Gym Bag Must Haves

6 Essential Items to Bring to the Gym

Ok, I have to be honest. I don’t bring a gym bag to the gym. I see a lot of people who because they carry their pre-workout, protein, towels, clothes for after working out, and so on. However, I typically go straight home after the gym so I am able to get my snacks, protein, shower, and change clothes at home. There are many more items I could add to this list that I don’t use. So when I say gym bag must haves, that means just items I take to the gym (and not all the time depending on the item).

Resistance Bands
Resistance bands have so much versatility to them. You can use them alone at home or take them to the gym to incorporate into your regular weight lifting workouts and up the intensity. I have a set of 5 levels of resistance from extra light to extra heavy that I purchased on Amazon for about $10. I tend to use the extra heavy the most for the ultimate resistance and challenge, but I have used the lighter ones for stretching out my legs gently as well. My primary use for the bands is on leg days, but they could be used for other areas like arm days too.

Ankle Cable Attachments
My gym has a lot of cable attachments, but there aren’t any ankle cable attachments. A lot of times people improvise with a handle piece, but it does not stay put on your feet all the time. I ordered some ankle straps from Amazon that wrap around your ankle and strap together with velcro. Then you can easily clip the carabiner to the strap piece to do some great leg workouts. I typically use these for glute kickbacks, single leg standing abductors, or lunge squats.


Last year I started the 8 week Katy Hearn Challenge that my sister did the year prior. That is when I officially became a notebook carrier at the gym. I wrote out the specific workouts with some of the hashtags that Katy provided as well. This way in case I forgot how to do the exercise properly or had no idea what it looked like, I could look up the hashtag on Instagram to see a video demo. If you are working out with a specific goal in mind, such as losing weight, increasing strength, hitting a PR, etc. then a notebook is a must have! I also brought a pen with me to record the weight I used and the reps along with my personal weight each day.

The interesting piece is that this year I am going through the challenge again, so I am able to see what I was capable of doing last year versus now. It’s insane to see such personal growth in just a year. I was deadlifting 45 pounds and now I can do 90. My leg extensions were at 40 pounds and I can do 100 pounds now.

Book to Read
I mainly do weight lifting now, so cardio just isn’t as enjoyable. Sometimes I will watch YouTube videos, but there are some days that I’m not feeling that either. So, bringing a book is a great way to distract yourself from the 30 minutes of stair master. This is also a great way to force yourself to focus. Usually I get distracted by my phone or dogs when I try reading at home. Cardio gives you that time to get two productive activities done at the same time!

So this is probably an obvious one. However, if you do high intensity workouts, you need to stay hydrated. In general it’s good to drink a lot of water throughout the day. While working out it’s even more important due to sweating. Of course you don’t want to over drink especially if you are doing heavy cardio or HIIT exercises as you might feel sick. So be sure to pack your favorite water bottle before heading to the gym.

Bluetooth Headphones
Not everyone listens to music while working out, but sometimes it can be a great tool to get you focused. Play a song that gets you pumped up for a workout. Music can just get you in the zone to do your best.

I used to have an armband and regular headphones. It was SO annoying. My headphones would always pull out of my phone when I did certain exercises. The cord would get in the way. I couldn’t see the screen when I wanted to change my music. So, I invested in some Bluetooth headphones from Amazon. Now, I don’t think these are the greatest headphones either, but they were under $30, so you get what you pay for I suppose. I no longer have to worry about yanking my headphones out while doing pushups. Changing songs is so much easier. I can even change the volume or pause the music just from the headphones. This purchase has definitely made working out easier and more enjoyable.


What items do you bring to the gym on a regular basis? Comment below!

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