When I first started frequently going to the gym I found it interesting to see what people brought with them and searched the web for examples of what to bring. This really was mostly for my own gym-going benefit so I would not seem like an entire noob at the gym (though honestly, I am sure no one even noticed me now thinking back to it).
Throughout the years I have changed and tailored my bag to fit my needs, both through trial and error and also forgetting items that were of necessity and having to come up with a hack for it (like hair ties). I find that having the equipment to stop any possible scenario that will throw a kink in your workout is essential, especially for the days when you just need to get in and out or just frankly don’t feel like working out.
Here are the items that I have found to be necessities and I always have with me in my bag.
Water Bottle & Food
A water bottle, after standard gym equipment, is my number one must have that I bring with me gym bag or not. It becomes extremely tedious to have to continue to go back and forth to the water fountain whenever you need some hydration. I also always keep some form of energy supply in my bag in case I need a pick me up either before or after working out.
Gym Shoes, Socks, Headphones & Compression Equipment
Pretty much 3 of 4 seasons in Calgary require you to wear shoes that are not gym designated shoes with you and there have been times I have made it all the way to the gym without my runners. Trust me in these moments I not only felt like an ultimate doze, it also made me miss out on what could have been a great workout (because I was not coming back). I have since learnt to carry a pair in my bag, along with a few pairs of socks (in case, one of them is dirty and I have not had a chance to wash them yet). Headphones are also essential. I am a solitary work-er-out-er (not a word) and enjoy just focusing on what I am doing while tuning everyone else out. Finally, for me, compression gear is a must. I have developed some pretty bad knees over the years from not being smart about training when I was younger. Now I use compression both for working out and recovery to make sure I am not doing damage to them.
Hair Gear & Medical Recovery
Anyone with hair that gets even the slightest bit in their face knows how extremely annoying this can be. I have had to use a convertible bra strap once just to keep my hair back when my tie broke after adjusting my ponytail (gym hack when emergencies like this strike). Since then I keep enough hair ties and equipment to ensure this does not ever happen again. Band-aids, Polysporin, Advil, and a heating cream make boo-boos (yes I am 5 years old right now), sore muscles and any minor gym related pain a lot more bearable both during and after the workout.
Pre & Post Workout Spruce-Up
I have always gone to a gym fairly close to home and therefore have rarely needed to shower afterward (hence the lack of shampoo, conditioner & body wash). I do however keep makeup wipes for taking off my makeup and grime both before and after the workout, hand sanitizer because let’s be honest gyms are not clean places, and deodorant because I sweat… a lot. I also have some other random essentials in case I need to be somewhere right after the gym and have to look half presentable (mascara, concealer & eyebrow product). Plus contacts/contact solution in case the ones I am wearing dry out or die for some other unknown reason and lotion and lip chap, a godsend during the dry Calgary winters.
Towels, Swimsuit and Goggles
My old gym had a pool that I frequently used for swimming laps or just generally letting my muscles relax after a hard workout. I still keep this stuff in my bag just in case I have a shower or do an extra sweaty workout and need a towel or if I ever end up somewhere with a gym and decide to go for a swim and need a bathing suit with me (rare but you never know). The towels that I have found essential for me are a body towel, a hair towel (i.e. Turbie Twist) and a small hockey skate towel (think hand towel for sports) that I use to wipe off sweat.
I also always make sure to carry my gym membership in my bag, a gym lock for the lockers (I do not use a coded lock because I have had too many to remember the numbers of them, instead I use a lock and key) and feminine products.
I hope this helped in offering new and experienced gym goers some ideas for things you may be forgetting in your bag. Is there anything essential for you that you carry with you and I have not mentioned? I would love to hear from you!
Gym Bag: Chapters (Similar & currently on sale), Water Bottle: Gatorade (Similar), Energy Gummies: Honey Stinger Organic, Shoes: Adidas (Similar), Compression: Tommie Copper, Gym Pouches: Chapters Old, Llama Pouch: Paperchase (Similar), Swimsuit: Nike (Similar), Hair Towel: Turbie Twist