For some reason, I am more inspired to hit the gym during the summer, rather than doing so in preparation for the summer. Sigh.
As a result, there is this constant pressure (read: my OCD leads me to it) to make sure that my gym bag is an arsenal for all things necessary to effectively give myself NO possible reason to skip my gym sesh at lunch time. Ashley, my gym buddy, will testify to the fact that lack of items such as a towel, flip flops for the showers, or proper workout pants haven’t been enough to stop me before….like that time I used the disabled shower with the low faucet since I forgot my shower cap, and didn’t want to get my hair wet.
Alas, although anecdotes such as these lead me to believe that I should have my own TV show similar to that of “Dual Survival,” ( I love that show. I never want to be stuck in the Mexican desert in triple digits and want to have to know how fashion a pair of flip flops out of old tire from an abandoned VW Buggy, but still!) I still like to think that my gym bag is a testament to my preparedness…and further proof that Mary Poppins has nothing on me! I can fit more items than you could imagine in a Nike drawstring basketball bag!
So, without further adieu, some of what I consider to be the most imperative Gym Bag Essentials! Whether you are of the high or low maintenance varietal, I think you’ll see there are some handy items for those of us who aren’t entirely crazy about that mid-day, post-cardio shower.
Some may think some of my recommendations are a little “bourgeois,” but I assure you…if there is anything I will preach to you, it’s that a little extra money goes a long way! Your hair, nails, and skin will thank you!
My Favorite Cleanser:
Philosophy and I have a love-hate relationship. I love Philosophy products. I hate going broke purchasing a skincare regimen consisting of 2-3 products! Fortunately, upon purchasing my Clarisonic Mia two years ago, I stumbled upon the Purity Cleanser. A little 2 oz bottle came with the Clarisonic set I purchased on QVC, and it lasted FOREVER. I then purchased an 8 oz bottle earlier this year and threw that one in the bag, and my giant 36 oz bottle with a pump is used at home, and is also used to refill the 2 oz bottle that has been conveniently transplanted to my travel case I take in my carry-on whenever I travel. It’s a light, mildly-sudsy formula that literally will remove ALL traces of makeup. Whether you use a wash cloth, a Clarisonic (or comparable device), or your bare hands…you’re getting a fresh, deep, clean feeling that makes that post-workout glow even more satisfying! Bonus points for a little bit going a long way. On the occasions when 24 Hr Fitness runs out of Green Tea Body Wash foam in the showers? Poof! A little purity is totally gentle, and super strong…so you can use it to double as body wash in a pinch, too!
Whether I am rocking my natural curly hair, or trying to maintain flat ironed locks, I always keep dry shampoo on hand. I’ve tried quite a few brands I liked, but Batiste is by far my fave. No matter what texture my hair is in, this product always keeps its promises, and it’s not a major hassle to find it in a convenient travel size! A little bit, again, goes a long way. No gray/white residue, and hair actually feels significantly cleaner on those occasions where you just don’t have the time or resources to wash/condition/flat iron/blowdry before heading back to work! Bonus points for the brand having fun retro-style packaging, and a variety scents and hues to suit everyone’s style. I like sticking to the basics in these cases…but a cheetah print can boasting floral-scented dry shampoo? Totally brings a smile to my face!
Notice my use of the word “good.” Not “rapper-worthy” or “Dr. Dre-approved.” I pretty much only use my headphones at the gym or on the rare occasions I go out alone on walks, runs, etc. So….I’m not buying $200, not to mention bulky, headphones for the gym. As soon as Kanye interrupts me on stage to steal my VMA spotlight, I’ll invest in something a little fancier…’til then? These are PERFECT! SkullCandy has fun colors, patterns, and great quality design and sound that is perfect for ipods, various mp3 players, or your personal mobile device. With a price point easily under$20 at most retailers, they’re a great investment. The 2.0 Ink’d line was designed to provide better comfort and acoustics, and it’s a bargain for your beats! Bonus points for comfortable buds that don’t fall out every five seconds, and a plethora of colors to choose from. Now, if only I could get a pair that is coated in glitter…..
As if I could choose just one. I love the convenience of travel and sample sized items specifically for instances like these. “Gee….I need to maximize the content of a relatively sized gym bag and make sure that I have something to spritz after my post-workout shower…whatever shall I do?” You use all those sample vials you’ve been collecting at beauty counters, that’s what! I stash those babies in cute little candle holder on my vanity, and I can just grab one and throw it in my gym bag to use at will. Half way through the day, I’m not really too particular about what I scent I wear (as long as it smells nice!), but obviously I only keep the ones I enjoy. Also, I usually stock up on those little travel body mists that I get with free gifts at Victoria’s Secret or Bath and Body Works and can keep those in there to my hearts content. I have been using VS Sexy Little Things body mist in my gym bag for months…and it’s perfect. A little floral, a little sweet, and not too obnoxious for being in a room with patients all afternoon after I go back to the office. Bonus points for smaller sizes…usually they are less hazardous because the vials/bottles are made with plastic, and small perfume vial samples don’t evaporate easily. Bada Bing!
Smith’s is my ULTIMATE fave. I keep it in my purse and gym bag and it never lets me down. It’s great not only for lips, but those random dry spots on hands, elbows, etc. It has a delicate rose scent that makes me feel feminine and flirty, and totally put together! The tin is awesome and accessible, and unlike chapstick, if things get a little melty, it doesn’t affect you as much. You use your fingertip to apply, so you don’t risk your chapstick smearing all over your face when you start to smooth it on your lips! Thank goodness!! This product is usually between $3-5 at my local Sephora, and lasts forever.
Colgate Wisps are a God-send. Although it seems more economical to simply carry a toothbrush and toothpaste, I personally am totally icked out by the idea of putting a wet toothbrush back in agym bag until my next gym visit. I also know if I tried to take my travel or personal toothbrush with me separately each day, I’d fail miserably. I buy new underwear every time I stay at my boyfriend’s house because I always forget the same things no matter where I travel…undies and PJ’s…which is ironic, because the thought of not wearing chonies makes me uncomfortable
(in the wild, perhaps I could fashion a pair of panties out of VW buggy tires/parts? Eh…I’d rather not find out!). Hence, where the miracle of Wisps come in! They have a little “bead” of toothpaste that you truly get a clean feeling from, and you can use them with or without water. Bonus points for the floss pick on the end of the handle!
As you can see, I am sharing the absolute essentials…we’d be here all day if I went over everything in my actual, personal gym bag! But these products are guaranteed to do the job…a great job, and make that mid-day/early morning workout a cinch to bounce back from before heading back to class, work, or wherever you have to be…no excuses!
I’ve found the best travel sizes(including everything here, except the Wisps, I get those at Target/CVS) at Ulta. They have these giant, distracting rounders by the checkout counters with all your favorite designer/pricier products in smaller sizes….just enough to give you a taste of what you need, be luxurious with the best of them! Plus, Ulta has a free rewards program, so you’ll earn points you can redeem for free products on every single thing you buy…no matter how small! Lots of regular-sized product purchases always come with free deluxe sample sized products that are absolutely perfect for gym bags or travel totes (airline friendly…woot woot!)!
You can thank me later. 😉
That’s all for now…but I hope somebody finds these things useful. I love sharing!
‘Til Next Time!