What To Put In A Gym Bag
Figuring out what to pack in your gym bag doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Prevent the panic at the lifting platform when you realise you’ve left your chalk behind by using our checklist of the ultimate gym bag essentials.
Surprisingly, gym workouts can often require more equipment than you might think. Weightlifting accessories like lifting straps or knee sleeves (items that you might often overlook), can help you lift more comfortably, aiding you when it comes to the day you reach for a new 1RM. Whilst having a large water bottle and microfibre towel will really come in handy during your sweatiest workouts. Packing these items in your gym bag gives you peace of mind, knowing you have a little helping hand if needed.
Whether you’re rushing to the gym from work, working out at the crack of dawn, or enjoying a relaxed weekend training day, you’ll want to make sure your gym bag is packed with your workout kit, equipment, maybe some pre-workout for an energy boost and a post-gym ‘sesh snack or two. Take a read through our gym bag essential checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything out for your next big lift day.
Gym Bag Essentials
Clothes To Pack In Your Gym Bag
Clothes might sound like an obvious thing to pack, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to leave the most blatant thing behind! Pack your workout outfit ahead of time, and don’t forget your towel so there’s no surprises when you hit the locker room for your post-workout shower.
Know what your training day looks like - it’s our best piece of advice when it comes to packing your gym bag because it means you’re fully prepared to perform your best in what you’re wearing. Upper body days might call for a pair of shorts, stringer and a pump cover to get your arms nice and warmed up, lower body days you might opt for your favorite full-coverage leggings like Adapt, a sports bra and baggy tee to start your workout off in. We can get real specific here too, if you know you’re going to be ending your session with a recovery run, make sure you pack your running shorts or high-support sports bra.
Packing a gym pump cover is a must for your dynamic warm ups and first reps. Having the extra weight of an oversized sweater or hoodie can help get your blood pumping and your muscles primed to lift some serious weight. You know exactly what we mean when we say sometimes it’s nice to have the extra comfort of a pump cover during those vulnerable first few minutes after you enter the gym. Or if it’s a bit chillier, you might keep your pump cover on for the duration of your workout, and you’ll be happy you’ve packed it when you have to go out into the cold!
You may think you can wear any socks to work out in, and technically, you’re right, but wearing performance socks, or socks specifically designed for weightlifting can enhance your performance greatly. Workout socks are designed with breathable qualities, cushioning and foot-support for all round comfort whether you’re running, lifting or stretching. So don’t forget to pack a change of socks in your gym bag! A spare pair never hurts either.
Having a bad hair day or want to get your head down and into beast mode? Sometimes all it takes is throwing on a workout hat to take you out of your head and into your body, so you can focus fully on getting those final reps, distraction free.
Or you might be someone that likes to match their accessories to their gym ‘fit, and in that case, pack a matching workout hat in your gym bag to tie everything together for a co-ordinated look.
We've rounded up our favorite styles in our article on the 6 best workouts to wear during your next training session.
Equipment To Pack In Your Gym Bag
You can’t forget to pack a barbell pad for your leg days. If you know anything about building glute gains, it’s that the number one compound movement for your booty is the hip thrust. Saying that, we also know it’s not the comfiest of exercises and may often require some padding on your hips to perform comfortably. Take the pressure off your shoulders during your squats too by placing the barbell pad on the bar before de-racking. An essential for your gym bag.
Resistance bands are a must to put in your gym bag for your glute sessions. Use them for glute activation circuits and glute isolation exercises like banded walks, donkey kicks and clams. They’re a great accessory to have handy to finish your leg days off for that final glute burn.
Similar to knee sleeves, for your heavy lifting days, lifting straps are going to make your lifts feel a whole lot easier. Your grip strength is the first thing to slip when your moving heavy loads, but with lifting straps you can hold the bar better and lift heavier. For deadlifts, rows, and pull-ups too, make sure your lifting straps are packed in your gym bag.
If you’re new to lifting, you might also benefit from having a pair of weightlifting gloves on hand to protect and support your hands. Callouses are inevitable in the lifting world, but a little prevention in the way of a fingerless lifting glove can help you deadlift, press, or row a lot heavier and in comfort.
Wondering which lifting accessory is best for you? We dive into the pros and cons of lifting straps, lifting gloves and wrist wraps in this article and highlight the best exercises to us them for.
Other Gym Bag Essentials You Don’t Want To Forget
A gym bag essential and often the difference between a workout being 10/10 or a 0, is a pair of headphones. Whilst the Gymshark Lifting Club plays upbeat gym bangers to get you pumped, the same cannot be said for every gym establishment. Sometimes the vibes have to be taken into your own hands, so put your headphones in and queue up your favourite workout songs for motivation.
Staying hydrated is essential as you workout as when you sweat you’re losing water from your body that needs to be replaced. Keep your water cool, and look even cooler with an environmentally friendly reusable water bottle. Choose from insulated flip-straw bottles, shakers, or BPA free bottles for all-day drinking.
Sweaty workouts call for a towel at hand at all times. No one wants a soggy bench after you’ve used it repping out to the max, and you don’t want sweat dripping from your head either. Keep a small sweat towel draped over your shoulders on the gym floor and a larger towel for showering off the workout.
This one is more of a personal preference, but if you find pre-workout gives you a boost of energy and mental focus to perform better, you’ll want to put it in your gym bag as you head out the door. Supplements like BCAA’s are also great to take during your workout to enhance muscle growth, ease DOM’s, and quicken your recovery time.
Don’t forget to pack a post-workout snack or two to refuel after your workout. Pack some carbs to eat after a strength-training workout to help restore your glycogen stores and fuel your body, and protein to help build and repair your muscles. An ideal post-workout snack of carbs and proteins would be a banana and protein shake, or a protein-packed chicken/tofu and avocado sandwich.
You know what to eat after a workout, but what about before? Check out our article on what to eat before the gym.
What To Pack In A Toiletry Bag
There’s a few necessities you should pack in your toiletry bag if you’re showering and getting dressed at the gym. Here’s your list so you don’t leave anything essential behind.
After a workout you’ll want to wash your face as soon as you can to cleanse away any dirt and sweat to prevent your pores getting clogged. If you leave the sweat and sebum on your face-post workout, the toxins get absorbed back into your skin and this can cause itchiness and dehydration. Pack a gentle face wash into your toiletry bag and wash your face using cool to lukewarm water.
Tip: If you need to rush off after the gym, pack some cleansing wipes in your toiletry bag so you can freshen up on-the-go.
Once you’ve cleansed your face and body, you’ll want to add body lotion your skin to lock in the moisture. Apply a moisturiser to your face and separate one to your body. You don’t need to do a 7-step skincare routine post-gym, but a simply moisturiser will ensure you don’t leave feeling dry and irritated after cleansing.
If it’s still daytime when you’re heading out of the gym, after moisturising your face you should make sure you’ve packed an SPF in your toiletry bag. You should wear SPF daily, even when it’s not sunny, as it helps to prevent damage from the suns harmful rays, premature ageing, sunburn and reduces the risk of cancer.
If there’s one thing you don’t want to forget in your gym bag its some deodorant. Roll on, spray on, natural or not, give your pits a fighting chance and make sure you pack some. It’s more so for your benefit than anyone else's anyway!
You might also want to pack:
Hair bands or scrunchies
Hair brush or comb
Shampoo and conditioner
In a planning mood after reading our gym essentials checklist? If you’ve got a vacation planned, why not make your life a little easier on the day you travel and plan your travel ‘fit ahead of time with our comfy airport outfit ideas for men and women.
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