To have a good workout, you need to set yourself up for success, and that means even before you hit the gym! Aside from stretching and warming up, you should take the time to pack your gym bag essentials. But what are those things? What should you put in your gym bag to make your workout a better and more effective one?
Every gym-goer workout bag is going to be packed differently, but below we've listed 10 workout essentials that you should consider putting in your gym bag before you hit your workout!
Shaker bottle with your go-to supplements
Hydration is important, but besides taking a reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated, consider packing a shaker bottle with your favorite pre or post-workout supplements. If you need a scoop of pre-workout to help increase your energy levels and enhance your overall training performance then make sure to pack it in your gym bag with a shaker bottle to help it mix easily! We like to pack our 373 Lab Pre-Workout with a matching Shaker Bottle (free with any supplements purchase). But if pre-workout isn't your thing consider taking an amino acid supplement like BCAA's or EAA's to help improve your recovery. You can even take electrolytes for an extremely sweaty workout session! This isn't necessary, but having a shaker bottle in your gym bag with your favorite supplements can help you when you need a little extra push at the gym or need something to help you recover effectively.
Not sure what supplements to take?
We have a Beginner's Guide to Popular Workout Supplements to help you figure out which supplements best fit your lifestyle and goals.
If you're weight lifting, then don't forget your notebook – aka your workout log! Progressive overload is very important in strength training because it's what drives progress. Neglecting to record your workout routine, exercises, the number of reps and sets completed, and the weight used is going to get you minimal results. And if you're spending hours at the gym every week, then you want to make sure that your time isn't being wasted! So, before you head to the gym pack a small notebook and a pen with your workout planned and ready. Once you're there, just mark the reps and sets completed with the weight used for each set. That way next time you hit the gym or plan your workout, you can adjust the volume of resistance to give your muscles a greater challenge than last time.
If you don't want to lug around a notebook and pen, plan your workouts on your phone! Or if you already subscribe to the Fit With Iulia app then you already have your workouts planned and a space for you to track your progress 😉
The cable machine is a glorious piece of equipment that everyone should take advantage of hitting the gym! Fortunately, they provide you with various cable attachments to use the machine, but sometimes the attachment you needed for your planned workout is being occupied. Now, you can easily swap an exercise out or wait for the other person to finish, but taking your own cable attachments can help make your workouts a little bit easier – and sanitary!
You don't need to buy and pack every single cable attachment that the gym has, just pick the ones you think you'll use the most. For example, the rope pulley would be a good one to consider buying because it can be used in various upper and lower body exercises. Another good cable attachment to consider getting are ankle straps! Ankle straps are usually not provided by the gyms, and if they are there are never enough or they aren't comfortable. So, if you're trying to build a stronger lower body and grow your glutes then consider getting a pair of comfortable and durable ankle straps!
Heart rate monitor
Heart rate monitors or activity monitors are getting a bad rep as of late for being inaccurate. Although tracking your activity and the number of calories burned may be off, it's still a good thing to track, especially for anyone with specific fitness goals they want to achieve! It's also ideal for those who regularly practice HIIT (high-intensity interval training) because you can track your heart rate and determine when you need to push yourself into the anaerobic zone.
This workout essential is on the pricier side, but remember it's not necessary, so don't sweat if you don't have one! For the gym-goers who do want to get one, there are various options to choose from. There are wristband styles available in various price ranges (some are even affordable), or if you want a more accurate heart rate reading, consider getting one that goes around your waist/near your chest.
For our lifters, never forget to pack your lifting gear! Maybe you don't have some yet, but anyone weight lifting should consider getting some. Lifting gear, like lifting straps, can make a huge difference in your training sesh! Having a pair of lifting straps and a lifting belt will help you on your heavy pulling days and will help you hit heavier weights on your deadlifts and rows. Having a pair of wrist wraps can help on your pushing days when you need additional wrist support to help on overhead presses or bench presses. There's a lot of other pieces of gear that can help with your heavy weight lifting sessions like barbell pads, knee wraps, resistance bands, training gloves, and more. You most likely won't need every piece of lifting gear, but find the pieces that fit your style of training the most.
For our heavy lifters or gym-goers who need workout accessories, check out UPPPER's Fitness Gear Collection (they're our sister company)! Their collection of gear includes gym bag essentials that can take your workouts to the next level, and there's something for all fitness levels!
This one necessarily won't enhance your workout and get you better results, but having a bag of toiletries will make your workout a more comfortable and hygienic one! If you have somewhere to run after the gym or are heading into the gym after a long day at work, then pack a few personal care items to help freshen you up! A few things you should consider packing are...
- Body wipes
- Mini shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and a pair of flip flops (for the gym-goers that shower)
- Dry shampoo
- Hair ties
- Hand sanitizer
- Menstrual products (pads, tampons)
Instead of relying on gym towels, which are typically rough and don't soak up sweat that well, pack your own microfiber towels! Microfiber towels are compact and work better for wiping the moisture off your skin. The best thing is, they are typically inexpensive and you can easily pack a few so you have one for your skin, and one to wipe down your equipment!
Whether you're a casual gym-goer, cardio lover, or lifter, having a yoga mat handy is never a bad idea! Before any type of physical exercise, you need to stretch and warm up. Of course, there are some people who won't need to do this at the gym because they may have done it at home. But there are some who head to the gym right after work or school, which involves a lot of sitting, so warming up is crucial! Instead of relying on the mats at the gym, which are more than likely unsanitary, take your own mat with you. You can use it for your warm-ups and cool-downs, or even take it to an open room to complete your training session in a less crowded area. You also don't have to worry about carrying it around because once you're done using it you can leave it in the locker room until the end of your workout!
After a long grueling training session, you might be a little hungry and if you have a long drive back home, it wouldn't hurt to pack a high-protein snack to help you replenish your glycogen stores. Whole foods are always the best option, but you definitely don't want to pack anything perishable in your gym bag. So, feel free to pack some nuts or a protein bar for a quick post-workout snack. This isn't necessary but it can be helpful for your recovery and keep you satisfied until your actual mealtime!
Want to have a successful workout? Don't forget to pack your earbuds!!! A workout playlist can make your workout infinitely better, it'll pump you up and motivate you throughout the tough exercises you're doing. So, always have an extra pair of earbuds in your gym bag. We suggest wireless headphones because it makes it easier to lift weights, run, jump, etc. However, you can always use regular headphones and have your phone in an arm sleeve to make your workout more comfortable. It doesn't matter what kind of headphones you have, as long as they can play your music, then you're solid!
Change of clothes
Always be prepared! It's better to be over prepared than underprepared because you never know what could happen. So, pack an extra outfit! It could be a change of clothes for when you head out of the gym or a set of workout clothes in case you spill something or rip your leggings during your workout! Like we said, you never know what can happen... so it's better to be prepared than sorry!
There you have it – 10 workout essentials that turn an ordinary duffle bag into the perfect gym bag! You don't need to pack everything in your bag, but pick a few gym bag essentials that you think could be beneficial for your workout.
Who are we?
We're 373 Lab Supplements – nice to virtually meet you! Founded by Iulia Danilova (Fit With Iulia), and with a team filled with fitness enthusiasts, we've worked hard to bring a trustworthy supplement to the market! Supplements that are designed to help you achieve your fitness goals by giving you only the nutrients you need – no unnecessary fillers or additives!
Find what your pantry is missing at 373 Lab Supplements.