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Whether you’re able to get to the gym on a regular basis, or you’re squeezing in workouts when you’re able to, it never hurts to have a gym bag packed and ready to go for any type of workout, or any type of gym-occasion. These are my gym bag essentials; my tried and true items that I pack in my bag to keep me ready for whatever the workout may bring.
My Gym Bag Essentials
The Gym Bag
I treated myself to this gym bag about two years ago, and I am still just as in love with it today as I was back then. It’s the perfect size, plus it has a shoe compartment along the bottom so your sneaks don’t have to spread germs to all your other things (I’m a total germaphobe, guys), a zip top, outer pocket, inner zip pockets and inner pouches, and a slot for your water bottle. Plus, you can choose shorter straps and throw it over your shoulder, or the longer strap and throw it on like a crossbody.
They even came out with a blush camo option this year in the form of a backpack, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been eyeing it. The backpack even comes with an option to strap your yoga mat to the bottom. Seriously, it’s perfection.
I always keep a few of my favorite pre-workout packs or scoops on hand because I never know when I may find an extra 20 minutes to go for a quick run or a quick training session at the gym.
My favorite brand is Sculpt Nation, but I also love these WM Nutrition pre-workout packets are my absolute favorite. They don’t make me feel jittery, and they help give me long-lasting energy that continues on even when my workout is finished. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors, and if you don’t like mixing with water (although that’s what I do), you can choose to pop right in your mouth like a pixie stick!
Shoes: Running, Lifting, and Comfy
I could probably do without so many different shoes in my gym bag, but hey.. a girl’s gotta have options, right?
If I know I’m going to CrossFit, or if I’m going to be doing any heaving lifting in a gym setting, I always have my Metcons with me. During a lot of lifting moves, it’s important that your heels are planted firmly into the ground, because that’s where you’ll find a lot of your power – in pushing through your heels. When you wear shoes that have high arches or even cushiony soles, it sets your center of gravity off a bit, and I personally find myself tipping forward on my toes more often than I’d like.
My favorite pair of shoes to run in is hands down always Saucony. I have tried multiple other brands over the years but nothing fits my foot as well as a pair of Sauconys do. If you’re looking for the top running shoe brands that offer the best cushion and durability, check out this post.
The third pair of shoes is usually the ones I’m already wearing on my way to a given workout. These, are my comfy sneakers. And while I chose to refrain from taking and posting my own photo (let’s just say my pair is well loved), I promise promise promise these are the comfiest shoes you’ll ever wear in all the land. (If you want to see what they look like on.. scroll up to the first picture I posted. I’m wearing mine there – when they were shiny and new!)
Wraps, Music, Bands, and More!
Other items on my must-haves list include my head phones (or these earbuds I’ve been currently using), my arm band to hold my phone (if I’m not using my wireless buds), wrist wraps for heaving lifting days, booty bands for booty day, and my jump rope.
BCAAS + Hydration
I always carry a water bottle with me no matter where I go or what I’m doing, because making sure you’re getting in enough water throughout the day is so important! Lately I’ve also started incorporating BCAAs into my daily routine (branch chain amino acids – we’ll talk more about those later, but in short, they help aid in muscle recovery!)
I add a scoop to my water and start drinking prior to a workout, throughout the duration of my workout, and finish post workout.
I always try and get a quick protein in after a workout, especially after a lifting session to help fuel that muscle recovery, and lately I’ve been obsessed with Cliff Builder Bars. Not only are they gluten-free, AND dairy-free, but they come in a variety of flavors – and so far I’m in love with pretty much all the ones I’ve tried!
Dry Shampoo + Post Workout Essentials
Let’s be honest; I only wash my hair about once a week, and yes.. I realize that I’m working out about 6 times a week. Let’s not think about what goes on up top. Luckily I can rely on my two best friends to keep my hair looking good no matter what day of the week it is: dry shampoo and my favorite hat.
Hot Yoga Must-Haves
I usually try and get to a hot yoga class once or twice per week, and when I do, I definitely have to have my yoga mat and sticky mat on hand. I had to learn the hard way that when you attend hot yoga, if you choose not to use a sticky fiber yoga towel, you run the risk of sliding right off your yoga mat. Yep. Been there, slid that.
There you have it! Those are all of my gym-bag essentials. Truth be told, my bag may be a bit full, but at least I can say I’m always prepared! What are your must-have items that you take to the gym with you?! Drop me a comment and let me know!
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.