Whether you’re a trainer, an athlete, or a weekend warrior, your gym bag should contain everything you need to be out and about from sunrise to sunset. Besides multiple outfit changes, shower necessities, and healthy snacks, the best-prepped backpacks and gym duffels contain items you may not even know you need to help manage a busy schedule and an on-the-go lifestyle. So before you head to your favorite group fitness class, meet up with friends for a morning trail run before Sunday brunch, or hit the gym for an after-work sweat sesh, have these 10 gym bag essentials ready to go—they’ll vastly improve your Fit Girl game!
No time for a shower? No problem! Gone are the days of smelling like you just left the gym (even if you just left the gym). With The Laundress Sport Spray, you’ll always be smelling fresh and clean. Sport Spray, which comes in multiple scents (pro tip: go for the grapefruit!), adds a fresh and crisp smell while removing unpleasant odors from anything it’s sprayed on, such as bags, clothes, and shoes, or even directly on the body.
When it comes to the best shoes to have in your bag, NoBull really takes the cake. The NoBull trainers are flat enough to train in (side note: please stop squatting in running shoes!) and cute enough to wear out on the town, whether you’re into bright colors and designs or a solid pair of neutrals. The proper training shoes are as important as the workout itself, so investing in a good pair that you like to wear is paramount.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a shower after a good workout. And when you’re showering in shared facilities, it’s important to equip yourself with the right accessories to prevent things like athlete’s foot. Whenever you are in the locker room, the shower, or the changing room, never go around barefoot. Instead, keep a pair of flip-flops or slides in your gym bag. These slides are fashionable, non-slip, and sturdy enough to keep you clean, safe, and looking great.
Whether you’ve got a curated playlist, a true crime podcast line-up, or Oprah’s new favorite audiobook, the gym calls for sweat-proof, nonslip, and noise-canceling earbuds. JayBird Vista earbuds check all of those boxes, with earbuds that are treadmill-, box jump-, and grunting-squat-rack-neighbor-friendly. The bonus? With a self-charging carrying case, they’ll never leave you high and dry without battery life. Toss these bad boys right into your gym bag and make every workout that much more enjoyable.
When it comes to making the gym-to-dinner turnaround, there’s nothing harder than turning a sweaty ponytail into an acceptable hairstyle. Thanks to the Revlon One-Step Volumizer, a two-in-one hair brush and dryer, going from Sweaty Betty to glam girl is a cinch. This barrel brush dryer is the only tool you need to create an easy blowout from the locker room. All it takes is a few minutes to brush your way to a “Did you just come from the salon?” look. Take it from a girl whose knowledge of barbells is way more extensive than her knowledge of hair products: The One-Step Volumizer is the easiest and most effective way to go from gym to date night.
Filling up on protein is important for muscle repair after a tough workout, and when it comes to choosing a protein bar, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste for health. No Cow protein bars are dairy-free, whey-free, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, and contain 20+ grams of plant-based protein per bar. Whether you like your protein bars fruity or dessert-like, No Cow has a protein bar for you. Keeping snacks in your gym bag is a great way to ensure that you never face that post-workout ravenousness that can lead you straight to the nearest fast food joint.
No matter your preferred style of training, keep a Theragun mini in your gym bag for when the soreness hits, and you’ll never have trouble going down the stairs again. Small enough to carry around, yet powerful enough to massage tight muscles, the Theragun mini is the perfect pre- and post-workout recovery tool. The portable percussive massager gets deep into muscle tissue and improves blood flow while loosening and relaxing those stubborn areas that are particularly susceptible to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), like hamstrings, quads, glutes, and lats.
Sometimes sore muscles need some extra TLC. Enter: Tiger Balm. You probably know Tiger Balm as a herbal pain relief ointment that works on contact, but did you know it comes in the form of patches, sans the grease and mess of the OG balm? Simply unwrap the patch, stick it on the part of your body that aches, and let the pain relief begin.
If your fitness routine has you on your feet a lot (I’m looking at you, runners!), you’re going to want to keep a Recoup Fitness Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller in your bag at all times. Just two hours in the freezer provides six hours of cold massaging, which is a delight on tired arches, backs, glutes, and shoulders. The roller is lightweight, can be used by hand or placed on the floor, and has a built-in handle to keep hands warm while in use. Bonus points for its double-duty use as a facial roller to alleviate those pesky, dark under-eye circles or that post-workout rosy cheek situation!
Made by athletes to clean and refresh and large enough to use on your whole body, these wipes are perfect for tight turnarounds when a shower is simply not an option. Keeping these in your bag will ensure that you’re never subjected to a day of sweaty discomfort after a workout. They can also be used as a way to freshen up after a long flight, your walk to work, or an accidental spill.
Exercise and sweat can deplete electrolytes, so adding packet of electrolytes can be a game changer. LMNT Recharge is a paleo-, keto-, and vegan-friendly electrolyte drink mix that deliciously replenishes electrolytes lost in sweat. One packet (either before, during, or after your workout) will restore the sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels your body needs to function at its best. Not sure which flavor to try first? The Orange Salt is a fan favorite, giving delightful summertime margarita vibes. Toss a few packets into your gym bag and recharge those electrolytes!
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