What to Keep in Your Gym Bag, Because This Is the Year Your Resolution Will Stick

All the gear to stock, because you haven't given up already, have you?

January 8, 2024 1:10 pm
a black bag on a blue background
Back in the gym? Here's exactly what to toss in your old (or new) duffle.
lululemon/Getty Images

Here we are, a week into the new year. What do you have to show for it? If you took our advice, perhaps you have a dozen — or maybe just one or two — reasonable, easy resolutions to better yourself in healthy, holistic fashion. Or maybe, like you do every year, you went balls-to-the-wall crazy and decided that this year is the year your abs are going to have abs (last year was just a practice round).

10 Straightforward Resolutions Worth Embracing in the New Year
Skip the unrealistic moonshots. Opt for these joyous lifestyle adjustments instead.

We, too, understand the pressures of a new calendar year, and, even though winters should be for learning exactly how much Haagen Dazs makes you ill, we’ve decided to help you with a quick primer on the kit you’ll need if you’re back pumping iron.

A Gym Bag That Doesn’t Suck

First and foremost, you’re going to need a dedicated gym bag to tote around all your new stuff. Avoid the common pitfalls of a: buying a behemoth of a duffle and b: limiting your crating capacity to trips from home to the gym and back only. A discrete, multi-pocketed carry-all that you feel good about schlepping to work is the only way to go here. Bags with a space for your sweaty gear and shoes are a plus, as well.

The Best Duffel Bags for Every Kind of Traveler
13 duffel bags that would make for an excellent traveling companion

Necessary Tech

We live in the golden age of data collection when it comes to workouts, with high-tech trackers and apps allowing for all sorts of metrics and instruction. That being said, most of it is superfluous to getting in, lifting heavy things and getting out. If your pursuits lay adjacent to the free weights or under the squat rack, we suggest keeping the electronics to a minimum — just enough to grab the stats you actually need and to keep you fired up for when you attempt that PR.

The Best Wireless Gym Headphones for Every Workout
Crank up the music and crush your workout with these gym worthy wireless headphones

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

If you really want to get jacked this year (or just take control of your health), we suggest you start by putting down the weights and picking up the hot girl Stanley. That’s right — water is king when it comes to performance, recovery and general wellness, and it should be a no-brainer for your gym EDC. Ditch the plastic, please.

There Are Too Many Protein Powders. These 7 Stand Above the Rest.
From the best for packing on muscle to the best for pairing with your morning coffee

For the Expert: Workout Accoutrement

Bringing a gym to the gym? Now that’s hardcore. Maybe you will stick with your goal to put on 25 pounds of pure, lean, non-HGH-induced muscle. All jokes aside, certain tools — we’re looking at you, jump rope — perfectly Venn diagram in the fits-in-a-gym-bag and acceptable-to-use-at-equinox subcategories. Be realistic (read: check if they already have it at your local Blink) but don’t be afraid to tote around whatever will best help you conquer your lofty resolutions, so long as it’s not a 45 lbs. kettlebell.

How to Get a Legitimate Endurance Workout From a Jump Rope
We talked to a former pro boxer who’s trained Will Smith and Adriana Lima

Non-Woowoo Recovery Gear

Out for 2024: healing crystals. In for 2024: taking care of your body. There are tons of fitness “hacks” that are total bs, but the cornerstones of recovery — tools that reduce bad inflammation and stimulate recovery and growth — are more important than ever if you want to see actual results…or live to see 100.

The 10 Best Post-Workout Recovery Tools to Relieve Sore Muscles
Banish next-day soreness with these body-friendly tools

Quick HIIT Grooming

Hitting the communal showers after a particularly sweaty sesh might not be every guy’s cup of tea, but keeping some basic hygiene at arm’s length is never a bad idea. Forego the 2-in-1 shampoos (ever heard of cowashing, my guy?) and stick to the essentials — products that will fight the immediate odors and breakout incubators that come standard with your new standard of movement.

6 Grooming Essentials You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag
So you can look (and smell) as good as you feel

The Unmentionables

Wipes? An extra pair of underwear? Whatever could I need that for? Just…trust us, okay? Better safe than sorry.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.