Gym Bag Essentials – What Are Your Workout Necessities?

I can fit a lot of stuff in this baby (though it's smaller than it looks).

I fit a lot of stuff in this baby (though it is smaller than it looks).

I came across this article from Fitbie this morning, with some great gym bag suggestions from trainers – and it got me thinking about what I keep in my own bag. For something a little different today, here’s a peek into my fitness world … and keep in mind, as a fitness instructor, I carry around some perhaps unorthodox (or maybe just “Huh?”) items.

  • Gym clothes/shoes. This is kind of a no-brainer. I go straight to the gym from work, and let’s be honest – it’s a lot easier to run, squat and press in a pair of leggings and a tank top than it is in a skirt and heels (and this is why people don’t recognize me when they see me walk in some days …)
  • Mp3 player and extra CDs. A workout with no music is no fun. While I have all my class playlists loaded on the mp3 player, there have been occasions that for one reason or another the mp3 cord is on the fritz (or I forget to charge it), I have back-up. Seriously, do you want to try a silent class? Didn’t think so.
  • Batteries … and lots of them. This is one of those fitness instructor musts – I have at least a half a dozen AAs rolling around my bag at any given time. To be honest, I know some of them work, some of them don’t, but unless they die during class, I have no idea which is which … which is why there are so many of them. I started carrying an extra heart rate monitor battery, too, after the last time it died unexpectedly – just in case.
  • Extra socks. I pack my gym bag at night, and tend to be in the middle of 15 other things as I do so. After forgetting to throw a pair of socks into my bag one too many times, I finally learned my lesson and started keeping an extra pair in a spare pocket (I needed them last night, in fact).
  • Notebook and pen. I wish I could say it was to chart my workouts … but I’m not that organized. It’s for when I have to write down a website, phone number, email address or something for someone after class.
  • Extra ponytail holders. I typically keep one on my wrist to ensure that I remember one (because a hair-down workout is never gonna happen – my hair is too long and I sweat too much), but you never know when one will break, and I like to have one on hand in case I run into someone who needs one.
  • Lifting gloves. I really only use these for a few exercises, but sometimes that little bit of extra padding can make a big difference in your grip – especially if, like myself, you have smaller hands.
  • A band aid or blister pad – maybe two. I haven’t had a blister problem since I discovered Mizuno running shoes three years ago, but I’ve had my share of painful blisters throughout the years, and old habits die hard!

There are also a few non-mainstay items, which are usually in the athletic store that is the trunk of my car until I need them for a class:

  • Yoga/Pilates mat. There are actually two in my trunk right now – if you are taking at least a class a week, it’s worth your while to invest in your own. My gym has mats available, but I feel like with my own, I at least know who’s been sweating on it.
  • Cycling shoes. I strap these babies on at least once a week – if you are a regular cyclist and haven’t invested in cycling shoes, DO IT. I was skeptical at first, but the ride is much smoother (don’t know what to look for? Click here).
  • Piloxing gloves. There are currently seven (yes, seven – as in 3.5 pairs) of these in the bottom of my mat bag. I can’t bear to throw them away, even though they are past their prime (the tell-tale rust around the stitching should be my first indication).
  • Tune belt. That microphone has to go somewhere, and it’s just easier to have my own than to use the beat up ones that may or may not be in the studio on any given day.
  • Windscreens. (For those of you asking what on earth that is: a little piece of foam that goes over the mouthpiece of the microphone.) It’s cold and flu season. If I have to have something practically touching my mouth, I want to avoid the petri dish of germs as much as I can.

What do you keep in your gym bag? Anything on the unorthodox side – or what can’t you survive a workout without? Comment below!

20 thoughts on “Gym Bag Essentials – What Are Your Workout Necessities?

  1. Never even thought of the batteries!! Adding that to my list since our mics seem to always be going out and that’s the last thing I want to happen on day one! Great post! 🙂

    • Crucial … unless your club is nice enough to provide them (mine does not, unless you get lucky and someone has left theirs). But broken mics have left me screaming through spinning classes on more than one occasion anyway, so…
      Any word on the audition??

      • I have no idea why I’m just getting notified of this comment, sorry!

        Haha yeah ours isn’t that nice either!! And I have a feeling I will be losing my voice a lot. I got the class!! I will send you an e-mail with some details 🙂

  2. Water bottle, lifting belt, hair elastics, notebook with my program, bodyglide, talcum powder and some snack. As a result my bag weighs a couple of kg and can be easily used for resistance training lol

    • Haha, I’m with you! I go straight from work to teach back-to-back classes on Wednesdays , and I joke that I fall into the studio because I have two overflowing bags weighing me down 😉

    • Yikes! That’s how I ended up always having extra socks – one or two workouts with sweaty bare feet was all I needed to make sure I always have a backup. Your oops sounds MUCH worse!!

  3. Reblogged this on thinkhappybehappyblog and commented:
    For a couple weeks now I have been thinking about writing a blog post about gym bag essentials. Last week I got an email notification of this great blog post from Strong-Fit-Beautiful about “Gym Bag Essentials”, it summed up just about everything that I would of said so I figured I would just re-blog her post because I thought it was really great! Thank you, Strong-Fit-Beautiful, for the post!

    Here is a look into my gym bag…

    * Gym clothes (usually a couple spare items are floating around in there too (extra underwear is essential if you are showering after your workout))
    *Extra socks
    *Headphones (+ an old pair I use for spares)
    *Ipod shuffle
    *Locker Lock
    *Workout Gloves
    *Body Spray
    *Olay Face wipes (I dont like working out in make up so I wipe my face off before and after)
    *Make-up (if you workout on lunch break and have to go back to the office, its nice to be able to do a touch up)
    *Small towel (for your workout)
    *Towel for showering ( if you work out on lunch and need to shower)
    * water bottle
    * Boxing gloves

  4. -Lifting gloves are a must! I hate deadlifting without them.
    -iPod and armband holder… thingy.
    -Shaker bottle (holds water during my workout, protein drink after).
    -Whey protein powder (I like Isoflex).
    -Towel, because I sweat.
    -Deodorant, because I smell when I sweat.
    -Notebook and pen for charting workouts.
    -Extra hair ties, aka the unifying factor for all womankind.

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