If your sleek, lightweight gym bag tends to resemble an overstuffed airplane carry-on, then you know that packing for your next workout is no simple task. Whether it’s an extra pair of sneakers or a bathing suit for that one time you might go for a swim, there seems to be a good reason for every item in your duffel.
But when lugging your bag to the gym becomes the workout itself, it’s time to re-evaluate. Keeping a bag of gym essentials handy and ready to go is important to preserve your energy for the actual workout session.
To help you pack more efficiently for your next sweat session, let’s focus on these seven gym bag essentials, from essential women's activewear to headphones and a snack. Our trusty guide will help you get back to the basics so you can rock that workout while keeping your gym bag clutter-free.
Gym Items to Get You in the Zone
When you’ve made time for the gym between office meetings and your weekly grocery shopping, you want to get the most out of your hard-won workout. Cut down on the friction of getting started by bringing along the following items:
Listening to music actually makes you tougher, increasing your endurance, whether you’re putting in the hours on the spin bike or adding that extra bit of weight to your lifting routine. Pop in some tunes before you start to set the tone, while you’re changing in the locker rooms or lacing up your sneakers.
#2 Small Pouch
Keeping organized means you can work out while minimizing worry. Pack a small pouch in your gym bag for any valuables, including your phone, wallet, and lock for the locker room. That way, you won’t be spending five minutes rummaging for those essentials before hitting the treadmill.
#3 A Light Snack
Is there anything worse than looking forward to going to the gym after a long day and then feeling too light-headed to continue during your intense HIIT session? Fueling up with a healthy snack can make a difference. Throw an easily digestible carb in your bag, such as an apple, banana, or granola bar.
Bonus: Find Your Motivation
If you’re lacking the energy to begin your workout, you’re definitely not alone. Beyond just the items to put in your gym bag, try these pre-workout tips and tricks:
- On those days when you’re not feeling up for a tough workout, try toning down the intensity. A short, light workout is better than none at all.
- Start early and get moving throughout the day with frequent walks, a quick yoga session, or jumping jacks to get in the mood for a more intense workout later.
- Keep a fresh gym bag within reach so that you’re prepared for a last-minute workout on those days when your schedule frees up unexpectedly.
Essentials to Help You Work Out with Ease
Once you’ve started your workout, keep that flow going by limiting the possibility of distractions. After all, you don’t want to have to step off the treadmill when your hair tie breaks simply because you didn’t pack extras. Apart from loading up on hair ties, headbands, and bobby pins, consider keeping the following workout essentials on hand as well:
#4 Trusty Towel
Whether you’re in the middle of an intense leg day workout or finishing out your recovery on the yoga mat, have a towel close by to dry yourself off. Choose a moisture-absorbing microfiber towel made from cotton or viscose.
#5 Reusable Water Bottle
Keeping hydrated is a must, and having a sustainable, eco-friendly way to do it is even better. Reusable water bottles come with a host of advantages, such as ergonomic grips, insulation, and anti-spill features. This means you can personalize your go-to gym bottle based on your unique needs.
Things You’ll Need to Keep That Post-Workout Glow Going
Sweat session? Check. With your workout behind you, it’s time to transition to the next part of your day with your endorphin level at an all-time high. Keep the good vibes flowing by remembering to pack the following post-workout items:
#6 Extra Undergarments
Get out of those sticky gym clothes and into a clean set of staples so you can feel fresh for your next event. When it comes to packing the right bras and underwear, remember that you might still be breathing hard from your workout. Choose lightweight, airy fabrics that won’t sacrifice comfort. In the case that you're squeezing in a workout session on a busy day, you can throw your workout clothes in your bag, just make sure to wash them when you get home. And, if you're wondering how to wash workout clothes, you can always follow the instructions on the tag when in doubt. But, never let sweaty gym clothes sit in your bag.
#7 Shower Slippers
If you don’t feel right without a post-workout shower, stash a pair of slippers in your gym bag so that you can use these public spaces without inconvenience. Reserve a separate pocket for your slippers, throw them in a drawstring pouch or stick them in the side with the soles facing the gym bag to protect your clothing. Keeping your workout bag light is important so you're not overpacking unnecessary items.
Boody: Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Staples for Your Dream Workout
Get in the spirit with flawlessly simple staples, designed with your workout in mind. Whether it’s a pair of high-waisted leggings providing ultimate support for your mid-morning run or a breathable hoodie for lounging around afterward, look no further than our soft, environmentally-friendly bamboo clothing and activewear collection for all your fitness needs.
Step into sustainable comfort with Boody today.
Author: Heather Bien
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- "Food as Fuel Before, During and After Workouts." Heart. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/food-as-fuel-before-during-and-after-workouts
- Lindberg, Sara. "32 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out." Healthline. 16 July, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/how-to-motivate-yourself-to-workout
- Yashita. "9 Latest Gym Towels For Workouts, Exercises And Sports." Styles At Life. 6 December, 2019. https://stylesatlife.com/articles/gym-towels/
- Bell, Lee. "Best water bottle for the gym to stay hydrated on the go." Fit And Well. 15 March, 2022. https://www.fitandwell.com/buying-guides/best-water-bottle-for-gym