Nothing is more satisfying than hitting your gym-flow and absolutely killing it during an intense workout. But reaching beast mode can center around your gym bag armory — headphones, gum, protein, undies, and all the rest. With all that in mind, here are our picks for the best gym bag essentials that you’ll be needing to crush a workout and still leave smelling fresh and feeling nourished right after.
For years we’ve diligently searched to find the ultimate gym duffel. Aer continues coming out on top with the Gym Duffel 2. This bag has a compartment for everything, including shoes, clean clothes, water bottles, keys and wallet, a laptop, plus an organization pocket for protein bars, energy gels, pre-workout powders, and headphones. The fact that everything has its place keeps the bag from smelling odd and keeps you on the move. The polyester exterior has a water-resistant coating so, by all means, get it sweaty. Heck, have two gym duffels: One for running days and the other for lifting. Pick from our roundup of the best ones here.
Give yourself a much-needed clean boost of energy from Ascent. Keyword: Clean. This pre-workout also delivers extra hydration and preps your muscles for the torture ahead (bring it on!). Using caffeine naturally sourced from concentrated coffee fruit extract, Ascent Pre Workout is eye-opening while still having no artificial gunk and zero grams of sugar. Stop buying sketchy substitutes. The only question is: Raspberry Lemonade or Watermelon?
Saxx knows you want to keep the peekaboos at a minimum and has created a semi-compression, long-leg workout underwear perfect for the gym. If you’re hitting the bench before or during office hours, you’ll need a sweat-specific pair of briefs to change into. Anti-odor Saxx Active Kinetic is built with stretch micromesh fabric, enabling these briefs to dry quickly and be uber-supportive. Especially great for guys with thicker thighs or who want more coverage.
Do not, I repeat, do not work out in a room full of people without a solid antiperspirant. Otherwise, you deserve a weight to the toe. We dig the Art of Sport (AOS) “Challenge” stick because it’s made for performance (just ask James Harden and Kobe), with motion-activated odor and sweat protection. Also cool: The stick won’t stain your clothes (you know we love our murdered-out gym apparel), is made without parabens or PABA, and smells earthy with musky sandalwood, fir needles, and basil.
If you learn anything today, it’s that you should chew gum while working out. Research proves it speeds up your heart rate, which gets the blood flowing and makes your body happier during exercise while also helping you stay focused longer. We like gum on long runs because it also staves off dry mouth. Freaked out about swallowing it? Try Ice Breakers Sours instead, which dissolve.
When Gatorade partnered with the Seattle startup Volt, they successfully began one of (if not the) most efficient, intelligent, and successful workout apps on the market. And there are a TON of workout apps. For $10 a month, Volt walks you through each workout with a safe yet challenging approach that even pro athletes have been drawn to. Volt analyzes your personal data to build bespoke workouts and can even tailor the recommended loading, exercises, and circuits based on your desired sport or fitness goal. The interface and programming make this the kind of program you won’t throw in the towel on after the first few weeks.
Clean up, you filthy animal. Nobody likes the guy who leaves sweat dripping off the machines like a slug trail. Grab a towel that is 100% super-absorbent terry loop cotton like the gym-specific line from Leus. And hell, why not go bold with a print. That way nobody can steal yours. After the workout, if you haven’t used the towel to sanitize machines, use it as a quick-dry for your hair and body.
For most people, the hardest part of getting your “summer body” isn’t going to the gym. It’s the food you eat. Make sure you’re not nutritionally starved by taking a daily superfood shot right after your pump. This ayurvedic superfood supplement from Hanah is made from 30 wild-harvested botanicals in a base of Keralan mountain honey, artisanal ghee, and sesame oil for optimal absorption. Some of its active ingredients are turmeric, ashwagandha, Amalaki (the newest and coolest superfood), and Shatavari. Translation: Get ready to feel energetic and strong all day.
Wash that stank off with a quick and efficient full-body wipe from Fur. The brand’s large cloth packs are first and foremost biodegradable while also saturated with essential waters and Fur Oil to soften your skin while removing dirt and bacteria. Yes, you can dab it on your “sensitive areas.” Zero phthalates, parabens, silicones, and artificial colors or fragrances go into these refreshing wipes, and you won’t feel like you’re covered in goop or fragrance.
You’re driving home and you’re starving. A Big Mac and McFlurry sound tasty, but no, you will not succumb to temptation. Whip out a Perfect Bar, made with 12 grams of whole food protein and 20 organic superfoods. With a substantial 320 calories per bar, you’ll get enough oomf to satiate you until chicken and veggies while satisfying your body’s craving for something fatty and sweet. The new Salted Caramel flavor is like eating a candy bar. Perfect bars are also, well, perfect for the guy who can’t buy peanut butter because he’ll eat the whole jar. (Raises hand.)
Anyone who keeps an active lifestyle, athlete or not, knows that Garmin is the way to go. Of course, the last thing you’d want is to wear a bulky watch that obstructs your workout. Garmin provides smartwatches that are stylish but never compromises functionality. The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is one of the models that are perfect to wear to the gym. This nifty smartwatch helps keep track of your energy levels, stress, respiration, and hydration, among others. To top it all off, you can follow animated workouts straight on the watch’s screen.
When it comes to drinkware, you can never go wrong with owning a Hydro Flask. Whether it’s for a long-winding
Exercising in the gym without a workout playlist is like going to war without an arsenal. To make your workouts more exciting, you’ll need that playlist to keep your blood pumping as well as earbuds that won’t get in the way of your movements. You wouldn’t want to be that obnoxious fella who plays their music on a loudspeaker in public. With that said, you might want to consider getting one of the best headphones for running, the Powerbeats Pro. These earbuds are comfortable to wear and have superb sound quality. They also have a great battery life of up to 9 hours of playtime on a single charge.
An intense workout session can already make it more difficult for you to breathe than normal. So you wouldn’t want to get a face mask that would make breathing seem like manual labor. If you want to stay protected while in the gym, your best option is to wear a breathable sports face mask. Under Armour has this sports mask that is designed for you to wear all day while exercising. The mask has breathable anti-microbial fibers that keep your mask fresh even as you sweat it out.
These days, you can’t go outside without a bottle of hand sanitizer. Since you’ll be bringing a lot of other items inside your gym bag, your hand sanitizer should be compact. Purell has one of the best-selling sanitizers in a jelly-wrap carrier so that you can put it on your gym bag like a prized keychain. This small yet handy bottle can kill all common germs without damaging your skin. It also comes in a variety pack of 8 so that you can share it with the rest of your family or have extra stock.
The last thing you want to happen while you’re in the gym’s shower is slip and fall. For many years, these Adilette slides have been trusted by many for their quick-dry rubber material and non-slip design. The classic three-striped design also shows the distinguished Adidas brand in full display. On top of that, you can easily slip them on while running errands or going to the beach.
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