Gym Bag Essentials

Aside from the obvious gym kit you need for your workout (including workout bra!), there are a number of basic essentials that should always be in your gym bag. Michelle and I have learnt this through years of experience in forgetting everything from shampoo to underwear. Here’s a short list of gym bag essentials to make sure you have a happy workout and perfect gym experience!



Gym towel: Most gyms and boutique fitness studios don’t supply towels. You can’t enjoy a workout if you can’t towel off (yourself and the equipment you’ve just used). Even better, you can purchase a gym towel with a zip pocket for your keys or other small items you want to keep with you while you work out.

Water bottle: Because you want to stay hydrated when working out and drinking out a water fountain is not ideal. Too many times I’ve arrived at the gym having forgotten mine and end up having to buy a bottle of water.

Hair ties (bands and clips) plus extra: I can’t stand to have my hair flopping about or my fringe in my face when I work out. It’s annoying, and not a very good look. Be sure to pack back-ups because hair bands have a tendency to snap.



Locker lock: Not all gyms supply lockable lockers and you don’t want to drag your entire gym bag around with you. Combination locks are the best so that you don’t have to keep a key with you.

Dry bag or plastic bag for your sweaty gym kit. Enough said.

Flip-flops: It’s horrible to have to use the steam room or sauna barefoot. It just feels icky and is certainly less hygienic than using your flip-flops. Ditto the shower afterwards.



I have a separate toiletry bag for the gym which is always packed with the essentials listed below, and another bag with skincare and make-up. I buy travel-sized items (or decander bottles) for my gym toiletry bag so that I don’t have to transfer them from my bathroom. Country Road at Woolworths have really cute toiletry bags that are the perfect shape and size for your gym toiletries for R499.

Mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner: After forgetting your flip-flops, there’s nothing worse than finding you haven’t remembered to pack shampoo and conditioner after a super sweaty workout. You can purchase inexpensive travel-size empty containers from Dischem and then decant some of your shampoo and conditioner into these. That way you can simply leave them in your gym toiletry bag.

Body wash: So much easier than having to take soap and my favourite way to cleanse and rejuvenate my skin post workout. We even selected the best body washes for you to use in our Body Wash Hit List. I have two bottles of the Davines SU hair & body wash so that I can have one bottle in my gym toiletry bag permanently.

Deodorant: Obviously, and preferably aluminium free, because we firmly believe it’s better for you. My Dischem Deodorant Crystal is really compact so it takes limited space in my gym toiletry bag.

Hair brush: A Tangle Teezer type brush is a must have item – whether you shower or not.

Face wipes: These are great to remove unwanted make-up pre-workout if you go to the gym straight from work. They’re also useful for a quick refresh if you decide to forego the shower post a less strenuous workout. I love these Natracare Organic Make-up Removal Wipes available at Faithful to Nature for R135.

Dry shampoo: In case you’re not planning to shower and just want to freshen your hair after a Pilates or yoga session.



Underwear! Yup, it sounds obvious but there have been a number of times both Michelle and I have had to go commando post a workout and shower thanks to this oversight.

Happy gym session!

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