My Gym Bag

As a regular gym-goer, there are a few staple items that I pack in my bag daily and a few items that I keep in my bag...just in case.

THE ESSENTIALS:

- A durable, spacious gym bag. I love my Under Armour bag. It's easy to sling over my shoulder and can accommodate everything in the image below without any problem!

- Deodorant. Always freshen up before your workout, spare your trainer!

- Gym shoes. I usually just have the one pair, but if you're lifting, you might have a second pair of lifting shoes that you'll want to bring with you too.

- A water bottle. My Active Lab water bottle is great. It's just the right amount of water for my typical 1-hour workout.

- Comfortable clothing. Always, always, always pack a pair of socks. I'll have an extra pair of socks in my bag because I've found that this is the item I most typically forget when packing my bag. Ladies, a sports bra is a must. Pack some shorts/pants and a shirt. I'm a fan of Nike's Dri-FIT items. They are moisture wicking and I notice that they don't smell after sweating like some other "dry-fit-like" brands.

- Protein Bar or Snack. I usually workout after my workday, which means that in many cases I haven't eaten since lunchtime. I always have a snack for before my workout to keep from getting too hungry. I find that if I haven't eating right before starting exercise that my workout will suffer. Some of my favorite snack options include an apple with peanut butter, a Clif Bar (or other protein bar), another protein shake or even leftovers from my lunch.

- Protein Shake. After your workout, it's important that you refuel. Protein shakes are great for recovery. Ideal timing to drink your shake is within 30-minutes after your workout, so take some dry protein powder with you in a Blenderbottle and just add water. Yum!

As a woman, there are some essentials that the boys don't need, but that I ALWAYS have on hand.

GIRLY ESSENTIALS:

- A sports bra. Mentioned above, but worth mentioning again! :-)

- Tampons. You can never really be too careful or prepared.

- Ibuprofen. See above reference to tampons. Cramps and exercise don't mix well.

- Extra hair ties and hair brush. I might as well just not workout if I don't have a hair tie. It's miserable. Pack extra.

- Bag for jewelry. I love wearing jewelry and it's important to me that it doesn't get lost in my gym bag or broken, so I bring a small bag to keep my jewelry safe.

- Body spray & lotion. Maybe I'm a little paranoid about stinking... I keep sweet-smelling lotion in my car, purse, at work, etc. It's just my thing. After my workout, I might have to run errands on the way home (like go to the grocery store), so I'll keep body spray in my bag as just a little extra stank cover up!

THE EXTRAS:

- Notepad and pen. I'm one of those people who likes to have my workout written down. If you workout at Active Lab, you have a personal trainer to program for you, so this is not necessary. However, I recommend taking a notepad with you if you go to another gym to workout in between sessions with your trainer. Write down your workout, complete with reps and weight. Show this to your trainer, so that they can help you to program your workouts and make suggestions.

- Band-Aids. I wear high heels a lot and do have blisters on my feet. I keep band-aids in my bag for those days when my blisters are really bag.

- Glasses case & extra contacts. 95% of the time, I wear my glasses during the day. On those days that I'm doing a lot of jumping I'll opt to wear contacts and need a safe place to keep my glasses without getting scratched. If you wear contacts, you might just want to have an extra pair tucked in your bag - just in case.

- Wet Ones. I bring wet ones just about everywhere. I'll wipe my face to remove make-up before my workout, to wipe sweat off my face afterword, or to clean up my hands.

If I'm taking a shower after my workout, my gym bag contents will look a little different - I'll bring face wash, a pair of flip flops (no matter how clean a public shower), shampoo, conditioner, my own towel, make-up, and another different change of clothes. However, in my typical day, I'm just working out and then heading straight home.

Do you have some other recommendations for what to pack in your gym bag? Share your secrets in the comments!

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