If you’re used to heading to the gym with nothing but your workout clothes, then you’ve come to the right place. There are a whole host of accessories and pieces of equipment that can make the pre, during and post-gym experience a better one. Here are 10 gym bag essentials you can’t afford to be without.

1. SmartShake

You need to refuel as soon as possible after exercising if you want to maximize the effects of your workout and recover properly. Shakes are a great way of doing this, and a SmartShake is the best way of storing them. These multifunctional shakers are completely airtight, and come with three storage compartments where you can keep supplements, tablets, and small pieces of fruit.

2. Smart phone/smartwatch

Gone are the days of taking a million different gadgets to the gym. Your phone or smartwatch is now used to listen to music, track your workouts, as a stopwatch, and has hundreds of other functions all rolled into one. We wouldn’t even be surprised if it was able to spot you in a couple of years’ time. Find some great apps to go with your phone or smartwatch to help improve your workout and tracking.

3. Hair kit

Most of us are guilty of skipping a workout if we don't want to have to wash and style our hair. To stop this, all you need is a hair kit. Pack: an elasticated headband, a bottle of your favourite dry shampoo, some sturdy clips and a styling product. Using these accessories you can tie your hair back with some gym-friendly hair-dos that won't give you dents or kinks in your hair. For example, rather than tying hair in a high-pony using a bobble, clip hair in a loose top-knot. Then once your workout is over untie hair, spritz your brush with dry shampoo and run through your locks.

4. Hand sanitiser

As much as we love going there, the gym is quite frankly a disgusting place. We’re not just talking about the odd bit of sweaty equipment here - you can catch some seriously gross stuff at the gym, including infections, viruses and even genital warts. If you could see the germs in your local gym, you’d probably want to wear a hazmat suit to work out in. We both know that isn’t too practical, so be sure to carry some hand sanitiser instead and use it liberally.

5. Moisturisers

The gym puts your skin through a lot, so when you finish your workout you need to nourish your skin with decent moisturisers. As well as a body and face moisturiser we recommend you get a lip balm too. If you can, try to use products that contain natural ingredients, such as Liz Earle's Energizing Body Lotion or Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm. If you wash your hair at the gym you should also try to use rehydrating shampoos and conditioners.

6. Foam roller

If you often find that you have troubles with muscle pain in the gym, invest in a foam roller. This is a simple but effective self-massage device that allows you to apply pressure to problem areas both before and after exercises. Use a steady rolling motion with moderate pressure to sweep the roller across the targeted area - if it’s slightly uncomfortable, that means you’re doing it right.

7. Filtered water bottle

If you’re not comfortable with drinking out of public taps and water fountains but don’t want to shell out on expensive bottled water, then you need a filtered water bottle. With this one off investment you’ll be able to filter tap water on the move, giving you completely pure and tasty water free of charge to keep you hydrated as you work out.

8. Weight lifting gloves

For those of you who lift weights at the gym, you’ll know there’s nothing more annoying than having to interrupt a set because you lose your grip. Weight lifting gloves alleviate this problem by providing a more solid grip than your bare hands can achieve. They also absorb some of the pressure on your hands and wrists, which should help to take some of the strain when you’re moving up to heavier lifts.

9. Padlock

Gyms are hotspots for thieves, with money, gadgets and high-tech clothing lying around everywhere. If someone really wants to get to your stuff, then the tiny lock found on most gym lockers isn’t going to stop them. You can save yourself a lot of money and hassle by bringing your own lock in your gym bag - a more heavy-duty padlock should stop the majority of would-be-thieves in their tracks.

10. Gym towel

Sometimes going to the gym can turn into a never-ending struggle to avoid other people’s sweat. Rather than sliding off all of the equipment when you are trying to work out, pack a gym towel which you can either sit on our use to wipe things down before you use them. Specially designed gym towels will come with a built in zip-pocket, so you can also use them to store your phone and any other valuables.