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Don't Sweat It: The Ultimate Gym Bag Essentials Guide

When it comes to being properly prepared for your gym endeavors, what you bring (or don’t bring!) in your gym bag can make or break your workout experience. Since we’ve mastered the art of packing a gym bag, we’re unpacking ours and sharing the ultimate essentials you need to make your workout a successful one.

From bags to shower must-haves and snacks, we’re giving you the scoop on the 10 gym bag essentials that will make your pre, intra, and post workout experience one to remember!


1) Invest in a Quality Gym Bag

Ditch your tote bag and invest in a bag that’s designed for meeting a gym-goers needs. A real deal gym bag is a major game changer! Look for a bag that has several pockets, a shoe compartment, is durable, and easy to carry. For a gym bag that’s both functional and stylish, Vooray is the way to go.

Heading from the gym to work? Work to gym? Putting everything you need in your gym bag sounds like a pretty simple task--that is until you forget a majorly essential item like your athletic shoes, bra, or hair brush. To avoid having a major UGH moment, avoid packing your gym bag on the fly and always double check your packing job to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

2) Pack Smart Gym Attire

Clothes - What you wear to the gym certainly has an impact on your workout experience and overall performance. Avoid clothes that are uncomfortable or restrictive, made from heavy fabrics, or leave you feeling self conscious. Comfort is king so we gravitate towards leggings and tops made from flexible, breathable materials that wick sweat away and help keep you cool. We’re currently obsessed with Girlfriend Collective. They have a wide range of size inclusive outfits for every type of workout ranging from running to yoga.

Bras - As far as sports bras go, it’s a total pain to always be on the lookout for the dreaded nip slip.To avoid this scenario, pick a sports bra that is supportive and provides full coverage. With all this in mind, we love brands that flawlessly fuse fashion with function like Year Of Ours. After all, working out in clothes that look and feel good on can totally boost your confidence and performance!

Shoes - When it comes to athletic shoes, the motto is always function over style! Investing in a pair of well fitting shoes will provide you with the support and comfort you need to perform at optimal levels while also preventing injury.

Not sure what shoe is right for you? Check-out The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society’s quick guide on how to select the right pair of athletic shoes. You ideally want your shoes to match your chosen method of exercise but if you’re anything like us and do a little bit of everything, cross trainers are your best bet!


3) H20, Oh Yeah!

Composing a whopping 60% of the human body, water is a building block that allows our cells to perform a variety of critical functions.

While drinking water throughout the average day is an important habit to adopt, a study by the American College of Sports Medicine demonstrates that maintaining an appropriate fluid balance during exercise is critical. The study highlights the importance of drinking water before, during and after exercise in order to maintain a level of healthy hydration.The reason being is that when you sweat, your body loses water...water that you’ll need to replace so as to avoid dehydration and keep your body systems happy.

To ensure that you are always adequately hydrated, a reusable water bottle is a non-negotiable gym bag essential. While any reusable water bottle will get the job done, we are beyond obsessed with our Mobot Big Bertha Foam Roller Water Bottle. Yes, you read that correctly: this water bottle doubles as a recovery tool for your muscles and helps you stay hydrated. Talk about a win-win purchase!

4) Crank Up the Music

Research shows that listening to music while working out enhances both performance and enjoyment - which makes them an absolute must for us to have in our gym bags!

Since your headphones will be smack in the sweat zone, it’s best to invest in a high quality, wireless pair that are designed to stay in your ears as you exercise, provide optimal sound for the ultimate pump up, and aren’t damaged by sweat. Our wireless headphones of choice: the Fitbit Flyer.

5) Track Your Workout

Fitness trackers provide you with essential, real time feedback on a wide range of metrics that can help you optimize your workout. Depending on how much you want to invest in your piece of wearable fitness technology, different models track everything from caloric burn, to current heart rate, activity tracking, and even sleep monitoring. For a budget friendly fitness tracker that does it all, check out the LETSCOM. If you’re prepared to invest in a top of the line tracker, the Fitbit Charge 3 is the go-to choice of fitness pros.  

6) Enhance Your Results

Before hitting the weights, applying a topical workout enhancer is another method to boost your results in . We’re big fans of Sweet Sweat: a thermogenic gel that accelerates sweating and increases caloric burn by boosting circulation to the applied area. Adding to it’s sweet effects, Sweet Sweat also helps fight muscle fatigue and promotes recovery.

7) Sweaty Solutions

Sweat happens! To avoid sweat interrupting your workout, a lightweight and absorbent microfiber towel like lululemon’s The (Small) Towel is a definite must-have item.


8) Shower Hour

Now that you’ve worked your butt off in the gym, it’s time to freshen up!

In order to make a flawless transition into the next part of your day, your gym bag should always contain a fully stocked toiletry bag with mini versions of your favorite products. Our must haves include deodorant, face cleanser & moisturizer, shampoo & conditioner, body lotion, hair brush, and makeup.

If you’re running short on time and have to bypass hopping in the shower, you don’t have to compromise feeling clean post sweat sesh thanks to our next list of gym bag essentials.

9) Fuel Up

Fueling your body with proper nutrition is an integral part of both your pre and post workout routine! Without it, your performance will be hindered right along with your results. Thus, it’s important to always have healthy, protein packed food options in your gym bag.

310 Nutrition’s plant based superfood protein shakes are a perfect option because they are totally portable, packed with all of the essential nutrients to replace a full meal, and are totally delicious. Plus, our shakes are specially formulated to help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.

What they include:

  • BCAAs - crucial for building muscle and losing excess fat.
  • Tri-Plex Protein Blend - helps to increase metabolic rate so you can burn more calories during resting periods.
  • 15 g of plant-based protein and only 90 calories per serving.

What they don’t include:

  • Any added carbs or sugar - which will help you stay lean outside of the gym.

10) Recovery Zone

With a ton of evidence that supports the necessity that is post-workout recovery techniques, we never leave the gym before using our Mobot Big Bertha Foam Roller Water Bottle to stretch out our muscles and reduce inflammation.

And since you’ll be giving 1000% in the gym, it’s inevitable that you’ll be sore the next day. To soothe sore muscles and joints, we apply Hypersoothe on whatever body part needs some extra TLC. Your muscles, can thank us later ;)


At the end of the day, packing a gym bag is with all of YOUR essentials will take some trial and error because we all have different needs. But mastering this art can play a huge role in helping you stay on track and ultimately reaching your fitness goals.

Like this post? Check out our favorite plus size activewear brands here.

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