From Work to Workout: How To Pack The Perfect Gym Bag

Hey there!

If you’re anything like me, the idea of waking up in the wee hours of the morning to fit in your sweat session before work will just never become a reality. I wait until the absolute last possible minute to roll out of bed before I have to start getting ready for work. That’s the way it always has been and that’s the way it probably always will be. Even though I don’t get up before the sun comes up to get my sweat on, I still like to fit in time for my workouts a few days during the work week, which usually means I have to hit up the gym after work. 

Over the years I’ve managed to come up with EVERY. SINGLE. EXCUSE. under the sun to talk myself out of going to the gym after work. Most of the time my excuses sound something like: “I don’t have a water bottle with me so I can’t go to spin class.” or “I forgot my ear buds so I couldn’t possibly manage to go for a run without them.” Pathetic right? I know. I’m not proud of it.

The one thing all of this excuse making has taught me is how to pack the perfect gym bag to take you from work to workout! Now obviously, you’ll need to pack your clothes and shoes, which I didn’t include on the list, because we all know we need to bring those things. Instead, I chose to focus on the stupid little things that I find myself forgetting that (in my head) give me the excuse to head home after work, instead of going to the gym. So, I’ve compiled a list of a few things that I always like to keep on hand in my gym bag so I don’t have an excuse to skip my sweat session after a long hard day! Let’s get into it!

Pack the perfect gym bag'

1. Chic gym bag

I know this seems kind of silly, but I like to stash supplies for my sweat sessions in a cute gym bag that doesn’t actually scream “I’M A GYM BAG!” when it’s something I’m carrying into the office. I always felt a little weird carrying my baby pink colored duffle bag into the office, so decided to make a change to something a little more professional looking. I got a brand spanking new gym bag for Christmas last year and have been loving carrying it to and from the office!

2. Slide Proof Hair Ties

I have a lot of hair and I absolutely cannot stand having it down during a workout. I have forgotten my hair tie a few times and have resorted to borrowing a rubber band from the front desk and let me tell you… it wasn’t pretty. I always end up having to cut those pesky little things out of my hair, so now I always keep these extra thick slide proof hair ties with me. Since they are extra thick and have rubber woven into the band, they grip without pulling, and stay in place!

3. Non-Slip Headband

This one goes hand in hand with number 2. I hate to have my hair in my face and I hate having to mess around with headbands or hair ties that don’t stay in place. That’s why I love non-slip versions of these products because I can put them in my hair, forget about them and focus on what I’m at the gym to do!

4. Towel

If you’re not lucky enough to go to a gym that has towel service (which I am not), then you’ll probably want to remember to pack a hand towel to keep with you so you don’t have to resort to wiping your face off with paper towels. Those always dry out my skin so I try to keep them away from my face at all costs!

5. Hairbrush

This is nice to have but not an absolute deal breaker. I have been known to use the finger comb from time to time to put my hair in a pony tail, but you can never go wrong by packing a brush!

6. Protein Bar

One of my all time favorite excuses to give myself a pass from going to the gym is that I’m too hungry. If I make sure to have a protein bar handy, I’ve immediately eliminated that from my list of excuses!

7. Water Bottle

I know… I know… water bottles are available literally everywhere so how can I possibly use this one as an excuse? Well… sometimes it’s because I’m being too cheap to buy a $1 water bottle from the vending machine, while other times it’s because I don’t want to have to screw the cap back on between drinks. Pathetic right?!?! Now I always try to keep one in my gym bag so I don’t have to try to hunt down a throw away bottle with a squirt top. Please tell me I’m not the alone on this one!!!

8. Deodorant 

I think this one goes without explanation. Sometimes you just need a little touch up after a long and stressful day at the office!

9. Cell Phone Arm Band

There is nothing more annoying to me than having to find a place to set down my phone if I’m trying to weight lift on a day when I forgot my arm band. My phone never manages to stay put in those little pockets hidden in my yoga pants and it gets sweaty if I try to tuck it under my bra strap, so I’m not able to focus on the task at hand because I’m always worried about dropping my phone and breaking it. Making sure I have my arm band with me immediately takes care of this because all you have to do is put it on your arm and you’re ready to go!

10. Ear Buds

I’ve literally went into the locker room, changed into my gym clothes and walked out and went home when I realized I forgot my ear buds that day. Because of this, I’ve started keeping an extra pair in my gym bag, just in case I forgot to put my favorite pair back after the last time I used them.

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And the winner from my signed Skinny Confidential book giveaway is:

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Congrats to Farrah for winning and thank you everyone for entering!

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Questions of the Day:

What are some of the excuses you make to get out of going to the gym?

What is one thing you always have in your gym bag?

Signature

Linking up to The Fit SwitchJill Conyers, A Savory Feast, Angelena Marie,  Our Three PeasEat Pray Run DC, Mar On The RunYou Signed Up For What?, Fitful Focus, Fitting It All In, Housewife Glamour, Pretty Little Grub, Running 4 Cupcakes, September Farm, The Diary of a Real Housewife, The Good Life, The New Mrs Adventures XOXO Rebecca.

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79 thoughts on “From Work to Workout: How To Pack The Perfect Gym Bag

  1. I always have a Sweaty Band with me, either in my purse or gym bag. I have a lot of hair too, and it doesn’t matter that my hairdresser takes some of the weight out. It’s really good at growing back fast.

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    • I have the same problem! I stopped having it thinned out awhile ago because then I just ended up with short hairs sticking out all over the place when it started to grow out again. Not good!

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  2. I love this post! I’m always coming up with excuses to not go to the gym after a long day of work. I agree that having every little thing you could possibly need helps to take those excuses away. I keep extra hair-ties everywhere! I always like to have stuff to take a shower in my bag as well (shower shoes, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and a larger towel) so that if I have another thing to go to at night without having a chance to go home, I can’t use that as an excuse either. Now, I just need to work on packing my bag at night so that I’m not too tired/rushed in the morning to do it.

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    • I always wait until the last minute to pack mine, so I end up just throwing random clothes into my bag then use the lack of a cute matching outfit for my reason for not going to the gym. It’s really sad when I think about it. Kudos to you for showering at the gym so you can still get a workout in and make it to your plans! That’s awesome!

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  3. Since I home school and run my own business from home (I’m a photographer) I get to come home after going to the gym to shower, get dressed, etc. So I usually don’t pack much in my gym bag. A pair of shorts, deodorant, earbuds, my phone, wallet, flipbelt, HRM, and chapstick. That’s about it in mine…sometimes I wonder why I even pack one!

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  4. Great gym bag you pack Tricia. I attend Pure Barre classes, so nothing really required to take with me, only water bottle and no slip socks 🙂

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  5. Those are some great ideas! I don’t have a gym near me, so I don’t go! But if they ever build the one they said they would I will have to keep this in mind!

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  6. Haha, I definitely relate on the forgetting things part. The thing I most often forget are hair ties, hair pins and a hairband. And like you, I’ve tried rubber bands and they are no good.

    One thing I like to keep in my gym bag are unscented baby wipes. Good for a quick wipedown after particularly sweaty workouts!

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  7. Great post! I carry similar things in my gym bag. The earbuds are a must have for me too! I carry two pairs – my yurbuds and the stock iPhone ones for a back up. I also carry a package of nonslip rubber bands. And I’d never pay for a water bottle either (way too thrifty!) have to bring my own 🙂

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    • Love it! I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

      I think it would be even harder to be motivated to workout when you’re already at home and your pj’s and comfy couch are so close! Keep fighting the good fight!

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  8. I have to work out before work or else I make EVERY excuse in the book. I work from home now but when I travel, I need to be sure to have extra earbuds, extra sportsbra, socks and shoes. I keep a stash of extra undies if I have to go to work afterwards! I have forgotten those! Also hairbands. I have a zillion extras. I can’t workout with my hair down.

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    • Good for you! You’re so good for working out in the morning! I wish I could just get up and get it done but I’m way too sleepy, so I just stick to my after work workouts. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  9. I am right there with you on #10!! It may sound silly to some, but my whole routine just doesn’t flow well if I can’t jam to my tunes. I love this article and your graphic is lovely too. Two additional things I tuck in my bag are shower flip flops and antibacterial body wash. It may be overkill, but it makes me feel safe in a public shower.

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  10. These are great ideas! I pack my bag every night before work and put it in my car and lay my workout clothes out in the bathroom. That way when my alarm goes off at 4:30, I can get ready even with my eyes clothes and I know everything is packed and in my car ready for me to get to the gym and then work!

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  11. Hoorayyyyys! ❤ Thank you so much again! I'm so excited to read it! Them pancakes will be rolling out in a post in uh, March, because I'm super type-A (and also have to plan ahead out of necessity)!

    I've been meaning to make a "what's in my gym bag" post for ages! I need to get on that. :O But…extra set of gym clothes + sports bra is always in there! I need to pack in hair ties though–that's an awesome idea. 😡

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  12. Great ideas! Years and years ago I worked in an office and I never took advantage of the gym they offered, I probably should have on my lunch break!
    But I love your idea of a chic bag!!!
    But to your “excuses” part, yeah I struggle with that even some days when I have all the free time in the world to go for a run, LOL I have a feeling we all do, it’s only human I think:) Except my sister I swear she is inhuman she never misses her 4:30am 2 hour daily swim and run workout.. Sometimes I wish those early riser genes would start hitting me. But maybe not 4am ones, like 7 or 8am or you know 9am on the cold days, LOL

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    • I’m right with you on that! I wish the early morning gene would hit me too because it would make life so much easier if I could just get my workout done first thing in the morning but I just can’t seem to get out of my warm and cozy bed! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one that struggles with this!

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  13. I forget stuff, but really, the main deal breakers are shoes and food 🙂 I’ve forgotten my sports bra and made due by safety pinning my bra straps in the back, I’ve forgotten earbuds and run staring at a TV screen with no sound for 45 minutes, and I’ve even run without socks! But, it is not possible to workout in heels from work and, if I’m starving, I just can’t pull it off.

    So, I have food at work, in my purse, and in my gym bag! I just have to remember the shoes . . .

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    • Hahahahaha! Those are great points! I’ve definitely managed to get a workout in without a sports bra, socks and ear buds (not all at one time though!), but shoes and food are definitely necessary!

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    • That’s so awesome! I wish I was more of a morning person because then I could take advantage of the post workout high all day, but I just can’t seem to get out of bed in time. Nice job rocking the early morning workouts!

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    • Great dedication to your Runch! I love it! I really need to get in the habit of doing that too. I just don’t like to have to go back to work with sweaty hair and makeup. SEE again with the excuses!!!

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  14. This is a great list! I am going to make sure that I have all of those items in my bag right now! I have also had to use rubber bands from work on my hair. It sounds like we both have days that it is any excuse not to work out. I have ditched due to being hungry more times than I can count and I have actually gotten dressed, made the drive to the lake to run and then left when I realized I didn’t have headphones. I know it wasn’t the point of your post but thanks for letting me know I am not the only one that ditches when there are glitches.

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    • That’s definitely the point! It’s good to know that we’re not alone in our struggle and to gain strength in that. Thanks so much for sharing and making ME realize that I’m not alone in it either! 🙂

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  15. This is great! I work in a gym so fortunately I am ALWAYS in gym clothes, but I still have excuses. The biggest one is probably I’ve been there all day. I really don’t want to go back and work out. LOL But I do because it’s the right thing to do and it’s good for clients to see me working out too. I’m gonna share this with them though because I have definitely heard some “I don’t have this…” excuses!

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    • That’s awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! You’re lucky like me that we both can go to work in workout clothes, which is part of the reason I didn’t put clothes on the list! Even though I’m already dressed and ready to go, I still make excuses. That’s awesome that you still make a point to go back so that your clients can see you sweating it out too!

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  16. I am so with you about having a chic bag. Just because it’s the gym doesn’t mean it can’t look good! I’ve been meaning to pick up one of those armbands for my phone but I want it to be cute too! I’m super clumsy and I’m always catching the headphone cord on stuff. My nephew introduced me to wireless headphones and I’ve never looked back! I still keep ear-buds just in case i don’t charge the headphones.

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  17. I love this post! Many of the things in your gym bag are in mine, although I also have Shower Pill wipes (body wipes for when you’re sweaty but don’t want to take a shower) and a combination lock to keep my thing safe. I love my combination lock (weird, I know) because it doesn’t use numbers, it uses letters. That makes it much easier to remember the code!

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  18. Completely agree about the water bottle! I’m really picky with them, they have to hold 1L of water (so that I know I have to fill it twice in one day to get my 8 glasses in!) and they can’t leak all over my gym bag. I’m using a Camelbak bottle at the moment but I’ve also tried a cheap water infuser bottle off Amazon and a Bobble with a water filter in the cap. I probably sound quite obsessive about water bottles now! Haha!

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    • No, not at all! They’re so important! I need to get a new one because my Camelbak’s ALWAYS leak in my car cup holder and in my gym bag so they’re a no go for me now.

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  19. You would hate me – I JUMP out of bed around 4:45 am to get ready for my 5:30 am workouts. Yeah I’m that person! I ended up lugging around a heavy gym bag because I just put everything in it (including 3 pairs of earbuds) so I don’t miss anything. Once in a while I have forgotten my own towel but other than – I am always stocked and ready to go.

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  20. I always use the, it’s-been-a-long-day-and-im-just-tired-excuse. LAME! That’s one reason I like working out in the morning. It wakes me up and then I’m set for the day! I always keep a spare pair of socks in my gym bag incase I forget them or, in case of the winter, when the snow soaks through my shoes and gets my feet all wet and cold!

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    • That’s such a good idea actually! I’ve had to wear cold wet shoes far too many times so a dry pair of socks would definitely come in handy!

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  21. Great Post! That gym bag is adorable. I included one on my blog today too. I am in desperate need of a cute gym bag. I always keep hand cleaner in my bag. I used to keep yoga mat cleaner in my yoga bag, because it should be cleaned after each use. I find that cleaning your hands isn’t an often available option in gyms, so I usually carry a small sample size in my bag. Have a LOVEly weekend!

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    • That’s a good idea! I usually keep mine in my car and use it first thing when I get in after the gym but keeping it in your gym bag is a good idea too! I hope you have a great weekend!

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  22. A stash of hair ties and bands and snacks are must haves in my gym bag. I love gym bags that don’t scream gym bag. I was the same way about diaper bags 🙂

    I need a new yoga bag. Any suggestions?

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    • I can’t make it through the day without chapstick so I completely agree with you! I always have a few different kinds on hand. I hope you had a great weekend!

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  23. I used to be able to get up at 4 to run every day. I’m not entirely sure what happened but I really miss those early runs and the feeling knowing that I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want!!!
    I’m actually going to skip running tonight with the plan of getting to be early tonight so I can get up early tomorrow- I don’t need to pack a bag so I’m planning on setting out all my clothes before bed!

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  24. Way to go, setting yourself up for success. That gym bag is full of goodies! And I just got a new phone, and need to buy a new arm band. I am really struggling without one! I never run as far without it. lol

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    • Thanks! 🙂

      I need to get a new one too! I’ve been looking for one that’s a little cuter than the plain boring black ones though, so it’s been taking a little while longer to find one that I like.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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  25. My biggest excuse for not going to the gym, directly from work…is…”I have to cook dinner, first”. I rarely go to the gym, other than for swimming so I would have to say the one thing I ALWAYS have in my gym bag is my swimsuit. 🙂 Oh…buy if I don’t have my Garmin? All bets OFF…I can’t swim without it…it’s a rule. lol

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