Body Expert advice
Must-Have Workout Essentials You Need In Your Gym Bag


10 min read

Sweating it out is inevitable at the gym so packing UR own towel or a washcloth is in UR best interest! A microfibre towel can hold up to three-four times its weight in water, making it the best item to pack in UR gym bag. Make sure you don’t reuse UR gym towel and send it straight for washing, once you’re back home.

Why You Should Carry Your Own Towel

According to K. Vijay Simha, Exercise Physiologist, people dripping with sweat in gyms are a common sight, but unfortunately, this means these places can be breeding grounds for germs! Carelessness towards hygiene can lead to the spread of these germs. In addition, it lessens UR gym experience and more importantly, you can contract some infectious diseases.

Precautions to take while using towels provided by the gym:

  • Make sure the towels are washed and dry
  • Check if they are separated from the used ones
  • Lookout for any stains
  • Ensure the used towels are sent to the laundry to avoid reuse

You can also get certain infections by reusing towels, says Dr.Radha Shah, Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals. Here’s a list of the skin infections you can develop:


Impetigo causes sores on the skin. It is caused by the strep bacteria and a cut or abrasion on the skin can lead to symptoms. Strep or staph bacteria are transmitted by touching or using another person’s towel. Prevent impetigo by washing UR hands frequently and keeping tabs on the use of UR towels. Ensure it is only for personal use.


A common germ that can be found in gyms is staphylococcus bacteria. Some strains of the bacteria can be harmful but most of the time, staph goes unnoticed and does not necessarily cause any infection.


This infection thrives in wet environments, so if you use a towel which is used to wipe down sweaty machines or equipment you might end up getting this skin infection.

Cold & Flu

Besides the spreading of skin infections in gyms, cold and flu too can spread very easily. It is transmitted via the droplets emitted when someone coughs or sneezes. As the virus stays alive for some time outside the body, it can be transmitted to many places in the gym – machines, dumbbells, railings and towels. All it takes is wiping any one of the machines or equipment with an infected person’s towel!

If you enjoy feeling clean and fresh after a workout, carrying a pair of fresh clothes, socks and undergarments is essential. A change of clothes also comes handy if you are planning to run errands or head to the office, post UR workout. It’s also a good idea to carry a smaller bag for your soiled clothes.

If weight training is on the agenda then carry a pair of gym gloves. Gym gloves save UR hands from becoming dry and rough while you lift weights. Gloves also provide a better grip while lifting heavy equipment and there is less chance of hurting or straining yourself while working out.

To keep your hands clean and disinfected, UR gym gloves should be washed every alternate day. Gloves should also be laundered on a consistent basis. If your gloves are not cleaned regularly, there are chances of developing contact dermatitis and fungal infections.

How To Clean UR Gym Gloves

  • Soak the gloves in warm water. Fill a tub with warm water and add enough washing soap.
  • A dishwashing detergent works well. Immerse UR gloves in it and scrub each glove. Use UR hands to rub off any dirt.
  • Clean the gloves inside out and rinse them thoroughly to avoid any residue.
  • You can also toss your gloves in the washing machine and let them air-dry.

A few gyms have in-house shower facilities for the members while some provide washrooms with a vanity. Pack essentials depending on UR gym’s amenities. A small pouch with all UR toiletries such as shower gel, face wipes, face wash and a moisturiser comprise of the basics.

According to Doctor Radha Shah, Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals you should be aware of certain harmful chemicals lurking in your face washes, shampoos and shower gels, even though the extent of harm caused to UR skin depends on individual skin sensitivity. If you work out daily you should shampoo UR hair daily or alternatively with mild cleansers, especially if you go swimming.

Here’s a list of the common toxic chemicals your cosmetics may contain:

  • Parabens
  • Alcohol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl sulphate
  • Colouring agents

Music is a great motivator; it uplifts the spirit and provides an adrenaline boost that makes workouts fun! But beware, if you’re a knowledge seeker who explores podcasts or listens to versions of UR favourite book, as sharing headphones can be pretty unhygienic! Infections of the ear like candidiasis or swimmers ear can increase when sharing UR earphones. But this purely depends on the hygiene maintained by both individuals, says Dr. Radha. Additionally, there is an ideal volume level that should be maintained while doing cardio and weightlifting exercises.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) safe listening levels depend on the intensity (loudness), duration (length of time) and frequency (how often) of exposure. All of these aspects are interconnected and influence the overall sound energy level.

The permissible time for safe listening decreases as sound levels increase and 85 dB is considered the highest safe exposure level up to a maximum of eight hours. The output of personal audio devices may range from 75 dB to as high as 136 dB, so it’s best to set personal audio devices volume between 75 to 105 dB.

Hydration is the most essential part of UR well-being journey. If you find it a struggle to consume an adequate quantity of water, try infused water. Some infusions can help enhance your metabolism, help you get rid of water retention and also provide you with the required amount of energy you need for the day.

If you currently have a health condition like asthma, which requires you to take medication, it would be wise to pack extra medicines in UR gym bag. Medicines can come in handy anytime, anywhere. Moreover, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Also, according to K. Vijay Simha there are some basic medical checks you should get done before enrolling in a gym. Here’s the list of the medical check-ups you should undergo:

  1. CBC (complete blood count)
  2. Lipid profile
  3. Vit-D3
  4. Vit-B12
  5. LFT (liver function test)
  6. Creatine levels
  7. ECG (echo cardiogram)

A nutritious snack like a protein bar or a protein shake is an ideal post-workout snack. This helps to maintain energy levels and keeps you going through the day. Keep two protein bars or UR preferred protein powder in UR bag to boost UR energy levels post UR workout. But remember, there may be some harmful products and preservatives in your protein shakes and protein bars.

Rakesh Udiyar, Celebrity Fitness Trainer is of the opinion that protein shakes and protein bars that are made from quality ingredients are very beneficial for health, but some protein powders and bars contain harmful chemicals and additives that should be avoided. Here’s a list of ingredients that can be detrimental to UR health.

  1. Casein + WPC: Known as whey protein concentrate and caseinate, these contain a high amount of lactose which is not absorbed properly by the body, and which can cause gastrointestinal issues.
  2. Gluten: This ingredient may increase inflammation in the body and can also cause hormonal imbalances, fatigue, skin eruptions etc.
  3. Dextrins/Maltodextrin: These are common ingredients found in protein powders and used as fillers to add bulk to the protein mix. They contain GMO corn which can cause gastrointestinal issues and can also affect the way fat is stored in the body.
  4. Artificial sweeteners: There are many health concerns with ingesting the artificial sweeteners like aspartamine, saccharin etc. Some of the side effects of these sweeteners are gastric issues, weight gain, headaches etc.
  5. Skim milk powders & milk solids: These cheap ingredients are used to add bulk to the protein powders. They contain a huge amount of lactose sugars leading to gastric problems like bloating, constipation and so on.
  6. Soy protein: The soy proteins may contain pesticide as they originate from genetically-modified sources. Consuming soy protein can cause hormonal imbalances too.
  7. Vegetable oils and fats: These ingredients that add creaminess to protein powders contain trans-fat which leads to the build-up of bad cholesterol.
  8. Thickeners and gums: Like the name suggests, these ingredients that are derived from corn or soy act like glue in the digestive system. It can lead to gas, constipation and also bloating.
  9. Fillers: Filers are cheap and add bulk to the protein. These ingredients include sugar, coconut flour and psyllium. Ingesting these ingredients can lead to gastric problems and reflux too.
  10. Added fibres: Some people may have a sensitive digestive system and added fibres in protein powders which are included for weight management or as fillers may sometimes cause gastric issues such as bloating and constipation.

Protein shakes and protein bars, including other sports supplements are easily available. The bad news is that those who regularly consume these products are unaware of their adverse effects. Some sports supplements also contain androgenic steroids that are extremely harmful for health. Some of the negative health effects of consuming these steroids is fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, lethargy, increased cardiovascular risk, osteoporosis, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, reduced muscle mass, reduced strength, increased fat and so on.

Some sports supplements can also aggravate certain ailments or interact with medicines. Energy drinks usually contain caffeine, B vitamins, sugars, and taurine which is an amino acid. Caffeine can increase blood pressure, cause insomnia, nervousness and palpitations. Certain sport supplements also include endocrine disruptors which could be toxic.

Benefits Of Eating Protein Post A Workout

During recovery, UR body’s two main needs are protein and carbohydrates, states Doctor Lakshmi K, Ph.D in Food Science & Nutrition.  While carbohydrates provide energy to UR muscles, proteins help to repair UR muscles. According to the American Heart Association (2015) when you consume protein within 30 minutes of completing your workout, your body stands to benefit the most, even though the repairing and rebuilding process continues for many hours after UR workout.

Your fitness goals determine the amount of carbohydrates and proteins you should consume. A 1:1 ratio of proteins to carbohydrates is adequate if UR focus is on aerobic exercise to build cardiovascular endurance. A 2:1 ratio of proteins to carbohydrates is required if UR goal is to build muscle mass. This is because to create muscle tissue, amino acids are needed.

If weight loss is your goal, you need to focus on the intake of calories post UR workout. Many energy bars contain a large amount of sugar and calories so try to make yourself a shake using protein powder which will also help to rehydrate your body. Alternatively, eat a banana with peanut butter. You can also try a tuna sandwich made with whole wheat bread or hummus with whole wheat pita bread or a snack mix, containing nuts and dried fruits.

A deodorant acts as a lifesaver as body odour can be a complete put-off! Ensure you opt for fresh fragrances rather than bold colognes or rich flowers. Dr. Radha warns of certain harmful chemicals you need to be aware of while choosing your deodorants, roll-ons and deodorant sprays. Some sprays can cause contact dermatitis reactions, but on the other hand, though roll-ons are relatively safer, they have a greasy feel which may not be very appealing.

Here’s a list of the chemicals that can cause your skin harm:

  • Parabens
  • Aluminium compounds
  • Triclosan
  • Propylene glycol
  • Silica

A gym bag packed with all the essentials can be UR perfect workout companion! Being prepared with the necessities will not only make a huge difference to your workout but will also help you maximise your gym time! Here’s an extensive checklist that enables you to take on the expected and the unexpected, while working out! Customise this list according to UR needs and keep a copy in UR gym bag.

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