15 Gym Bag Essentials

Whether you’re pumping iron or popping in during a work lunch for a quick cardio session, going to the gym has been proven to increase testosterone levels in men. It takes great discipline for anyone to keep the routine going and packing all your comfort essentials will bar you from giving yourself any excuses to skip a session.

gym bag essentials

Exercise is a feel-good ritual, so you want to feel as good as you look, and look as good as you feel. If you don’t, it is probably time to suss out this checklist for a top-up or refresh on the existing items of your gym bag. No compromises should be required on the matter of style versus practicality. This list packs a punch with the top 15 must-have items every man should have at the gym.

Gym Bag

First things first, before putting together all the items for your gym bag, consider whether your current bag caters to all your needs. The top two problems with gym bags are the frequent wear and tear, and the lingering smell of moist post-gym clothes and stinky shoes. 

Size does matter. If you shower at the gym, its best to get a compartmentalized bag big enough to accommodate your dry, clean and wet, used items. The Underarmour 3.0 Duffel Bag fits the bill on all fronts. Not only is it water-resistant and element-battling to wear and tear, but the bag also comes with a large vented pocket for your shoes or laundry. This solves the problem of smell and eliminates your need to bring along an extra shoe bag.  

Odour Eliminating Spray

To get rid of funky smells, it’s a good idea to include one of these in your gym bags. Instead of being engulfed by odor the moment you open your bag, use the spray on shoes, gym clothes, gloves, and your gym bag for removing sweat stinks. FunkAway is an example of an odor eliminating spray. The product does not just cover the stench but effectively encapsulates and eliminates it.


Every good workout needs some good music. Good music is an essential motivator that fuels a power-packed workout. How many times have you bailed on the gym because you’ve forgotten your pair of headphones? If you don’t want to be stuck with the terrible music choice jamming in the sweatshop, having a designated pair tucked away permanently in your gym bag might be a great idea. As trendy and comfortable as over-the-ear headphones might be, they are just not practical for the gym due to their extra weight and inability to stay on your ears during movements. The same goes for headphones with cables. They can become a hazard or hindrance when coupled with big work-out movements.

No matter your workout, wireless in-ear buds give you the freedom to move, so opt for a secure pair that will not fall out of your ears, on top of one with an authentic sound. If you are both an audiophile and a technophile, you might want to consider the Jabra Sport Pulse. It delivers great sound but also can measure your heart rate and the intensity of your workouts.

Drinking Bottle

Staying hydrated is your number one priority during any good gym session. Drinking water in between sets is essential as dehydration can affect your endurance and performance with side effects such as confusion, muscle exhaustion, muscle cramps, and overheating. As much as going to the water cooler might be a great excuse to catch your breath, doing it every fifteen minutes is not exactly an efficient way to keep your heart rate going. Reusing used plastic bottles from an old beverage has also proven to run the risk of toxicity. This is why you need a good trusty drinking bottle in your gym bag to keep you cool and hydrated during and after your session.

If you’re in the market for one, there are great options built for athletes that can keep both your gym beverage ice cold and your morning coffee hot. Besides picking one that is leak-proof, rust-proof and non-toxic, TheFlow drinking bottle comes with three lids to suit your needs. Whether it’s a sipping straw for easier drinking during workouts or a carabiner lid for easy attachment to your backpack during a hike, the bottle is unique because of its versatility.

Protein Shake Bottle

Chances are that if you are a regular gym-goer, you probably finish off your session with a protein beverage. Whey protein is not used for the sole purpose of bulking up but is also a great source of protein for muscle repair after a heavy work-out session. You might even throw in a dash of carnitine powder for improved endurance. Having a bottle with you at the gym means having your protein replenished sooner rather than waiting till you get home.

If these shakes are already a part of your ritual, you will know that they leave a lingering smell in any bottle. It is, therefore, not to use your regular drinking bottle to make them. This is why you should have a designated protein shake bottle ready to go in your gym bag. The ProStak system is a good choice to consider. Not only does it come with a wire whisk ball to ensure you make a smooth non-lumpy beverage, but it also has a detachable compartment that can be used to pack along with your other supplement powders such as creatinine, or even pills.

Gym Shoes

Good balance and indoor ground grip are very important when it comes to gym shoes. Depending on what you do at the gym, there are designated shoes for weight lifting as well as ones made for cardio. Having proper shoes is essential for injury prevention as your shoe should provide enough support and cushion to look after your joints.

Made for weight training, you might want to consider the Adidas Powerlift 3.1. The shoe is designed to be lightweight, durable, and comes with a high-density midsole to keep you stable while lifting. It is also ideal for cross-training, which makes it a great pair of gym shoes when it comes to versatility.

Clean Socks and Underwear

Imagine having to put on sweaty socks and underwear after a clean shower in the gym post-workout. Clean socks and underwear might be a no-brainer, but we’ve all forgotten one or the other at least once in our lifetimes. A piece of good sound advice would be to replace them in your gym bag as soon as you throw your post-gym clothes in the laundry so they will never be forgotten.

Workout Shirt and Shorts

We tend to take clothes for granted, and your workout attire determines how comfortable you will be during your gym session. Cotton is great for absorbing sweat, but choosing one with breathable Dri-Fit fabric is the best when it comes to t-shirts. Just like Nike’s running shirt, pick one that doesn’t stain with your sweat and is made to keep you cool during your workouts. It’s always good practice to keep an extra shirt in your gym bag as well for emergencies.

While finding a good pair of gym shorts should be simple enough, there are many factors to consider. Fitting aside, your gym shorts should be moisture-wicking and provide you enough comfort for freedom of movement.  


We recommend bringing two towels for the gym. One for wiping down sweat and the other for a clean, refreshing shower after your gym session. No sweat, no gain. If you are not sweating in your workouts, you are probably not working hard enough at it. A sweat rag is a must-have essential for any gym junkie. This is so you do not have to share communal germs with other others using the gym’s rental towel.

Pick a super absorbent gym towel that is just the right size for your gym bag. Your gym towel should be soft, odor-free, and able to keep you cool and dry during your fitness training.


It is normal for sweating to continue even a couple of hours after you have stopped your workout at the gym. This is why a trusty deodorant is a gym bag must-have. After a refreshing cool-down shower and a change into clean dry clothes, the last thing you want to miss out on is your deodorant, especially when you are heading back into the office after your lunch-time workout. You want to feel fresh, masculine, and confident. This means you wouldn’t want embarrassing sweat to seep through your clean office shirt’s pits as you step into a meeting.

Check out Speed Stick Power Antiperspirant Deodorant. With 24hour protection odor and sweat protection, you will have no qualms continuing with your day after a rigorous gym session.  

Weight Gloves

Weight gloves are a personal choice. While some swear by them and will not resume a workout without them, there are others who might find them a hindrance. There are many advantages to using gloves while lifting any weights.

Trusty gloves provide great grip especially with the high possibility of clammy sweaty hands and prevent the formation of calluses and painful blisters. If you invest in the right kind like the Nike Men’s Core Lock Training Gloves, they also can provide wrist support that can prevent injuries and give you an increased lift by relieving pressure off your hands, especially from your fingers.

Fitness Tracker

With so much hard work invested at the gym, having a fitness tracker can help you to keep track of your fitness goals by recording your progress at the gym. Aside from the typical functions of a tell-time watch, the Fitbit’s Charge HR tracks your basic step count, sleep and heart rate seamlessly while syncing with your mobile device. The fitness tracker is able to recognize the start of any of your workout sessions and track altitude without the hassle of you having to program anything. Fitness trackers are a must-have for serious gym junkies so you can be fully aware of how your workouts can affect your overall fitness results.

Shoe Bag

The last thing you want is your clothes to smell like stinky shoes during your training session or even after you have changed into dry clothes post-gym session. It is thus vital to pack your pair of shoes away from your clothes and other belongings. If your gym bag is not designed with an extra compartment designed for your shoes, it’s probably wise to invest in a separate shoe bag. Just like this shoe bag from New Balance, the best option would be one that is vented with a mesh to prevent odors. You might want to even throw in a couple of shoe deodorizer balls in the bag to keep it smelling fresh.

Laundry Bag

Just like a shoe bag, having a laundry bag to separate the rest of your belongings from the unpleasant stench of wet post-gym clothes is really just good hygiene practice and common sense. What better choice than to opt for a laundry bag that can be easily machine washed with the rest of your gym clothes so you can keep your bag smelling fresh? A good choice would also be to pick a bag that effectively locks in odors so you can go on with the rest of your really long day without worrying about the amplifying stench in your bag.

First aid

Even though every gym will probably have an emergency first aid kit in the facility, it is always wise to carry your own around. Everyone has their own comfort brands of plasters and medication to depend on when dealing with an injury or a common ailment such as a headache. Muscle aches and cramps happen more frequently than you think, so having a tube of muscle-aid rub or some muscle relaxant pills could be a great idea to keep you going the rest of the day after a rigorous gym session.