We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

New to the Gym? Grab These Gym Bag Essentials

A gym bag with a basketball inside, a pair of sports sandals, and someone holding wireless earbuds

Joining a gym for the first time can be daunting. These accessories will make you feel more prepared and help you enjoy easing into a new routine.

Sure you can hit the gym with nothing more than good pair of shoes to support your feet in terms of workout gear and accessories. But in terms of comfort, enjoyment, and ease of use, you can get a lot more out of the gym experience with some extra gear to make staying hydrated and in the zone easier. These accessories will help you make the most of your membership.

Stay Hydrated with a Water Bottle


Whether you’re running on the treadmill or lifting weights, you’ll want to stay hydrated during your workout. You may think “well, a water bottle is a water bottle,” but we’re here to tell you that this isn’t true when it comes to the gym.

First of all, you’ll probably want a plastic water bottle instead of a metal one. Have you ever dropped your Hydroflask in front of 30 other people? Save yourself the embarrassment of scrambling to pick it up while all eyes turn toward one of the loudest noises on the planet and pick something that won’t make a lot of noise if it slips out of your hands.

Second, a traditional screw-top water bottle isn’t the best option at the gym. Your hands touch a lot of germy things while you’re working out, and you don’t want those same hands to touch your mouthpiece every time you need a drink.

This water bottle is a perfect gym option. It’s made of BPA-free plastic and has a cap to cover your mouthpiece that can easily be popped open and clicked back into place. It also contains a plastic loop that makes it easy to carry from machine to machine.

Pogo BPA-Free Tritan Plastic Water Bottle

Stay hydrated during your workout with this lightweight water bottle.

Haul Your Stuff with a Gym Bag

An Adidas sports bag next to a black water bottle

What would a list of gym bag essentials for new gym goers be without, you know, a gym bag. While a gym bag might not be completely essential for minimalist gym goers, it can make your life a lot easier. The lightest packers will at least have their car keys, headphones, phone, and a water bottle to carry around.

Save yourself the hassle of stuffing your pockets and invest in a sturdy bag. This compact duffle bag is perfect for beginners who only need to bring a few things with them. That being said, it can pack a surprising amount of gear if you eventually find yourself needing to bring more along to your workouts.

Adidas Diablo Small Duffel Bag

Carry only the essentials in this small, but sturdy, bag.

Secure Your Locker with a Lock

A lock hangs on a gym locker

Many gyms, especially large ones, provide lockers to keep your things safe. However, the lockers usually don’t come with a lock.

To make sure you keep your things safe while you get fit, grab yourself a combination lock to bring with you. This one is easy to use and only requires a four-digit numeral code to unlock. It’s simple to set your code of choice and should fit most standard lockers.

4 Digit Combination Padlock

Keep your stuff safe while you focus on your workout.

Get in the Zone with Wireless Earbuds

Someone wears wireless headphones and someone pulls another pair of headphones from a case

A great playlist is the key to a good workout. A good pair of wireless earbuds will cancel out the noise of your workout buddies and won’t distract you while you’re getting your sweat on.

This pair of noise-canceling earbuds is great for anyone who needs a pair but wants a budget-friendly option to begin with. The quality is surprisingly good for the price. They fit comfortably in most ears and offer excellent sound quality.

TOZO NC2 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds

These wallet-friendly earbuds will let you focus on your music and your workout.

If you’d like to invest in a top-quality pair of earbuds, check out the Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds. A standard in the headphone industry, these earbuds are sweat-resistant and have a nine-hour listening time. They also feature a comfortable ear hook that guarantees they won’t be going anywhere while you work out, no matter how many burpees you do.

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds

These top-rated earbuds will stay on your ears without any annoying wires.

Support Your Feet with Good Gym Shoes

A men's tennis shoe and a women's tennis shoe
Under Armour/New Balance

A solid pair of workout shoes will support everything from your feet to your upper back when working out. While different shoes are designed for different types of workouts, you can start out with a basic cross trainer if you aren’t sure what type of exercise you’ll be doing at the gym.

Men should try Under Armour’s Men’s Training Cross Trainer, which is an excellent shoe for basic physical activity. These shoes are lightweight and breathable but sturdy enough to support you during most types of exercise. They also have a sleek design and can be worn casually outside of the gym.

Under Armour Men's Training Cross Trainer

Stay comfortable and supported in these men's sneakers.

Women can grab a pair of New Balance’s Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker. They offer excellent arch support and are comfortable enough to wear all day. The midsole has a snug fit while the toe box leaves plenty of room so you don’t get cramped. These shoes are also chic enough to wear out after you’re finished at the gym.

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker

Sneakers that are as stylish as they are comfortable.

Keep the Funk Away with Shower Sandals

A pair of shower sandals outside

If you plan on using your gym shower after you work out, you’ll want to pack a pair of sandals in your bag. We don’t need to go into detail about the germs that linger on those floors, but you don’t want your bare feet exposed to them if you can help it.

These shower sandals are waterproof and easy to slip on and off. The rubber soles keep you from sliding around on wet floors and the design fits men and women (just check the sizing details before you buy). They also come in over 20 different colors so you find the perfect pair for you.

Adidas Men's Adilette Aqua Slipper

Keep your feet clean and germ-free with these shower sandals.

Refuel with Protein Bars

A blue water bottle sits next to a protein bar
Pure Protein

What you do at the gym isn’t the only thing that’s important. What you do after, and specifically what you eat after, matters too. Try to get some protein in your body within a few hours of working out in order to repair and strengthen the muscles you’ve just worked.

Order a box of these protein bars and keep it in your kitchen or gym locker and enjoy one after each workout. The Pure Protein brand is well-known within the fitness community for being tasty and affordable. Each bar contains 20 grams of protein and only two grams of sugar, so you can get your protein in without sacrificing your diet.

Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Fuel your muscles post-workout with these tasty bars.

Dodge the Flu with Sanitizing Wipes

Three packs of Clorox disinfecting wipes

Gyms are full of sweat, spit, and germs. While some gyms have added hand sanitizer stations as part of their COVID policies, you can’t bet on it for every location.

Keep yourself from getting sick by keeping a pack of these sanitizing wipes in your gym bag and use them to wipe down your phone, watch, and headphones after each workout. This product also kills the COVID-19 virus, which isn’t guaranteed by many brands.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Stay healthy with these sanitizing wipes that kill the COVID-19 virus.

There’s more that comes with joining a gym than just showing up. From wireless headphones to quality athletic shoes, these accessories will help you feel more prepared and get the most from your workouts.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?