefore, ensure that you pack at least 3 to 5, depending on the number of times that you intend to work out. Wearing, fresh, clean and stink-free t-shirts is not just good for your hygiene but it also goes a long way in observing proper gym etiquette.
  • Underwear: Your gym bag should also have at least 3 to 5 pairs of fresh underwear. Trunks or fitted boxer briefs are highly recommended, especially if your workouts involve plenty of cardio.
  • Socks: Socks play an important role in keeping your feet healthy and comfortable. Just like underwear, you should never wear one pair of socks more than once. And since they don’t consume a lot of space, you should have as many pairs as possible. Ensure all your workout socks are comfortable. Ill-fitting socks might lead to hotspots and blisters, especially for people who spend most of their gym time running or jogging on the treadmill.

Workout Shoes

Whether you are going to the gym to lift weights or run on the treadmill, you will need a proper pair of workout shoes. While it’s almost impossible to forget your gym shoes, you need to ensure that you carry the right shoes for the particular workout. For instance, if you are going to spend your entire workout session running on the treadmill, then you will need to carry a pair of lightweight running shoes. On the other hand, if your workout of the day involves plenty of weightlifting, then you need to carry weightlifting shoes. In short, you need to match the shoes with the activity you will be doing. Also, having different workout shoes will give you plenty of time to clean and dry them out, which will help to avoid unpleasant foot odors. Before you leave the house, ensure you pack the right shoes in your gym bag for the scheduled workout.

A Towel

Whether your gym provides towels or not, you should always carry a fresh, clean towel from home. Gyms are communal facilities, which means that several people use the equipment every day. As much as you might not sweat much, you should always wipe any gym equipment, before and after use. You will also use the towel to wipe off sweat from your body, especially during intense workout sessions. Microfiber towels are usually the best for the gym. They are absorbent and they dry within a short time. You should have a minimum of 2 to 3 gym towels, which you should be alternating. Ensure you wash your towels after every use since sweat can create a breeding ground for bacteria.


Whether you love country music, hip-hop, jazz, pop or you spend most of your free time listening to electronic, it’s always a good idea to carry some headphones to the gym. Without a doubt, listening to music while working out can enhance your overall experience, among other benefits. For instance, studies show that listening to fast-paced types of music when you are cycling or running can encourage you to work harder while contributing to optimal workout performance. Also, when you are distracted, tired, bored or feeling tired, music can distract your mind and help you to focus on your workout. As a result, you might end up working out longer than you had planned. On the other hand, listening to slower music can enhance your recovery, while helping to calm your mind. Whether you are a fan of large headphones or you prefer small earbuds, make sure you throw a pair into your gym bag before you head to the gym. Ensure you buy a quality pair that is sweat-resistant and wireless. Also, it’s advisable to choose models that are specifically designed for workout out or sports-related activities.

A water Bottle

Unless you spend your entire time in the gym going through your social media pages, you will definitely sweat as you lift weights, run on the treadmill or whichever workout you are engaged in. It’s important to stay properly hydrated during your workout so that you can restore the water that your body is losing through sweating. While you can drink water from the public water fountains in the gym, carrying your own water will save you a considerable amount of time. There are numerous types of re-usable water bottles on the market available at different price points. If you opt for a plastic one, you should ensure that it’s made of non-toxic BPA plastic.

Gym Lock

With gadgets, money and other valuables lying around everywhere, gyms tend to attract many thieves. As much as the gym lockers have some locking mechanisms, most of them are not secure enough to protect your valuables. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to bring your own gym lock. That way, you can rest assured that your valuables are safe. Also, you should call the gym in advance, to confirm whether you can use your own lock, as well as the size you should carry since some locks cannot fit in certain lockers. You should also leave most of your valuables at home or in the hotel you are staying in, to keep them safe.

Energy Bars and Protein Shakes

Whether you are exercising to add weight or shed excess pounds, you will need to keep your body properly fuelled, if you want to maximize your performance. And that’s why you should carry some energy bars in your gym bag. You also need to carry a post-workout snack, preferably a protein shake. A protein-filled shake will feed your muscles before you reach home while aiding in healing and recovery.

Personal Care Items

As much as you might be paying top dollar for your monthly gym subscription, it’s highly important to observe personal hygiene. Apart from taking a shower after your workout, you also need to protect yourself against common locker room infections like athlete’s foot and staphylococcus bacteria. And this is where personal care items come in. Some of the items that you should pack in your gym bag include flip-flops or shower sandals, a scrubber, washcloth, deodorant, a hairbrush or comb, body wash or soap, face and body moisturizer, antifungal ointment or spray, and some shampoo. You should also carry some cleansing wipes. Most gym bags are equipped with several compartments, which will help you to separate your personal care items from the rest of your workout gear.

Hand Sanitizer

As noted earlier, workout machines and other pieces of gym equipment pass through the hands of numerous people per day. While you might wipe off the sweat using your gym towel, you can still catch some viruses, bacteria, and infections. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to have a hand sanitizer. Most gyms provide hand sanitizers. However, you should always pack some in your gym bag, especially if you don’t like sharing personal care items.

Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are advanced electronic devices, designed to measure movements and motions via integrated sensors. These devices collect personal data, and then convert it into various metrics like steps count, sleep quality, as well as the number of calories burned within a certain period. As much as it might appear like a luxury item, a fitness tracker offers numerous benefits, especially for people who work out often. It will help you to set your own fitness goals while keeping you accountable. Also, some fitness trackers are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can keep your smartphone away and focus on your workout. For instance, the Apple Watch will notify you whenever there is a text or a call on your phone. Also, you can set a playlist and listen to music as you work out. In short, a fitness tracker or a smartwatch will provide a convenient means of staying in touch with your smartphone, while supporting your workout and fitness goals. As you can see, it’s an important item to have in your gym bag, whenever you are going for your workout sessions.

Closing Remarks

Packing a gym bag is not as time-consuming as some people tend to assume, once you figure out the things that you need to carry. And after some time, you will eventually get into a routine, and packing a gym bag will become a natural part of your weekly schedule.

About the Author Cindy

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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