I have been training bodybuilding in the gym for more than a decade. Like you, the first day I was nervous, I felt a little embarrassed or, directly, I didn't even know  what to wear to the gym . If you are new or new, you will soon see that there are a lot of things to take to the gym: girdles, stopwatches, headphones, gloves, belts, backpacks... What is essential? What can I leave at home? Today, after many years of training, I have a fit physique and acceptable muscular strength (although one always wants more, of course). However, various objects have been with me in the gym, session after session, for a long time. My interest is to help you discover what you need. I will do it from experience and without deception.

List of things to take to the gym for the first time and forever

You don't need too much equipment to train. The accessories for the gym are very basic. I don't want to alarm you if it's your  first day at the gym, man , but I'm assuming you're going to train hard if you keep building up on a regular basis. Therefore, write down the following list of things to take to the gym from today . 

The backpack that you take to the gym

 What backpack to take to the gym

This is the first. Everything you need will fit in a backpack . What kind of backpack should I get to store my things? This will depend on the activities you practice. If you're going to a martial arts gym where you're going to be doing a fighting sport, you'll want to go with a boxing-style long bag. You will need to store your kimono, gloves, protections...

Now, if you are only going to do bodybuilding , a normal backpack with shoulder straps will suffice. It is the most recommended. Just choose a comfortable backpack, with a design that you like and with plenty of compartments to place your things. No more. When you have your gym backpack , you can start looking for the following accessories.

The water bottle

What drink to take to the gym

To this day, I still sometimes leave my water bottle at home. And how bad I feel! You'll want to stay hydrated while exercising, especially if the training is hard or it's summer. The bottle is always close at hand while in the gym. Between each series or exercise, it is advisable that you drink water. Remember that most of your muscles are water, so the liquid even helps you to have more strength. Hydrate!

What is the bottle of water  that is taken to the gym ? To save, it is best to buy a good hard plastic bottle and always carry the same one. Do not buy disposable bottles every time you go to train. Another option is aluminum sports bottles, if you want to keep your water cold in hot weather.

The ideal bottles should not be very large. Use a medium or small bottle that does not take up much space in your backpack and is easy for you to transport. Don't worry if your bottle runs empty during training. Any legal gym has to have drinking water!

Is there any other recommended liquid to drink at the gym? You will see a lot of people drinking caffeinated pre-workout supplements. That's for advanced users. So what drink to take to the gym? Trust us, if you're just starting out, you don't need pre-workout supplementation. Drink only water .

Towel to take to the gym

 The towel, things to take to the gym

Don't forget the towel . At the gym, you're going to sweat. Also, in many gyms, the towel is one of the mandatory things. You are often required to place your towel on the seats of the machines before you start exercising. The towel is used to avoid staining the sweat machines. 

Contrary to what you might think, classic bath towels are not the best idea. These stay wet and are very uncomfortable. There are special towels for the gym. They are absorbent and thin towels . They are made of cotton or microfiber . They are so thin that they do not take up any space when they are rolled up inside the backpack. They will keep you dry and clean. They are very cheap. Ideally, you should buy several to have a clean towel every day at the gym.

Gym gloves for training

Gloves for training in the gym

For me, this accessory is an essential among the things to wear. A good gym glove can make training much easier. Invest in quality gloves. Make sure that these have a rough or rubber surface so that they grip well.

Gloves are used to improve hand grip, especially in pulling exercises such as deadlifts, rowing, or pulldowns. If you're really serious about going to the gym, you'll need to learn how to do these exercises later on. Trust me when I tell you that I've tried gym gloves for many years and they can help you get a few more reps out of an exercise. The improvement that they provide in the grip of the hand is very remarkable. Also in exercises like the barbell bicep curl, I have noticed a better grip when wearing gloves.

In the gym, you're going to do a lot of pulling movements to train your back and arms. I always  have to take my gloves to the gym to do these exercises better. Learn to use your gloves and mitts wisely for the heaviest sets. They are a good investment. A good gym glove will not cost you more than €5. Of course, this element suffers great wear. Maybe every year or two, you have to change it.

Great bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman have used and recommend the gym gloves.

Weightlifting Wrist Wraps

Wristbands for training in the gym

If we have said that gloves were necessary for pulling exercises, wristbands will help us a lot in pushing movements (bench press, shoulder press, dumbbell fly...). As time passes, you will carry more and more weight in the pushing exercises. What to take to the gym?  A good wrist brace will come in handy so your hand doesn't bend when you carry weight. It will give you rigidity and prevent you from hurting yourself. This accessory is not totally essential, but it is highly recommended. Also, it's great. 

Buy a quality wrist brace that is elastic enough so that you can roll it up well and give you the rigidity you need. Most gym wristbands have elastic to hold your thumb in place when you put them on; and they close easily with a velcro. Use them wisely in the most demanding sets of exercises. Wrist wraps are good support in pushing movements.

So, if you wonder what a woman or a man should take to the gym , these are the 5 essential things . Let's make a summary with the necessary budget.

  • • Backpack: €20
  • • Bottle: €2
  • • Towel: €4
  • • Gloves: €5
  • • Wristbands: €9

In short, for around €40, you have the basic material to get started. Let's see more things that are going to be useful.

Mobile phone

I am not including it in the budget because it is understood that everyone already has a smartphone. When you are more specialized, you will surely take your gym routine on your mobile phone to consult it. Also, I highly recommend that you write down everything you do on your phone: the exercises you do in a session, the weights you move and the repetitions you are capable of. You will find it very difficult to progress if you don't know what you did in your previous training. Write it all down!

Wireless headphones

 Headphones for training in the gym

If you don't like the music they play in the gym, you won't be motivated. You can wear headphones that connect wirelessly to your mobile to train listening to your favorite songs.

A lock with a key

You will find it strange that I recommend this to you. Yes, it has happened to me! The first day I went to a gym where the lockers did not have a lock. A place where, if you want your gym stuff to be safe, you have to bring your own lock. It usually happens, above all, in large commercial gyms. Better take a lock on your backpack for what may happen. Maybe the gym will sell you one, but it will cost you an arm and a leg!

What clothes to wear to the gym?

The best clothes for the gym are the ones that make you comfortable and give you self-confidence, which is very important to stay motivated and not leave the gym. Here are some dressing  tips .

If you are a man  or a woman  who goes to the gym to lose weight because they are a little overweight, don't wear tight clothes. Gyms are full of mirrors where we constantly see our image. If we are dressed in clothes that highlight our body volume, we will think that we are not progressing, we will feel bad and we will stop. Therefore, if you are somewhat overweight, wear loose clothing for now. Don't worry, you can change your outfit when you're fit.

If your complexion is thin or muscular, in both cases, certain tight-fitting clothes that will highlight your physique will come in handy. The best short-sleeved gym t-shirt will be tight at the top, to show off the shoulders and arms; and somewhat wider at the bottom, to hide the abdomen. If you dress like that, you will look much stronger. 

Slim fit sweatpants are the trend. Your legs will look so much more muscular and impressive, which will motivate you to train harder. Also, if you have slim legs, they will look slimmer with tight pants. Of course, do not opt ​​for an excessively tight tracksuit or the typical leggings for men. We also don't want to look ridiculous. There are "slim fit" versions of both shorts and long winter pants. Look for your fitness pants in brands like Gymshark, JD Sports ...

What clothes to wear to the gym if you are a man What clothes to wear to the gym if you are a woman

When it's chilly on the way to the gym, a hoodie is all you need. In fact, the image of the bodybuilder dressed in a hoodie is already a classic, right?

If you are a girl , you can wear leggings or tracksuits that fit you well. If you are already fit or thin, wear clothes that define your silhouette. You are training for something! You need to motivate yourself. Also, we all like to flirt at the gym!

What shoes to wear to the gym?

 What shoes to wear to the gym

Any sports shoe with a flat sole and with which you are comfortable. A casual sneaker can also serve. The rigid rubber sole is the one that will give you greater stability. You need a shoe that grips the ground well for exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, or standing bicep curls. You can try shoes like "sneakers", Converse, Nike Air Force shoes, Puma Caven...

And what should I not take to a gym?

Well, there are some clothes that you should avoid. If you are a man, better not wear boy's leggings . I told you that you will be more motivated if you highlight the silhouette of your legs. However, if you take this advice to the extreme (for example, putting on leggings), you will be uncomfortable and somewhat ridiculous. 

Tank tops with an open back are no longer an option. Better avoid them. Dressing like this is like saying to everyone "look how strong I am". If you are going to wear a tank top, it is better to use a regular one that shows only the arms. Don't worry; if your back is wide, you will look wide anyway. We are no longer in the 80s! You want to show off your gym gains, but not in such an over-the-top way that you appear insecure.

 Clothes I shouldn't wear to the gym

Extra accessories to take to the gym when you are advanced

The next material that we will see is more specialized. I recommend it if you have been training for at least a year, you have seen that you really like the gym and you want to advance further. What to carry in the gym bag if you already have experience training? Write down the following useful objects.

Squat or weightlifting shoes

What shoes to wear to the gym

Every good bodybuilder has to do barbell squats regularly. To maximize strength and technique in this exercise, there is a special shoe . The squat shoe has a wedge-shaped heel that offers you stability and allows you to lower yourself further towards the ground. It really helps you achieve optimal squat posture. It is a very good investment. The problem is that weightlifting shoes are not cheap. The price of most of them goes up to €100. If you know someone who practices bodybuilding and you are looking for gym things to give away , some weightlifting shoes will make the gifted person very happy.

Use them only in squats. This shoe is not for walking. My advice is that you carry them in your gym bag along with the rest of the accessories (wristbands, gloves, towel...). Change your shoes at the gym, before you start doing squats. When you're done, you can put your normal shoes back on to do the other exercises. Meanwhile, leave your squat shoes stored in the backpack.

Hand straps for pulling exercises

 "Straps" for deadlifts for gyms

They are called dead weight straps or "straps" . They are placed around the joint of the hand and wound around the barbell or the handle of a machine. They simply improve your grip and allow you to lift heavier or do more reps. You can use them in a variety of pulling exercises : deadlifts, barbell rows, pull-ups, pulldowns... Only use the straps if you are advanced and lift a lot of weight.


 Magnesium, what things to take to a gym?

In a list of what to take to the gym , you could include magnesium. It also improves the grip of your hands considerably. The problem with magnesium in chalk is that it stains and it is not allowed in all sports centers. You can try liquid magnesium , which is cleaner. You will move more kilos for sure.

Powerlifting or Gym Belt

 powerlifting belt

If you like strength and you are a power user, you could get a gym belt that protects your back in heavy lifts like squats or deadlifts . With the belt on, you could lift a little more weight. The prices of the belts are very variable. Some cost €30 and others even €200. It all depends on your level of experience and how much you want to spend.

In most gyms, there are several belts available for users to use, so you really wouldn't have to invest in this material. The belt also serves to ballast weight in exercises such as back pull-ups or pectoral dips. By the way! Among the  gym things to give away , the belt is a very precious alternative. 

Gym knee pads

 Putting on knee pads to do squats in the gym

They are protection and cushioning for your knees. Knee pads help you lift more weight in the squat! Good gym knee pads can cost between €30 and €40. I would recommend this accessory if you are already advanced. Wear them for leg exercises: squats, leg press...

Weightlifting Socks

 What socks to wear to a gym

There are long socks designed for gym lifts. They offer extra protection in the tibias, for example, to avoid hurting ourselves if we rub against the bar in exercises such as deadlifts. Some sock models also have a rubber reinforcement at the base, which maximizes adherence to the shoe or the ground. Still, these kinds of things are for experienced users.

Well, I think I haven't left anything out. If it is going to be your first day and you are wondering  what to take to the gym , remember the 5 main objects: a backpack, drinking bottle, towel, gloves and wristbands. Also, you already know  what clothes or shoes to wear to the gym . Later, if you continue training, you can opt for more specialized equipment, such as squat shoes or a powerlifting belt. These are the things you could carry in your gym bag , but don't forget the most important thing: the desire to get in shape!

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