What Should a Beginner Take to the Gym?

If it’s your first time going to the gym, you might be stressed and doubtful about many factors, and packing a gym bag could be one of them. You might be worried about forgetting something and feeling bad in the middle of working out or over packing and weighing yourself down. But preparing a gym bag is pretty simple.

You’ll need your workout clothes and shoes, a water bottle and some snacks. A sweat towel is necessary, and don’t forget your shower and hygiene equipment if you’re planning on taking a shower after working out. You’ll also need your workout plans, personal workout equipment, and headphones

Knowing that you have all the essentials you need will allow you to head to the gym confidently and power through your session. Read on to find out what to pack and what not to pack for the gym.

What Should You Take to The Gym as a Beginner?

Clothes and Shoes

Unless you’re planning to wear your clothes to the gym, you’ll have to pack them. Your clothes, including the bottoms and tops, should fit you and be comfortable. That’s it!

As for the shirts and tops, men can wear any comfortable and breathable T-shirt or tank top. The same goes for women, but if you’re planning on doing workouts with inversions like yoga, you should consider an elasticated top or sports bra that won’t ride up.

As for the shorts and pants, guys can wear any plain athletic shorts or sweats. Some women may be comfortable with sweats, and some with tight athletic pants or yoga pants. There’s no right or wrong here.

The most vital piece of clothing is your shoes. If they don’t fit you, they’re not comfortable enough, or if they’re not made for the type of exercise you’ll be doing, you’ll be in pain. 

If you want to do a bit of everything at the gym, like run on the treadmill, do some cardio, and then some weightlifting, get a pair of all-around CrossFit shoes. The Reebok Men’s Nano 9 Cross Trainer shoes and Ryka Women’s Influence Cross-Trainer shoes are great options.

Reebok Mens Nano 9 Training Entrainment Shoes (Gravity Grey/Gravity Grey/Cold Grey 6, 9.5 M US)
  • Flexweave woven textile upper provides resilient stretch and targeted support at key performance areas
  • Designed for: cardio, lifting sessions

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Ryka Women's Influence Cross Trainer, Vapor Grey, 5
  • Synthetic and mesh upper in a high-impact studio fitness sneaker
  • Lace-up front, padded tongue and collar

However, if you’re specializing in a specific type of exercise like yoga, running, or weightlifting, you’ll need dedicated shoes.

Never go to the gym without socks on. Invest in a pair of all-purpose athletic socks, and avoid wearing cotton socks when exercising.

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adidas Men's Athletic Cushioned Crew Socks (6-Pair), Black/Aluminum 2, Large
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adidas Men's Athletic Cushioned Crew Socks (6-Pair), Black/Aluminum 2, Large
  • Cushioned in the foot for comfort and durability.
  • Moisture-wicking yarns keep feet dry from sweat.

Another piece of clothing you shouldn’t forget is underwear! Regular cotton underwear isn’t designed for movement and sweating and will make you uncomfortable. Look for underwear designed for athletics with good coverage.

Many people may advise you to get gloves for lifting weights. Some believe gloves make your grip better, and some say otherwise. You’ll have to see for yourself. Try out weightlifting without gloves and see if you’re comfortable enough to continue without them.

Remember that investing in good clothes and workout equipment can make you more motivated and excited about working out, so give yourself a treat.

Sweat Towel

Get a compact microfiber towel in your favorite color and have it on you so you can wipe off the gym equipment after you’re done using them.

Shower Equipment

Whether or not you’ll need shower equipment after the gym depends on your schedule. Bring shower equipment if you have to go to work or have any other plans other than heading straight home. 

Include shampoo, body wash, conditioner, comb, and a towel in your bag. Some gyms offer towels, but let’s not risk it the first time. Put all the shower equipment in a toiletry bag to avoid any shampoo-leaking incident.

Thule Crossover 2 Toiletry Bag, Black
  • Conveniently hang at your destination by snapping main compartment flap around a towel bar
  • Easily access main compartment with wide mouth opening

You may also want to pack some flip-flops or shower shoes to avoid stepping barefoot on the gym showers that are bacteria breeding grounds.

If you’re too tired to take a shower after the gym, you can bring on some dry shampoo to soak up the sweat and give your hair some volume. Read here to find out the benefits of a cold shower after working out.

Regardless of whether or not you take a shower, always have some deodorant or body splash with you.

Most good gyms have wipe stations around but include some cleansing wipes in your bag just in case. They’ll come in handy for removing your makeup before working out or freshening up after sweating is over.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated during workouts is of great importance. It’ll help you perform better and keep you safe from dehydration and fatigue, so always keep water close.

Most gyms sell bottled water, but they’re not only expensive but also harmful for the planet. Investing in a high-quality reusable water bottle that can keep your water cool for longer. Save money and help save the world!

Pogo BPA-Free Tritan Plastic Water Bottle with Chug Lid, 32 Oz, Grey
  • XL 32oz capacity for big thirsts
  • Hard chug spout stays completely covered and yuck-free during transport

Workout Snack

Post-Workout Snack

Eating a meal or snack is necessary after working out. Your body is energy-deprived, and you’ll need to replace it soon so it can heal itself. 

Your post-workout should contain proteins and carbohydrates. It can be as simple as a protein bar or a banana, but you may prefer a full-on meal like a chicken or tuna sandwich. 

Here’s everything you need to know about what you should eat after the gym and what happens if you don’t.

Headphones

Unless you’re interested in listening to other people grunt while working out, pack a pair of headphones. Some motivating music from a high-quality pair of headphones can be a game-changer for your exercising routine and help you pass the time faster.

Get Bluetooth earbuds or over-the-head headphones. Wired headphones will only get in your way.

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Apple AirPods Pro
  • Active noise cancellation for immersive sound
  • Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you

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TREBLAB Z2 | Over Ear Workout Headphones with Microphone | Bluetooth 5.0, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) | Up to 35H Battery Life | Wireless Headphones for Sport, Workout, Running, Gym (Black)
  • New Level Of Silence & Flawless Connectivity - Discover the power of Active Noise Cancelling technology and Bluetooth 5.0 aptX codec providing high-end listening experience. While working out, Z2 Bluetooth over ear headphones provide total comfort, block out loud and annoying music at the gym, and let you focus on fave tracks and workout.
  • Best Workout Headphones w/ Wireless Convenience - Whether you’re running outside or on a treadmill, lifting weights or playing basketball, Z2 Bluetooth workout headphones help you concentrate on results by joining music and sports. IPX4 water resistant & sweatproof, these wireless running headphones survive intense fitness sessions.

Workout Plan and Equipment

Don’t forget your workout plans! Here are some muscle-building workout tips for beginners that will help you write up your workout plans if you haven’t already.

Also, bring your personal workout equipment if necessary, including a yoga mat, tension bands, ankle weights, and so on.

A Gym Bag

Finally, you’ll want a handy gym bag to fit all this equipment inside. A good gym bag has a vented compartment for smelly shoes and sweaty clothes, space for your water bottle, zipped compartments for your headphones and wallet, and enough space to fit your towels and shower equipment.

PUMA Evercat Contender Duffel Bag
  • Removable/Adjustable shoudler strap
  • Padded bottom panel

What Might You Need Later Down the Road?

The equipment you’ll have to bring relatively stays the same throughout your workout journey, but as you get stronger and gain more balance, you may need the following, as well:

Conclusion

As a gym newbie, you’re starting to build a new and healthy habit and gain the incredible benefits of exercise. Try to make going to the gym as straightforward as possible for yourself. Don’t worry too much about what to pack. As long as you have the necessary equipment, including clothes, shoes, towels, water, and snacks, you’ll be fine.

Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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