What's In My Gym Bag

There are some essential items to have in your gym bag for you to have a good workout. More importantly, putting certain staples in your gym bag can prevent common mishaps from happening. For example, if you suddenly realize you need to go out after the gym, only to find yourself without a change of clothes. That’s where the fully-stocked gym bag comes in. I am going to show you a few items that I have in my gym bag that keeps me prepared at all times.


                                                                      WATER BOTTLE
My name is Crystal and I sweat like a dude when I workout. Yep, I'm not ashamed to admit that. As much as some small part of me would like to be like those girls that look flawless before, during, and after a workout I'm not one of them. The fact is that if you workout vigorously enough you too will work up a sweat. That means that you need to rehydrate due to this loss. It is absolutely essential to bring a water bottle (or two, unless you can fill it up at your gym) to the gym. If you don’t, your workouts might suffer and you may pass out from dehydration. This can all be avoided if you simply pack a water bottle.

Depending on the duration of your workout, you are going to need to replenish your glycogen stores afterwards. This means getting in carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio. To accomplish this, I pack an extra insulated water bottle filled with protein powder and almond milk, a green smoothie, or my favorite coconut water. Some other portable food options I like include bananas , raw nuts, and of course a dollop of peanut butter. I usually prefer to have my coconut water before my workout, and the protein shake after my workout.
Like I said before, you are going to be sweating during your workout. You never know where you're going to need to be after a workout, and quite frankly you don’t want to stink when if you go someplace. It’s common courtesy to apply some when you are in a gym with other people, because nobody likes a smelly gym neighbor. So make sure you don’t get caught without it.


                                                                 MUSIC & HEADPHONES
If you have a smart phone then I’m sure that you don’t leave the house without it. Just in case you don't I’d advise you to bring your phone for emergency calls. This past spring, I was running when I started to feel ill, causing me to trip and almost pass out. That’s why it's so important to have a phone with you especially if you run outside. You never know when you are going to need to make a call. Your smart phone will also provide music and if you're a person who needs some distraction to motivate you to work out then you know that music is one of the best ways to distract yourself and put yourself in the zone. Oh, and don't forget to keep a pair of headphones in your bag. It's no good to have the music and no headphones to access your 'beast mode' workout playlist.


                                                                        ARM BAND
If you're like me then you like to move your arms freely and stretch not only at the beginning of your workout but during as well. Most cardio equipment has a special spot for your keys, water bottle and mp3 player but if you like to move around I've found that my iPhone falls down if I move too far or my fingers gets caught up in the headphones so I love to use my armbands in the gym and as well as when I'm running outside. This is a great way to keep your iPhone/ music player on your body without it getting tangled up or falling and what's great is that when you're doing your weight training you don't have to worry about someone snatching it up if its sitting on the benches, you don't have to keep holding them or shoving it in your pocket. I always buy arm bands that also has a compartment for my keys.

So you're workout is over, you've washed you're face and it's time to step out into the streets or the parking lot. I always keep a small brush in my bag because I never know who you'll run into or if an emergency may pop up. I almost always carry a brush in my bag because I never know who I may run into. I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to look like I've just fought a long hard battle with hygiene. I wear head bands to keep my hair out of my face and when I take it out of my hair after my workout I use my brush to get rid of any tangles or fly away.

When the gym heats up, the last thing you’re going to want is hair sticking to the back of your neck. Packing a headband will make your workout more comfortable, thus causing you to work out longer than you would if you weren't comfortable. Even if your gym has air conditioning, it has the possibility of going out, so you need a backup solution.

                                                           HEAD BANDS/ HAIR TAMERS
Keep annoying wisps of hair away from your face with a sturdy hair band and/or durable hair ties. It’s important to keep multiples of these must-haves in your gym bag, as they are known to snap or break easily (and without warning). Plus, hair ties are sort of like socks, and they end up disappearing into oblivion just when you need them most.

Nobody appreciates leftover sweat on the treadmill—and even if you’re courteous enough to wipe a machine down after you've maxed out, it’s better to prevent the issue all together. Pack a small towel in your gym bag that you can use to wipe away excess sweat. You can also use it as a yoga mat substitute if you plan on doing crunches, push ups or anything else that requires you to lay down on a dirty gym floor. At my gym they provide cleansing wipes used specifically for wiping the machines down before and after use plus they provide yoga mats so I use my small towel to wipe away the excess sweat off my body. Either way a towel is a definite must have for your gym bag.
Of course, you are going to need a nice pair of gym shoes when you are running on the treadmill or using the elliptical. However, there are a few other gym shoes you should consider bringing instead of your traditional shoes. There are shoes designed specifically for spin classes that you might need. Also, flip flops are needed for gym showers if you take them, so you don’t get athlete's foot. YUCK.  I highly recommend Okabashi wave slides for a comfy post-workout foot treat because they feel great and they work well.

                                                                       PADLOCK & KEYS
So you're about to get your workout on but you've still got a bag full of goodies like your wallet and any other miscellaneous items. Most of us use lockers but a locker is no good without a lock. I've seen women going from machine to machine with their huge hand bags in tow simply because they didn't have a lock to secure they're valuables in the locker. If you have problems remembering to carry a padlock to secure your valuables perhaps you can attach the lock to a key chain which is connected to your water bottle. Or simply place it in the inner small pocket of your gym bag.
Yes, you heard that right. Working out in a cool, air-conditioned gym can leave your lips dry. And after toiling hard to sport a great overall physique, you don't want to smile at that hunk/hottie at the gym with your dry, cracked lips, do you? Tip: Don't deck yourself up with thick lipstick/lip gloss; a simple lip balm will do.                                                                                                                                                                       PAIN KILLER
Cramps, headaches and other aches and pains sometimes pop up and threaten to ruin or stop your workout. I almost always carry a small bottle of painkillers in my every day bag and especially in my gym bag. Better to be safe than sorry right. =)

Depending upon what you go to the gym for, there may be a few things you should keep in your bag at all times. Going to yoga? Have a yoga mat, extra pair of yoga pants or shorts, and possibly some gripping toe socks in your bag at all times. If you lift weights, a pair of lifting gloves will be helpful in preventing calluses and torn skin. There is also gear for swimming if your gym has a pool. You'll need a swimsuit, flip flops, goggles, towel, and a bag for transporting your wet clothes.


Flip Flops: Never, ever, EVER let your bare feet touch a dirty locker room floor. You risk getting plantar warts and encountering bacteria you didn't even know existed. Whether you want to shower after your workout or just change out of your sneakers, keep flip flops in your bag to help your toes stay safe.

Extra Clothes: As far as items to have in your gym bag go, a change of clothes is a must. Even if you think you aren't going out afterwards, you never know if someone will text you to pick up something. I don’t know about you, but I most certainly don't want to smell when I’m out and about. This includes another pair of shorts or pants, sports bra, shirt, and don’t forget socks. It’s also a good idea to bring a jacket with you, especially if you get cold all the time like I do. Jackets are especially nice for keeping your muscles warmed up after yoga class as well.

Disinfectant tissues/Hand sanitizers: Bacteria thrive in sweat, so it's basic gym courtesy to wipe it off during and after using the gym equipment. But most people don't do it. In such cases, disinfectant tissues can come to your rescue. Also, it's not possible for you to wash hands with soap and water frequently during a workout session. A hand-sanitizer will come in very handy then.

The items discussed should be in your gym bag most if not all of the time. They basically provide help for any situation you may need at the gym, and will prevent some embarrassing gym incidents from occurring. What are your gym bag essentials?


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