Gym Bag Essentials

Are you a gym person? Do you head to the gym right after your finishing your shift? Or are you more of a ‘go on your day off’ kinda person?

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I can be a little bit of both, depending on the season. I usually try to make it a habit to either work out first thing on my day off or to go directly to the gym after a long shift.

Working out does wonders for my mental health and wellness but sometimes I am tempted to skip the gym or put it off for another day. 

Having my gym bag packed and ready (with all the essentials) makes it even easier to get to the gym and get sweating! It’s also super handy if plans change at the last minute, and I find myself with extra time. 

Here’s whats currently in my gym bag:

Makeup wipes. These handy little wipes are perfect for taking that makeup off before a workout. I find that my sensitive skin is even more prone to breakouts if I forget to wash my face before (or after) a sweat sesh.

I love these Neutrogena wipes. They smell amazing, are strong enough to tackle my long-lasting mascara, and large enough to do my entire face with one wipe. (Truth talk: I don’t usually wear much makeup at work, but I make it a priority to remove everything before I sweat otherwise my skin gets angry and breaks out).

Depending on your skin type or sensitivities, there are a range of scents and various formulations to get the job done! Grapefruit is my favorite. If you are acne prone, try to find wipes with tea tree oil in them, as they multi-task and treat while they clean. I love the ones below from The Body Shop!

Body wipes. Sometimes you are in a rush and can’t always take a shower after a class. (Gross I know, but sometimes that’s how it is). These handy wipes neutralize any post sweat odors and leave you smelling great and feeling refreshed. I carry these in my gym bag for those days when a shower isn’t happening. I love this brand, but there are loads to choose from. Just look for something with a larger size that is also biodegradable!  

Deodorant. After you’ve used those body wipes of course! You don’t want to just cover up the bacteria and sweat, you want to remove it first. This way you can keep sweaty bacteria from building up and growing on your deodorant too! Ick.

Dry shampoo. This one is a must! Dry shampoo is a staple in my bag. It gets that post-gym hair tamed and smelling presentable. I also pack a shower cap to protect my hair when I am showering. (Just snag one from the toiletry kit next time you stay at a hotel.) They are compact and reusable so they don’t take up much room either. If you haven’t tried this brand and are looking for a great dry shampoo, this one gets a thumbs up!

Headphones. This one is self explanatory, and no, you don’t need the fancy ones. I use my older iPhone headphones with no problem. They are just going to get sweaty and gross, and I don’t want some nice wireless pair to get grungy at the gym, or worse, get stolen if I leave them behind. Plus, I can just wipe em down with the disinfectant wipes we use on the gym equipment and not worry about germs or damaging them.

Extra pair of socks. There’s something so nice about putting on a fresh pair of socks before a workout (and after too)! I hate working out in the same socks I’ve worn all day. Anyone else?

Hair ties. You can never have too many. Toss an extra hair tie in your bag for a friend who maybe forgot hers. We all know the dreaded panic of not having a hair tie!

Water bottle. This one is perfect because it twists down when empty, is super compact, and it holds 20 oz. It comes in a variety of colors to match your mood or workout outfit!


Your favorite workout outfit. Nothing can help change your mood and get you excited about the gym like the right outfit can. I find that by keeping a change of workout clothes in my gym bag that I know makes me feel amazing, will also make me more likely to work out! Something about the ‘look good, feel good’ connection always nudges me toward a workout. I love a classic black look, but it’s fun to switch it up with colors and mesh detailing.

Sports bra. This one is a “you don’t realize you need it, until you forgot to pack one” item. Pick a top that doesn’t take up a bunch of space, but that will keep ya covered in a pinch! Same goes for underwear. Enough said.

Gym sneakers. This is similar to the sock comment above. I love putting on a fresh pair of sneakers before a workout, so I carry my gym-dedicated ones in my bag. You won’t usually catch me working out in the same shoes I wore at the hospital all day. Yuck. 

I love the Adidas Ultra Boost shoes and I have several pairs in different colors. They are my go-to gym shoe! I own both pairs of these shoes linked below, and they run true to size.

Essential oils. These are great to roll on before a class. I usually put on lavender before yoga or grapefruit before a morning cardio session. Peppermint is also great for adding a little pep to your routine. Try a few and see what works best for you.

Chapstick. Keep those lips moisturized while you sweat. This cocoa butter balm is amazing. I usually buy a multi-pack because I’ve got one in my gym bag, my work bag, and my car. It’s the perfect hydration for my lips.

Post-workout nutrition. This can be a protein bar, trail mix, or a container of BCAA powder to mix into your water. Whatever will help you refuel as you head to your next stop. I try to pack a little snack so I am not tempted to stop by the smoothie bar on the way out. I occasionally treat myself to a smoothie, but I try to avoid the added sugar and the expense of getting them all the time. Budget friendly is my goal.

Ok, so throw that all in a bag and you are good to go! You’ll be gym ready no matter what.

Looking for a great gym bag? My ideal gym bag has lots of pockets to store all the essentials and a separate section for your sneakers (and your stinky post workout clothes). Its got to have a fairly industrial zipper thats easy to grab and a shoulder strap so I can carry it around and be hands free! Here’s another great choice:

One friendly tip, maybe steer away from a white gym bag. I have this one pictured below, from the Adidas x Stella McCartney collection that I absolutely love, but it’s gets so dirty! I am careful and clean but that thing attracts dirt like a magnet!

Hopefully this helps you stay prepared and ready to hit the gym! Did I miss any essentials you can’t live without? Feel free to share your gym bag favorites in the comments below!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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