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30 Things to Always Keep in Your Gym Bag

by
author image Maghan McDowell
Maghan McDowell is a San Francisco Bay area writer and editor. A former magazine editor and university lecturer, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida.

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30 Things to Always Keep in Your Gym Bag
Adobe Stock/Syda Productions

Sometimes, all you need is a pair of shoes, some open space and a little motivation to get a good workout. But it can be fun to try out cool new fitness tools and keep your gym bag fully stocked with odds and ends you might need before, during and after your workout. We’ve asked a handful of top trainers to let us peek inside their trainer toolkits to see what their favorite accessories are. Read on to find out which new fitness tech gadgets, shoes, socks, snacks, sunglasses and clothing they recommend to enhance performance, as well as a few other items we think are essential to keep with you at the gym.

1. A Gym Bag
Corey Hartford/LIVESTRONG.COM

1 A GYM BAG

It may seem obvious, but it's important to start with a well-made gym bag that will keep up with all your workouts. This one, from MRKT, also makes the seamless transition from work to locker room to weekend getaway without looking like a traditional bulky gym bag. Made from their proprietary SUPR FELT, which is durable and water resistant, this bag has several pockets to store smaller items, including a pocket in the bottom lining where you might want to store you wallet and other small valuables out of plain sight. PRICE: $135. WHERE TO FIND: MRKTstore.com

Related: More info about MRKT Ted Weekender and where to find it

2. Socks
Stance.com

2 SOCKS

Socks get a bad rep as the Christmas present no one wants, but they can really make a difference in your workout. These socks from Stance feature arch support and reinforced toe and heel. Keep them as a second pair of emergency socks like celebrity trainer Ashley Borden keeps in her bag. "You never know -- especially when you are training outdoors," Borden says. Plus, these socks feature a lightweight construction with minimal cushion and breathable performance mesh. PRICE: $15. WHERE TO FIND: Stance.com

Related: More info about Stance Socks and where to find it

3. Deodorant
Saje.com

3 DEODORANT

Deodorant is one of those things you don't want to get caught at the gym without. Your fellow gym goers will thank you for it. Try this all-natural deodorant from Saje, which is non-sticky, doesn't clog pores, free of harsh chemicals and won't stain your clothes. It includes liquid mineral salt, which neutralizes odor-causing bacteria, and sandalwood and rosewood, which leaves a light but exotic scent that sticks with you through your workout. PRICE: $12.95. WHERE TO FIND: Saje.com

Related: More info about Saje All-Natural Deodorant and where to find it

4. Water Bottle
Corey Hartford/LIVESTRONG.COM

4 WATER BOTTLE

"I sometimes forget to drink enough water, so I'm working on changing my environment by keeping a water bottle in my bag," says personal trainer Brynn Jinnett. "We are big proponents of small changes instead of diet overhauls." At Refine Method, she teaches clients to focus on one small daily behavior -- like drinking more water -- until it becomes habit. And this bottle from Soma is just beautiful enough to actually make you want to drink more water. Plus, it's high-quality, shatter-resistant glass and bamboo cap is BPA-free and holds 17 ounces. PRICE: $30. WHERE TO FIND: DrinkSoma.com

Related: More info about the Soma Glass Water Bottle and where to find it

5. Hand Towel
Manduka.com

5 HAND TOWEL

If you plan on taking a yoga or Pilates class (or any other glass that could benefit from a non-slip surface for your hands), a yoga towel (like this one from Manduka) is a must. "I used to go to yoga class with just my mat, no towel," says Livestrong contributing editor Rachel Grice. "But now I wouldn't practice without one. I don't have to constantly reposition by hands in downward-facing dog." And this towel, absorbent and quick drying, is made from a recyclable synthetic material that has a soft, suede-like feel. PRICE: $16. WHERE TO FIND: Manduka.com

Related: More info about the Manduka Equa Yoga Towel and where to find it

6. Mobility Ball
Acumobility.com

6 MOBILITY BALL

Trainer Jason Anthony recommends using a mobility ball (or substituting a lacrosse or tennis ball) before a workout or at home to regain mobility and tissue suppleness. For example, he'll have clients lay on a ball on the floor to break up adhesions on their chest or sit on a ball to break up knotted-up glutes -- "somewhat like a mobile deep-tissue massage." Trainer Ashley Borden recommends placing one between yourself and a floor, chair or wall and letting your body weight do the work as you roll across it. PRICE: $24.95. WHERE TO FIND: Acumobility.com

Related: More info about the Acumobility Mobility Ball and where to find it

7. Headband
Corey Hartford/LIVESTRONG.COM

7 HEADBAND

Nothing takes you out of the zone quite like stray hairs falling into your face (or sweat dripping into your eyes). Prevent both with a moisture-wicking headband like this one from Headsweats. It's comfortable, lightweight and will stay in place during your workout. Plus, it's not going to take up a whole lot of room in your gym bag. Choose from one-inch or three-inch styles and a stylish array of colors. PRICE: $7.50. WHERE TO FIND: Headsweats.com

Related: More info about Headsweats Active Performance Headband and where to find it

8. Arnica Ointment
Saje.com

8 ARNICA OINTMENT

Sometimes you just need a workout that hurts so good! But if you're sore after the fact, arnica ointment can help. It soothes inflammation naturally without a ton of chemicals, and it doesn't smell like a bunch of chemicals either. And if you suffer any sprains or strains during your workout, this will help soothe the pain, too. Just make sure you aren't working through an injury and making it worse. PRICE: $19.95. WHERE TO FIND: Saje.com

Related: More info about Saje Arnica Rescue Ointment and where to find it

9. On-the-Go Cosmetics
BeautyForReal.com

9 ON-THE-GO COSMETICS

Hitting up happy hour after the gym? You'll want to stash a few make-up essentials to help you make the transition. Try Beauty for Real's Blush + Go to accentuate your post-gym glow with a highlighter and blush. It contains vitamin E and grape seed extracts, which provide anti-aging benefits. And their Lip Gloss + Shine provides a tint of color while hydrating your lips with aloe vera and avocado oil and protecting them with grapeseed oil and green tea extract. PRICE: $18-24. WHERE TO FIND: BeautyForReal.com

Related: More info about Beauty for Real Cosmetics and where to find them

10. Minimalist Shoes
Nike.com

10 MINIMALIST SHOES

For those who spend their days in high heels or dress shoes, using a flat, minimally padded shoe, when appropriate, can have numerous benefits to strength, balance and safety, according to trainer Brynn Jinnett. "We encourage our clients to wear minimalist sneakers," says the former New York City Ballet dancer and Harvard graduate. For his lifting workouts, trainer Brian Tschida wears a lighter shoe, like the Nike Free. In describing them, he says, "they're light, but not completely minimalist." PRICE: $130. WHERE TO FIND: Nike.com

Related: More info about Nike Free Flyknit Shoes and where to find them

11. Ice Wrap
DrCoolRecovery.com

11 ICE WRAP

Don't let aches and pains ruin your workout. Use an ice wrap instead of a traditional, bulky ice bag. Combining compression and cold therapy, this one from Dr. Cool can be used on your elbows, knees or ankles to reduce swelling and speed recovery mid or post-workout. Simply wet and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes before using. PRICE: $22.99. WHERE TO FIND: DrCoolRecovery.com

Related: More info about Dr. Cool Ice Wrap and where to find it

12. Smartphone Holder
Bracketron.com

12 SMARTPHONE HOLDER

For those who find that traditional armband smartphone holders get in the way of a good workout, here's an alternative. Bracketron's TruSportPak holds your phone at your lower back, leaving less room for your headphone wires to get tangled in front. With a clear plastic covering, you're still able to operate your phone while keeping it safe and weather-proof. Plus, it features three LED light settings: constant, fast flashing and slow flashing when you want to take it out for a night run. PRICE: $24.99. WHERE TO FIND: Bracketron.com

Related: More info about Bracketron TruSportPak and where to find it

13. Jump Rope
Amazon.com

13 JUMP ROPE

"If you know how stressful working out while traveling can be, here’s a solution: Bring a jump rope," says strength and conditioning coach Lance Goyke. "Jumping rope reduces anxiety, depression and stress markers. All you need for your quick, on-the-road workout is a compact jump rope you can easily fit in your suitcase. " Try this one from Survival and Cross. A best seller on Amazon that's lightweight and compact so you can take it with you anywhere. PRICE: $10. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Survival and Cross Jump Rope and where to find it

14. Protein Bar
Promax.com

14 PROTEIN BAR

Your body is a machine. Fuel it like one. For their Pro Series bars, Promax nutrition teamed up with personal trainer and brand ambassador Holly Perkins. "This bar tastes like a treat and performs like a beast," she says. "I rely on this bar to fuel my workouts and recovery, and, look forward to it as a “treat” every day." They're 37-percent protein, 37-percent carbs and 26-percent fat. So toss a few of these in your gym bag, and you're good to go. PRICE: $2.99 per bar. WHERE TO FIND: PromaxNutrition.com

Related: More info about Promax Nutrition Protein Bar and where to find it

15. Long-Sleeve Shirt
Patagonia.com

15 LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT

"I spend my day racing between very different environments -- from the studio to meetings and sometimes out to dinner -- without always having the opportunity to change," says trainer Brynn Jinnett. This Patagonia long-sleeve top is an ideal studio-to-street layer that is both warm and stylish. PRICE: $34. WHERE TO FIND: Patagonia.com

Related: More info about Patagonia Women's Long-Sleeved Fore Runner and where to find it

16. Sports Bra
Target.com

16 SPORTS BRA

This medium-support bra features concealing petals for extra modesty and a fun ladderback design that will look great on its own or under your workout top. "This is one of my all-time favorite sports bras," says contributing editor Rachel Grice. "What initially drew me to it was the super cute design, but it's also perfectly supportive during my plyometric and running workouts -- and there's no chaffing," she says. PRICE: $22.99. WHERE TO FIND: Target.com

Related: More info about C9 Champion Women's Sports Bra and where to find it

17. Trail Running Shoes
Corey Hartford/LIVESTRONG.COM

17 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

"Footwear is really important. It's good to get new shoes regularly," trainer Brian Tschida says. "If your feet aren't happy, you're not happy." Running coach Bruce Wilk has found that a good-fitting trail running shoe is more likely to blister at first when clients run longer distances, so it's important to break them in first. "A good training shoe doesn't feel like a slipper or sponge," he says. "It should feel like it holds the foot." PRICE: $125. WHERE TO FIND: Sportiva.com

Related: More info about La Sportiva Helios 2.0 and where to find them

18. Smartwatch
Polar.com

18 SMARTWATCH

Master trainer Justin Spence uses this Polar heart rate monitor because it helps him follow its instructions religiously, he says. Visual and audible alarms help keep his heart rate where it's supposed to be. "Having a percentage of my maximum heart rate, an average and maximum heart rate of each lap and an average and maximum heart rate of my overall workout are invaluable." Heart rate monitors are an essential tool for most trainers, as they can help you get a more accurate measurement of your effort and the number of calories you burn in each workout. PRICE: $329.95. WHERE TO FIND: Polar.com

Related: More info about Polar M600 and where to find it

19. Deck of Cards
Adobe Stock/alexacel

19 DECK OF CARDS

Trainer Kelly McGovern gets creative and uses a deck of cards with clients and while traveling. Each suit represents a different type of exercise (for example, burpees, push-ups, squats or sit-ups, with jokers being a one-minute cardio interval). She'll perform the number of reps indicated by the card, with face cards being 10 and aces being 11. PRICE: $4.49. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: Buy a Deck of Cards on Amazon.com

20. Anti-Chafe Gel
BodyGlide.com

20 ANTI-CHAFE GEL

"This lubricates skin to help prevent blisters, and Body Glide is really the industry standard," says Miami-based triathlete, running coach, author and orthopedic board-certified physical therapist Bruce Wilk, a lifelong runner and owner of specialty store The Runner's High in Miami. Body Glide can be used anywhere that skin or clothes rub together to prevent chafing without blocking sweat. PRICE: $14.99. WHERE TO FIND: BodyGlide.com

Related: More info about Body Glide Anti-Chafe and where to find it

21. Resistance Bands
Amazon.com

21 RESISTANCE BANDS

"Adding bands into your workout will constantly keep your muscles guessing and your body changing," says Crossfit athlete and author of author of Passport to Fitness Collette Stohler. "These lightweight, portable, fat-blasting bands can be taken anywhere." So throw one or two in your bag (each has a different level of resistance) and squeeze in a good workout even when they gym is completely packed and all the machines are taken. PRICE: $28.69. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Black Mountain Products Resistance Bands Set and where to find it

22. Mini Bands
Amazon.com

22 MINI BANDS

Los Angeles-based fitness and lifestyle consultant Ashley Borden uses three -- the green, blue and yellow -- of these inexpensive, portable nine-inch-long bands to warm up the hips and glutes for a quick, efficient, full-body warm-up. "You can use the yellow or green for a shoulder warm-up as well," Borden says. They're great when you're traveling, since they're super versatile and you can bring them with you pretty much anywhere you go. PRICE: $14.95. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Synergee Mini Bands and where to find them

23. Toothpaste
Amazon.com

23 TOOTHPASTE

"I eat between five and six meals a day, often between clients," says trainer Jason Anthony. "So I make sure I have a toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste." Fluoride, which is added to most toothpastes to help fortify teeth from tooth decay, has attracted controversy for possible adverse health effects. So the safer option may be to avoid the added extra-ingredient in your toothpaste and choose a more natural version instead. The ingredients in the formula that Anthony recommends include calcium, baking soda and aloe. PRICE: $17.60. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Nature's Gate Natural Toothpaste and where to find it

24. Liquid Bandage
NewSkinProducts.com

24 LIQUID BANDAGE

This liquid antiseptic dries quickly to provide protection for wounds. "I always take precautionary measures, but I never know what's going to happen during my workouts," says trainer Ashley Borden. Just in case I get a scrape or blister during a run, I like to have a bottle of this in my bag to protect my wound against infection and other dirt and germs." PRICE: $5.93. WHERE TO FIND: NewSkinProducts.com

Related: More info about New-Skin Liquid Bandage and where to find it

25. Sunscreen
BadgerBalm.com

25 SUNSCREEN

When training outdoors, trainer Justin Spence use this all-natural sunscreen with non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide. This sweat-resistant sport formula is made to last for at least 80 minutes of intense outdoor activity. "It's amazing! I love that it has no greasy film." he says. “Plus, it protects me even after swimming and is nearly entirely organic.” Additionally, Badger Sport Sunscreen was included in the Environmental Working Group's 2016 Annual Guide to Sunscreens. PRICE: $15.99. WHERE TO FIND: BadgerBalm.com

Related: More info about Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF35 and where to find it

26. Salt Tablets
Amazon.com

26 SALT TABLETS

“What we sweat out is water and salt, and sports drinks don't have enough salt," says physical therapist Bruce Wilk. For long runs, bike rides, and workouts -- those that are three hours or more -- Wilk uses sodium tablets that are buffered to prevent queasiness. Rather than recommending a specific amount or time to ingest the tablets, Wilk recommends consulting with your doctor as each athlete’s specific sugar, salt and water replacement needs are unique. PRICE: $8.34. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Thermotabs Buffered Salt Tablets and where to find them

27. BlenderBottle
BlenderBottle.com

27 BLENDERBOTTLE

Trainers are often on the go and don’t always have time to prepare a wholesome protein shake that requires a lot of prep work. To make a recovery shake after a workout, trainer Jason Anthony mixes whey protein, glutamine and an organic juice with this BPA-free, leak-proof blender bottle and ball, which breaks up clumps of protein powder. "It's really durable, and it simply doesn't leak," Anthony says. PRICE: $9.99. WHERE TO FIND: BlenderBottle.com

Related: More info about BlenderBottle and where to find it

28. Sunglasses
SierraTradingPost.com

28 SUNGLASSES

Master trainer Justin Spence wears his Julbo Dirt Sunglasses with polarized lenses when he's trail running or mountain biking. "I'm always in and out of the sun and shade, and the lenses adjust accordingly," says Spence, who is the owner of San Francisco wellness center Corpo Sano. "The polarized lenses also kill any glare, allowing me to make more confident reactions and decisions on the trail." PRICE: $124.95. WHERE TO FIND: SierraTradingPost.com

Related: More info about Julbo Dirt Sunglasses and where to find them

29. Hair Bands
Amazon.com

29 HAIR BANDS

If you're a lady with long hair (or a guy who rocks a man bun), you know how hard it can be to keep track of your hair ties. That's why it's essential to always keep several in your gym bag. These colorful ties from Active Accessories will keep your hair back in a taut ponytail or bun but won't pull your hair when you try to take them out. PRICE: $6.99. WHERE TO FIND: Amazon.com

Related: More info about Active Accessories On-The-Go Hair Bands and where to find them

30. Your Smartphone
emiliozv/iStock/Getty Images

30 YOUR SMARTPHONE

You probably don't need a reminder to take your smartphone with you to the gym, but it can be a really helpful tool during your workouts. Use the timer or stopwatch during your Tabata-style workouts, jam some tunes from Spotify or use an app like RunKeeper or Strava for your outdoor runs. Whatever your workout, there's likely an app for that.

Related: The 6 Best Fitness Apps to Get You to Want to Work Out

What Do YOU Think?
Corey Hartford/LIVESTRONG.COM

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you keep a gym bag with you into the locker room? What do you keep in it? Have you tried any of these products? Which do you think is most important to have in your gym bag? Do you have a favorite go-to fitness product that we didn't mention? If so, leave us a comment below and let us know!

Related: 20 Health & Fitness Gadgets That Actually Work

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