Not sure what to bring to the gym? Whether you’re just getting back to working out or are kicking off a new endurance, strength training or HIIT workout program, we’ve got you covered. In this guide you’ll find must-have gym essentials that can help you build chiseled abs and squat booty that your favorite fit-fluencer on the ‘Gram would be jealous of.
The best part? Not only will these products help you get the results you want at the gym, some can be used for outdoor workouts, travel and more.
What to Bring to the Gym: Top 10 Essential Items
1. Gym Bag or Backpack
A high quality bag or backpack is essential when you start exercising, especially if you’re planning to shower or change clothes after your workout. Gym bags and backpacks come in all shapes, sizes and price points - you’ll want to take a few things into considerations when deciding on the workout bag that’s right for you.
If you’re showering after your workout you’ll need a bag that’s big enough to fit a change of clothes, clean pair of shoes, towel and toiletries. If you’re not going to shower at the gym (make sure you add some deodorant before you travel far in public!), you can get away with something that’s smaller.
Any good gym bag or backpack should be durable, water and sweat resistant, and have separate pockets that will fit your workout essentials, phone and wallet.
Check out the Picante Pack Gym Backpack with Shoe Compartment to keep your clean gear clean and your sweaty, wet and funky gear separate.
2. Ear Buds or Headphones
It’s hard to find a gym with music that’s going to keep you motivated day after day. Plus, there’s no better way to focus at the gym than to get some of your favorite beats pumping, pop your earbuds in or headphones on, and get right with the dumbells, barbell or treadmill.
A good pair of earbuds or headphones will be sweat resistant, stay in place while you exercise - especially if you’re the adventurous type and want to rock some handstand walks or other inverted exercises.
Some earbuds or headphones are meant for the office or home use, and others are meant specifically for sporting use so grab a pair that was built for athletic and fitness use first.
Most gyms have water fountains but those can be laden with bacteria and covered in funk from other gym members. HIIT training may not leave time for you to walk over to a fountain during your training session, so bring the right hydration (water is best) in the right bottle and keep your fluids up so you can workout hard without fading.
4. Pre/Post-Workout Nutrition
Depending on your fitness goals you may want some pre-workout or post-workout nutrition, which could include a caffeinated supplement or beverage (black coffee is best, for most) and wrap it up with some protein powder after the heavy lifting is done.
Shaker bottles can be an easy way to bring a powdered supplement with you, and you can just add water when you’re ready to drink it after feeling the burn.
Post-exercise nutrition can help you recover after your workouts, so make sure you're refueling properly after an intense session.
If you sweat a lot when you workout make sure you bring a towel to cover the equipment before you use it, or dry it off after.
Nobody wants to sit on a bench that’s covered in someone else’s sweat! If you’re planning to shower after your workout, bring a second towel so you can dry yourself off with a fresh towel that’s not covered in any of the funkiness you wiped off during your workout.
6. Change of Clothes
If you go to the gym before work, you’ll definitely want to bring a change of clothes so you can keep your office mates happy.
Make sure the bag you’re carrying your fresh clothing in has separate compartments for clean and dirty gear, otherwise you’ll just be spreading bacteria from your dirty stuff to your fresh clothing. Getting a bag with a shoe compartment is a great way to keep your clean stuff clean.
7. Laundry Bag
If your gym bag doesn’t have a separate pocket for dirty gear, make sure you bring a laundry bag so you can keep your work clothing and gym clothing separated.
Most high quality laundry bags will collapse to a small size so they won’t take up much space when empty, and can air out funky clothing when your workout is over.
Deodorant. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Soap. Shampoo. Moisturizer. Baby powder. Razor. These are the basics. Add more as you see fit.
9. Gym Shoes
Doing deadlifts in wingtips or stilettos can be done, but is not recommended. Invest in a good pair of gym shoes that offer support and stability so you can burn calories and build muscle without jacking up your feet.
10. Flip Flops
Does your gym have a pool? Do you plan to shower or use the locker room? Do you use a sauna or steam-room?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, make sure to invest in a pair of flip flops so you can avoid athlete’s foot.
Stinky, itchy feet are not what you signed up when you got your gym membership so keep the funkiness at bay with some flip flops you can wear through the locker room, shower and anywhere else bacteria can breed.
There you have it, our top 10 list of what to bring to the gym. After you have these ready, the fun part starts - sweating, getting strong and investing in your health...what’s more important than that?
Don’t forget, to avoid stanky, sweaty seats on your drive home make sure to invest in a high quality car seat cover that protects against sweat, stains and smells so you can drive home in style and protect your car from all the nastiness that happens in the gym.