What’s in your Gym Bag: Leslie


What’s in your Gym Bag: LeslieEach member of InDependent has found or is in the process of searching for fitness techniques that work for her individual needs. In this series, we’ll highlight the unique gym bag essentials that help them get through their workouts of choice, whether it’s running, yoga, weight-lifting, etc.  This week Leslie highlights what you can find in her gym bag.

After years of doing everything from long-distance running, tocardio-focused group classes, I’ve learned that I love two types of fitness:  functional fitness (or CrossFit) and yoga. When going to the gym, I’m usually heading straight from work and need to get in a quick routine so I can then go food shopping and straight home to make dinner.  I need a few basic things in my bag and I need them to be easily accessible so I don’t have to dig around for 20 minutes, thus cutting into my precious workout time.

Here are the essentials I don’t leave home without:

What’s in your Gym Bag: Leslie

  1. Large gym bag.  For years I had a cross-body bag specific for lacrosse, and it was great for running from campus to the field for practice. But a small bag with an even smaller opening meant spending so much time rummaging for things like socks. I also couldn't fit clothes AND shoes into one bag. What a drag. So, after 10(!) years of tiny gym bag misery, I decided to finally splurge on a Lululemon duffel bag that is big enough to hold everything I need, with room to spare. Having a bag that fits your needs will help you avoid unnecessary frustration.
  2. Toiletries. A small bag holding your bare necessities doesn't have to be pretty (a simple zipper storage bag will do) but it’s absolutely critical. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to the gym and thought, “OH NO! I don’t have a hair tie!” Do you know how miserable it is to work out with your hair in your face? This way I have extra hair ties, along with bobby pins, some of my homemade face wash, and travel-size container with raw shea butter to put on my skin after a post-workout rinse-off.
  3. Multi-purpose shoes: Sometimes I have no idea what the afternoon workout is going to be when I pack my bag in the morning, so I need shoes that I can either run a mile in or do deadlifts with. These New Balance Minimus shoes, a Valentine’s gift from my awesome husband, fit the bill. I no longer have to pack both running shoes and cross-trainers. A word of caution: these and most minimalist shoes require break-in time, so don’t purchase these and then expect to run a 5K the same day!
  4. Pull-up chalk: One thing I’ve learned since lifting and doing pull-ups is that not only do blisters and calluses look awful, but they HURT! Investing in gym chalk helps ease the pain. I’ve even known some ladies who use their kid’s sidewalk chalk as a substitute and it works beautifully. Just make sure to keep the chalk in a zipper storage bag, or your gym essentials risk being engulfed in white powder!
  5. Fitbit Force: This fitness tracker is with me all hours of the day, and the gym isn’t any different. While it’s not a heart-rate monitor, it still keeps track of my steps, as well as my sleep and water intake. Plus the great motivational words, like “You Rock!” and “Woot!” that pop-up on the screen occasionally will lift anyone’s spirits.
  6. iPad Mini: Need a quick workout of the day? Or need a yoga routine for your weekly meet up? The iPad’s got an app for that. I log my workouts on it, using the myWOD app, pull up yoga routines using the MyYogaOnline app, and I time my workouts through the built in timer. It’s my workout buddy when I don’t have a structured fitness group.
  7. iPod Shuffle: I work out better with music, and if I don’t have this little guy then my workout suffers. I can tune out the world, my worries, and just focus on my workout.
  8. Outer layer: I will usually arrive at the gym at around 5:30pm when the sun is still up, but when I leave an hour later, the moon is out and the temperature has dropped. You never know in Germany if the weather is going to be chilly, so it’s always best to prepare in advance with clothes that will get you to and from the gym no matter the temperature or weather.
  9. Good workout clothes: Target and the PX usually carry some great and affordable workout basics.  All you need is a good sports bra, some great shorts or capris, and a few tops. That’s it!
  10. Pull-up bands: The day I did my first unassisted pull up was a day of celebration. But I couldn’t get there without the help of these pull-up bands. I still need them to complete most workouts, and having them on hand makes it so I never feel panicked when I show up and a workout demands 20+ pull-ups. Note:  Some gyms have bands that you can check out at the front desk.

So that’s what you’ll find in my gym bag.  What essentials do you find yourself packing in your bag to make sure you’re prepared for your workout of choice?