A Guide to Packing Your Gym Bag

For us university students, the end of summer is synonymous with heading back to school, and for many, it also means heading back to the gym. With the opening of the brand new Laurier Brantford YMCA on campus, working out has just become a little more exciting! Make sure you show up to your sweat sessions prepared with the following list of gym bag essentials.


A Reliable Workout Bag

The best workout bags have waterproof bases, many pockets for all your goodies, separate ventilated compartments for your (stinky) shoes and enough space for you to fit all your workout necessities. If your bag does not come with a separate shoe compartment, you can always separate them from the rest of your belongings by placing your shoes in a plastic bag or spare shower cap.


Workout Apparel

Think about what kind of workout you are partaking in and plan accordingly. You might wear something very different to a barre class than you would to play a game of intramural basketball. But generally, an athletic t-shirt, stretchy pants, and a sports bra will do just fine. Also, think about the temperature of your gym space; throwing in a light jacket might be a good idea.


Running Shoes

With the exception of yoga, many workouts require a good pair of runners – so don’t forget them!


Pre/ Post-Workout Snacks

Proper nutrition is vital both before and after your workouts. And sometimes, you don’t have the time to stop by your house or a food vendor for a nutritious bite. Store a few of your go-to snacks in your bag, especially when you know you won’t have the time to get your fuel elsewhere. Generally, healthy carbohydrates are best pre-workout for fuel, and protein is the best post-workout for repairing the muscles you used. This study can tell you why. 


Your Cellphone + Earbuds

Your cellphone is necessary for two reasons: your music and your workout notes. Get yourself pumped for your workout by blasting your workout playlist through your earbuds. Plus, if you are anything like me, you’ll have a workout plan logged in your notes app.


Waterproof Bags for Wet Clothes

Ever had a particularly sweaty session that left your workout gear less than… dry? Don’t just add them to the rest of your gym bag’s contents. Pack 1-2 large, waterproof bags (like zip-locks) that can be replaced after use. You know . . . just in case.


A Towel

After your workout you should always try to wash your body for both your comfort and your hygiene. If your gym does not supply a towel service, make sure to pack your own. I recommend investing in an anti-bacterial towel that won’t start smelling funky on you. Take your towel out of your bag when you get home to dry and wash it frequently.


A Reusable Water Bottle

This is a must. It is so important to stay hydrated, especially when you are exercising. Bringing a reusable water bottle will allow you to fill your bottle with as much water as you need and cut down on your waste production at the same time.


Hair Brush + Hair Elastics

There is nothing worse than trying to get your sweat on and having your locks bounce around in your face. Make sure you keep a few ponytail holders in your bag so that you can throw your hair up with the help of a brush.


Body Wash and Shampoo

At the new Laurier Brantford YMCA, we are fortunate enough to have body and hair wash supplied in the showers. But, if you are heading to another gym or want to use your own personal favourites, fill up a few travel sized containers with all your shower supplies.   


An Extra Pair of Socks

Sometimes you are going to walk to the gym in sandals and realize you need socks for your runners. And sometimes you are going to soak through your socks during your workout and need a fresh pair for afterwards. Either way, it’s a best practise to tote a spare pair.  


Face-Cleansing Wipes

Whether you are showering or not, you should always be sure to wash your face of sweat post-workout. Keep a pack of face-cleansing wipes in your bag to refresh your skin.  


A Lock

They don’t call it a locker room for no reason. Keep your valuables safe by purchasing a strong lock.



Regardless of whether you applied some in the morning, make sure to re-apply after your shower to combat odour.


Shower Cap + Dry Shampoo

You’re a busy lady! You don’t have time to wet your hair, dry it, and style it before heading off to your next engagement. In the shower, skip the hassle by covering your hair with a shower cap and spraying away any sweat build up with some dry shampoo. Just make sure to actually wash it with water at some point in the near future!


Wishing you happy and healthy workouts all year long!