8 Gym Bag Essentials
Feature Image: Hillory Renkema
Fitness enthusiasts know very well the struggles of carrying around a gym bag. While they may carry a lot, they can also get cluttered and messy. To eliminate the clutter and mess, it’s important to determine which items are essential. Ask yourself, what could I leave home? If you’re still unsure, here are the 8 things I keep in my gym bag at all times.
1. Extra Hair Supplies
We’ve all been in the middle of a workout when your hair tie breaks. There are also times when you might forget your hair supplies altogether. If you’re not prepared with hair supplies, do you go home or do you go on with your workout? You may want to leave the gym and stop your workout—especially if your hair needs to look good for work once later on in the day. Luckily, I have learned to always have a back-up hair tie secured in my gym bag, and now I never have to worry about having distractions or hair malfunctions during my workout.
2. Headphones or Earbuds
Having headphones can make or break a workout. Whether you enjoy listening to your favorite band, podcast, or watching your favorite Netflix series as you work out, headphones are a gym bag must. There are people who like to work out in silence, but I can’t focus without my favorite music blaring in my ears. So, keep your headphones or earbuds in your gym bag and make sure to drop them back into your bag so that you never forget them at home.
3. A Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated during your workouts is key. According to Mayo Clinic, “Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable.” Our bodies also need water while exercising to keep our energy levels up and our joints lubricated. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its best, and keeping a reusable water bottle in your gym bag ensures that you’ll always be able to stay hydrated while at the gym.
4. Fuel-Filled Snacks
We all have those busy forgot-to-schedule-my-lunch-in type of days when you get to the gym and realize you haven’t had anything to eat. That’s why it’s important to always keep healthy, protein-packed snacks in your gym bag. (Granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit make great pre- and post- workout snacks). Your muscles need fuel from food in order to make it through intense workouts, so pick your favorite fuel-filled snacks for your gym bag in case you get hungry.
Some gyms provide complementary towels to their members—but some don’t. Even if your gym provides you with towels, I suggest packing one of your own, so that you can conveniently use your towel to wipe off when you’re sweaty or to sanitize the machines.
6. A Blender Bottle for Your Protein
It’s always a good idea to follow your workout with a good source of protein. Protein after a workout can help encourage muscle synthesis, the process of repairing and building muscle tissue. There are many ways to consume protein: whole food meal, liquid meal, or powdered drink. An easy, on-the-go way to guarantee that you’re getting enough protein is by drinking powdered drinks. With a blender bottle, you can have your protein in the form of powder mixed with water. A blender bottle helps break up this powder in order to give you a smoother protein ‘shake’. Keep a blender bottle in your bag so you can always end your workout with a boost of protein.
7. Protein Powder
Once you find your favorite protein powder, you won’t want to go to the gym without it. Just like keeping your protein shaker in your bag, it’s important to keep an extra container of your favorite protein powder in your gym bag, too. That way, you can always end your gym session in a delicious way.
8. Shower Flip Flops
Whether you are going to work after your workout is done or meeting some of your friends for dinner, you might choose to shower at your gym. There are many people who shower in the gym locker room every day, so it’s important to keep things sanitized. Wearing flip flops in the locker room showers will help you avoid germs. So, tuck a pair of flip flops into your gym bag so that you could hop in the shower if you ended up needing to.
What do you keep in your gym bag?