No, packing your gym bag ain’t rocket science, but the right assemblage of gear can transform an ordinary workout into a truly memorable sweatfest. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable at the gym if you come prepared. Therefore, always stock your gym bag with the right items (gym-bag essentials).
Gym-bag must have items
Here is a list of “must-haves” for every gym bag, plus a few luxury items to stow away just in case. These are gym-bag essentials any fitness enthusiast should have.
The gym bag itself
You, of course, need a gym bag to carry all your gear. Little known fitness fact: The road to a healthy body starts with a decent bag for your equipment. Beyond that stern dictate, you’ll be happier if you choose a sack that reflects your personality (for example, blue with handles, or big and leathery).
First of all you need a bag that’s large enough for your gear and few other odds and ends. Also, go for a bag that is washable and breathable to ward off mildew and musty odors. Furthermore, look for a bag with a:
- separate compartment for wet gear (this is important if you plan to shower at the gym);
- separate area for shoes — an extra compartment under the bottom of the bag that zips open and close would be perfect;
- wide mouth so that you can see everything in your bag;
- slim enough so that it fits into the gym’s lockers (if you’re locking up your valuables at the gym);
- consider getting a backpack instead of a gym bag if you’re walking a long distance;
No matter where you’re sweating, hydration is key. Purchasing a high-quality, reusable bottle makes sense both financially (no
overpriced bottled water) and environmentally (no plastic waste). Plus, insulated bottles will keep water or sports drinks cold and heated beverages hot.
People often make the mistake of expecting their gym to supply the necessary towels, but all too often they’re left high and not at all dry. Sidestep this irritating situation by always bringing your own along with you.
We are highly recommending chamois towels. These lightweight towels have been used by swimmers and divers for more than 20 years. A chamois towel is made of a highly absorbent hi-tech PVA material designed to dry your body more quickly than traditional, bulky cotton towels. Small microfiber towels are also effective during and after a workout. It would be a great idea to bring another small towel to wipe sweat off the machines; consider using alcohol wipes to kill super germs.
Keep a complete fitness outfit in your bag or else, well, plan on not working out. Shoes, socks, shorts, tights, sweats, T-shirt, sports bra or jock.
There’s nothing better than knowing a clean, dry T-shirt is waiting for you after a tough workout and a shower. Consider packing a pair of leggings or clean sweatpants, too. After all, do you really want to put your sweaty workout clothes back on?
While you’re weight lifting (or working out with other hands-on equipment)
you’d probably rather obsess about your form, not blisters and calluses. One of the first things those not used to manual labor or weightlifting will notice after a few workouts are blisters. After a short time the blisters will turn into dead skin that will start building up in layers, leading to the formation of calluses. A pair of gloves that fit well will surely prevent the development of calluses. Look for machine-washable fingerless gloves that are made of soft, durable leather or vinyl.
Shaker bottle (Recovery drink)
It’s important to repair your muscles with loads of protein and anti-inflammatory nutrients within 30 minutes of exercising. This is a problem if you have a long drive home. Take advantage of your gym’s health bar or pro shop offerings, or bring drinks from home.
A training diary keeps you honest. You may brag to your coffee shop buddies that you lift four times a week, but if your weight training diary says otherwise, you know it’s time to stop talking and get to the gym. A weight training diary keeps you motivated, too, because you can flip back through the pages and see your improvements.
You’ll want to protect your feet on damp changing-room floors and when you hop into the shower or visit the sauna or steam room. Plus, it’s nice to have something clean and dry to slip into after a hard workout. Make sure to keep your flip-flops clean with soap, water, and a spritz of disinfectant spray.
Padlock for locker
Many gyms now have programmable digital locks so in that case you don’t have to bring your own. However, if this is not the case you have no choice but to bring your padlock with you.
Resealable plastic bag
If you regularly squeeze in a morning workout at the gym before heading to the office, you don’t want your dirty, sweaty gym clothes smelling up your tote – and all the other accessories inside it. Keep odors at bay by placing the gym clothes and socks you’ve worn in large, resealable plastic bags.
Battery-powered iPod charger
What’s worse than climbing onto the elliptical only to realize your iPod is
kaput? By tossing a portable charger into your bag, you’ll always have extra
juice available to keep your music playing so that you can pace yourself during a cardio workout. Many of these chargers also work for cell phones and handhelds.
Closing thoughts: Gym-bag essentials
There you have it – the perfectly packed gym bag. So, before you head to the gym, make sure you have these 12 gym-bag essentials.