5 Essential Items to Have in Your Gym Bag

Everyone has had it happen: you head to the gym ready for a workout only to discover you forgot your water bottle or other essential. You definitely don’t want to turn around and head home (and probably lose your steam) or fork over the huge prices the gym wants to cover you. Here are 5 essentials you should always keep in your gym bag, even if it means buying a spare.

#1. Water bottle
Don’t rely on the water fountain at the gym; with so many people using the fountain every day, it’s likely covered in bacteria on the handle and mouth. Be sure you keep a spare water bottle in your bag, but make sure you give it a good wash after every workout. An empty, reusable water bottle is a good choice because you can stay hydrated without the high cost and waste of plastic bottles.

#2. Heart rate monitor
Keep a heart rate monitor in your bag because you can’t always rely on the monitors on the cardio equipment working — or being available at all. A heart rate monitor can help you maximize your time at the gym and keep your heart rate in the zone for heart health and weight loss benefits. Note that some heart rate monitors give you an estimate of your total calories burned so this may be a good option if your main goal is burning fat.

#3. 2-in-1 soap
You don’t want to lug around a heavy gym bag every day. While you want to keep the essentials with you, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of stuff you take to the gym as much as possible. A good 2-in-1 combination hair and body wash can streamline your post-workout shower and minimize the clutter and bulk of your gym bag.

#4. Disinfectant wipes
Did you know some bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of staph infections, can live in a gym for up to 3 days after contact with a previously sterile surface? You can avoid exposure to staph infections and other bugs by wiping off the machine with wipes that contain at least 60% alcohol. Keep disinfectant wipes in your bag to protect yourself and follow other hygiene tips like avoiding sharing a towel or yoga mat, showering right after you work out, and wearing flip flops in the shower.

#5. Fresh towel
Add a small fresh towel to your gym bag before every workout to keep sweat out of your eyes, keep your mat dry, and avoid the insane towel rental fees at the gym. A bacteria-resistant microfiber towel is a good choice for maximizing space as it folds up to a fraction of the size of a regular towel and it dries out faster, too.

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