Workout Essentials: What to Pack for the Gym

If you’re always prepared, there’s no good
excuse to skip leg day

Written by Hana Brannigan

It seems like getting fit is at the top of
everyone’s to-do list, and for good reason. Not only will you look better when
you’re exercising regularly, you’ll see an improvement in how you feel and
perform at everyday tasks — even if that involves being in front of a computer
screen for most of the day.
If you’re not properly prepared for the gym,
you’ll skip days. If you’re skipping days, you will inevitably break the habit.
Pretty soon a month will have flown by and you’ll find yourself wondering why
you’re still paying for a gym membership you never use.
Looking for help keeping your workout
resolutions? Start by packing your gym bag the right way.
Gym Bag

Closed Tortuga Gym Bag
The construction of your gym bag can be just
as important as its contents.
So ditch the drawstring and invest in something a
bit more grown-up. A good bag should be durable, easy to clean, and have enough
space to hold all the necessities. Especially if you’re bringing your gym bag
to work, you’ll want to choose something that is sleek and inconspicuous.

Your bag of choice doesn’t have to be made
specifically for the gym.
Our personal favorite comes from Tortuga Backpacks —
it’s designed for travel but it works incredibly well as a workout bag. It
opens up like a suitcase so you can easily get to what you need. There’s no
point in having a fully-stocked bag if you can’t ever find what you’re looking

Gym Clothing
Don’t prep for just one workout when packing
your gym bag. Ideally, you should be prepared for a week’s worth of workouts at
all times. That’s why we suggest having multiples of items like t-shirts,
socks, and underwear — make sure to stock up after laundry day so you always
have everything you need.
Gym Shorts

Most gyms have a dress code, so don’t be that
guy trying to work out in board shorts or jeans shorts. Be sure you have a
simple pair of running, cross-training, or basketball shorts packed for your
workout at all times. Ideally, they should be lightweight, breathable and fast
T-Shirts (3-5 pieces)

Any simple cotton t-shirt will do just fine
as long as it fits comfortably. But other than socks, shirts tend to get dirty
the fastest, so make sure to pack enough. Wearing clean, stink-free clothing is
not just for your personal comfort but the innocent noses of those around you.
Underwear (3-5 pair)

This one is not up for debate. Please do
yourself a favor and have plenty of fresh underwear on hand. This is a must if
you’re working out midday and heading back to the office instead of straight
home. We recommend fitted boxer briefs or trunks, especially if you’re doing a
lot of cardio.
Opened Gym Bag with Clothes
Socks (3-5 Pair)

Socks really shouldn’t be worn more than
once, so having a few extra on hand should go without saying. They don’t take
up much space in your bag, so why not stock up? We recommend cushioned black or
gray athletic socks that really hug your feet. Ill-fitting socks lead to
blisters if you spend a lot of time on the treadmill.

Gym Shoes

Most gyms won’t let you out on the floor
without proper footwear — so if you forget to pack the right shoes, you’ll
likely have to skip a workout. Chuck Taylors may have been considered athletic
shoes in the 70s but today, they aren’t going to cut it. A decent pair of
running or cross-training shoes should last you for at least a year, so make
the investment in something durable, and supportive.
Workout Extras

Gym Water Bottle and Towel
These may not seem like essentials, but they
will make your workout a hell of a lot more enjoyable. These four should have a
permanent place in your gym bag.
Small Towel

A small towel is great for you when you need
to wipe the sweat from your eyes or dry your hands before hitting the weights.
It can also be used to wipe down equipment after you’re finished using it.
Using one is common courtesy among gym-goers.

Take some time at the beginning of the week
to set yourself up for success.


Whether you like to listen to music, watch
videos or listen to podcasts, having something to listen will motivate you to
stay at the gym for that hour.
Without headphones, your workout can feel
like it’s dragging on so make sure to toss a pair in your bag.
Water Bottle

You lose quite a bit of water while working
out and it’s important to stay hydrated both during your workout and while
recovering. That makes bringing a water bottle a no-brainer.

It’s hard to get a good workout in when
you’re running low on fuel. If you need a quick pick-me-up before hitting the
squat racks, make sure to keep some healthy snacks in your bag.
If you know you need to rush somewhere after
the gym and won’t have a chance to eat, protein bars will help replenish your
energy levels and maximize those #gains.
Locker Room Essentials

Gym Towel and Flip Flops
Whether you fit your workout in before you
start your day, during your lunch hour, or after the sun goes down, most
workouts will require a shower after. If you aren’t able to head straight home
after you sweat it out, make sure these items are in your bag.

A fully-stocked gym bag will likely be too
large for the complimentary smaller lockers found in most gyms. Make sure to
bring a lock so you can stash your bag in the bigger lockers. It will fit your
personal items better and you won’t have to worry about how secure your stuff
Large Towel

This is crucial if you want to take a shower
or if you’re a swimmer. Unless you want to be standing under the hand dryer to
dry yourself off, it’s definitely handy to have a large towel on hand.

No, not for when you’re on the treadmill.
This is necessary if you want to use other amenities such as the shower or
pool. It’s the worst trying to put on your gym shoes after you’ve cleaned off
all the gym sweat.
In addition to keeping your feet clean,
wearing flip-flops will prevent you from getting athlete’s foot or foot fungus.
Dopp kit

Gym Dopp Kit and Toiletries
A gym Dopp kit in your larger gym bag will
keep all your shower essentials together. If you keep your gym bag in the car,
make sure none of your toiletries are prone to melting, oozing or exploding on
a hot day.
We suggest including spray deodorant (to
prevent a melted mess), travel-size lotion and shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
and any hair product you may need after showering.
Look for the travel size version of your
favorite brands to save space.
Laundry bag

Gym Laundry Bag
We emphasized the importance of having fresh
clothes on hand, but what about the ones that you’re done with? Simple
solution: a bag for all your dirty laundry. Don’t contaminate your clean
This bag can be easily taken to and from your
car without ever having to remove your gym bag. No more excuses, particularly,
“I forgot my gym bag at home”.
Keep on Grinding

Once you get into a routine, going to the gym
will feel like a natural part of the day. But you have to work at making it a
habit for the first few weeks. Having a well-packed gym bag will definitely
make that goal a little bit more attainable.
Did we forget any of your gym essentials? Any
other tips to solidify your gym routine? Let us know in the comments

Hana Brannigan

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.