gym bag essentials

12 Essential Items You Should Pack in Your Gym Bag

by Evelyn Valdez

When it comes to weight lifting, you never want to be underprepared. Even with all the gym equipment a fitness facility has, they don't always supply the extra workout gear for them. And when they do, you have to maintain an eagle eye so you can swoop in and grab them before another person does.

A fully stocked workout bag is like a bodybuilder's briefcase. It has every important piece of gym gear they could ever need and it's always prepped for the next day. 

But what exactly should you pack? 

Check out the 12 items we've listed below that should never be forgotten from your gym bag.

Cable Attachments

Taking your own cable attachments is a game-changer! Free weights are the best, but the cable machine is an excellent tool to use to change things up. Unfortunately, the gym doesn't provide many attachments or even all of them. So, if you want to be prepared consider buying the cable attachments you use the most, that way when you're at the gym you don't have to wait around for them! 

We highly suggest getting ankle straps because these attachments are rarely supplied by the gyms and if they are, they're not comfortable. Ankle attachments are used for cable machine variations, especially for single-leg and glute exercises. You can easily get a quick workout in just using these and the cable machine. Our UPPPER ankle straps come in a pair and are made with microfiber vegan leather. These feel smooth and soft around your ankles while still being extremely durable. 

Gym Clothes

Fellow gym-goers – always be prepared for the worst. If you're going straight to the gym after work or school make sure to double and triple-check you have all of your workout clothes in your gym bag the night before. Nothing's worse than realizing you forgot your gym shoes or sports bra at home. The gym definitely won't let you work out in your flip-flops. For the gym-goers who go straight from their house, you still need to be prepared! Take an extra pair of workout pants, shorts, or a shirt just in case something happens like spilling your pre-workout all over your pants on the way there! Oh and be sure you have enough hair ties and headbands, too... It sucks exercising with your hair constantly in your face!

Resistance Bands

There are so many training tools that can help intensify your workouts, and resistance bands are definitely one of the better ones. You can use them for stretching or to perform different exercise variations, plus you can easily pack them in your gym bag and you can utilize them for home workouts. Resistance bands come in various resistances and can be either short or long in length. Short bands are typically used for lower body workouts while long bands are used for full-body exercises. And lucky for you, we carry both band styles in our online shop and all are made with fabric to provide a non-slip grip and come in their own matching carrying pouch for easy storage – also, they're always buy two, get one free!

Wireless Headphones

Do they even make non-wireless headphones anymore? Well, even if they do, they get in the way too much when you’re trying to work out. When you’re on different machines or lifting free weights, you don’t want to deal with the wire dangling in front of you or the earbuds constantly falling out.

Wireless headphones are easy to slip on and off and sit firmly on your head. Plus, if you can get noise-canceling headphones, it’s even better. You can drown out all the excess sounds and other distractions, and enter your own little world. All that’s left is turning on your favorite workout playlist to kick yourself into high gear!

Lifting Gear

Lifting gear, like lifting straps and weight lifting belts, can make all the difference in your weightlifting session so don't forget to pack them in your bag! Lifting straps can help reduce grip fatigue and better secure the weight to your hands. You'll be able to lift more, longer, and without fearing the barbell or dumbbell is going to slip out of your hand and potentially cause an injury. While lifting belts can provide intra-abdominal pressure to help support your back on heavy deadlifts, rows, and other compound lifts. So, if you're a heavy weight lifter don't forget to pack essential gear that can help enhance your training!

Post-Workout Snack

Nothing works up an appetite more than a great workout. Eating after working out helps with muscle recovery and increases muscle growth. Protein bars, nuts, or some fruit, are great snacks to have on hand. They won’t spike your blood sugar and will satisfy your hunger until your next full meal. 

Reusable Water Bottle

This should be a given... but hydration is important! If you’ve noticed you’re getting tired early into your workouts, you could be dehydrated. Dehydration weakens your mental functions, like coordination and motor control. It also raises your body temperature and heart rate. You need to continually replenish your body from all the sweat you lose, so always have a reusable water bottle with you, like one of these 373 lab shaker bottles.

Pre-Workout Supplement

A lot of bodybuilders like using pre-workout supplements before they train. They provide extra boosts of energy, contain multiple nutrients, and aids in overall performance. Most pre-workout supplements come as powders so you can mix them with drinks. Now though, you can also find gummies, pills, or ready-made drinks. Pay attention to the ingredients as some are made with added sugars or too much caffeine.

Padlock for the gym locker

Almost every gym has their own personal lockers that you're allowed to store your valuables in while you work out. Some even let you rent one out just for yourself. If you are going to use a locker though, check to see if it already comes with a lock. If it doesn't, then don't hesitate to buy one. You don't know who all is walking in and out of the locker room. 

Microfiber Towel

It's super handy to have a gym towel with you, both for showering and for wiping down the equipment. No one likes to see a big sweat stain from where someone just sat. It's understood gym etiquette that you wipe off the equipment for the next person. However, you should also have a regular towel and/or a small hand towel for yourself. A microfiber towel absorbs sweat fast and dries quicker than a cotton towel.

Travel-Sized Toiletry Items 

It can be hard to fit time into our schedule to work out. Sometimes the best option is to go before or after work, or when we know we’ll be out doing other things. In this case, you’ll want to keep a few travel-sized toiletry items in your gym bag, like dry shampoo, hairbrush, body wash, deodorant, and even some hand sanitizer to use throughout your workout. Some gyms come with full-service showers so you can wash up afterward, so make sure you pack a pair of shower shoes. 

Change of Clothes

Fresh clothes are definitely a gym bag essential, especially if you plan on going somewhere afterward. Trust us— your boss won’t appreciate you coming into work in smelly gym clothes. Pack clothes that are breathable and aren’t prone to wrinkling. Anything made from cotton is a good choice, and don’t forget a clean pair of underwear. 

Workout/Yoga Mat

Having a training or yoga mat is handy when you’re doing floor exercises or stretching. It’s more comfortable than sitting or lying down on the floor. Some gyms provide their own workout mats, but the idea of sharing things has changed post-COVID. Just remember to bring a cleaning spray for your mat so you can sanitize it after you’re done with it. 

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Being prepared is important for any athlete or bodybuilder. You wouldn't go to school without your books, right? This is a good list to start from for beginners, but there are plenty of other items you can add in! It all depends on your needs and workout routine.

Need lifting gear that will take your training to the next level and fit in your gym bag?

UPPPER Fitness Gear has your back! Get everything you need from Resistance Bands, Lifting Belts, Lifting Straps, Barbell Pads, Wrist Wraps, Ankle Straps, and even UPPPER Gear so you can sweat in style 💪

>> Shop UPPPER Gear <<


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