How to Organize a Mid-Day Gym Bag

We are to the final gym bag in our series! A few weeks ago I did both a morning and evening gym bag but this is the time of year when our expectations are running high and we may just find a way to squeeze in a lunch workout session as well. While this can really be any type of workout, I always think the best is one which allows you to go back to the office desk without looking (or smelling) like you just did an hour of cross-training. Hopefully these tips will help get in shape while not sacrificing your office friendships.

The Basics

  • workout clothes (including pants, top, socks, sneakers, and sports bra and maybe an extra pair of undies if you get really sweaty)
  • hair tie and/or fabric headband
  • deodorant
  • makeup wipes or wet wipes
  • dry shampoo
  • hairbrush
  • gym bag with a combination lock

Workout clothes – Obviously you will need workout clothes and unless you work in an office where it’s super casual, you are likely going to need to change. This is all budgeted into your hour lunch so you want clothes you can slip on quickly (no confusing sports bra or workout tops please!).

Hair tie and/or fabric headband – Part of the struggle with the lunch time workout is the hair issue. If you are fine with keeping your hair up the rest of the day or if you have particularly course or curly hair that doesn’t get the dreaded line from a hair tie, go for this. However, if even 10 minutes in a hair tie causes a halo kink all the way around your head, you may want to consider using a bigger fabric headband (which can also double as a sweatband). Then knot your hair around the nape of your neck and secure with a hair tie. Depending on your hair and how hard you push your work out, this may even create some cool waves once taken down.

Deodorant – because duh… I like to use both before and after to combat the smell a bit.

Makeup wipes or wet wipes – You know I love me some “Say Yes to Cucumbers” makeup wipes and I really hate sweating it out with makeup on my face. What I really love about this brand is that they are also gentle enough to use anywhere else on your body. If you want to give yourself a quick wipe down post-workout, it’s not that hard and it has a great scent!

Dry shampoo – Enter my Batista or Bumble & Bumble promos again. I’ve tried probably 20 dry shampoos in my life but I always come back to these two. I do have to say, I also very much enjoy the Oribe texturizing spray so if you’re hair is already relatively clean and you didn’t sweat too much, this spray is great to sop up some excess moisture plus it adds some texture to your locks. It is a bit more expensive so for a workout bag, it may not be your best choice but if you are a regular lunchtime gym-goer, it would be worth the splurge.

Hairbrush – or comb, whatever works for you. Some ladies can let their hair down after a workout and their luscious waves or curls look somehow better. For those afflicted with stick straight hair like me, the result is not so kind. When my hair was longer, I would usually spray in some dry shampoo and do a top knot or nape neck bun and go on with my day. Now that I have short hair… haha I don’t workout at lunch, it’s almost impossible to restyle that! You can though with some good coaxing and maybe a bit of hairspray.

Gym bag with combination lock – I like to keep everything in a gym bag. Even if you have an office, even if you change at your office, I still feel it’s nice to have everything I need in a bag near me at the gym. This way if it’s a particularly tough sweat session or you have a meeting right after working out, you won’t walk back into the office looking like a polar bear has just chased after you (it happens…in Alaska, I’m sure). As before, I always suggest using a combination lock as opposed to a lock that needs a key because I lose things fairly easily.


The Extras

  • shower stuff
  • makeup
  • laundry bag
  • dryer sheet

Shower stuff – Leaving your office, changing, working out, and getting back to the office is stressful enough without showering post-workout. But for those of you who feel you must or really workout too hard not too, then you’re going to want to bring some shower stuff. My Morning Gym Bag post has all the helpful tips to allow you to streamline your gym bag without your shampoo exploding all over your work clothes.

Makeup – If you want to rock no makeup post-workout (or maybe pre and during – you do you!) go for it! For those of you who feel you need a little help post-workout, consider using my Purse Makeup Bag tips for a low-maintenance but highly effective makeup bag to keep up that post-workout glow without the splochiness.

Laundry bag – I personally like to bring a mesh laundry bag with me everywhere… just kidding, but I do suggest it when you work out so you can keep your sweaty clothes at least partially contained.

Dryer sheet – I always throw an extra dryer sheet in a bag I know could be particularly smelly. For a more natural option, you can always throw a couple of drops of essential oil on a rag and line the bottom of your bag. Just be careful not to use too much essential oil or you might be smelling like lemon or lavender for weeks!


Hopefully, all three bags, morning, noon, and night, will motivate you to get your workout on!

What are your workout essentials?  Comment below or tweet at me on the Twitter-sphere!