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I have a love/hate relationship with the gym.  I love how I feel after I go but I hate trying to go.  I’m fine once I get there but I feel like I force myself to get ready and go every day.  I think the main reason I make it each day is because my gym has a great daycare that my daughter enjoys and then I get a little break to focus on myself.  Plus, the locker room facilities are wonderful and make freshening up afterwards a breeze. 

Getting ready to go to the gym, working out, and then coming home to get ready all over again for the day is time consuming and exhausting.  Getting ready at the gym is efficient and a little easier but that requires some gym bag essentials.  Here is what I keep in my gym bag to keep me looking fresh and beautiful.

Gym Bag Essentials | What's in Your Gym Bag | What You Need at the Gym | #gymbag #gym #fitness #beauty

Gym Bag Essentials for Your Body

Baby Wipes

If you don’t have time to shower at the gym, as I usually don’t, this the quickest way to freshen up your body and wipe off the sweat and grime.  Ideally, I would love to take a quick shower but the daycare at my gym only gives us a two-hour limit so, by the time I work out for 1.5 hours, I only have about 30 minutes to get ready and I can’t get ready at home at her current age. 


Sunscreen is so important if you are going to be spending any amount of time in the sun. I have finally gotten in the habit of putting on sunscreen daily whether I know I am going to be in the sun or not. At the very least, put a little on any exposed skin like the shoulders, legs, and tops of feet in the summer or your hands in the winter. You definitely need it for your face, as well, as I mention below. I currently use Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70. It smells heavenly.


Obviously, you need a change of clothes along with shoes and, perhaps, jewelry. Everything you need to step out looking fabulous.


Nobody likes a Smelly Sally.  Bring a little perfume or body spray to spritz on. My current favorite is Marc Jacobs Daisy. I also adore any coconut scented body spray. It makes me feel like I’m at the beach.


Going along with the avoidance of being a Smelly Sally, you will need to freshen up your deodorant after working out. Make sure you clean your armpits with a baby wipe or some soap and water to get rid of the old deodorant and sweat before applying new deodorant.

Small Towel

A small towel is great for drying off after using the baby wipes, washing your face, wiping off products, etc. If anything, at least throw a washcloth in your bag.

Gym Bag Essentials for Your Face

Face Wipes

I use wipes designed for the face to cleanse the sweat off if I don’t have time to wash it properly.  Some people prefer to still wash their faces so bring your face wash if you would rather quickly wash your face in the sink. Don’t use the baby wipes as they are not designed for your face and may dry you out or cause breakouts.

Face Cream/Sunscreen

Be sure to bring your moisturizer and/or sunscreen.  Lately, I have been using Neutrogena’s Anti-Aging Face Sunscreen SPF 70 to keep my skin protected. It goes on smooth and doesn’t feel or look greasy after it is absorbed. Give your face some time to absorb it before applying makeup.


If you wear makeup, make sure to bring what you need.  If you don’t have a lot of time, just bring the essentials – foundation/powder, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. This will give you just enough to look fresh.

Gym Bag Essentials for Your Hair

Hair Tools

Hair dryer, straightener, curling iron, etc.  If you use it, pack it in your gym bag.  My gym provides hair dryers in the locker room so I only bring my straightener and curling iron.  I find that if my hair is up in a high enough pony tail than it doesn’t get too sweaty and can be dried easily and styled without too many issues.


Pack what you need to fix your hair. My hair is somewhat long and thick so I like to bring a clip so I can pull the top layer up when I am straightening it. I will do the bottom layer and then release the clip and do the top layer. I always keep extra hair bands in my bag as well in case I feel like simply throwing my hair up in a ponytail.

Small Mirror

A mirror comes in handy in many situations but I like to bring a small mirror so I can check the back of my hair when I am curling it. It helps to know that the back view looks as good as the front view.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is a lifesaver.  I love this stuff.  If your hair looks a bit greasy after working out, a few quick spritzes of dry shampoo will have you looking fresh again. 

Extra Essentials for Showering

Bring the following items, as well, if you have time to shower at the gym:

  • Bath Towels
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Loofa/Washcloth
  • Toiletry Travel Case
  • Shower Shoes or Flip Flops

It may seem like a lot of stuff but I have my routine down to about 30 minutes using the above items and I am always satisfied with the results.  You can always reduce your load if you simplify your routine.  If you tend to wear your hair up or wear very little or no makeup, you can cut out multiple items.  Also, if you tend to go to the gym 4+ times a week, you may want to invest in some travel size versions of your products.  This will save you space and keep you from having to dig through your gym bag on your days off.

This is my list of gym bag essentials but everyone has different needs.  What’s in your gym bag?

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