10 Gym Essentials for Men To Up Your Workout in 2023

Men's Fashion

You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight. So, what makes you think you can rock up to the weights room in flip flops and a flannel shirt? In order to get the best results, you should be doing far more than just turning up.

Don’t get me wrong, simply getting your arse inside the building is to be admired. But if you’re really serious about staying fit, you’ll need to get to know the best gym essentials for men.

Keep reading as I round up the key gym bag essentials for men every guy needs to smash his personal best. From sneakers to sweatpants and shorts, these are the workout wonders that’ll ensure you stand a fighting chance.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to smashing workouts, many men overlook the power of bringing along the right gear. No surprise really—there’s so much to remember, it can be tiring just thinking about what to put in your bag.

To make sure you’re not leaving anything behind, I’ve scoured the internet high and low, reviewed sites, read hundreds of reviews, and pulled together a list of the most important gym essentials for men. Here you’ll find a selection of must-haves, including Nike’s Metcon 8 sneakers and Under Armour’s performance socks.

Our Top Picks

man grabbing a barbell bar from the rack
uvuclub / Instagram

Nike Metcon 8 Sneakers

Why it’s an essential: Proper gym shoes are essential for optimum performance. Ordinary sneakers lack the required support and grip to not only perform but also avoid injury. By making sure you have suitable footwear, you’ll reduce the impact on joints and muscles, plus prevent slips or falls, especially in high-intensity workouts or on slippery surfaces.

How to use it: Guys that spend their time in the weights room can utilize these sneakers for their heavy lifts, but the crossfit crew will probably get the most out of them.

Why this is the best: The perfect do-it-all gym sneakers, the Metcon 8 perfectly combines stability, support, and versatility. The wide, flat heel helps to distribute weight from edge to edge, while the rubber tread delivers ample traction for a wide variety of exercises.

Under Armour Performance Tech Low Socks

Why it’s an essential: The right socks play a crucial role in preventing discomfort and blisters—providing adequate cushioning and reducing friction between the foot and your gym sneakers. They also keep feet dry and offer support and compression, which allows better blood circulation and reduces fatigue.

How to use it: Part of Under Armour’s performance line, these low-cut socks can be worn for all types of exercise. While you can use them for light training, they are particularly suited to workouts that involve repetitive movements, impact, and sweat.

Why this is the best: These aren’t just any old socks, they’re built with athletes firmly in mind (whether you’re a professional or an average Joe). They wick away sweat, allow your feet to breathe, and provide crucial arch support.

Umbro Performance Boxer Briefs

Why it’s an essential: The unsung hero of the gym, moisture-wicking underwear bravely battles the sweat tsunami that comes with every workout. It’s a little like a personal air conditioner for your nether regions, keeping your private parts fresh and the noses of fellow weightlifters content.

How to use it: You can certainly wear these briefs as your everyday underwear (I’d actually recommend it), but they do come in particularly handy when you’re really working up a sweat.

Why this is the best: Umbro’s version doesn’t just keep you cool and dry, they’re supportive, super comfortable, and soft. Better yet, they’re lightweight (just like a second skin) and have reinforced seams to make them last longer.

Amazon Essentials Performance Tech Shorts

Why it’s an essential: The last thing you need when working out is things falling out of your pocket and material riding up your backside. And you definitely don’t want to be leaving any wet patches behind on the bench. This is why finding a pair of quality shorts should be a top priority.

How to use it: This pair from Amazon Essentials is suitable for just about everything—from calisthenics and HIIT to running and rest days.

Why this is the best: They’re affordable (ideal if you want a few for rotation), lightweight, moisture-wicking, and breathable. You can adjust them for the perfect fit and they have plenty of stretch to accommodate all kinds of gains. I find them better than joggers, especially during the summer months.

Under Armour Tech 2.0 T-shirt

Why it’s an essential: While finding a suitable gym top is mainly about comfort, it’s also the key to looking presentable when working out (you never know who you’re going to bump into). By choosing wisely, you can maximize performance, show off your biceps, and avoid looking like you’ve just spent half an hour in the sauna.

How to use it: A T-shirt like this one is going to take you from bicep curls to bench presses and barbell deadlifts. It’s also a great option for cardio days and weekend runs.

Why this is the best: Loose and light enough for a total range of movement, it’s made from a quick-drying, ultra-soft fabric that wicks away sweat and dries super fast. It looks great and comes in a wide range of colors, from black to orange and blue.

Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Why it’s an essential: Headphones transform mundane workouts into a private party that ends with a bigger chest and terrific traps (not a headache and empty wallet). Whether you require the adrenaline-pumping beats of a favorite playlist or the inspirational speeches of fitness gurus, headphones help you focus and take your sessions to the next level. These are definitely one of the top workout essentials for men who don’t love chit-chat at the gym.

How to use it: Pair them with your phone and they’re ready to use. Solo3 features onboard controls that are built into the left ear cup. You can use the ‘b’ button to control playback and the volume rocker above and below to adjust the sound.

Why this is the best: Few things kill your workout vibe faster than your earbuds falling out and being crushed by a falling dumbbell. This is why I tend to turn to over-ear headphones like these from Beats. They come in a sleek, streamlined design that has an adjustable fit and comfort-cushioned ear cups. They fold up easily to fit into your gym bag and boast an award-winning sound with fine-tuned acoustics that help you get lost in the music and lift like a madman.

Ultimate Gym Bag 2.0

Why it’s an essential: An indispensable companion on your fitness journey, the gym bag is the organized hub for all your workout necessities. It’s the magic portal that seamlessly transports your kit from your front door to the locker room.

How to use it: While you won’t want to forget to take it with you for every workout, it comes in pretty handy for overnight stays and weekend trips too.

Why this is the best: Sure, you can shove your stuff into any old bag, but things can turn messy real quick. This impressive holdall comes with 10 different compartments for total organization. In addition to zipped pockets and bottle holders, it includes a dedicated space to store your dirty shoes and a water-resistant pocket that’ll hold your swimming gear or sweaty gym clothes.

Degree Men Advanced Antiperspirant Deodorant

Why it’s an essential: Unless you want the reputation of the smelliest guy in the gym, applying a decent deodorant is just as important as your post-workout protein intake. Vital for keeping you fresh and funk-free while you get sweaty, this is a non-negotiable workout essential for men.

How to use it: Simply shake, spray, and move. For best results, apply it to clean pits before and after your workout.

Why this is the best: Saving you from becoming a walking workout cautionary tale, Degree’s antiperspirant offers 72-hour sweat and odor protection, so you can complete your sets without offending the guy on the adjacent bench. It goes on instantly dry and boasts a rustic fragrance to keep you feeling fresh.

Fossil Gen 6 44mm Touchscreen Smart Watch

Why it’s an essential: Having a smartwatch wrapped around your wrist is like having your own personal trainer (without aggressive encouragement or persistent small talk). It goes beyond merely telling time—tracking your heart rate, monitoring your steps, and calculating calories. With real-time data and workout metrics at your fingertips, it transforms your exercise routine and pushes you to improve and work harder.

How to use it: Compatible with phones running the latest version of Android or iOS, it automatically tracks activity goals, steps, sleep, cardio, and more. All that you need to do is charge it up and put it on.

Why this is the best: Not only is it considerably cheaper than some of the rival watches on the market, but Fossil’s Gen 6 is the brand’s fastest, most advanced touchscreen smartwatch to date. It’s powered with the latest version of Wear OS by Google and allows you to keep up with calls and notifications, as well as tracking workouts and controlling playlists. Better yet, it only requires 30 minutes of charging time to get 80% juice.

G Gradual Sweatpants

Why it’s an essential: With their relaxed fit and breathable fabric, sweatpants allow for a wide range of motion—making lunges, squats, and stretches a breeze. They’re also an excellent option to wear on your way to the gym (on top of shorts) during the winter months. They act as a shield against the chill, ensuring your muscles stay warm and ready for action. They’re no doubt one of the top gym bag essentials for men everywhere.

How to use it: A multifunctional pant suitable for short and tall guys alike, they’ll be your best friend for all sorts of exercise. When you’re not wearing them in the gym, they’re great for relaxing and running too.

Why this is the best: With a similar fit to Lululemon’s ABC jogger, this is the wallet-friendly option you’ve been waiting for. Soft and stretchy, they feature zipped pockets (ideal for keeping your phone safe) and a drawstring waist for ultimate comfort.

man in black tank top drinking water from a tumbler
adi.gillespie / Instagram

Buying Considerations For Gym Essentials

Functionality

Identify your fitness goals. Different workouts and exercises require specific types of gear. Whether you’re focusing on weightlifting, cardio, or a combination of both, make sure you choose men’s gym essentials that align with your objectives.

Comfort

Comfortable and moisture-wicking clothing is crucial for a positive workout experience. Look for soft and breathable fabrics that allow for proper ventilation and help keep your body cool during intense exercise.

Quality

Check materials and construction. Gym essentials for men should be durable and able to withstand regular use. It pays to consider long-term value. While quality may come with a higher price tag, investing in well-made pieces can save you money in the long run. These items are likely to last longer, providing better value for your investment.

man doing a hand stand
pacfiques / Instagram

Why You Should Trust Us

While I’m a far cry from looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger (now there’s an understatement), I have been consistently working out for over a decade. During that time, not only have I tried every protein powder under the sun, but I’ve also built up a fairly good understanding of what you need to start seeing results.

And while what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, there is a set of generic gym essentials for men that all guys should consider. Using my own trials and tribulations, plus feedback from other iron-pumpers and treadmill addicts, I’ve managed to pull together a list of 10 must-haves for every fitness fanatic who wants to look (and feel) their very best.

Final Verdict

Technically speaking, if you eat right and put the work in, your chances of seeing some form of results improve tenfold. But, in the grand symphony of fitness, assembling the right men’s gym essentials is your fast-track ticket to composing a melody of success.

Whether you’re curling, rowing, pushing, or running, a well-packed gym bag should boast a harmony of versatile items. And there’s no better place to start than with some sneakers courtesy of Nike. The Metcon 8 offers the winning combination of stability, support, and versatility—giving you a do-it-all workout shoe that paves the way for tangible results and a triumphant journey towards a healthier, stronger you.

FAQ

    • Different workouts require their own set of essentials. However, there are a number of key must-haves every guy should invest in. These include moisture-wicking apparel, such as T-shirts and shorts, plus sneakers and a gym bag. You’ll also want to consider a smartwatch, headphones, and deodorant.

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