What to Pack in Your Gym Bag Complete Guide

What to Pack in Your Gym Bag Complete Guide

Packing Your Gym Bag The Right Way

The gym is a great place to get fit, meet like minded people, and learn new skills. Roughly 1 in 5 Americans have a membership to a gym or other form of health center, and their popularity is constantly growing. 

But they can be quite intimidating places, especially if you are just starting out on your fitness journey. They are full of confident, muscular people and confusing equipment, it can all be a little overwhelming.

One of the questions you might have is what you should bring with you to your workout session. The last thing you want is to be unprepared and not have the stuff you need to get the most out of your visit.

To help you alleviate some of the stress and be as prepared as possible, here are a few essential items to pack in your gym bag.

Water bottle

It's always important to stay hydrated, but especially if you are exerting yourself. Any time you work out, you should make sure you have a bottle of water to hand. This will enable you to replenish the fluids you lose during sweating and cool yourself down too. Drinking plenty of water will enable you to exercise for longer and minimize the risk of overdoing it. A simple one-liter bottle should be enough, as there likely will be drinking fountains at the gym where you can fill up.


One of the biggest blunders to avoid at the gym is not wiping down the machines after use. No one wants to do bicep curls on a bench that is covered in your sweat. That's why you should always carry a towel around with you in the gym to clean off any equipment you use to leave it clean for the next person.

A Change of Clothes

You'll know if you've had a good workout because you'll be dripping with sweat and giving off quite a smell. You don't want to be going back to work or driving home without having a shower and a change of clothes. Make sure you always pack a clean outfit in your gym bag so you can leave feeling refreshed and renewed.

A Second Pair of Shoes

While not necessary, most people like switching shoes when they get to the gym. This helps keep your daily shoes from starting to smell like sweat. Many gyms require you to change shoes, especially in the winter when your shoes are likely dirty.

Your Phone

No one likes the person who sits on the machines staring at Instagram while other people are waiting to actually use them. But that doesn’t mean your phone isn’t a useful tool to have in the gym. There are so many apps you can use to give your fitness journey a boost, such as health trackers and notes for jotting down your progress. Plus you’ll probably want your phone to listen to music while you workout.


Most gyms will have loud, upbeat music playing to pump you up for a productive workout. But it’s fine if these tunes aren’t your thing. If you want to make your own exercise playlist, create one on your phone and get to work. Just make sure you bring your headphones with you so you don’t disturb other gym users. 


If you take any form of supplement to aid your health kick, whether for building muscle or making sure you get the nutrients you need, you will no doubt want to bring them with you to the gym. But when you’re getting changed in a public locker room you don’t always want an obvious bottle or packet of pills with you. Not to mention the fact that traditional supplement packaging can be bulky or make a lot of noise when you’re moving around, which can be annoying. For something a little more discreet, consider getting a supplement case to store them in. A traditional pill case works very well also, you don’t have to get a supplement specific case.

Stretching Equipment

It is always important to stretch after any exercise session, as this will speed up your recovery and make you less prone to injury. A good stretching session will reduce muscle tension and make you more flexible so you will feel your performance improve with every workout. It is perfectly fine to stretch without any equipment, but there are plenty of tools like resistance bands and foam rollers that can really help you get that deep stretch.

A Snack

As well as stretching, it is very important to eat something within an hour of a workout. That doesn't mean stopping off at your local fast food joint on your way home - it is also crucial you eat the correct food. You want to be consuming a snack that is heavy in protein, as this will help you rebuild your muscles and gain strength. A protein bar or smoothie can work wonders, but even something as cheap and simple as a banana and a peanut butter sandwich is just as good.


This might seem like an usual item to bring with you, but many gym locker rooms are not actually fitted with locks. There is a chance they might have key or combination mechanisms, but you don’t want to get there and be surprised when you can’t secure your valuable items. The last thing you want is someone walking off with your wallet while you’re midway through your crossfit class. You can buy a cheap padlock from any supermarket or hardware store, or you can check out a fingerprint padlock; these let you not have to bring a key or remember a code. 

Membership Card

Some of the more modern fitness centers may use apps or even fingerprint scanners to sign members in and out, but in the majority of cases you will need to swipe in with a membership card or key fob. If you forget to bring it with you, you may be able to get assistance from a kind member of staff but just to avoid disappointment you should always keep it in your wallet handy. This way if you ever decide to have an impromptu workout session you will be covered.

These are just a few of the things you might need to pack in your gym bag, of course everyone has their own favorite things to bring that make their workout better.

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