I’ve had many gym bags over the years for lots of different sports. Each new bag came with its new set of “essentials” that turned out to be not so essential. I feel like as I come to my last year of doing a sport, that I have finally found what I truly need to bring every time I workout. And I want to share them with you all! I hope that my trial and error over many years can help you find the perfect things to bring with you to any workout.
Snacks & Water
One thing about me is I’m always hungry, but necessarily for big meals though. I’m more of a constant snacker, so I always make sure to have them on me. Going to the gym is no exception. Snacking keeps my energy up when I have a busy day or a long workout ahead of me. Because I have a pretty sensitive stomach, I choose my snacks very carefully. The last thing I need is an upset stomach while running. Some of my favorite snacks to take with me include orange fruit cups, nature valley granola bars and fruit twists (they are like fruit leather but I think they taste better in rope form lol). I like to eat orange fruit cups before practice because oranges are great for helping with sore muscles and the nature valley granola bars are so delicious plus it gives me something more filling if I’m lacking the energy that day. Lastly, fruit twists give me that small boost of sugar if I’m dying during a workout. And I LOVE the taste. My sweet tooth usually gets the best of me and these fully satisfy it. Another thing you always have to have when going to the gym is an ample amount of water. The water bottle I have is a 32oz Powerade bottle I got at NCAA Nationals for track. It holds a bunch of water and it helps to keep me motivated because I know I earned it through lots of hard work and dedication.
My Shaker Bottle + Protein Powder
I learned a valuable lesson my Freshman year of running track: if you don’t eat enough and train extremely hard everyday, you WILL lose weight. And for other’s that may sound great, but for a girl who ranges between 115-120 lbs – not so much. I’m 5’6″ and after my freshman season I weighed a measly 107 lbs. I hadn’t been that light in years and I had to get serious about my nutrition if I wanted to make it through three more rigorous training seasons. That summer I met with my nutritionist and we made a game plan of things I should eat, when to eat, and when to have snacks in-between my meals. We soon realized that for me to gain and maintain a good weight, I was gonna have to add way more calories to my diet. Luckily for me, my nutritionist is amazing and she partnered with my weight coaches and got me the biggest tub of chocolate protein powder I think I’ve ever seen. She told me that to get the amount of calories I needed everyday I was going to have to drink protein shakes consistently. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this idea because, let’s be serious, protein shakes don’t taste that good. To this day I still don’t think they taste the best but what I do to make it a little more enjoyable is by adding Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk and mixing those together instead of using water. Now after workouts I have that combination as soon as I leave the track and drink it right away. This way I know I’m fueling my body and getting enough calories to keep a healthy weight.
No, this isn’t something that helps tone your body (I know that’s what you were thinking lol). The toner I’m talking about cleanses your face. I use the Vitamin E Hydrating Toner by the Body Shop and it removes so much dirt off of my face, it’s almost unbelievable. Especially when I use this after a workout it leaves my skin feeling super soft and clean. I have pretty dry skin and a lot of cleansers dry my face out even more so when I found this hydrating toner I was thrilled to try it out. The best time to clean your face is ASAP after you finish your workout. This way you get all the dirt and sweat off immediately so it doesn’t have time to settle into your pores causing breakouts. I love to use this in the morning and also before I go to sleep just to make sure I keep any gross stuff off that might get on my skin.
My Nike Trainers
Of course I need some running shoes! My favorite are Nike’s because they really cater to slimmer feet and mine are the slimmest. I love their classic and sleek styles that I can wear in the gym and just during regular day-to-day activities. The ones I’m currently wearing are the Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 . They are an older version so it might be hard to find these exact ones but Amazon has a good selection of fun colors too. I use these for running, lifting, and any other physical activity I may be up to that day and they work great. I love the foot support without it being too heavy. A perfect pick for the sprinter in me.
This may sound random but a lacrosse ball is a super important component I keep in my gym bag! These are the ABSOLUTE best at getting out muscle knots and tightness. I use this on my hamstrings, hips, feet, back – you name it. A fun little hack is to keep the ball in the freezer while you workout and afterwords use it on sore muscles. The coldness feels amazing and does double duty by cooling you down (which also helps with inflammation) and working out any tightness you may have. If you don’t feel like buying one, I promise if you go to a field after a lacrosse practice lets out, there will be a ton of them left around and you can take your pick 😉
My gym bag is the Nike Vapor Elite 2.0 (it’s a baseball backpack and not my fave) but it was given to me so I figured I’d get some good use out of it. Here are some really cute gym bags I’d love to have:
- Adidas by Stella McCarntey
- Charli Quilted Backpack
- Matte Black Satchel
- Nike Auralux Solid Club Training Bag
I hope you found what I put in my gym bag helpful and leave a comment letting me know what you bring to the gym!