8 Gym Essentials Every Girl Needs in Her Bag!

It could be argued that the gym bag is just as important as the workout itself. Serving as your hold-it-all workout buddy, a well-packed gym bag ensures that you get to the gym feeling prepared and workout-ready, so you have the best gym session possible. Whether your idea of a top-notch workout bag is an old school, beat-up backpack, a limited edition designer duffel or just your everyday purse with a water bottle thrown inside, the contents should be one and the same. Here are the things we absolutely need at the gym that must go into the bag.

1. Some Fly Sneakers — A good pair of running shoes does two things simultaneously: 1. it makes you feel like the gym queen that you are (hello, locker room mirror selfies), and 2. it provides you with a solid foundation for a hard-hitting workout. If you’re serious about exercise, go get your kicks professionally sized at a running shoe store. Seriously, it’s worth your time.

2. A Glass Water Bottle — In case you’re not hip to glass water bottle life, here’s the deal. Compared to plastic or stainless steel, glass is a lot cleaner, purer and more durable. It won’t leach any gross or harmful chemicals into your water, and it can be filled with hot or cold liquids without worry. For your gym bag, pick a vessel that serves you in more than one way. For example, choose a water bottle with storage so you always have a spot for hair ties, supplements, mints, jewelry or even lip balm (yes, this exists and it’s amazing). Since your stuff is stashed in your water bottle, it goes with you wherever you go, from the cupholder on the stationary bike to the floor next to the free weights.

3. A Hair Tie and a Backup Hair Tie (or 20) — You obviously need more than just one hair tie in your gym bag, because you’d most likely use it and forget to put it back. And you’d be out of luck if a fellow gym-goer in need asked to borrow one. Honestly, if we’re being real, it’s probably a good idea to just buy a whole new pack of ponytail holders specifically for your gym bag. We all know they’ll get used eventually. You could also save up and buy gym gear that has built-in hair ties (yup, we see you and your secret zipper hair ties, Lululemon).

4. A Pair of Bluetooth Headphones — Regardless if you’re an AirPods or Beats kinda gal, you do not want to forget your headphones at home. We think of our headphones as one of the most, if not the most, clutch pieces of gym gear in the gym bag. They help get you pumped-up so you push yourself further and harder, and they signal to others that you’re here to sweat, not socialize. I mean, who wants to have a full-blown convo when their heart rate is that high and boob sweat is happening? Of course, along with your headphones, you will also need…

5. Playlists That Amp You Up — Do not try to queue up adrenaline-boosting beats while you’re in the middle of your workout. It’ll just throw you off and slow you down. Instead, make sure your Spotify or Apple Music is well-stocked with cuts that make you want to keep running, cycling or lifting, even after you’ve hit your goal for the day. We’re also huge on zoning out to podcasts and audiobooks at the gym, especially during warm-ups and cool-downs. Or you could be like Khloé Kardashian and get amped up with feminist anthems like “Run the World” by Beyoncé and “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera, or be like Queen Alicia Keys and dial into a mentally stimulating audiobook. You do you. 

6. Some Dry Shampoo and a Brush — Hair-wise, that’s really all you need if you’re going from the gym to dinner, to work or to run errands and don’t need to wash your hair post-workout. When you’re exercising, your scalp tends to get super-sweaty, which leaves everything looking a little greasy and gross. Letting the sweat dry out a little bit and then texturizing with some dry shampoo can give your hair life and volume, so it looks like you never even worked out.

7. Travel-Sized Toiletries — If you’re a minimalist gym-goer and rarely need to shower at the gym, skip this step. This one’s for the ladies out there who tend to go from cardio to work or (no judgment) spin class to happy hour. Grab a small, water-resistant makeup bag and fill it with mini refillable bottles of your fave shampoo, conditioner and face wash. As great as those free hotel and locker room toiletries may seem, the truth is that it can be risky business trying products you’re not used to on a whim, especially if you’ve got plans immediately after your workout. Nobody wants to break out or have a horrible hair day all because of poor preparation! Oh, and don’t forget a little lip gloss or lip balm to add a glowy, finishing touch.

8. Apps That Keep You Going — Whether you rock a wearable or keep it simple with your smartphone, you’re going to want to stock it with some fitness apps that help you track, monitor and analyze your progress. Count your steps, calories burned and running distance with apps like My Fitness Pal or raise money for charity while you work out with Charity Miles. You can even use your phone to find apps that guide you through cardio, yoga, Pilates and more.

While it may not feel like a big deal, the truth is that having some good gym essentials in your bag may be just what you need to get excited and motivated about your sweat sesh, which means better long-term results. Don’t be afraid to be a little extra with your workout style because, in the end, if it helps you get to your goal, who cares?