Health & Fitness

Gym Bag Essentials


Getting to the gym and realizing you forgot your deodorant after you’ve showered can be slightly traumatic if you’ve got to run back to the office afterwards. Or realizing you for got your water bottle and having to either a) buy one from the gym for the price of your first car or b) endlessly stand at the water fountain with a small styrofoam cup that replaces only about 1/8 of the water you just sweat out in about 5 minutes and risk dehydration.

Having your gym bag packed properly can save you, not only a lot of frustration, but it can also save you from throwing your hands up and just going home/back to the office and calling it a day.

Believe it or not, many a rut can begin with a poorly packed gym bag.

So what all do you need to get started?

To begin, think about whether or not you’ll be showering there. If you will be, make sure that you have your shampoo/conditioner as well as your body wash, deodorant, face cleanser or wipes, and then whatever else you’ll need to prep your face/body afterwards such as toner, moisturizer, body lotion, etc. (Many gyms have a least shampoo and soap in the showers already.) You’ll also probably need to provide your own towel to dry off with. And unless you go commando during your workout, you may need to make sure you’ve got a spare pair of clean skivvies for after your shower as well as a clean pair of socks if you’re changing back into shoes that require them.

Note: If you’re not planning on showering at the gym, go straight home and immediately shower there because sitting in sweaty gym clothes or just changing into different clothes is absolutely disgusting and unhygienic, not to mention tremendously unkind to the people who have to be around you. On top of that, you’re a breeding ground for bacteria and making yourself open to infection. It also doesn’t hurt to maybe have a towel you sit on in the car so as not to get your sweat all over your seats, especially if they’re cloth. Just think about it.

You may also need to redo your makeup if you’re running back to the office so having some bb cream and mascara and whatever else you feel you need in the makeup department in travel form can really make your transition easier. Otherwise, you may feel you need your full face of makeup again and your one of those rare unicorns that can throw that together in minutes in which case you’ll want to make sure you have your makeup bag with you.

imageAdditionally, during your workout you’re bound to work up a bit of a sweat so be sure to have a small towel to wipe your sweat with. Many gyms require you have a small towel with you regardless but it’s to be able to wipe the equipment down after you’ve used it. You may notice that after someone has finished using a piece of equipment that they have to sit or lay on, there’s a really gross wet spot from their sweat. The next person doesn’t want to have to lay on that/clean it so its up to you to be responsible for your own sweaty messes.

And as mentioned in my introduction, a sturdy water bottle is a must have! Don’t let yourself get dehydrated!

If you have long hair, working out with your tresses down can cause a lot of misery so having a hair tie (and then back up hair ties in the event that that one breaks) can save you from a meltdown. Also, some places won’t allow you in the hot tubs/pools with your hair down for sanitary reasons (no one wants your hair floating towards them) as well as to prevent drains from getting clogged.

Now, while some gyms have lockers with locks already in place for you, most will require you to bring your own lock. It’s up to you whether to have a combination lock or a key lock (many workout clothes have zippers or pockets specifically for your key.)


In addition to all of these things, some other important items to have on you may be things like

  • tampons/pads/pantyliners
  • earbuds or Bluetooth device
  • your cell phone and possibly a cell phone armband
  • chapstick
  • nutrition bar or trail mix.
  • a swimsuit for the pool/hot tub

Its safe to say that all of us have very different routines and necessities, but putting some forethought into your gym bag can make your experience one you can actually enjoy and look forward to and keep you on the path to a strong gym routine.

So what do you have to have in your gym bag? Share in the comments!

Signature Meg Maldonado at The Faux Parisian (


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