Even when your intentions are good, life has a way of intervening when it’s time to head for the gym. Maybe you’re tired or rushed or have a bad case of the “I don’t wanna” bug. Whatever the reason, having a well-chosen, packed and ready-to-go gym bag on hand helps overcome that inertia and get you out the door and on your way to a healthier self.
Start With the Right Bag
It’s hard to feel motivated when you carry a dirty, tattered, too-small bag into the gym. You’re worth investing in a gym bag that adds a little spiff to your style and has all the conveniences you need. Look for a bag that is washable, as time spent in lockers, on the floor and in the trunk of your car leave a bag less than fresh. Your bag needs to be large enough to fit your gear, yet still be easy to lift, carry and fit into a gym locker. Multiple pockets make it easy to stash and find your keys, shoes and toiletries when you need them.
Add Clothes and Gear
The well-packed gym bag has everything you need for your favorite exercise. Along with the basics — workout clothes, shoes, socks, undergarments and a towel — you’ll need anything specific to your sport or class, whether weightlifting gloves, yoga props or swim goggles. Stash your shoes at the bottom of the bag, topped with your bath towel. Roll your gym clothes to prevent wrinkles and then layer them over the bath towel. Top your clothes with a small towel for absorbing sweat during vigorous workouts. Use the bag’s smaller pockets to hold sports-specific gear as well as smaller items like keys, membership card and lock.
Don’t Forget Your Toiletries
After an intense workout, you probably feel less than fresh. When it’s time to hit the shower, your gym bag should have everything you need to get clean and groomed. Slip a blow dryer at the end of the bag if your gym doesn’t provide one, and shower shoes at the bag’s other end. Tuck travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, toothpaste and toothbrush, body wash and deodorant in a small toiletry bag and then stash the bag in one of the outer pockets of your gym bag or underneath your gym clothes. If you wear makeup, add a small compact with neutral colors for a quick touch-up before leaving the gym.
Add Some Extras
No gym bag is complete without a bottle or two of water for hydration during intense workouts. Many gym bags have outside pockets specifically for holding water bottles. If not, tuck the bottle inside your hand towel, making sure to secure the lid. While away time spent on the treadmill with an MP3 player loaded with your favorite tunes. Don’t forget a plastic bag to hold wet towels and sweaty clothing. Add a small snack for hunger pains after exercise. Small bags of nuts or dried fruit, sports bars, jerky or an apple or orange are easy to fit in an outside pocket of your bag.