A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

An average girl’s gym bag

on October 12, 2013

After yesterday’s literal navel gazing, I felt like something a little lighter today. I am entertained by the articles I see on various fitness sites and magazines with super-expensive “must haves” for your gym bag that frequently include gym bags that cost more than my shoes and other posh “necessities”. I like a luxury bath product as much as the next girl, but generally don’t think of the gym shower as my own little spa. (Now that I think about it, that is one place I am guaranteed not to have a little two year old voice outside the door calling for Mom – maybe I should start taking advantage of that!)

At my gym, we can’t leave things in our lockers, so I have to bring everything in and out each day. Some days I think it would be nice not to haul things like shampoo and wipes in and out, but they think making the lockers stay cleaned out helps avoid the gym locker room funk and I’m definitely on board with that!

My bag: I picked this up at Target for about $20 a year or so ago. It’s holding up well. I like that it is lightweight and that it has an interior pocket for my headphones, a mesh pocket on the outside that is easily accessible for my gym membership card (love being able to easily grab it when I’m walking in) and that it has a separate mesh pocket for sweaty clothes that is built into the bottom of the bag. I am super sweaty, so my clothes end up soaked and I don’t like having them in the same space with my other stuff in the bag. The mesh keeps the smell from amplifying in an enclosed space if I don’t immediately get home to laundry after the gym!


Mesh-fronted compartment under the bag for sweaty clothes

Mesh-fronted compartment under the bag for sweaty clothes

I keep my gym membership card here so it is easy to grab when I'm heading in.

I keep my gym membership card here so it is easy to grab when I’m heading in.

– I always bring headphones because I can’t stand running without music or a podcast. I hate listening to my own breathing! I have some nice headphones that hook around my ears that I use most of the time, but since I’m bad about forgetting to stick those back in the gym bag after I use them for an outdoors run, I also keep a pair of old earbuds in the gym bag all the time and use only at the gym, just in case.

– My shoes (for obvious reasons)

image– Workout clothes (not shown here because I hadn’t restocked my bag yet after my last trip to the gym): Shorts/pants, socks, sports bra and top. I always restock my bag with fresh clothes as soon as I get home from a gym day so that I don’t have an excuse not to hit the gym. * A little TMI but I also always have a pair of fresh underwear, again because I’m super sweaty. I figured that out after a couple of gym visits. Apparently Wonder Woman today. I’m quite the grown up right?

– Headband / hair bands: If I’ve come from my work, my hair may not be in the best style for getting sweaty! Keeping one in my bag at all times has saved me more times than I can count.

– Deodorant (for obvious reasons)

– Dry shampoo and a brush: I don’t always have time for a shower post workout if I’m due at daycare, so this helps absorb some of the sweat and then I can brush things back into a ponytail.

– Face wipes/Baby wipes: These are really helpful if you don’t have time for a shower so that you can wipe up quickly. It is especially important to give your face a swipe because letting the sweat sit can be bad if you’re acne prone.

– Shampoo/conditioner all in one: For those times I do get to take a shower before heading out to daycare or the rare day I go to the gym before going to work, I prefer having my own shampoo/conditioner rather than using what the gym provides. You can go with travel sizes, but I prefer just carrying one bigger bottle of an all-in-one product rather than trying to keep up with constantly refilling little bottles.

– Lotion: I may not go for posh bath products for gym showers, but I do like having a nice lotion in my gym bag so that even if all I have time for post-workout is a quick wipe with a baby wipe, I can at least smooth on a nice smelling lotion and feel a little more put together.

imageI also keep some facial moisturizer on hand so I can re-do my sunscreen post-face wash. I usually don’t worry about make up after a workout because I still have that nice flush going on and I’m just heading to daycare and home most of the time. On the rare occasion I do go to the gym and then straight to work, I add makeup and more hair products to the bag so I can leave in a presentable state.

I also bring my water bottle to refill pre and post workout and usually have a snack waiting for me out in the car.

Other things to think about bringing:

– Lock: If your gym doesn’t provide a lock, be sure to bring one along if you’re going to leave anything in a locker.

– Towels: If your gym doesn’t provide them, bring along a towel for sweat & the shower.

– Flip flops: If you aren’t sure about your gym’s cleaning regimen (I am frequently dodging the sprayer in my gym, so I am comfortable being in there barefooted), flip flops can help keep your feet clean wandering the locker room and shower space. Also helpful for getting up to yoga class (although I usually just wear my tennis shoes and leave them in the cubbies outside the yoga room).

– Journal: It can be really helpful to make notes about your workouts, as far as times, pacing, distances, weights, etc. so that you can see your progress over time. I used to carry a workout journal in my gym bag, but I now use Google Drive to track my workouts primarily so I just use the phone app.

– Hair dryer / other styling tools: I am a very low maintenance girl (and really sort of hair-tool incompetent) so I don’t bring these, but there are travel sizes that may be helpful. My gym provides a hair dryer, but that may also be something you think about, especially if you work out before going on to work.

I wish I could say that I used these things today, but for the first time in a long time, I skipped out on my planned workout after my Weight Watchers meeting. Hopefully I can work up some oomph to get a workout in while O naps a little later. Wish me luck!

What are your gym bag must haves?

Have a good weekend everyone!


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