You never know when that last rep might cause you to drop a weight, scrape yourself, or create some other freak accident. Your gym should have a first aid kit, but keep some bandages in your gym bag just in case they're out.
If you're heading to meet some friends, going back to work, or going to class after your workout, then you need to have some deodorant with you. You might not have time to fully shower, but you can at least apply deodorant.
You need this for the same reason you need deodorant. A few spritzes of body spray on your clothes and in your hair can do wonders for masking any sweaty smells. We personally love the wide variety of fragrance mist from Bath & Body Works.
Dry shampoo is a beauty lifesaver, especially after a hard workout. If you don't have time to wash your hair after the gym, or simply don't need a full wash, then you'll be glad you have this to absorb the sweat and oil.
There's nothing more gratifying than the sweaty sheen on your forehead after a good workout, but you can't leave it there all day. Keep facial wipes with you so you can wipe off the grime before you leave the gym. You'll look better, feel better, and will reduce the chance of future breakouts.
Dripping in sweat is a sign of hard work at the gym, but it can also burn your eyes and irritate you. Stashing a hand towel in your gym bag gives you something to dry off with so you can get back to business.
We all have crazy hair after those heart-pumping circuits, and we all need to brush that mess before we go out in public. The Wet Brush is a great option for working through the sweaty tangles quickly.
Even the tightest ponytail can't keep all of those little hairs out of your face. Find a moisture-wicking, rubber-backed headband to keep in your gym bag to prevent the problem. We love this style from Lululemon.
It doesn't matter if you prefer a braid or a ponytail, you still need some extra hair ties stashed in your gym bag. Hair ties break all the time, and you'll regret not having a backup.
How are you supposed to pump yourself up for your workout without a pair of headphones to listen to your favorite upbeat tunes? Buying an extra pair of headphones and stashing them in your gym bag will keep you from ever having to suffer through a silent workout.
You need to refuel after exercise to help your muscles repair, but you can't always head home for a good meal. Keep some protein bars, like this thinkThin High Protein bar, in your bag so you always have the necessary fuel no matter how crazy your schedule is that day.
An exercise notebook is a valuable tool for tracking your workouts and progress. Keep one in your bag to jot down what you did at the gym, what you want to do the next day, and track your fitness goals. Bonus points for a motivational cover.
It's really difficult to exercise if you have to stash your smartphone or MP3 in a pocket or wedged underneath the band of your pants. Keep a good arm band in your gym bag so you can be completely hands-free during your workout. Belkin offers several different options for you to choose from.
Even if you arrive at the gym fully-dressed for your workout, you should still have an extra pair of socks stored in your gym bag. Our feet sweat a lot when we exercise, and you might not want to walk around in your damp, smelly socks after you're done. A fresh pair of socks will make you feel better and keep the smells to a minimum.
Extra Gym Attire
Whether you've forgotten to pack some clothes in the morning rush or not, you should have an extra set of workout clothes in your bag. This way you'll have something to wear in case you forget or if an unexpected post-gym invite to the movies pops up.
If you forget workout attire then you've probably forgotten shoes too. Unless you're going to yoga, pilates, or Pure Barre, you can't exercise without shoes (gym rules), and you certainly can't run those three miles barefoot (unless you're into that kind of thing). Designate an extra, but high quality, pair of sneakers for your gym bag.
Did you think we'd leave out this gym essential? It can be easy to forget a water bottle when rushing out the door so keep one in your bag at all times. This way you'll never have to endure a long 30 minutes on the treadmill without some water. We love the Camelbak Eddy bottle. It's 32 oz of pure hydration.