If you want to see results from working out, you have to bring the right gear.
Whether you’re a newbie to the gym or an expert with years of experience, we’re pretty sure that there’s always room for improvement. That might mean your workout routine, but it might also be how you prep to go the gym in the first place.
And while most people focus on the right gear — shoes, workout clothes, food — there are other important items that can make a big difference in your workout.
We’ve curated this list of essentials based on suggestions from top trainers worldwide and the Fitbit community.
A gym bag
Are you ready to go anywhere from the office to a yoga class? You definitely need a gym bag to put all your stuff in.
A good sports bag or backpack keeps you organized, protects your phone and other electronics, has enough space to fit all the clothes and accessories you need, and is easy to carry around from location to location. Ideally, it should also be water resistant and come with lots of pockets so that you can stay organized.
It’s important to wear clothing that both protects you in a workout and supports your body’s movements. You should opt for the clothing for that particular sport, looking for something that provides ample protection against impact, strain, or overheating.
Avoid clothes made of 100 percent cotton, especially if you’re doing cardio. Cotton absorbs moisture and is slow to dry. The best workout clothes for women are ones that are lightweight, breathable and made from quick-drying synthetics. Wear fitted T-shirts with form-fitting shorts, yoga pants, or running tights.
Pack your favorite pair of running shoes in a separate pocket so you can separate them from the other gym equipment.
Depending on the type of workout you are doing and what kind of weather it is, you may want to consider bringing a water/Gatorade bottle, or electrolytes. These will help replenish your body throughout the day while also keeping you hydrated.
Headphones are the perfect gym accessory. You’ll want headphones or earbuds, especially if you’re going to be doing cardio. A pair that’s Bluetooth-compatible will be especially convenient so you don’t have to deal with wires.
Most gyms provide towels, however we recommend bringing your own. Keeping your gym towel to yourself is a great way to avoid germs. Look for towels that are machine washable, fast-drying and super-absorbent.
We recommend at least 2 towels — use one during your workout, and the other one at the shower.
Flip flops might be a smart addition to your gym bag if you’re planning on taking a swimming class or even showering at the gym. They’ll keep your feet from getting athlete’s foot.
A change of clothes
You don’t need to pack a whole outfit in your gym bag, but you might want some extra layers or something comfortable to change into once you’re done working out. If you’re coming straight from the office, for example, you might need different clothes for after your workout — typically called athleisure.
Your cosmetic bag should include at least a deodorant and face cream. While most gyms provide shampoo and shower gel, it never hurts to have your own.
Your gym bag essentials should include deodorant, face cream and hair products. While most gyms provide shampoo and shower gel, you may want to bring your own, especially if you have favorite brands or scents.
Staying fueled will help you stay focused and energized throughout your workout.
Pack a snack of fuel that’s easy to eat on the go, like a banana, an apple or a protein bar, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Look for bars that contain protein and fiber, which will give you a lot of post-workout energy.
Many nutritionists also recommend whole-grain foods like cereal or oatmeal, yogurt with fruit and nuts, and Greek yogurt with granola.