Miscellaneous 5 MIN READ 51 VIEWS November 23, 2022

What You Should Carry in Your Gym Bag

Written By HealthKart

Gym bag

For someone who goes to the gym regularly, carrying a gym bag is a necessity. Citing hygiene reasons, gym-goers are instructed to carry gym essentials that must not be shared. But besides these ‘non-sharable’ gym essentials, there’s an entire category of snacks that if used before, during, or after a workout, promise to enhance the overall workout experience. Read through to know the foods you must pack in your gym bag.  

Gym Bag Essentials

Carrying your gym clothes, comfortable sneakers, a towel, a water bottle, and headphones is an absolute must. But arriving at the gym only to realise you forgot your pre workout snack can play the real spoilsport. Eating the right food at the right time enhances the overall workout results. Thus, packing your gym bag mindfully will ensure that you do not miss out on your workout snacks. Here’s a carefully curated checklist of gym foods. Depending upon their role in the body, they are categorised as:  

  • Pre workout nutrition
  • Intra workout nutrition
  • Post workout nutrition

1. Pre Workout Nutrition

For proper weight training, nutrition timing is paramount. A pre workout snack will keep you energised during a workout. The best pre workout meal will maximise protein synthesis and help in better recovery after a workout. Listed below are a few pre workout snacks. Use them in rotation or pack your favourite one in your gym bag:

  • Bananas – It’s the best pre workout food. Bananas are an excellent source of easily digestible carbohydrates. They contain high amounts of potassium which is crucial for muscle and nervous system functioning.
  • Greek yoghurt – Greek yoghurt, with its thick consistency and distinctively sour taste, is an excellent source of proteins. Topping it up with fruits doesn’t only enhance its taste but provides all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and natural carbohydrates that will help you sustain a rigorous workout.
  • Oats and protein powder – Munching on oat cookies or taking an oats cereal before a workout can prove to be a true power booster. Oats are rich in slow-digesting carbohydrates. The slow release of energy keeps you going for long durations. Likewise, taking protein powder as a pre workout snack will provide a substantial dose of amino acids which promote muscle growth.
  • Eggs and whole wheat toast – Eggs are a perfect source of proteins, while whole wheat toast will provide adequate carbohydrates for a workout. 

Pre Workout Snacking Tip: The best pre workout food will be light and healthy. It will not make you feel lazy but provide agility and energy. To maximise muscle growth and strength, eat your pre workout snack about 15 to 45 minutes before your workout.  

2. Intra Workout Nutrition

If you intend to work out for long sessions, having intra-workout nutrition also becomes important. Eating or drinking carbohydrates during a workout will allow the muscles to perform actively. Endurance athletes also experience improved workout results after intra-workout nutrition. Better workout results simply translate to more reps and extended workout sessions.

Fill up your gym bag with some healthy intra-workout nutrition. Some of the best best intra-workout snacks are:

  • Gatorade – Gatorade is a perfect exercise enhancement drink. The water-based drink packs the right amounts of electrolytes and sugar concentration. It replenishes electrolytes and energy loss quickly. Moreover, it helps you stay hydrated and prepares the body for the session ahead.
  • Protein bar with carbs – Munching on a protein bar with carbohydrates provides energy to the body. It provides the appropriate dose of amino acids and energy-rich carbohydrates to help you through your workouts.

Pre Workout Snacking Tip: How many carbs to take as intra-workout nutrition will depend upon the length of the training session and the intensity. If you work out for 45 minutes or less, you’ll not require any intra-workout nutrition. Likewise, a mild to moderate intensity workout regimen will not require in-between nourishment. 

But if you plan to work out for almost 90 minutes, consider taking 50-75 gm of intra-workout carbs. But remember, do not take a carb-heavy beverage as it will slow down digestion and may make subsequent workouts uncomfortable. Taking about 15 gm of carbohydrates in 250 ml fluid is the best bet.

3. Post Workout Nutrition

Post workout snacks confer dual advantages. They make up for the lost energy after a rigorous workout session. To double it up, it repairs the muscles and body tissues and prepares them for the next session. Not having enough post workout snacks will slow down the muscle recovery process.  

Remember to stock up your gym bag with a healthy post workout snack. Take your pick for the best post workout meal.

  • Protein shake – Protein shakes are a convenient source of nutrition after a workout. One must ideally consume about 20-40 gm of proteins and around 40-100 gm of carbohydrates in a post workout snack. 
  • Sandwich – Make yourself a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread. It will provide the required dose of carbohydrates with a protein punch.
  • Cheese sticks or Jerky – Both cheese sticks and jerky are a rich source of protein. But jerky is dried lean meat. It is dried to eliminate water content. This helps it stay good for a long time. But vegetarians may still prefer cheese sticks.
  • Energy Bars – This is the greatest post workout snack. It contains a fine mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fibre. They have a long shelf life and are the easiest to carry in a gym bag. 
  • Dried Fruits – A handful of nuts or dried fruits like walnuts and almonds can be an excellent post workout snack. Easy to pack with no requirement for refrigeration makes it a good-to-go post workout snack.
  • Trail Mix – A typical trail mix (snack mix) will combine granola, dried fruit, nuts, and candies. It levels up your protein, carbs and fibre post workout. But fitness experts recommend a trail mix without candies and added sugar.
  • Fresh Fruits – Skipping on the dried fruits and eating fresh fruits as a post workout snack can make you feel refreshed and energetic. Fresh fruits will have the much-needed water content along with a sumptuous dose of vitamins and minerals.

Pre Workout Snacking Tip: It is important to take your post workout snack within 15-20 minutes after the workout. But remember, post workout snacks that can be stashed in your gym bag will provide instant and short-lived energy. Therefore, it is important to have a full balanced meal once you get back home. Moreover, a slow-digesting casein protein shake before bed will aid in faster muscle recovery overnight. 

4. Water Bottle

In addition to eating a light snack, drinking fluids and being fully hydrated is important. So, your gym bag must have a water bottle. 

  • Drink around 250 ml of water for at least 30 minutes before you hit the gym. 
  • Experts recommend that you should aim at drinking 500 ml of water during the 1-hour workout period. 
  • Once you finish your workout, drink 500 ml of water within 30 minutes. 

In moderate to intense workouts, drinking plain water may not be enough. Make sure you carry along an electrolyte-rich sports drink in your gym bag for intra-workout and post workout hydration. 


A gym bag is a treasure trove. It packs all the essential and useful things that enhance the workout experience. The most commonly known gym bag essentials are workout clothes, shoes, and fitness gadgets. But stashing your gym bag with a pre workout, intra-workout, and post workout snacks will ensure a better experience. After all, the right food at the right time is the key to increased stamina, strength, and endurance. 

So, next time you pack your gym bag, make sure to put in your favourite pre-workout snack along with one healthy intra-workout and post workout snack.  

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