Starting Up at the Gym Checklist

Are you looking to start out at the gym? If so, it can seem daunting setting out. Social media is full of gym bunnies who put in multiple hours every day; many of whom are sponsored by companies like Gym Shark to endorse their products. This means many people who are starting out at the gym do so after seeing pictures and videos of people who have all the gear and the right idea, but don’t be fooled. Not everything you see online is what you should take to the gym. 

We’ve put together a list of things you need when starting up at the gym in a bid to prevent you from spending money you don’t need to. Whether you’re trying to offset the cost of attending a public gym or the cost of building a home gym, there is a set list of essentials you need – and they don’t need to cost you a fortune either. 

1. Gym Clothes

This is where you’re likely to spend the most money, but it’s usually a one-off cost. Depending on how often you’re going to be attending the gym, you might need to buy two or three outfits. When you’re deciding on clothes, you need to consider the following:

  • Material 
  • Fit
  • Functionality 

Many people opt for cotton leggings/shorts and a cotton t-shirt, and this is because they’re affordable. There are lots of cotton options available, but you do need to consider whether they offer you adequate support. In addition, you need to consider that when you sweat, cotton will absorb it and it could get heavy. If you sweat a lot, it might be worth buying gym clothes made from nylon or acrylic. 

As a female, you might want to buy a good quality sports bra, a t-shirt/vest top (loose fitting or tight fitting depending on your preference), leggings (three-quarter are a good option) or shorts, socks and good quality shoes. 

Once you have good set of workout clothes, they should last you for a long time. 

2. Water Bottle

A water bottle is arguably one of the most essential pieces of gym kit because when you workout you sweat, and when you sweat you dehydrate. It’s worth buying a water bottle with a large capacity of two litres minimum. One litre isn’t as much as you think, especially when you’re doing an intense workout. 

A plastic water bottle that’s capable of being dropped and bashed is a must as oppose to a glass bottle. You might also consider buying a bottle with a wrist strap so you can easily move it from location to location around the gym. 

3. Towel

There are two reasons why you need a gym towel: to wipe your face/hands during a workout, and to wipe down the equipment when you’re finished. Any hand towel will do, and it won’t break the bank. 

4. Gym Bag

You’ll want somewhere to store all your belongings, so a good gym bag is key. If you plan on getting changed at the gym, it needs to be big enough to store your wash stuff (soap, toiletries, deodorant), change of clothes, different shoes and personal belongings. A holdall is pretty cheap, but you might want to invest in a slightly better one to ensure it stands the test of time. 

5. Heart Monitor

This one isn’t a necessity – it’s more of an added extra – but it definitely serves a purpose. If you’re serious about the gym, or if you have an underlying health condition and need to keep an eye on your heart rate, investing in a heart monitor is a good idea. Some of them may even tell you how many calories you’ve burned, and this can really useful for those looking to lose weight and who are working on a calorie deficit


These five items should see you through the gym with sufficient ease. Nothing fancy, just enough to get you by and get you fit. So, what are you waiting for?