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Yoga Saturday: Element Yoga for Strength & Flexibility, With Ashley Turner

Get Fit Friday: What's in my gym bag?

Since I have officially become a gym rat, I thought I'd share my gym bag essentials. I used to run into the gym, workout and leave all sweaty. But I now do humanity a favor and clean up after I'm done.

So, what's in my gym bag?

In a word, a lot. I need a bag to hold my shoes, a change of clothes, towels, shower necessities and workout gear. I'm also a bit of a gym bag hoarder -- always on the lookout for the holy grail of bags. It has to be big enough and sturdy because those gym lockers are small and a lot of squishing goes on.

My latest "holy grail bag" is the Live Well 360 Luxx bag. It's big, good looking and really well made inside and out. That can be a problem for a lot of gym bags -- the companies make the outside sturdy but skimp on the bag's lining, and that's where all the stuffing goes on. It's pricey but I have a feeling it'll last for years and years.


That's the Luxx bag, above.

What goes with me into the gym: I love that Camelbak Groove water bottle. It's super sturdy, holds a decent amount and there's a built-in water filter so I can refill it virtually anywhere (and it's purple!). I'm also not a fan of calloused hands, so I wear gloves. These are by Under Armour and they're not particularly well padded in the palm but they're ventilated and serve the purpose (and they're pink!). I also have my trusty iPod Nano loaded up with Rock My Run mixes and podcasts. My favorite earbuds right now are Sol Republic Relays, which sound great and stay in my ears comfortably. And the piece de resistance -- my pink Gatorade towel. First, it has my initials all over it, it's the perfect size for draping around my neck or on a machine (and it's pink!). 

(I know -- it's like "Rainbow Brite goes to the gym.")

In my gymbag3 master lock speed dialI made a point of photographing my lock because I've had questions about it in the locker room. I bought it years ago at Home Depot and I love that I don't have to stash a key anywhere or memorize a bunch of numbers. It's the Master Lock 1500 iD Speed Dial. Instead of a numerical combination, you set up the lock with a series of directions. It also comes in a bunch of colors, so I can spot my big blue lock in the locker room.

In my gymbag2Before I get into the workout room, I make sure there's not a speck of makeup on my face. I'm not interested in looking fiiiine while working out, and not having mascara running down my sweaty face probably looks better than the alternative. So if there's any makeup to be removed, I keep a pack of towelettes in my bag. These are new ones by Biore and they're thorough yet gentle.

In my gymbag4
After the workout: Shower time! A couple of things that are key for me are a good-looking pair of flip flops and a beach towel. Sure, it makes you feel like you're going to the beach but the flip flops keep your feet from catching athlete's foot or MRSA (!) and the beach towel is big enough to use as a privacy shield when removing your workout clothes. I then roll up the stinky clothing in my Gatorade towel and stuff it in the bag, and if I forget other shoes, the flip flops go with everything. (I snagged those Havaianas for half price at TJ Maxx.)

In my gymbag5
In the shower: Here's where I think I should win some sort of multitasking Nobel Prize, so follow closely. First off, I tried using travel sizes of shampoo and conditioner but they're just too small and I was constantly replacing them so I settled on 8-ounce sizes of each. I do use travel sizes of shower gel because you don't need as much, especially when you're using a disposable facial washcloth (the dry ones, not the premoistened ones), which doubles as an everything washcloth. Here's what you do:

  1. Shampoo your hair, rinse and condition. Leave the conditioner in.
  2. Wash your face with the facial washcloth. With some of that cleanser left on the cloth, add just a little dab of shower gel to the cloth and wash the rest of yourself.
  3. Rinse everything.

I dunno -- I think it's ingenious. You can waste a lot of shower gel by just pouring it into your hand and you don't work up a good lather without some sort of puff or cloth.

I also use travel/sample sizes of mouthwash and I picked up a few of my fave at BlogHer Food last weekend. (Apparently food bloggers are more interested in food samples than mouthwash samples, and Colgate had a lot of extras.) I also have a tube of my new favorite toothpaste -- Crest's Be Adventurous, which is CHOCOLATE MINT. (I know!) Don't worry, it's not like brushing your teeth with chocolate frosting -- it's got a mild chocolate flavor with more of a mint base. But c'mon, chocolate toothpaste? It's also great for evenings when all you want to do is dive into a pint of chocolate ice cream. 

So that's what's in my gym bag -- what are your gym bag essentials?