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Gym Bag Checklist

Gym Bag Checklist
Written By
Stephanie Lysaght
Photographs By
Monica Wang for Parachute
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Sleep and exercise are inextricably bound; it’s all but impossible to exercise in the morning if you didn’t sleep well the night before, and it’s very difficult to fall asleep at night if you didn’t exercise during the day. So get moving! This list is designed to get you to the gym with as little stress as possible – and without forgetting anything crucial. May you never do a spin class sock-less again.


Water Bottle

Our favorite refillable, BPA/BPS-free water bottle brand is Lifefactory. Yes, everyone has them, but everyone has them because they’re awesome. With a glass interior and a silicone sleeve, Lifefactory water bottles give you the health benefits of drinking out of glass, without the breakability.


Running Shoes

Duh! But who among us has never forgotten them (and then tried to kickbox in Converse)? So bring your gym shoes. And if you need new ones, the Nike Metcon 4 is getting great buzz.


Gym Clothes

Workout top, workout bottoms, sports bra if you need one – you know the deal. But be sure you don’t forget the most forgettable item of all…socks! We love the new grippy socks that evoke ballet shoes for pilates, barre, etc. Even Calvin Klein and Free People have versions now.

Most of the big athletic brands don’t have male grip socks yet – get with the program, guys! –  but Gaim does, and they have separated toes, which is always fun.


A Snack

If you leave work crazy hungry, there’s no chance you’ll make it to the gym, so stash something easy, like a snack bar, in your bag. We love Greens Plus Bars and KIND’s new Sweet and Spicy line, a welcome change from the usual.


Elastic Hairbands

Sure, they have hair bands at most gyms now, but they are usually so thin and tiny that they appear to be made for dolls. So bring some that can withstand your workout.

For man buns and lady buns alike, we suggest good ol’ Scünci No Damage Ponytail Holders. Hey, if it ain’t broke.


Shower Shoes

You are officially a locker-room boss if you are so organized that you actually remember shower shoes. People will stop you and ask you to be their life coach. We like Havaianas, for both men and women. Get the fun ones with the Brazilian flag. You only live once!



They probably have basic toiletries at your gym, but you should bring whatever items you can’t live without. If you hate disposable razors, pack your Dollar Shave Club razor. Or if you hate that strange, spray-on deodorant at most gyms, pack your Ursa Major or Native deodorant. They’re all the rage right now – paraben-free and aluminum-free and available in natural aromas.


Change of Clothes

This can be whatever you want to wear – we’re not your mother! But whatever clothes you decide to change into post-workout, don’t forget your underwear, socks, and shoes! You are so close to gym-bag greatness; don’t drop the ball now.



You probably have your phone, so you’re set on music, but don’t forget your headphones! There is nothing sadder than elliptical-ing in silence. Time moves backwards. Trust.

If your workout headphones are due for an upgrade, try Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones, which are built to stay in place through your sweatiest, bounciest workouts.