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7 “must do’s” for the perfect gym bag

Whether you are already a regular at the gym, or just take the odd class or swim, then you will want to have all the right kit to hand to make the trip as easy as possible – this post aims to go through my 7 top things that will really help you have the perfect gym bag ready and waiting for you when the motivation strikes.

organising the perfect gym bag© Monika Adamczyk |

I love going to the gym, and have made it a part of my weekly routine as I feel much more energised for everything else in my life if I exercise regularly – and working from home means its a great excuse to get out the house in the week.

However, I need to make it as easy as possible to get there so that there is less to procrastinate about – as it’s all too easy to make excuses and end up not going at all.

After all – going to the gym takes time and energy, and if it’s not all ready to go then it’s not hard to just say there’s not enough time etc…. Also, if you end up getting there unprepared without the right kit to hand then you won’t get the most out of it – and who wants that?

So – let’s get started. These are the tips I have found help me to be organised about my gym bag** and therefore my fitness –  and make it as easy as I can to get to the gym prepared – hope they help you too!


Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness….. – Edward Stanley


Gym bag organising tip #1 – What do you need?

Asking yourself what you actually need to have at the gym is the very first step to packing correctly. Here are a few ideas of what you may want/need to add to your bag:-

  • Gym Kit (trainers, socks, top, sports bra, shorts, swimsuit etc…)
  • Towel (small one for the gym to wipe away sweat, and one for your shower)
  • Gym Pass
  • Money
  • Padlock for locker (or a pound coin)
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks for after your workout
  • ipod/headphones for music while you workout
  • Your mobile phone for apps to help you workout such as HIIT trainer, stopwatch etc….
  • Your workout routine (I write down my routine so I can follow it as I go, and track improvements)
  • Extra items not provided at the gym (goggles, yoga mat, skipping rope etc…)
  • First aid items (paracetamol, plasters etc…)
  • Hair accessories (tying it back while exercising is handy!)
  • Hair brush / straighteners
  • Toiletries
  • Makeup

It’s a huge list! – surprisingly so really – and it’s no wonder that you need a gym bag that’s packed and organised as it would be very easy to forget something if you had to pack it in a rush.

My top tip here would be:-

Write down all you need in your gym bag as a checklist, and then add this list to the inside of your bag so that you can check off against it as you pack it – that way you won’t get there and find that you haven’t got your trainers or something (trust me – there’s nothing more frustrating!)


Gym bag organising tip #2 – Pick the right bag for your needs

Equipment is everything!

Once you have worked out what you need to take to the gym, you need a bag that not only has space for everything, but that makes it easy for you to grab what you need when you need it.

Think about having a bag with compartments so that you have a place for everything, and decide what bag suits how you prefer to use it i.e. I used to have a backpack but found this was difficult to reach the bottom of when it was full – so I changed to a holdall style gym bag ** which is much easier and practical for me to use – and there’s lots of pockets so I can find things easily.

If your bag is a pleasure to use, then you will be much more likely to use it! – it’s the same with everything when you organise it – make it easy and it will become a much easier habit to continue.


Gym bag organising tip #3 – 2 sets of everything works well

There’s nothing more time consuming when preparing to go to the gym than having to collect all your toiletries together from your bathroom, so the easiest way to deal with this is to create a gym only toiletry bag that has a second set of all you use on a daily basis.

This means you always have a set you can use (you can also grab this when you go away on holiday for a few days which is a bonus!), and you are much less likely to forget anything.

You may be thinking that it is really expensive to have 2 sets of everything – and I know having 2 sets of toiletries can feel like a massive expense, but the truth is that you will only use the same amount of the products, they will just last longer in each place, so it’s not any more expensive really.

TIP – If you want to carry less to the gym, consider using travel sized containers for your toiletries and decanting things like shampoo and conditioner into these.


Gym bag organising tip #4 – Empty and fill when you get back – NOT when you want to go again!

By this I mean that if you just dump your bag in your house when you get back home from the gym you will be in for a nasty surprise when you next come to use it – with a damp towel, used gym kit etc… waiting for you. It’s less than ideal and won’t fill you with the motivation to get it sorted.

If you can get into the routine of emptying the bag of dirty kit as soon as you get home, then quickly packing it ready for the next trip you can then forget about it safe in the knowledge that you can grab it and go when the urge for your next workout takes you.


Gym bag organising tip #5 – Make it as easy as possible to use

If you have your bag ready to go you will always be ready for a quick gym visit – and the next step to this is to pack it into your car as part of your routine when you have sorted it all out (see tip #4).

That way, if you are passing and have a bit of time, you can get a quick workout in where you may otherwise not have been able to.

It’s always good to be prepared, and being ready means less possibility for procrastination!


Gym bag organising tip #6 – Add spares to your car

The next step to being prepared is to also have a spare set of kit in your car – just in case you do ever forget anything.This is particularly useful if like me you go to the gym in your kit, and need to pack your day to day clothes to change into.

If you always have spare clothes/snacks/money etc… in your car for other emergencies as well then this just makes sense!


Gym bag organising tip #7 – Clean it regularly

Gym bags can house many germs if you’re not careful.

That mix of sweat, wet towels, warm trainers, damp swimsuits etc… in a closed space that can really make for a germ idyll if you’re not careful.

My advice here is to have a plastic bag to put your dirty and wet washing in straight away to keep everything off your other stuff, and ideally put this in a separate compartment in the bag as well.

Also – once a month get into the routine of washing out your bag – a simple anti bacterial wipe does the job well – just to ensure the bag isn’t harbouring any nasties – after all – you go to the gym to get fit, not to catch bugs!


I hope these 7 tips have helped you get your gym bag a little more organised and given you food for thought – is there anything you pack or a tip that you can add to this that others would learn from? Please let me know in the comments below – thanks in advance!


** Affiliate link – please see my disclosure policy for more details



** This post may contain affiliate links - to find out more please see my disclosure policy



One Response to 7 “must do’s” for the perfect gym bag

  1. Kristy Jan 15, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    I need to work on reloading my bag when I get home. It’s the one thing that I struggle with every time I workout.

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