How to Organize Your Morning Gym Bag

For those of you who hit the gym religiously (I bow down to you), what is in your gym bag can be important. And for those of you who are disciplined enough to go the gym before work (I’m groveling at your feet), your gym bag is basically your lifeline. Below are my tips to keep you organized pre- and post-workout.

Clean Out Your Bag

If you currently have a gym bag you use, clean it out. Yep, everything. Then take care of everything except for what I’ve listed below!  Likely you don’t need everything in there and it’s probably causing you some stress trying to get through it anyway. For those of you who don’t have a bag yet, your first step is coming up.

The Basics

When you workout in the morning before work, there are some basics you need to have:

  • work clothes and shoes
  • deodorant
  • toiletries
  • makeup
  • hair products
  • jewelry case
  • combination lock
  • tiny loofah
  • towel
  • flip flops

Work clothes and shoes are fairly self-explanatory. If you are going early in morning I would suggest taking your work clothes out the night before and consolidating to one hanger. Then when you get to the gym, hang your clothes and gym bag in the locker. By the way, work clothes include underwear and a bra… speaking from personal experience here.

Deodorant because duh.  I would suggest keeping a full-size gel or spray deodorant in this bag – as in have a completely extra deodorant from the one you keep at home.  During hot temps, stick deodorant can melt in the car and get all over everything.  12-16-16-gym-bag-toiletry

Toiletries are an every person for themselves type of thing.
Some nice gyms have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in their showers and if they work for you, that is one (or three) less thing(s) you have to be toting around. I would suggest decanting your toiletries into travel bottles and doing something like what is pictured or finding a mesh bag so that you don’t drop all your products the minute you step into the shower.

Makeup is also a personal preference. Some women are totally fine with going bare faced or dabbing on a little moisturizer but for those of you who want a little more coverage, I get it. I will do a separate post on this completely but my best advice for now is to use things that can do double duty. Also, remember these may be sitting in a hot car for 8 hours so be wary of cream based products like a concealer stick that are not in a pot or tube.

12-16-16-gym-bag-makeupHair products are things you need to keep simple. You just went to the gym, you are probably still a little sweaty and if you’re a pale girl you are still red in the face. This is not the time for that blowout. If you have long hair I would skip the hair dryer altogether and put your hair in a knot or low pony. If you have short hair like me a good gym will have hair dryers but if not invest in a small, compact one. I love products that do double duty so I would suggest a moisturizing/anti-frizz spray like the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product and a dry shampoo like the Batiste Dry Shampoo which also provides a tiny bit of hold (and if you don’t want to wash your hair, will sap up sweat and cover the smell).  Both are relatively inexpensive, meaning you can have your gym bag set and your home set. Also bring a wide tooth comb (compact and easy on your hair), hair elastics, and bobby pins.

Jewelry case can mean a pocket you throw a pair of earrings, your wedding ring, or a beloved necklace in. If you really like jewelry, a small case might be better. Be sure to plan this the night before with your outfit. I use those freebie bags you get when you spend more than X amount of dollars at the beauty counter and they work perfectly.

Combination lock because nobody wants to be hauling around a key when they work out. Keep it locked on the strap of your gym bag when not locked on your locker.12-16-16-gym-bag-lock

Tiny loofah because who wants to carry around a wet washcloth all day?! Plus these things dry in about 30 minutes.

Towel because those gym towels are tiny! I would opt for a towel that fits around your body so you don’t also have to bring a robe or change your clothes in the shower if you aren’t the go-naked type in the locker room.

Flip flops because, again, duh. Nobody likes foot fungus.

The Extras

These are things you don’t really need but if they will fit, it would be nice to have.

  • hanger
  • dryer sheet
  • mesh bags
  • small pack of clorox wipes

Hanger which you will probably have anyway due to the work clothes. 12-16-16-gym-bag-hangerIf you use public transportation to commute or don’t have a car, this isn’t a practical option, but if you have a car this saves your clothes from wrinkling and you can hang your towel over it after you shower so you don’t have a stinky towel balled up in your bag.

Dryer sheet – just one, slipped into the bag to keep it smelling fresh. They sell “deodorizers” for gym bags but who wants to brave a sporting store to get them? Plus you already have a dryer sheet, I’m guessing.

Mesh Bags are just the ones you probably already use to wash your delicates. These are easy to get online or at Bed, Bath, and Beyond in a multi-pack. They are nice to have to put wet toiletries in, delicates ready for the wash, or to just wrangle your gym clothes.

Clorox wipes or any disinfectant wipe. They sell them now in the travel section of Targets and drug stores and here is why I like them. While you will never use them on your body, whatever thing you wore while working out is a mess right now (read headphones, watches, fitbits). It’s nice to give them a good wipe down.

Now go kick some ass!  And don’t forget your water…



What do you keep in your gym bag?  Comment below!

Is your organization routine as inflexible as your downward dog?  Ask me a question and don’t forget to breath!