Going to the gym isn’t easy. That’s why a lot of people choose not to go. You have to preplan what time you’re gonna go, what you’re gonna do when you get there, and what you’re gonna wear. You can’t just go workout in your normal clothes. Although, I have seen a man at the gym getting after it in Timerlands and jeans. But, that’s a story for a different time.
Having a well stocked gym bag is the best thing to have in your arsenal when you commit and make the choice to workout. It makes the choice easier and breeds a “no excuses” mentality because you already have everything that you need. I want to share with you what I keep in my gym bag to help me better stay on track for frequent and rewarding workouts.
Aka my favorite category of clothes to wear. My friends and I like to refer to this as athleisure and we do not discriminate against this style of dress. We embrace it at every life event: the gym, the club, prom. Come one, come all.
A workout goes much smoother if you have a good outfit. It’s a proven fact (proven by me, so do with that what you will). Feeling good in your clothes will make you feel more confident and ready to take on your workout.
Clothing companies have caught on and let me tell you the pricing keeps getting higher. But, there are still really good deals to be found. Two of my biggest secrets are Walmart and TJ Maxx. I am a Maxxinista, let me tell you.
- Walmart has a brand called Avia that looks like expensive name-brand items and hold-up through the most difficult of gym sessions. You know Walmart always has something bordering on tacky, so they always have fun colors.
- My personal favorite is a brand that TJ Maxx always has called 90 Degree by Reflex. Specifically their pants… they feel amazing! And they pass the bend-over test (standing in the fitting room and bending over to see if you can see through them. People at the gym don’t need a free show.) All of the pieces cost under $20 so they fit any budget. Both brands have pants, shirts, and bras that are the perfect addition to any gym bag. And they always make an appearance in mine.
As an added extra, I always keep a sweatshirt in my gym bag. Your clothes are going to be sweaty and if you go hang out with friends or go grab a bite to eat you will inevitably freeze. Sweaty sports bra cold is a whole new kind of cold.
I mean this in more of an Apple Watch way versus a Hunger Games way. You need some way to track what you/your body is doing during a workout. I swear by the fitness feature on my Apple Watch but I have also used a FitBit that worked great. If you don’t have any of these you could use a phone app where you manually enter information or go old school with a fitness journal. You just want to be able to keep up with what you are doing. It helps you to know what is or isn’t working.
I only take them out of my bag to charge them. I would also recommend going for a pair of wireless headphones. I have LOVED mine and I got them for $15 at Best Buy. It makes everything a lot easier if the string isn’t getting all wrapped around you and there’s nothing to get tangled up in your bag. And, for those of us who function on the uncoordinated side of life, you don’t have to worry about accidentally ripping them out of your ears. Weird things happen to my arms when I run and I always pull the dumb things out. Regardless of your preference, be sure and keep headphones in your bag.
I spend extensive time perfecting my music playlist for the gym. I mean extensive. My gym playlist has over 200 songs on it because I only listen to about 45 secs per song and move along to the next. I can only listen to “R-O-S-C-O-E MR. SHAWTY PUT IT ON ME,” so many times. Who am I kidding, I can listen to that a million times.
Make sure that the music works for you and is something that is going to motivate you to keep pushing and working hard. So, while I maybe don’t keep my playlist in my bag, I always bring my phone with me with plenty of charge. Because the music is sometimes the only thing that helps me through those last 15 reps.
There aren’t many places in life that you’ll catch me without a water bottle. Water is definitely a staple in my gym bag. There’s not much to say about that other than buy a reusable bottle instead of buying a bunch of plastic water bottles from the store. Be nice to the Earth, it’s the only one we’ve got.
Drink plenty of water during the day before your workout and afterwards once your body cools down. Don’t feel like you need to chug water while you’re working out though. It’s too much for your body and can make you sick. I’m speaking from experience here. (Let this go on record as the only time I am ever going to tell you to chill with the water drinking.)
I always keep some body fuel snacks in my bag. Just a little pick me up, nothing too heavy. RX Bars are a good option for this because while they have protein in there, they also have a higher sugar count and can help to give your body a little more energy before a workout! Almonds are another good option. You don’t want to pass-out or make yourself sick so be sure that you have some fuel for yourself before getting started.
Disclaimer: sometimes I keep a few snacks in there. Because being an adult is hard and waiting from 8am to lunchtime is difficult. I’m gonna start a petition for someone to bring crackers and juice around 10:30. All in favor say aye.
Deodorant. Use it. Keep it. Apply it.
Hair products are a necessity in a gym bag. Brush, hair ties, bobby pins. Hairspray. I understand that you’re not trying to get “all cute” for the gym. But, have you ever tried to do a burpee with hair in your mouth? It’s not great. This will help you to avoid ever having to experience that at my expense.
You probably need to just commit and actually buy a “gym bag.” It’s worth spending a little money on one that fits the size that you need and some extra compartments, because who doesn’t love little compartments. People get weirdly attached to their gym bags. I mean, I was telling a coworker today about this post and he immediately said, “I keep my whole life in my gym bag.” Carrying a plastic sack from Kroger isn’t gonna cut it. Go ahead, treat yo’ self and get a bag that you actually want to carry to your workout.
You’re gonna have to put in work, but pre-planning out all of the necessities for yourself makes the work a little bit easier. Showing up to the gym without your own stuff is like showing up to a sleepover without a pillow. Uncomfortable and awkward. If you are seeking a healthier lifestyle, don’t give yourself any other option than to have a healthy lifestyle. You got this. Now, pack your bags and get going.