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12 Must Haves for your Gym Bag

by Nicholas McKenna 2 months ago in fitness

If you're new or don't know what to bring

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When you first start going to the gym, you may not understand what you need. You see all these people with bags, and they're pulling out shakers, protein powder, and giant belts. Depending on your fitness goals, you may need any of these items. If you're wondering what you should pack in your gym bag, here are 12 items I recommend you bring with you.

Gym lock

If you bring a bag to the gym, you have two options. The first is to carry your bag with you everywhere you go which can get a little annoying. The second choice is to leave it in a locker in the locker room, but to make sure that your things stay safe, you should bring a lock with you.

I prefer a combination lock because now you don't have to carry your keys with you, but whichever makes you feel better. It's your preferences your own.


Whether you're a sneaker head or not, you'll want to bring a separate pair of sneakers with you for the gym. Certain shoes are very stylish and you wouldn't want to get them scuffed up or dirtied in the gym.

Others are recommended for certain gym activities. If you are a runner, you should get running shoes to help you with the impact on your knees and other joints. If you are a lifter, you may want to buy converse shoes because they are flat, and help you push through your heels on heavy exercises.


Imagine showing up to the gym ready to go. you just had your pre-workout shake, you lace up your shoes, only to realize you forgot your headphones. This is one of the worst feelings when going to the gym.

Sometimes you need that extra adrenaline rush from your favorite song to get through your workout, and now you're stuck listening to the station the gym is playing softly. Having your headphones allows you to change the environment, and help you focus and motivate you to get through workout.

Water bottle

One of the most important things to realize in the gym is that you need to stay hydrated. Gyms do have water fountains, but it's better to have your own water bottle next to you, so that you're not running to the word fountain every 5 minutes.

Consider buying a reusable water bottle save money and the planet. You'll be happy when you just finished your run to have water right next to you and it will become part of your daily routine to grab that bottle when you're thirsty.


There're (those) that walk into the gym and know exactly what they're doing, and others who tend to wander around looking for the next thing to do. Solve the wandering problem by going to the gym with a plan.

Bring a notebook and a pen with you, and write down what exercises you do that day, at what weights, and how many reps and sets you do.

This will help you create a routine after the first couple weeks. You can also research routines on line, and write some down in your gym notebook before you go, and then refer to it during your workout.

Foam roller

After a workout, you may find that you are tight in one area or your muscles are in a knot. One way to help relieve this pain is by using a foam roller. Foam rollers probably won't fit in a gym bag though, so you would have to carry it.

If you don't feel like carrying a foam roller, there're special balls you can roll on to relieve tonight as well. A lacrosse ball is commonly used to break knots in the muscles, but depending on the area, and how knotted your muscles are, this may be a little painful.


When you're working hard at the gym, you tend to sweat. Some of us sweat more than others. It's proper gym etiquette to clean off the equipment you used when you are done using it. After all, I don't know anyone who is OK with grabbing a pair of dumbbells, and feeling the sweat from the last person that used them.

Carry a towel with you, so you can dry off the equipment, and keep yourself dry. It's also possible you can slip with the weight in your hand from the sweat, and wind up dropping the equipment. This could lead to injury, so keep a towel on you to keep yourself dry.

Change of clothes

Picture this, you just finished your workout, you are sweaty from head to toe, and now you have to get in your car, and drive home. If you go right from the gym to your car, the sweat will seep into your car seat, and your car will begin to smell.

I know I don't want that.

Make sure to bring a change of clothes with you for after you're done working out. Not only will you not be wet anymore, but you will also be saving your car.

Extra mask

With the world that we live in, we now have to protect ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. This means wearing a mask when you go to public places including the gym. After your workout, your clothes are not the only thing that will get sweaty.

Your mask well be dripping as well. Bring a second mask with you so that you have something dry to wear out of the gym. I recommend buying reusable washable masks to save money.

Shopping bag

At the end of your workout, you go into the locker room to change, but where do you put you're now sweaty, smelly clothes? That's right, you have to put them in your gym bag, but if you keep them in there too long, then your gym bag will start to smell. Keep a plastic bag on you to put your dirty clothes in.

This will prevent the smell from filling up your gym bag, and will keep the dirty clothes separate from everything else. When it's time to do your laundry, you can grab the bag, and put it in with everything else, keeping them separate from the rest of your laundry until it's time to wash everything.

Shower supplies

You just worked out anywhere from half an hour to an hour, and now you're not just tired, you stink. I know for me, I put on deodorant before I go to the gym, and I need to put it on again after I'm done.

If you have time to take a shower, you will need to bring soap, shampoo, an extra towel, and flip-flops. Some people even shave, and brush their teeth afterwards. So, having your electric razor and your toothbrush may be important for you.


To me, the most important thing to pack in your gym bag is a snack for after your workout. Whether you are going straight home after your workout, or you're going straight to your job, having something to snack on can make all the difference.

If you're going home, it's nice to have something to hold you over until you can grab your next meal. If you're going to work, you will want to have a snack on you, because even on days you don't workout, lunch is a long ways away. Nuts, almond butter, fruit, and protein bars are all great snacks to have after the gym.

Final thoughts

Going to the gym is a great experience, especially if you're prepared for it. I always make sure to have my headphones with me to get myself hyped up, my water to keep me hydrated, and a snack at the end, because that's my reward. You may think that you don't need all these items in your gym bag to go to the gym, and that's true.

Those that don't shower there don't need shampoo or soap when they go to the gym, and most gyms have foam rollers. Take from this list what works for you, make a plan, and give it everything you've got!


Nicholas McKenna

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Nicholas McKenna
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