Don’t Leave Home Without Them: 5 Gym Bag Essentials

May 28, 2015

Maintain your stamina, avoid bacterial infections, and stay chic while you workout with these 5 gym bag essentials.

Maintain your stamina, avoid bacterial infections, and stay chic while you workout with these 5 gym bag essentials. @JlevinsonRD - 5 Gym Bag Essentials

I am a paid consultant with Meta and was compensated for this post. Opinions are my own.

Here at Nutritioulicious, we spend most of our time sharing nutritious and delicious recipes and providing you with tips on healthy eating. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle – and weight – requires a balance of calories in and calories out. That’s where exercise enters the equation. A couple of summers ago we shared 5 Exercises to Get Fit for Summer and how swimming is a perfect summer activity. You don’t have to do it all; remember – small changes have a big impact as they add up over time. Whether you’re running a mile on the treadmill, lifting some weights, or taking a pilates class, here are some essentials for your gym bag that you won’t want to forget at home.

  1. Water bottle. Hydration is key during and post exercise, especially in the summer. The best way to determine how much water you need is to measure your pre- and post-exercise weight. The difference in weight is the water you’ve lost. (Sorry to burst your bubble – it’s not fat loss!). One pound is equal to 16 ounces, so for every pound you lose during exercise, you should rehydrate with 16 ounces of water – that’s two cups. Be careful about replenishing fluids with sports drinks; unless you’re participating in very high intensity exercise, working out for an hour or more, or it’s a really hot day, you don’t need the additional calories and electrolytes found in those drinks.
  2. Pre- and post-workout snacks. While exercise is part of balancing out the calories you take in, don’t forget about fueling and refueling pre and post workouts. Before you exercise, carbohydrates are key as they are your primary energy source. Try carb-rich snacks like hummus on whole wheat bread or a Meta Health Bar, which has 30 grams of carbohydrate per bar and has been shown to help satisfy hunger as a healthy snack thanks to its 4 grams of fiber. Post exercise you want a combination of carbohydrates and protein (preferably in a 4 to 1 ratio) – the former to replenish your glycogen stores and the latter to rebuild muscle and slow the rise of blood sugar post exercise. Try a banana with peanut butter, chocolate milk, or a veggie and cheese egg omelet.
  1. Disinfectant wipes. Bacteria found on sweaty exercise equipment, bathroom handles, and other surfaces throughout the gym can lead to skin, fungal, and respiratory infections. Many gyms provide disinfectant wipes near the treadmills, stair climbers, and other cardiovascular machines, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own. Wipe down the machine or weights before you use them; even the locker handle where you store your gym bag. And make sure to wash your hands with soap after your workout!
  1. Hair accessories. Headbands and hair elastics will keep hair off your face, keeping you cooler, less of a sweaty mess, and less prone to breakouts that occur when sweat mixes with oils from your hair and dead skin cells. Another plus: colorful headbands and ponytail holders are a chic accessory to add to your workout gear!
  1. Flip flops. The first thing you want to do when you’re hot and sweaty is jump in the shower. But do you really want your feet touching the ground of the public showers at the gym? The warm, wet and humid environment of locker rooms is a breeding ground for fungi. Keep your feet squeaky clean – and your summer pedicure sparkling – by bringing your own pair of shower shoes.

What are your gym bag essentials?

Do you have a favorite pre- and post-workout snack?

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  1. I always have a water bottle, phone, headphones, aminos and post workout snack – usually a Health Warrior Bar or homemade protein bites :). I just saw these Meta Bars for the first time this weekend. I can’t eat them, but they look tasty!

    1. Oh, headphones and phone are definitely a necessity! Sorry to hear you can’t hear the Meta Bars – they are quite good!

  2. Great list!! I think my favorite thing to have before a workout is Peanut Butter on a WASA cracker…and if I am feeling crazy…top it with sliced bananas and dark chocolate!

  3. I am such a germaphobe when it comes to gyms and hotel fitness facilities — glad to know I’m not the only one who’s so cautious! As for snacks, I aim to time workouts before a meal so it’s easier to incorporate that good balance of protein, some carb and a bit of healthy fats needed for recovery. Pre-workout is often a couple dates with nuts/seeds or nut/seed butter stuffed inside. Grab and go!

    1. haha…I’m pretty sure most people are germaphobes at the gym! That makes a lot of sense to time your workouts right before meals. Much easier to get the right balance after working out and reduce the risk of getting a tummy ache in the middle!