15 Gym Bag Essentials For Your Next Work-out

15 Gym Bag Essentials


It can be pretty common to leave the packing of your gym bag until the last minute, especially for those who head to the gym before work. Not a lot of thought goes into packing the bag, and that is why a lot of less obvious items can be forgotten about.

Some people over pack their gym bag and end up carrying excess items for no reason other than fear of forgetting them when required. Using a checklist ensures that your gym bag is ready for each session, without you having to bring the kitchen sink!

Below is a checklist of items that you may need for your next gym session, depending on your work-out goals:

Gym Card

The most essential item on the list! There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and realizing that you have left your membership card at home, especially if your gym doesn’t offer any Pay As You Go options.

Locker Key / Token / Padlock

Make sure you have a locker key, token or padlock so that you can lock your things away securely. Depending on what type of lockers your gym uses, you may need your own padlock, a deposit for a key, or a token such as a £1 coin.

Drink / Pre-workout

If you use a pre-workout or intra-workout supplement then remember to take that with you. Otherwise, make sure you bring a regular drink to stay hydrated. There are a number of cheap and re-usable sports bottles available. Sports bottles are beneficial as they are easier to drink from whilst exercising than standard screw top bottles.

Gym Clothes and Shoes

If you don’t travel to the gym in your work-out gear, then make sure you remember all of your work-out apparel. Shorts, t-shirt, sports bra, socks, shoes, sweatbands, etc.

Workout Tracker / Heart-rate Monitor

If you use a fitness tracking device such as a Garmin or Fitbit, then remember to bring it along. I wear my device 24/7 so I can never forget it! If you remove the device whilst showering, remember to put it straight into your gym bag to prevent it from getting lost.

Small Towel

Microfibre towels are useful for wiping sweat from your face and neck during intense workouts. It should also be a mandatory inclusion if you are going to use any equipment where you have to sit or lie down. There’s nothing worse than having to wipe someone else’s sweat from a machine before you can begin your workout!

Lifting Gloves / Belt / Straps

If you are doing any weightlifting exercises and usually use gloves, straps or a lifting belt, then don’t forget to pack it! I’ve started using lifting gloves to stop the barbell from digging into my hands and to offer a little more grip.

Yoga Mat

Essential if you are attending a Yoga or Pilate’s style class where you have to bring your own mat.

Earphones + Phone or MP3

If you listen to music whilst at the gym, don’t forget your earphones and music player. Also a good tip to make sure your phone or MP3 has enough battery to last the entire session. It may be worth investing in a cheap MP3 player and earphones that you can leave in your gym bag to avoid damaging the ones you already own, especially if they were expensive.

Post-workout snack / shake

Depending on how long your commute home is, or if you work out before work, having a post-workout snack or shake at the ready can be a lifesaver. Pushing yourself through a tough workout can really leave you feeling drained, so a high protein snack is a great remedy.


A pretty self-explanatory inclusion! No need for body odour after a great gym session, especially if you are skipping the shower until you get home.

Shampoo, Shower Gel and Towel

If you are going to hit the gym shower then don’t forget these essentials!


Unless you are rocking the “gym hair, don’t care” look, a hairbrush is always useful. This is especially handy if you are having a shower at the gym.

Face or Baby Wipes

If you’re leaving the gym in a hurry and skipping the shower, wipes can be really useful to help you freshen up quickly.

Change of Clothes

Depending on what you wore to the gym, you may want to take an additional change of clothes for afterwards. If you go the gym after work then you are unlikely to want to put your work clothes back on after a work-out, especially if you have had a shower already.


Preparing your gym bag ahead of time allows you to be ready for your work-out. Make sure you check your gym bag before each session to ensure that you have everything required to smash your work-out goals. Removing unnecessary items can clear up some space, and means that you are not left carrying excess items around. The less you carry, the less you have to lose on the day.