Don’t Sweat It: How to Pack the Perfect Gym Bag

In an ideal world, we would all have plenty of time to go to the gym. There would be time to have a nutritious snack beforehand, accomplish a full-body workout, and take a glorious shower afterwards without having to rush. But alas, that’s just not how life works.

The reality is, more often than not I find myself squeezing in my workouts. Before morning classes, in between classes and work, before hitting the library… a college student’s schedule lacks the luxury of just going to the gym whenever you feel like it.

This often means traveling with your gym bag all day and planning your workouts around other commitments. I used to shy away from showering at the gym (it seemed like such a hassle to bring everything with me and it didn’t seem sanitary). I’ve since changed my mind. And thank goodness I got over it because otherwise I never would have the time to workout: there just isn’t space otherwise to get to the gym, go back home to shower, and then still get to the next stop for my day on time and unflustered. The good news is that with a little preparation, you can have everything you need to fit in a workout and keep your day running smoothly.

Here’s the rundown of anything and everything you could need in your gym bag:

To pack daily:

  1. Clean towel and washcloth. Don’t forget to take them out of your bag at the end of the day!
  2. Water bottle. Remember to hydrate before, during, and after.
  3. Protein bar/protein shake. Nothing is worse than sitting through a two-hour lecture after a workout on an empty stomach.
  4. Workout clothes or change of clothes for after.
  5. Plastic bags for wet towel and dirty clothes. At least if you do forget to take them out the grossness will be contained.
  6. Sneakers/change of shoes

To keep in your gym bag always:

  1. Headphones. Gym without headphones = DISASTER. Even if you carry headphones in your backpack, it’s a good idea to keep an extra set in your gym bag to avoid the dread of a silent workout.
  2. Deodorant. No one at the gym wants to smell your stinky pits because you forgot it.
  3. Extra socks. Forgetting to pack socks means either working out without them (eww and uncomfortable) or skipping your workout. Avoid this tragedy and abandon the worry if you decide last minute to wear sandals to class before the gym.
  4. Extra underwear. Again, ewwwww. You don’t want to get out of the shower to discover you didn’t pack clean underwear; better to keep a pair in there just in case.
  5. Inhaler (if needed). Don’t die.
  6. Shower bag. Razor, body wash, shampoo…ya know, the essentials.
  7. Shower sandals. Foot fungus seems about as fun as it sounds.
  8. Odor balls. These are about $6 at TJ Maxx and will prevent your gym bag from smelling like your workout.
  9. Lifting gloves/belt. If you’re a serious lifter, these might be key to your workouts.
  10. Lock. Protect against gym thieves.

And a few more for my ladies…

  1. Extra sports bra. Again, avoid an un-ideal and sweaty post-gym situation.
  2. Make up bag. No explantation needed.
  3. Hair ties and headbands. Nothing is as bad as getting to the gym and realizing you don’t have anything to hold your hair back with. Keep a million hair ties in your bag at all times.
  4. Makeup/skin wipes. Neutrogena makeup wipes are great for taking off your makeup before and after your workout, and for getting rid of running eye makeup after your shower. If you don’t have time to shower, or just need to freshen up, they’re easy to use in a hurry.

To stock up your shower bag:

  1. Plastic shower bag. Contain the mess, protect from leakage. Because who wants shampoo on their sports bra? Answer: no one.
  2. Shampoo and conditioner
  3. Face wash. If you’re going to the gym in the morning, don’t wash your face before you leave. It will dry out your skin. Instead, bring your cleanser to the gym and wash after your workout.
  4. Shower gel. Bringing a bar of soap will just get messy, opt for a small bottle of this instead.
  5. Shaving cream. Five Below has EOS shave cream travel sizes for $5, or make life easy and use conditioner or shower gel.
  6. Razor. Pro tip: put a binder clip over the blade to avoid accidentally cutting yourself. Also, make sure to dry the blade before putting it back in your bag.

Makeup bag for all beautifying needs:

  1. Hair brush. Detangle brushes are great for getting knots out in a hurry.
  2. Dry shampoo. If you didn’t get sweaty enough to warrant a shower, or you just ran out of time, dry shampoo is your savior.
  3. Skin care. Sweating and then washing your face can be tough on your skin. I keep toner, tea tree oil, and moisturizer in my bag to keep my skin healthy on the go.
  4. Body lotion.
  5. Makeup. Depending on how much makeup you would actually like to put on after the gym, pack accordingly. I just stick with concealer and mascara.
  6. Leave in conditioner/styling product. I recommend using one of these, especially if you’re showering every day at the gym (your hair can get pretty dry from this).

My Gym Bag

  • Lightweight by Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra
  • Nike Women’s Swoosh Headbands
  • Lin Acne Cleansing Wipes
  • Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant
  • Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion
  • Mario Badescu Hydro Moisturizer with Vitamin C
  • Mario Badescu Cucumber Cleaning Lotion
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
  • It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo
  • Sneaker Balls
  • Lock
  • Camelbak Waterbottle
  • ScandalEyes Lycra Flex Mascara
  • Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Concealer
  • BareMinerals Blemish Remedy Acne Gelee Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes hydrating

11 Workout Essentials That You Need In Your Gym Bag

It’s time to take the guesswork out of packing your gym bag. By packing just the right amount, you can ensure that you have all of your workout essentials without feeling weighed down on your commute.

Trust us, we’ve all thought about bringing those extra juices, nail files and old equipment to the gym, but honestly, who needs it? When it comes to packing for the gym, it’s all about keeping it simple.

By knowing how to pack the perfect gym bag, you go confidently into your workouts knowing that you have all the essentials you need before and after your session. How relaxing is that? So, before you head to the gym, make sure you have these 11 workout essentials packed in your gym bag.

1. Sneakers

There is nothing worse than getting to the gym and realizing that you forgot to pack your sneakers. Seriously, how are you supposed to get through a spin class with no shoes? Make that harsh reality a thing of the past by always packing your sneakers first when assembling your gym bag. Don’t forget your socks either! Many gyms try to charge you a pretty penny for things like socks and towels, so be sure to bring your own!

An essential for any gym experience is a good pair of headphones. Motivating music and quality headphones can totally make the difference between a good workout and a great workout. So, whether you’re a fan of tiny earbuds or love the larger, over-the-ear style headphones, be sure to throw your favorite pair into your bag before you head out of the door.

Pro tip: Throw a few hand towels into the dryer as well. If used damp, these tiny towels are perfect for steaming open your pores before a facemask or softening your cuticles before a mani/pedi.

3. Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential during workouts, so make sure to keep a bottle of water close by during your workout. We recommend using a reusable water bottle as they are better for the environment and keep your water colder for longer.

4. Gym Clothes

Just like your sneakers, you don’t want to be caught at the gym without proper gym attire. An easy way to remember what you’ve packed is to make a small list as you go and pin it to your bag. Don’t remember if you’ve packed something? Just check the list!

5. Dry Shampoo

Don’t have the time or energy to shower after your workout? We’ve all been there! By bringing along a bottle of your favorite dry shampoo, you can soak up excess oils and sweat from your strands, while adding volume and texture to your roots.

6. Shower Essentials

For those of you who plan on a quick rinse after your workout, be sure to pack a small makeup bag full of your shower essentials. From strengthening shampoos and conditioners to a lightly scented body wash, make sure you have everything you need to feel squeaky clean from head to toe.

7. Cleansing Wipes

Cleansing towelettes can be a lifesaver after the gym. From removing sweat and makeup to acting as an impromptu odor neutralizer (no judgment!), cleansing wipes are a must for any woman’s workout bag.

8. Deodorant

This one is pretty obvious. Keep B.O. at bay before, after, and during your workout by swiping your underarms with a lightly scented deodorant. Whether you choose vegan formula or opt for a clinical strength option, make sure your deodorant is always on hand.

9. Wide-Toothed Comb

Kick annoying tangles to the curb by packing a wide toothed comb in your gym bag. These gentle tools are perfectly for delicately removing snags and knots from your strands. Be sure to detangle from the bottom up, however, to prevent any unnecessary damage or breakage to the hair. By working from the bottom up, you lessen your chances of damaging your hair as you won’t be tugging downwards on your hair causing your knots to become entangled with one another.

10. Compact Microfiber Towel

Sometimes gym towels don’t always get the job done. Always ensure that you have a clean, fresh towel after your workout by bringing your own from home. Many fitness and wellness companies make compact microfiber towels that are perfect for bringing with you on-the-go. Simply choose your favorite color and throw in your bag before your workout.

11. Snack

One of the best ways to heal your body after a workout is by having a light, protein-filled snack, according to Self. We recommend bringing along a protein bar, walnuts, or your favorite fruits to keep your blood sugar in check and help speed up the healing process.

There you have it – the perfectly packed gym bag. Want to show us what else you pack for your workout? Tag @pureologyus in your next gym post to show off what’s in your gym bag.

The 10 Items I Always Keep in My Gym Bag

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Hey CF readers! This next series is going to be all about what you should always keep in your gym bag to ensure an excuse-proof workout, every day. I work as a personal trainer, so this is a subject that’s close to my heart.

Some gym-goers may tell you that you need all kinds of items in your gym bag, to the point that it seams like you’re packing an overnight bag for each gym trip.

I take a more minimalistic approach. The way I see it, you’re there to work out just like everyone else. When you leave the gym – it is pretty obvious that you’ve just worked out. I think there is some lee-way for your appearance as you go out in public until you get home.

I don’t think you have to apologize for your post-gym look, nor do I think it is something that is socially unacceptable. Just don’t go around hugging people while still wearing your sweat-drenched gym clothes, okay?

Feel free to carry along a change of clothes, a towel, and shower products if you need to shower at the gym before leaving! But, as I said, my approach is more bare-bones. So keep reading for the bottom-line essentials.

Like a boss.

Some of these items in your gym bag will be staples that are easy to just leave in your gym bag at all times, and others you will need to replace daily.

For these daily items, I recommend making it a habit to check your gym bag nightly to ensure everything is good-to-go for the morning! Remember, a new habit can take only 21 days to create!

I’ll be listing these essentials below, and each week I will be going into depth on each one, giving you a look at different options and alternatives for these items so you can find what fits your lifestyle best.

Here are the 10 things I always have in my workout bag:

1. The Gym Bag Itself

The perfect gym bag is essential. (Adidas)

Okay, let’s start with the actual gym bag itself! The gym bag you use needs to be a thoughtful choice because you are the one who is going to have to be carrying it around!

You need to make sure you have a bag that fits what you need for the gym and is convenient for daily use.

For example, I know that I have a minimal-approach to what I bring to the gym. Therefore, I don’t need a huge duffel bag that is going to be mostly empty anyway, and slouchy with all my things falling around in it. It’s clunky and unnecessary.

Alternatively, I know that my handbag is not big enough to carry all my daily things, plus everything I need for the gym. So instead of over-packing my shoulder bag everyday, I need something more efficient to use.

Think about what you need in a gym bag. What types of pockets and compartments do you want? Where will you need the bag to fit (car, bus, locker, work, etc.)? What kind of bag fits best into your day? You don’t need any frustrations when it comes to getting your workout started.

After you’ve considered your needs, then look for a specific bag that will check all your boxes! Trust me, having the right bag makes all the difference.

For in-depth help on selecting a gym bag, see our guide to cute gym bags approved by a personal trainer.

2. Headphones

Airpods are obviously popular, but they aren’t the only option. (Amazon)

Headphones make the top of my list because if you’re like most people, having a great playlist of music is fuel to your workout.

Whether you’re doing cardio, lifting weights, or doing yoga, music is essential for getting focused and staying in the right headspace.

Headphones are easy to leave in your bag. Just don’t forget to put them right back after your workout so you don’t forget them the next day!

Want more on this? See my gym headphones guide for the best types of headphones for your workouts, plus my personal recommendations.

3. Undergarments

A good sports bra is non-negotiable. (Amazon)

There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and realizing you forgot your sports bra and/or suitable workout panties. Therefore, this is (hopefully obviously) something you need to re-pack nightly.

A great sports bra is key because without one, you’re just NOT going to want to run. You’re not going to want to lift weights and sweat in your nice, daily bra, either. So please remember your sports bra!

Workout panties are a game-changer, as well. I can get very self-conscious if I know that everyone can see my panty-line; and honestly, it’s distracting to me more than anything else. I have a hard time focusing on my workout if I’m also concerned about who’s noticing my panty line. If you’re one of those bold people who couldn’t care less – GREAT! I’m just not one of those people, unfortunately.

Also, be aware of the color of your panties and the transparency of your pants. If your pants are see-through when they stretch, you may be exposing more than you’d like to the world!

4. Blender Bottle (+ Travel Funnel)

Love a good blender bottle. (Amazon)

Okay, sure, water is essential. But I love using a blender bottle because I can use it in multiple ways throughout my workout.

I can mix my pre-workout or amino acids into the water in my blender bottle easy on my way to the gym. Once there, I can re-fill the bottle with water. At the end of my workout, I can re-fill with water again, and mix my protein powder in.

It’s so much more useful than just a regular water bottle, for me!

At the end of the night, you can wash and replace in your bag with fresh water and/or pre-workout for the next day.

Part 2 – Travel Funnel:

Okay, so my part 2 to the blender bottle is a travel powder funnel. Sure, you could just keep your pre-workout, aminos, or protein in plastic bags. However, I find that a powder funnel makes it much easier to use and more spill-proof.

I also don’t have to worry about the plastic bags opening or bursting in my gym bag. It’s also washable and therefore, re-usable.

Once again, wash and re-fill in the evenings!

5. Protein

Ladies … we. need. protein. In my opinion, most women are not consuming enough protein. Sure we aren’t all trying to make intense muscle gains. But even for a non-active female, protein intake should be at least 46 grams per day, which is still pretty low.

Protein is necessary for your body to function well and be healthy. So, in a way, protein is life.

Whether it be a protein bar or protein powder for a shake, you should be consuming at least 20 grams of protein after your workout. After a workout is when your body needs protein the most and absorbs it most efficiently and effectively. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!

6. Deodorant

No explanation needed. (Amazon)

Okay, I know, we are halfway through the list and I am just now listing a hygienic item.

The way I see it, you’ve probably already started out your day with deodorant. But, if you don’t work out in the mornings, maybe your deodorant is wearing off a little by the time you work out.

So, I just keep a little travel-sized deodorant in my bag. This way, it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but I have it when I need it.

7. Face Wipes

Neutrogena wipes are a classic. (Amazon)

One of the worst things about the gym is the breeding ground of bacteria. Gross. But, what can you do? You have to touch the equipment. Even if you wipe down the equipment before use, you will always get “gym-hands.”

That being said, some of us may touch our faces more than we realize. Therefore, you should remember to wash your hands and clean your face at the end of the workout so that your pores don’t get clogged.

If I’m not careful, I literally notice an increase in face-acne when I go to the gym and touch my face.

8. Hair Tool Bag

Sweaty hair in your face = nope. (Amazon)

Whether you have short or long hair, having the right tools to keep your hair up and out of the way will help you focus on what you’re doing, and not busy brushing your hair out of the way or off your sweaty neck!

I know, it’s really unfair that most guys don’t have this problem. They’ll never understand.

You can use hair ties, bobby pins, a hair clip, a hat, or mix of the above! Either way, you should have a designated small bag will all the hair tools you need to manage it! Don’t forget the brush, if needed.

9. Supplemental Equipment

Relive your playground days. (Amazon)

This one is debatable, but I think it can’t hurt! You got two options that come to mind here: a jumprope and resistant bands.

There are two reasons why I list this here.

One, supplemental equipment can help you keep moving in between your sets with lower intensity exercises. Two, they can provide a great warm-up for you.

Neither one of these tools take up much space, either.

You can jump rope to warm up, or you can jump rope in between sets to keep your heart rate high while performing weight lifting. Jumping rope is also a really great calf workout!

Resistance bands are another great way to warm up your muscles and can help with accessory work, in the gym. A great example is glute-work. I love using resistance bands to really target my glutes in the gym. (Here are some great glute exercises using resistance bands.)

10. Attitude

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#attitude #attitudequotes #quotesforlife

A post shared by Attitude Quotes (@attitudequote) on Dec 24, 2017 at 3:28am PST

Okay, not an item but… this is the most important part! Working out is 90% mental. That being said, the exercise-to-mental health relation is a cycle.

Exercise contributes to your mental health, and you have to get in the right mental space to get a good workout in.

For some of us, it feels like a continuous push through the resistance, and for others it is naturally enjoyable.

But for those who have a hard time sticking to it, it’s key that you find what your motivation is.

Find the right self-talk that is going to motivate you to get in the gym and challenge yourself. Find the why of what you are wanting to achieve and make it a priority.

You will have to do this every day. Some days will be harder than others, but it really is all about your attitude!

So, What’s in Your Gym Bag?

What can’t you go to the gym without? What are your life-hacks for making your commitment to the gym easy? Let me know in the comments below!

As a women’s health and weight-loss coach, I’m always looking ahead at potential obstacles that may derail my clients from following through on a workout. One of those obstacles has to do with not packing the right stuff and using this as an excuse to skip a workout — whether it’s snacks, deodorant, sweat wipes or not having enough time to change into happy hour attire afterward.

Don’t let that happen to you! Here are some essentials to keep in your gym bag all the time.

1. Snacks

Vega Protein Bars, $19, Amazon

Vega Protein Bars, $19, Amazon

Ready for a pre-workout snack but worried about it staying fresh in your gym bag? Try out my favorite pre-workout snack, which can also double as a post-workout snack if you break it in half.

If you’re not a protein bar fan, keep another healthy snack in your bag. You can have anything from a can of tuna to a packet of almond butter, and even a healthier version of beef jerky that’s packed with protein.

Krave Pork Jerky, $5, Amazon

Krave Pork Jerky, $5, Amazon

For more inspiration, check out are TODAY Food’s lists of healthy snacks for kids and snacks you can buy in bulk!

2. Deodorant

Now that you’ve got your fuel ready, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared not to stink! Especially if you have somewhere to go after a workout, you may be worried about smelling sweaty. Thankfully, this contains activated charcoal which absorbs wetness and neutralizes odor naturally.

PiperWai Natural Deodorant, $13, Amazon

PiperWai Natural Deodorant, $13, Amazon

3. A towel

Are you trying to avoid getting overheated altogether? If you dislike sweating, try wetting and snapping this towel to your neck.

It’s water- or sweat- activated and cools to 30 degrees below average body temperatures. It stays cool for up to 2 hours when wet! To reactivate, simply re-wet and re-snap.

MISSION’s HydroActive MAX Cooling Towel, $20, Amazon

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4. Hair ties

The last thing you need to stop you from a workout is forgetting a ponytail holder! Try wearing this bracelet (that doubles as a hair tie) to work so that you’re never left without a way to pull your hair back for your workout. It comes in five different finishes: black, gold, gray, rose gold and silver.

Hair Tie Bracelet, $45, Amazon

Hair Tie Bracelet, $45, Amazon

5. Headphones

Speaking of bracelets, these headphones can be worn as an accessory on your wrist, too! For extra motivation while you’re working out, wear this on your wrist on your workout days, or leave a dedicated pair of headphones in your gym bag that remain there at all times. Listening to upbeat music will push you to work out harder, faster, and even longer.

Wraps Wearable Braided Wristband Headphone Earbuds, $31, Amazon

Wraps Wearable Braided Wristband Headphone Earbuds, $31, Amazon

6. Air freshener

Ready to have just one pair of workout shoes that stay in your gym bag? This trick will leave you with no excuse to skip your workout. To keep your gym shoes from smelling, try adding in an iPhone-sized pouch that absorbs moisture and odor particles while releasing a fresh scent in your shoes.

Just place these into your shoes for about 12 hours. When you’re ready to wear the shoes again, simply remove the SmellWell.

SmellWell Moisture Absorbing & Odor Eliminating Shoe Freshner, $10, Amazon

SmellWell Moisture Absorbing & Odor Eliminating Shoe Freshner, $10, Amazon

7. Face wipes

Post-workout, you can go from sweaty and red-faced to refreshed and glowing with a few beauty products. These sweat wipes are great because they’re all natural.

Skin Laundry Purifying Cleansing Cloth, $15, Amazon

Skin Laundry Purifying Cleansing Cloth, $15, Amazon

8. Body wipes

Another option is wipes that you can use from head to toe! These are unscented with soothing aloe and Vitamin E.

DUDE Shower Body Wipes, $8, Amazon

DUDE Shower Body Wipes, $8, Amazon

9. Sanitizer for your hands or yoga mat

If you’re worried about germs from the gym equipment, be sure to sanitize your hands after a workout. Keep these single packs in your gym bag!

Unlike common sanitizers, MiiStS can also be used to wipe down a yoga mat or stinky shoes post-workout.

MiiSTS Hand Sanitizer, $21, Amazon

MiiSTS Hand Sanitizer, $21, Amazon

10. Perfume

For a little fresh scent post-workout, try out these roll-on perfumes. They’re so small you can put them in the pocket of your gym bag.

Demeter Roll On Perfume Oil, $14, Amazon

If you already have a scent you love, check out the wide variety of rollerball perfumes at Nordstrom. They have everything from Chanel to Marc Jacobs to diptyque.

11. A back-up plan

Finally, what happens if you absolutely can’t make it into the gym? Bring the gym to you!

This is a portable device and app that coaches you through quick 5-minute full-body workouts. It features over 100 workouts for all fitness levels and measures data such as strength, precision and other personal metrics. It also makes a great holiday or birthday gift going into the colder winter months.

Activ5 Strength Training Device, $120, Amazon

Activ5 Strength Training Device, $120, Amazon

Stephanie Mansour is a lifestyle and weight-loss coach for women. Join her weight-loss challenge here!

See the scoop on what to pack in your gym bag.

What Clothes to Pack in Your Gym Bag:

Clean underwear and socks: Let’s start from the ground up, shall we? Always have an extra pair of underwear and socks on hand so you never have to face a sockless or underwear-less day.

Sweat-wicking shirt: A shirt that wicks sweat? Yup, we have ‘em. Keep your cool with high-tech fabrics that repels moisture and deters pit stains—and we’ve got them.

Breathable shorts: No, we don’t mean your underwear. We mean whatever kind of bottoms you prefer to wear while working out. It’s important to wear material that allows for a free range of movement, especially for something like weight training or rock climbing. High moisture content in enclosed places leads to smells….gross.

Athletic shoes: This may sound like a no-brainer for some. Having the appropriate athletic shoes is vital in injury prevention! Proper support and cushion gives your joints a break (especially for all you runners and treadmill-goers). If you can, invest in a pair of athletic shoes just for the gym. You’re on your feet, so treat them right!

Lightweight jacket: This is for after the gym. While it may feel like a great idea to immediately take an ice bath, it’s not great for your immune system, so carry a light jacket for when the non-gym air hits you!

Clean tee: Don’t walk around in your sweaty gym tee! Pack a clean one to change into for after. It doesn’t need to be what you’re wearing out, but it does need to be clean. Keeping your workout gear on your back too long could lead to breakouts, so do yourself a favor and change into a clean shirt afterward.

Sweatpants: Did you wear shorts to the gym? Is it freezing outside? Throw in a pair of warm-up sweats to throw on over your shorts. Done. You’re warm.

Other Essentials to Have in Your Gym Bag:

Reusable water bottle: Hydration is key! Stay eco-friendly and keep your workout fueled.

Healthy snacks: There is nothing worse than working out on an empty stomach. Bring snacks with high protein like almonds.

Face wipes: Sensitive skin? It’s ok, no shame. Bring face wipes to get rid of excess oil and grime so you don’t break out later.

Deodorant: For smells.

Small Towel: Sometimes the towels at the gym are…not the cleanest. Bring a small one in your bag for when you need to wipe your brow.

Lock: Don’t lose anything! If your gym offers lockers, bring your own lock to ensure no one tries to snag your well-packed gym bag.

Feel ready to hit the free weights? Don’t forget to request clothes to hit the gym (or any sport) in.

14 Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Gym Bag

If you pride yourself on going to the gym multiple times a week and squeezing in a workout at the beginning or end of the workday, chances are you keep a gym packed and ready to go at all times. Whether you’re into yoga, kickboxing, weight lifting, or cycling, every fitness-obsessed woman needs a perfectly curated gym bag.

Keeping a bag stashed with all of the essentials helps ensure you don’t forget anything important–like your headphones because we all know that’s the worst. Aside from the usual items (sneakers, duh), there are a few items that every woman who’s #sofit should keep in her gym bag.

Check out what our editors’ keep in their gym bags, below:

Gaiam 20 oz Sure Grip Water Bottle Viridian ($14.99)

Staying hydrated during your workout should be your #1 priority. This colorful silicone sleeve enhances your grip on the bottle to prevent you from dropping it–even while you’re mid-sprint.

Laura Geller Spackle Blur Hydrate ($28)

This portable lightweight primer will help keep your face looking #flawless after your gym session. It’s available in a hydration and matte formula.

Gaiam Microfiber Yoga Hand Towel ($9.99)

Go ahead, work up a sweat! This ultra-soft microfiber towel is super absorbent and will keep you dry.

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo ($5.99)

If you plan on getting your sweat on and want to look at least halfway decent afterward, you NEED dry shampoo in your gym bag.

Nature Made Energy B-12 Adult Gummies Cherry & Wild Berries ($8.89)

It can be hard to muster up the energy to hit the gym after a long day at work. When that 5 pm slump hits, these Nature Made Energy gummies can help give you that extra boost you need.

Bliss Lemon & Sage Refreshing Body Wipes With Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant Post Gym ($8)

If showering after the gym is not an option, body wipes are a must. End of story.

S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 17 oz ($35)

You don’t want to risk forgetting your water bottle at home. To avoid this all too common problem, keep a designated gym water bottle in your bag.

Secret Freshie Chill Ocean Invisible Solid Antiperspirant and Deodorant ($4.99)

Deodorant is crucial but these little pods make it cute.

Zella Body Active 3-Pack Thongs ($33)

Working out in a pair of constricting, lace underwear is super uncomfortable. Stashing a few pairs of active underwear in your gym bag never hurts.

Vichy Laboratoires Purete Thermale 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Wipes ($8)

Working out in makeup can be damaging to your skin. As you exercise and sweat, your pores open which can lead to clogging. Use these 3 in 1 cleansing makeup wipes to clean your face before or after working out (or both).

Pressed by KIND Pineapple Banana Kale Spinach ($4.98)

No one likes working out on an empty stomach. When you’re feeling hunger set in, snack on one of these Pressed By KIND bars. Each bar contains 1 serving of fruit.

Revlon® Perfect Heat® Fast Dry Compact Hair Dryer ($14.99)

One of the biggest hassles to showering at the gym is drying your hair. Well, this folding, compactable Revlon hairdryer is here to save the day.

Scunci Everyday & Active No Damage Hair Ties ($2.98)

If you’ve ever gotten to the gym and changed into your workout clothes, only to realize you’ve forgotten a hair tie, you understand why an extra set of these should be in every woman’s bag.

Planet Wise Large Wet Bag in Teal Chevron ($19.99)

Don’t walk around all day with your dirty gym clothes just tossed in your bag, put them in a portable dirty laundry bag to keep them together until you get home to wash them.

For more wellness content, check out:

–The One Food You Should Eat When Your Energy Levels Are Low, According To Nutritionists

–4 Ways To Make Your Morning Coffee Order Healthier

–Protein Bars That Are Actually Good For You, According To A Nutritionist

SheFinds receives commissions for purchases made through the links in this post.

Workout Essentials: What to Pack for the Gym If you’re always prepared, there’s no good excuse to skip leg day

Written by Michelle Tirronen

It seems like getting fit is at the top of everyone’s to-do list, and for good reason. Not only will you look better when you’re exercising regularly, you’ll see an improvement in how you feel and perform at everyday tasks — even if that involves being in front of a computer screen for most of the day.

If you’re not properly prepared for the gym, you’ll skip days. If you’re skipping days, you will inevitably break the habit. Pretty soon a month will have flown by and you’ll find yourself wondering why you’re still paying for a gym membership you never use.

Looking for help keeping your workout resolutions? Start by packing your gym bag the right way.

Gym Bag

The construction of your gym bag can be just as important as its contents. So ditch the drawstring and invest in something a bit more grown-up. A good bag should be durable, easy to clean, and have enough space to hold all the necessities. Especially if you’re bringing your gym bag to work, you’ll want to choose something that is sleek and inconspicuous.

Your bag of choice doesn’t have to be made specifically for the gym. Our personal favorite comes from Tortuga Backpacks — it’s designed for travel but it works incredibly well as a workout bag. It opens up like a suitcase so you can easily get to what you need. There’s no point in having a fully-stocked bag if you can’t ever find what you’re looking for.


Don’t prep for just one workout when packing your gym bag. Ideally, you should be prepared for a week’s worth of workouts at all times. That’s why we suggest having multiples of items like t-shirts, socks, and underwear — make sure to stock up after laundry day so you always have everything you need.

Gym Shorts

Most gyms have a dress code, so don’t be that guy trying to work out in board shorts or jeans shorts. Be sure you have a simple pair of running, cross-training, or basketball shorts packed for your workout at all times. Ideally, they should be lightweight, breathable and fast drying.

T-Shirts (3-5 pieces)

Any simple cotton t-shirt will do just fine as long as it fits comfortably. But other than socks, shirts tend to get dirty the fastest, so make sure to pack enough. Wearing clean, stink-free clothing is not just for your personal comfort but the innocent noses of those around you.

Underwear (3-5 pair)

This one is not up for debate. Please do yourself a favor and have plenty of fresh underwear on hand. This is a must if you’re working out midday and heading back to the office instead of straight home. We recommend fitted boxer briefs or trunks, especially if you’re doing a lot of cardio.

Socks (3-5 Pair)

Socks really shouldn’t be worn more than once, so having a few extra on hand should go without saying. They don’t take up much space in your bag, so why not stock up? We recommend cushioned black or gray athletic socks that really hug your feet. Ill-fitting socks lead to blisters if you spend a lot of time on the treadmill.

Gym Shoes

Most gyms won’t let you out on the floor without proper footwear — so if you forget to pack the right shoes, you’ll likely have to skip a workout. Chuck Taylors may have been considered athletic shoes in the 70s but today, they aren’t going to cut it. A decent pair of running or cross-training shoes should last you for at least a year, so make the investment in something durable, and supportive.

Workout Extras

These may not seem like essentials, but they will make your workout a hell of a lot more enjoyable. These four should have a permanent place in your gym bag.

Small Towel

A small towel is great for you when you need to wipe the sweat from your eyes or dry your hands before hitting the weights. It can also be used to wipe down equipment after you’re finished using it. Using one is common courtesy among gym-goers.

Take some time at the beginning of the week to set yourself up for success.


Whether you like to listen to music, watch videos or listen to podcasts, having something to listen will motivate you to stay at the gym for that hour.

Without headphones, your workout can feel like it’s dragging on so make sure to toss a pair in your bag.

Water Bottle

You lose quite a bit of water while working out and it’s important to stay hydrated both during your workout and while recovering. That makes bringing a water bottle a no-brainer.


It’s hard to get a good workout in when you’re running low on fuel. If you need a quick pick-me-up before hitting the squat racks, make sure to keep some healthy snacks in your bag.

If you know you need to rush somewhere after the gym and won’t have a chance to eat, protein bars will help replenish your energy levels and maximize those #gains.

Locker Room Essentials

Whether you fit your workout in before you start your day, during your lunch hour, or after the sun goes down, most workouts will require a shower after. If you aren’t able to head straight home after you sweat it out, make sure these items are in your bag.


A fully-stocked gym bag will likely be too large for the complimentary smaller lockers found in most gyms. Make sure to bring a lock so you can stash your bag in the bigger lockers. It will fit your personal items better and you won’t have to worry about how secure your stuff is.

Large Towel

This is crucial if you want to take a shower or if you’re a swimmer. Unless you want to be standing under the hand dryer to dry yourself off, it’s definitely handy to have a large towel on hand.


No, not for when you’re on the treadmill. This is necessary if you want to use other amenities such as the shower or pool. It’s the worst trying to put on your gym shoes after you’ve cleaned off all the gym sweat.

In addition to keeping your feet clean, wearing flip-flops will prevent you from getting athlete’s foot or foot fungus.

Dopp kit

A gym Dopp kit in your larger gym bag will keep all your shower essentials together. If you keep your gym bag in the car, make sure none of your toiletries are prone to melting, oozing or exploding on a hot day.

We suggest including spray deodorant (to prevent a melted mess), travel-size lotion and shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and any hair product you may need after showering.

Look for the travel size version of your favorite brands to save space.

Laundry bag

We emphasized the importance of having fresh clothes on hand, but what about the ones that you’re done with? Simple solution: a bag for all your dirty laundry. Don’t contaminate your clean clothes.

This bag can be easily taken to and from your car without ever having to remove your gym bag. No more excuses, particularly, “I forgot my gym bag at home”.

Keep on Grinding

Once you get into a routine, going to the gym will feel like a natural part of the day. But you have to work at making it a habit for the first few weeks. Having a well-packed gym bag will definitely make that goal a little bit more attainable.

Did we forget any of your gym essentials? Any other tips to solidify your gym routine? Let us know in the comments

Read Next: 8 Essential Men’s Bags

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Packing a gym bag the night before is one of the best motivators in getting you to the gym the next day. If you pack it right with everything needed in it, there is no excuse for skipping the gym.

From “I forgot my trainers” to “my gym clothes are still sweaty from yesterday”, we’ve heard every excuse in the book over the years. Here’s a guide on how to pack gym bag essentials so you won’t miss another workout.

Pack the Night Before

Packing a gym bag the night before means being prepared in the morning and less likely to forget important items like shoes, shorts, or water bottles during the scramble to get out the door. Make a habit of removing dirty clothes upon returning home at night and repacking your bag with fresh clothes.

Clean It Out

Have you ever opened your gym bag only to pass out from the smell? With the constant cycle of sweaty workout clothes and stinky gym shoes, there is a reason why your gym bag stinks like feet.

Give your gym bag a good cleaning at least once a month. Make it a weekly habit to clean out any protein bar wrappers or tissues that end up in there. If your bag is notoriously foul, place an air fresher in there or even get a new bag if you must. No one wants to smell your bag!

Keep the Wet Stuff Separate

Wetsuits, swimmers, really sweaty gym clothes, and shower shoes are all perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Don’t mix these with clean clothes and toiletries. Carry a reusable plastic bag to place wet or dirty clothes in, then put that into your gym bag.

Pack Extras

Ladies, this one is for you. Remember to pack extra hair ties and tampons! Keeping extra toiletries and supplies —like hair ties, wet wipes, chap-stick, socks, and other vital stuff in your bag— can save you in a crunch.

Gym Bag Essentials

Everyone’s gym bag essentials are a little different, but workout clothes, shoes, and a water bottle are needed, at a minimum. Here are some more suggestions of gym bag essentials to keep in your gym bag:

  • Workout clothing
  • Shoes
  • Extra socks
  • Wet wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Shower shoes/flip flops
  • Soap or body wash
  • Towel
  • Plastic bag for wet clothing
  • Tampons (for the ladies)
  • iPod (or phone) and headphones
  • Snacks or workout fuel
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Toiletries (travel size ones are great!)
  • Hair ties
  • Reusable water bottle

Packing your gym bag with everything needed the night before can save you from missing the next day’s workout. Tell us below what’s in your gym bag.

5 Tips For Packing Your Gym Bag

While it would be great to workout whenever you wanted, for many of us, the reality is trying to fit a visit to the gym around work, school, a social life and various other commitments. What that means if we’re usually hitting the gym on our way to, or from, something else. That’s why the art of packing your gym bag is so important.

Preparation is the key to getting a good workout, and that includes getting your gear together before it even starts. Take a tip from us; this is how to pack your gym bag!

1. Lay out your whole outfit

Have you ever made it all the way to the gym, only to realise you forget socks? Or even worse, forgot your tights? Yep, it’s frustrating. To avoid it happening again, lay out each item for your outfit and mentally tick it off. Repeat after me; sports bra, underwear, socks, shirt, tights, shoes. You might even want to grab an extra pair of socks, just in case.

2. Pack the night before

Packing your gym bag at night means you’re prepared first thing in the morning, and you’re probably less likely to forget something important. Grab your pre-laid out gym gear, then pack your headphones and a clean gym towel in the bag too. And don’t forget your gym pass! If you’re still figuring out how to work out in the morning, having your gym bag packed the night before puts you a step ahead!

3. Pack extra hair bands

Ladies, it doesn’t matter how many are in your bag, you can bet you’ll struggle to find a hair band when you need it! There’s nothing worse than getting ready to workout and realising you don’t have a band (or a hat) to keep your hair off your face, especially if you’re about to do a circuit with burpees! Pack double what you think you’ll need and you should be okay.

Whats in your gym bag

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