What To Bring To The Gym – Gym Bag Essentials for Beginners

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Going to the gym is a great way to start your fitness journey, but forgetting to bring something can be a real setback. To help you avoid this, I’ve put together a guide on what to bring to the gym.

Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or just starting out, this guide will help you remove any obstacles between you and your fitness goals. By making sure you have everything you need, you can focus on your workout and get the most out of your time at the gym. So, let’s dive in and make sure you’re fully prepared for your next gym session!

What To Bring To The Gym?

t-shirts on hangers
By Keagan Henman

Workout clothes

The first thing when packing your gym bag is to make sure that you have all your gym clothes with you.

I would literally consider them “workout essentials”, as they are the only item on this list that you cannot go to the gym without. 

You can get away with forgetting your shoes or your water bottle, but not your gym clothes.

I mean sure if you forget your socks then you can just use the ones you were already wearing. But if you forget your pants and come to the gym with let’s say, jeans, then you’ll end up having a rough time.

Here is a list for you to check if you’ve packed everything you need:

  • T-shirt
  • Bra (for women, obviously)
  • Underwear
  • Shorts or sweatpants
  • Socks!
  • Sweater (optional)
a hand throwing up a pair of shoes
By Martin Katler

Gym shoes

A good pair of shoes can go a long way, depending on what type of exercise you’re involved in.

For the average gym goer it’s not crucial to own specific shoes, but if you want to do something like weightlifting for example, then a pair of squat shoes will be an essential in your gym bag.

Some people use flip flops which I wouldn’t recommend because they can be very loose, which increases the risk of injury when performing exercises where foot stability is important.

There are also the gym goers who don’t use any footwear, the problem here is that the gym floor is oftentimes dirty and packed with all sorts of fungi and bacteria that can give you something like foot fungus

three colored water bottles
By quokkabottles

Water Bottle

You can buy a water bottle at your local store each time you go to the gym or use a reusable water bottle and refill it every time. 

No matter what exercise you’ll be doing, you’ll be sweating and losing water. The reason you’ll want to make sure to pack a water bottle is because losing as little as 1-2% of your body’s water mass can significantly decrease your strength and power output as well as your endurance.

Stay hydrated! 


Headphones are one of those gym essentials that might not actually be essential. You’ll have to experiment to see whether this is the case for you. Let me explain.

Some people prefer to listen to music during their workouts, others don’t. Some people like to listen to music when doing cardio – running or riding a bike, others only listen to music when they’re lifting weights.

Towel and Shower Gel

There’s nothing better than a post-workout shower. The feeling of freshness and cleanliness is almost as satisfying as the workout itself.

That’s why you’ll want to throw a towel and a shower gel, or any other body wash that you prefer, in your gym bag.

Now there are people who say you should avoid showering at the gym because the shower floors are full of fungi and other pathogens that can cause infections. That’s where our next piece of gym essentials comes in handy. 

Flip Flops

Ahh yes, the shower shoes. Wearing flip-flops to the gym shower can prevent you from picking up any infections from showering there.

I’d recommend putting them in a plastic bag, inside your gym bag. That way you won’t get all the other things wet if you put them back after showering. You’ll also keep all the dirt and bacteria away from all the other essential items like your actual gym shoes.


I’m proud of you if you already thought of this yourself. But let me tell you, most people don’t. There’s nothing worse than someone who forgot their clean clothes and is therefore making your workout even harder than it already is.

Be respectful of your fellow gym goers and throw a deodorant in your gym bag. It takes 2 seconds to apply and others will definitely thank you, just maybe not verbally.

an image of different nuts and some raisins
By Maksim Shutov


Another great thing to pack in your gym bag are some protein bars or a protein shake. They will come in useful when you know that you won’t be able to eat for a significant amount of time after your workout.

A quick and easy way to restore your energy levels and give your body some fuel is to have a post workout snack like a protein bar or a shake.

A Positive Mindset

Going to the for the first time can be a daunting task. Especially if you’ve never really done any exercise.

Getting into a positive mindset and having a positive attitude can help boost your confidence and reduce the anxiety of going to exercise in a public environment where people might judge you.

Remind yourself WHY you chose to start this fitness journey. Focus on enjoying every little success to reinforce the idea that what you’re doing is good for you and that you’re going in the right direction.

Other accessories

In case you’re feeling more confident right out the gate and want to try a specific sport, then look up the accessories that people are using who are doing that sport.

If your gym has lockers, don’t forget to bring your own lock! Most gyms also have a gym membership. Should you already have one, make sure to throw your membership card into your gym bag as well. 

Wrap Up

There are a lot of questions that can come up when you’re just getting into exercising. What to wear, what to bring with me, what exercises should I do, etc.

My goal is to help you find answers to those questions and make getting into the habit of going to the gym as easy and frictionless as possible.

I hope this post provides you with the answers of what you should bring to the gym and why.


What do I need to bring to a gym?

The most essential items are:

  • Workout clothes
  • Gym shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Showering appliances
  • Deodorant

What should I bring to the gym beginner?

As a beginner you should start by bring the most essential things:

  • Workout clothes
  • Gym shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Showering appliances
  • Deodorant

What should you not bring to the gym?

100% cotton clothing

  • It dries slowly and warms you excessively

Baggy clothing

  • The more fabric there is, the higher the chance of it getting stuck.

Items that smell bad

  • Nobody wants to have their workout interrupted by the smell of someone’s shoes or clothes

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