As someone who has workout out, worked in, managed and owned gyms over the past 40 odd years I can safely say that my gym bag has made many a trip to the gym and is an essential past of my workout routine
My wife will tell you carrying my gym bag is a workout in and of itself because I have it
packed with various things I use before, after and during my workouts.
We’re all different in what we need to have a great workout but here are my top 5 main items you should always carry in your gym bag:
Shower And Body Essentials
Many people (myself included) prefer to shower at home after their workout but sometimes life has other plans and you need to get that shower in at the gym.
To be ready for the post-workout shower, make sure you have these items:
Deodorant. This is a must-have, and you should never assume that your morning application will last you throughout the day, even after exercising. It will only take a second to apply a layer of protection that will fight bacteria, sweat, and odor.
Shampoo and body wash: You can get the two-in-one products that can be used as shampoo and body wash in order to maximize your gym bag’s space.
Antibacterial gel: Even if the machines are sprayed regularly, there may still be germs in the room, and the best way of protecting yourself from them is by having an antibacterial gel. I apply some both before and after my workouts.
Lotion: A little lotion goes a long way. It is recommended to find those with natural ingredients and those that can protect your skin from soap or harsh weather conditions.
Even if you wear your gym clothes to the gym, there are a few things that you need to be stored in your bag, just in case you need to change after the workout or need to hit the gym in between meetings.
Personally I carry a full extra set of gym clothes as well as clean underwear. I also recommend having a pair of sandals or flip flops for walking to/from the shower and clean underwear.
Other clothes that you might need are:
Socks: You can never have too many pairs of clean socks in your gym bag ( I keep 3 pairs myself). For instance, if you are coming from the office, you might need to change socks into something more durable. If you are coming from the pool, you might not be wearing any socks. If you sweat during your training, you will be grateful to have carried an extra pair!
Gym Shoes: This can help if you have a tendency to forget your sneakers or going to the gym with inappropriate shoes. I have special shoes I use sometimes for weightlifting and I keep an old pair of sneakers in the car just in case
T-shirts: As I mentioned I have a full set of extra workout clothes in my bag but I keep an extra shirt or 2 on top of that. Having at least 2-3 clean shirts in your gym bag, especially if you have to run errands after the workout session is a must. Besides, if you are going to the gym after office hours, you will not have to worry about working out in your undershirt.
The electronics you are most likely to use is a nice set of headphones. I keep a couple pairs of headphones in my bag in case one breaks (you’d be surprised how often people break their earbuds/headphones at the gym.
Some other devices I’ve used over the years include heart rate straps, blood pressure monitors, and pulse ox’s (to measure O2 levels)
The good news is these days most people use smart watches and the like so it lessens the need for some of these devices.
Some of the accessories that you need to carry in your gym bag include a spare reusable water bottle, a large towel (since not all gyms offer towels), and a small towel that you will use during your workout to keep sweat out of your eyes and hands.
I also suggest having some pre/post workout snacks and even some gels or candies should you overdo it and “hit the wall” Some of these snacks include protein bars, almonds, no-bake energy bites, roasted chickpeas or bagged tuna.
Just make sure what you use isn’t going to go bad and rotate them out periodically ( I do mine every couple of weeks or so)
Other items that you should carry include:
Odor eliminating spray: Products such as shoe sprays and spritzes will help in eliminating odor from your bag. Another option I do is put a dryer sheet into the bag each time I clean and restock it.
First-Aid Kit: While most gyms have first aid kits many don’t. Having your own can ensure you haver what you need should you need it. Things I have in mine include pain relievers, antibacterial hand wipes, bandage closures, anesthetic wipes, gauze, and elastic wraps for elbows knees and ankles.
Having a well stocked gym bag can go a long way towards making your gym experience less stressful and more fun. Add to it, it eliminates excuses like “I forgot my gym clothes”.
What’s in your gym bag?