Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gym bag necessities

THIS WEEK, ARM yourself with a can of Febreze and check out the contents of your gym bag. If your bag is stuffed with cash, you’re likely a supporting actor in a Mark Wahlberg film. But, if it contains maggots and an apple of the 2006 vintage, it’s high time to head to Wal-Mart, Sports Experts, or a local garage sale to stock up on the essentials (and perhaps toss the disintegrating bag).

Resistance bands
Resistance bands are a great alternative to dumbbells if you’re travelling, working out in a small space, or if the free weight equipment at the gym is being monopolized by future UFC rejects. They come in varying resistances, so it’s a good idea to purchase a couple of different kinds depending on the exercises you want to perform.

Water bottle
Hydration is extremely important before, during, and after a workout. If you want to avoid interrupting your workout to make frequent trips to the water fountain, pack a durable, reusable water bottle in your gym bag. Be sure to rinse your water bottle with warm water and dish soap on a regular basis to avoid funky tasting water.

It’s important to eat after a workout to promote recovery. Don’t bother packing expensive protein bars—old school bananas, granola bars, and nuts will do the trick. If you have room for an ice pack in your bag, throw in some chocolate milk as well and sip on it within an hour of working out.

Plan on showering post-workout? Bring a pair of flip-flops, unless you enjoy a burning sensation between your toes and an itchiness that can’t be satisfied through thick winter boots.

We all sweat. If you perspire profusely, you might feel more comfortable bringing a towel to the gym to wipe yourself down or to act as a barrier between yourself and the equipment. Just pick up a cheap hand towel at a department store and throw it in your gym bag.

Pro tip: For the sake of everyone in the vicinity, avoid any deodorant that sounds like a stripper’s name: “Phoenix,” “Dark Temptation,” “Summer Breeze,” etc.

—Sarah Horlick