10 Essential Items To Keep in Your Gym Bag
Being prepared with everything you need to have a successful workout is key. Whether you workout early in the morning, or after work in the evening, you want to make sure nothing prevents you from missing a workout–forgetting your clothes, water, shoes, whatever. It’s to easy to blow off your workout if you aren’t prepared. Here are 10 essential items to keep in your gym bag.
1. Workout Outfit
Make sure you have comfortable clothes to wear for your workout, including a fresh pair of socks.
2. Athletic Shoes
If you go to the gym straight from work (which I highly suggest), make sure to bring your athletic shoes with you. I put mine in a plastic grocery bag before placing them in my gym bag to keep my clothes clean.
3. Workout Plan
Don’t show up to the gym without a plan. Know exactly what exercises you will do and how long you will be there. That way you aren’t wondering haphazardly around the gym, trying to decide what to do. You want your workouts to be effective and efficient with your time.
I ALWAYS forget this! You want a lock obviously to lock up your work clothes and belongings while you work out. I see some people just put their stuff in an empty locker with no lock. My advice is not to chance it.
5. Ear Buds and Music
Maybe I’m just getting old, but the music in most gyms nowadays makes me want to put an ice pick in my eardrums!
Ear buds and your favorite music are essential to maintain focus and make your work out more enjoyable. You get to listen to what YOU like. Crank up some tunes that get your blood pumping and the “GRRRR!” in your mindset.
This can be just a small hand towel to wipe your sweat. You might also want to lay it on the benches to prevent having to lay down on other people’s sweat! Don’t forget to bring a large towel if you plan on showering at the gym too.
7. Water bottle
Rather than having to purchase water or drink from the fountain, bring your own water bottle to fill as needed. Staying hydrated is critical to prevent muscle cramps and dehydration from sweating.
8. Fitness Watch or Other Device
Track your stats and progress by using your fitness device. As I mentioned in a previous post, I use the Endomondo app and the Polar H10 heart rate monitor strap to track my workouts. It’s very motivating to see my progress over time, and also gives me some accountability. You can add friends or even your trainer to your friends list in the app. Every time you log a workout, they can see it in their feed.
9. Grooming Items (if you shower at the gym)
Bring all of your toiletries AND a pair of flip-flops to wear in the wet area if you plan on showering at the gym. Don’t forget to throw in a few pads or tampons, too!
10. Post Workout Drink or Snack
Throw a ready to drink shake, recovery drink, or nutrition bar in your bag on workout days.
You should eat or drink your snack within 30 minutes of completing your workout. Post-workout nourishment is essential for muscle repair and recovery after a good workout.
This is the optimal time for your body to absorb nutrients. You’ll want to follow that up with a full healthy meal no more than 2 hours later if possible.
Pack the Night Before
Every night as you prepare for the next day, ensure you have all of the items in your bag so that you aren’t scrambling in the morning. Chances are if you forget something, you’re more likely to use it as an excuse not to work out.
Let’s be honest, after a long commute, if you go home first to get whatever you forgot, you might talk yourself out of going.
“I don’t want to drive in traffic again”
“I’ll just take a quick nap and then go”
“I’m too tired, I’ll go tomorrow”
“By the time I get my stuff, the gym will be too crowded”
Sound Familiar?? Don’t feel bad, I’ve literally used them ALL! Remember the old saying–If you Fail to Plan, then Plan to Fail.
Hope this list of 10 Essential Items To Keep in Your Gym Bag helps make getting to the gym a little easier, especially if you’re just starting out.