What should I keep in my gym bag?

Your gym bag should hold all the essentials to help you get a good workout. It should also contain items for after your work out. I prefer to go to the gym dressed in my workout clothes, but if you don't have that option you'll need to pack appropriate shoes and a comfortable outfit. The next most important thing is a good towel or two. One towel can be used during your workout and the second one is nice to have for after you shower. An mp3 player or other audio device can be a great way pass the time while you exercise so I would recommend you pack one along with extra batteries. Soap, shampoo, deodorant and any other personal care item you might need after your workout are also nice. Travel size bottles of these items can be very convenient without weighing you down. Other items you may want to consider are extra socks, a water bottle, gum and a snack for after your work out.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Gym bags of yesterday carried two things: a pair of sneakers and stench that resembled bad bologna. If you work out someplace other than your home, you can stock your gym bag with a few other items. These items will not only help make your workout more comfortable but can also make you healthier.

  • Shirts and socks that wick away moisture and keep you cool and comfortable (and shorts or warm-up pants, of course)
  • Well-fitting shoes for your sport of choice
  • Flip-flops for the shower to decrease the risk of being exposed to fungi
  • Gloves for weight lifting (to avoid small cuts and calluses from lifting, and also to lessen the chance of passing along germs when you shake hands or picking up germs from the equipment)
  • A towel (even if the gym provides one, bring your own because gyms tend not to use enough detergent at a high enough temperature to kill MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

  • Heart-rate monitor (keep heart rate at 80 percent of max possible—which is 220 minus your age—for most of the time you're on a cardio machine, and push to maximum heart rate for the final minute of every 10 with doc's approval)
  • Earphones and audio player (but keep the volume under 85 decibels; that's about a 6–7 on most handheld audio players)
  • Elastic bandages for tight wrapping (RICE protocol) if you twist an ankle
  • Plastic baggies to hold ice for injuries

  • A pocket-size antibacterial gel if your gym doesn't have some (use after your workout because you have been gripping sweaty objects)
  • Alcohol spritzer to wipe down sweaty machines (if the bozo ahead of you didn't wipe it down himself)
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.