Packing for the Gym: Always Be Prepared


Packing for the Gym: Always Be Prepared

If you go to the gym often (and even if you don’t), you know that packing for the gym may be routine, but it’s easy to forget an essential item. You then find yourself in the shower without your conditioner, or worse, without a towel!

Some people keep a pre-packed gym bag in the car or by the front door where you can grab it and go (much like that morning coffee). And if you do different workouts, you might have more than one gym bag, adding further complications.

If you go to a gym that isn’t your usual space, you may find the items provided for free at your local gym may or may not be provided there. Or if they are, they may incur an additional cost.

Here is a list of essentials for anyone’s gym bag, along with a few juicy extras for those just-in-case times.

A gym bag

The best kinds of gym bags will have pockets so that you can organize your items rather than toss them inside in a jumble. You’ll save time both at home and the gym. Separate compartments for wet and dry clothes will keep everything tidy. Remember to dedicate a compartment or pocket for your phone or music player.

You might also want to get a bag that is washable so that you can avoid odours over time.

Look for an adjustable strap that won’t dig into your shoulders if the bag is heavy with a wet swimsuit and towel.

The perfect gym bag will also be the right size for your needs: big enough to carry what you want, but not so big that it’s bulky on public transport or your bike. So look at what you need to take and then get a bag that fits those requirements.

Gym shoes

Remember to include the right kind of shoes for the workout you’ll be doing. You may want to consider affordable shoes designed for indoor running, cross-training, weightlifting, etc.

The advantage of having dedicated shoes for your different activities is that each pair will have time to dry out between workouts.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are brilliant to use with or without gym equipment. You can attach them to standing equipment or use booty bands like at when you’re on the mat.

These bands are lightweight, too, so they won’t add any bulk or weight to your bag, but they will provide you with an easy way to vary your workouts. You can also combine them with the best ankle weights. Again, they won’t add much more weight and will allow you to try variations of the exercises you use to perform.

Workout clothes

This list may vary according to the activities you do, but here are some essentials for everyone:

  • Clean underwear (with a sports bra if applicable)
  • Fresh and clean gym socks (plus an extra pair, ideally)
  • Swimsuit, cap, and goggles
  • Workout top (breathable fabric) and bottoms like sweatpants, shorts, or leggings
  • Head band, hair ties or clips, or a suitable hat

Gym towel

When working out with equipment, it’s good manners to have a gym towel to wipe down any moisture to leave everything clean and dry for the next person.

The best gym towels are either highly absorbent cotton or microfiber towels, which dry faster than cotton and do the same job.

If you have concerns about germs, bring some hand sanitizer or an antibacterial spray with you too.  Linen towels bathroom, while luxurious in the bathroom, may not be the ideal choice for the gym as they are less absorbent and slower to dry, making cotton or microfiber towels the preferred option in that setting. 

Water bottle

A reusable water bottle will help you avoid the line at the water fountain and stay hydrated throughout your workout. If cool water is important to you, choose a BPA-free bottle that keeps liquids cold – some can keep drinks cool for as long as 24 hours.

Music playing device

You may not want to listen to the music at your gym, so bring along your music player or phone as well as your earbuds. Make sure your device is charged, and include something to carry your device safe while you work out.

There are dedicated music players for sports, which tend to be more robust than their more run-of-the-mill counterparts.

Personal care products

To clean up quickly after your workout, here are some essentials you may want to pack:

  • deodorant
  • bath towel
  • blow dryer
  • body and face cream
  • comb or hairbrush
  • makeup, makeup remover, and other beauty products
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • soap or shower gel
  • extra contact lenses with the solution (if applicable)
  • shower flip-flops or sandals
  • menstrual products (if applicable)
  • scrubber or washcloth

Other miscellaneous items

Other things you may want to include are:

  • gym lock (call the gym first to see what size and type they use)
  • energy bars or bag of trail mix
  • membership card or fob (if you have more than one gym bag, you might leave this one in your wallet)

We hope this article on packing for the gym has been useful for you.

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