The last place I lived in didn't have a gym in town. What they did have was a weird yoga studio that didn't really do yoga, a YMCA a few minutes outside of town where you could work out next to a bunch of 70+ year olds, the campus athletic center in town where you could work out next to a bunch of 19 year olds, and a CrossFit box in the next town over if you wanted to spend more time in your car than actually working out. I wasn't thrilled about any of those options.
Once we moved to Durham, (& thanks to a Christmas gift/hint from my momma), I joined a CrossFit gym, bought a class pass for SyncStudio, & have been trying out different yoga studios.
I definitely forgot how much I love working out, and spending all this time in gyms means my gym bag has basically become my favorite accesory. Yoga, crossfit, and spin are all very different workouts that need very different things. But packing & unpacking my bag before/after a workout guarantees that I'll forget something. Instead, I keep my bag stocked with 10 essentials that I need to kick any workout's ass!
Check them out below!
01. water bottle
I have a love of water bottles. I have waayyy too many. Blender bottles, Swell, and bkr bottles are currently my favorites. The blender bottles are great for protein shakes and BCAAs. The Swell bottles are great for when I have things to do before hitting the gym or if I'm going straight from CrossFit to spin. I know my Swell will keep my drink cold the entire time. Finally, my bkr is great to just throw in my bag for yoga, where I won't need as much water. Plus, the bkr bottle is way quieter when I inevitably knock it over during yoga.
branch chain amino acids are great to drink before, during, and after your workout! There's a ton of research available if you really want to get into it- but here are the main points: BCAAs increase muscle retention and maximize fat loss, they can give you energy before you work out, keep your intensity up during, and help your muscles recover after. Plus, they taste so dang good. Pay attention to the flavor ratings on bodybuilding.com when shopping for BCAAs (or anything, really) - they won't steer you wrong! My favorite flavor so far is Artic Ice (i.e. blue snow cone syrup... & omg it's amazing).
03. sweat towel
i love this handtowel from manduka. I already use their Pro mat (it's so cushioned!) and yogiToes mat during hot Yoga. This super absorbent towel is great as a handtowel during regular yoga classes and a sweat towel during crossfit & spin. I don't like to work out with a shirt on, and Durham's winter basically ended in February (def not complaining). Plus I got some wonderful heavy sweating genes from my mom and dad. So with the heat, my wonderful genetics, and now shirt to absorb/use to wipe off the sweat, a towel is an absolute must! I've been waiting for the eQua towel to go on sale so I could buy more AND THEY FINALLY ARE! I reccomend buying multiple so you always have a clean towel available!
a friend introduced me to dove dry spray and I was immediately obsessed. I've tried to clean beauty swap deodorant, but it doesn't hold up to my uber sweaty genes (again... thanks, mom & dad). Even though I have issues with dove dry sprays commercials for their men vs women's products (ie. grass clippings vs glitter... bc obvi as a woman, by biggest concern in day-to-day life is that glitter will get stuck to my armpit. no. & that needs to be a new fashion trend), but it dries quickly and works really well. So I'll ignore this small misstep in their otherwise lovely adverts. It also smells nice and doesn't leave any weird white residue.
I was reluctant to buy grips since I've only been doing crossfit for a few months. I didn't think I was good or hardcore enough to need them. But then I started to understand kipping. Aaaand then I ripped the shiz out of my hands. It's extremely unpleasant and should be avoided at all costs. I love JAW grips because they are thin enough that they don't affect my ability to grip the bar, but they do a great job protecting my hands! I also love that they are stretchy and move with your hands, unlike typical gymnastic grips. If you don't trust me, these are the grips that Sara Sigmundsdottir uses and she's a badass.
06. hand balm
and speaking of protecting my hands... when they did rip Winnie's Rip Fix was my hero. It took the sting out of my hands right away and helped them heal SO QUICKLY. I was back to gripping the bar within a few days. Seriously, you will want this in your bag if your hands are in danger of ripping. It's awesome. Now, I apply it whenever my calluses (or knuckles or cuticles or heels) are feeling rough and it helps my hands stay soft. This is probably my best CrossFit related purchase. I actually ripped my pinky yesterday doing about a billion snatches (okay, 75 but still) and I immediately washed my hands and put some Rip Fix on my pinky and it worked just as well as I remembered! I should actually go put more on...
There are a lot of healthy snacks out there, and I always have one in my bag. Some staples in my snack rotation are bananas, pistachios, big spoon roasters chai peanut butter (so good I could cry), and various protein bars. My current favorite protein bar is Optimum Nutrition's Cake Bites. Yum, YUM, yum. Each "bar" has 3 little cake bites, each with about 7 grams of protein and less than 2 grams of sugar. They're great for satisfying my sweet tooth or quieting my stomach pre/post workout. I'm currently eating the birthday cake flavor, but I think I'll add the red velvet into the mix. They're also a much better pre-workout option than the taco truck that is usually parked by my gym. Tacos and burpees don't mix. The more you know.
08. face wipes
Sweat makes my skin feel so great. I love sweating it all out, but the last thing I want is all that sweat & toxins to be left sitting on my skin. I got Pacifica underarm wipes in a PopSugar Must Have box (ps. It's a consistently awesome box), and they're great for when I have to rush off somewhere after a workout or, real talk, when I have too much caffeine and my pits won't chill. So when I found these face wipes in the natural beauty section of Target (also available at Whole Foods), I just had to try them out. I love the Purify coconut oil face wipes. They make my skin feel so fresh, have a great scent, and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
09. face sunscreen
Another subscription box discovery! I got a sample of Coola sunscreen in my Birchbox two summers ago, and I can't get enough of it. I use the sports sunscreen before outdoor workouts and use the BB+ cream as everyday makeup. But I keep this unscented, tinted SPF 30 mineral sunscreen in my gym bag. It's water resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it great during a workout with an outdoor component. I also love to use it after a workout when I don't have time to shower right away. My face is always a little red and blotchy after a tough workout, I love that the tint smooths my complexion while the calming ingredients actively work to reduce redness. Plus it is oh so wonderfully hydrating.
10. protein drink
Almost everyone agrees that protein after a workout is a must. I'll usually just make a shake at home after the gym, but if I'm not going directly home - or won't be home at least 30 minutes after my workout is finished - I'll throw a shake in my bag. I like whey protein powder, and my two current favorites are Optimum Nutrition in Extreme Milk Chocolate and Nature's Best Zero Carb Isopure in Creamy Vanilla. I'll usually blend those with coffee or cashew milk and fruits/veggies. If I'm looking for just protein without the heavy calories (i.e., I don't want to spoil my appetite for waffles), I'll grab a Nature's Best Zero Carb Isopure Ready-to-Drink in Apple Melon (it tastes like a melted jolly rancher... I plan on trying more flavors).
Let me know in the comments what you keep your gym bag!
& don't forget to pin for later!