Gym Bags for the Novice

I received an emergency call from a friend yesterday morning. Early yesterday morning. It seems she has access to a gym at work and is considering actually using it. What she wanted from me was some tips on what to pack in her gym bag. While we were talking, she suggested that I blog the topic because there might be other rookies who area experiencing some angst over the issue, and since I’m now two-and-a-half months into my own gym membership, I feel moderately qualified to discuss the subject.

There are three possible scenarios in my exercise world: 1) working out at the training studio, 2) working out at the gym, version 1 (after work) , and 3) working out at the gym, version 2 (weekends), and each requires a different bag content.

For working out with the trainer, my gym bag will contain the following:
1) sneakers
2) socks
3) excercise pants
4) t-shirt
5) sports bra
6) deodorant(before) & body mist (after)
7) hair clips and stretchies
8) protein bar (I like Luna Bars or Clif Bars)
9) MP3 player and earphones

The training studio supplies a towel and cool water. There’s a shower there, should I need it, but since I work out in the evening, I take care of that at home.

For the gym, version 1, used when I stop at the gym on my way home from work, I carry the same items as the training bag, but I add my heart rate monitor, a couple of hand towels (one for me, one for the equipment–tip: use two different colors to remember which one is which) and sanitizing wipes. I haven’t had much use for the wipes yet, since I’ve stuck mainly to cardio, but if I need to use the other equipment, they’re nice to have on hand. I also make sure I have a dollar for a bottle of water.

Gym bag, version 2, is used when I go to the gym from home. Since the gym is around the corner from my house, I can dress at home before I leave, and go back home to shower when I’m done. On those days, all I carry into the gym is my water and my MP3 player. Oh, and my gym pass, but it’s on my key ring, so I don’t have to remember to pack it.

If I ever needed to shower at the gym to re-enter polite society, I’d add a couple of towels, some flips flops, and my travel toiletries bag with soap, shampoo, etc. I would also include a couple of plastic bags for damp things. Then, of course, I’d have to also write myself a note to remember to carry the damp bags into the house so I didn’t wind up with a mildewed car.

As I said, these rambling inventories are based on my vast two-and-a-half month experience as a Gym Bunny in Training, and the fact that the gym is so close to my home does make a difference in what I need to pack. I’m sure there are things I’m missing, and I’m trusting others to fill in the gaps.

Then there will be NO GOOD REASON for my friend to avoid the gym. :)