Getting Ready for a Workout? Here's What to Pack in Your Gym Bag

What you put in your gym bag can make or break your workout. Just imagine the horror of showing up at the gym for a nice run on the treadmill. You put on your shoes, grab your towel and reach into your bag only to discover've forgotten your iPod. It's enough to send you right back out the door.

Then there are those days when you don't have a lot of time and you're stuck waiting in line for the elliptical trainer while precious moments of your life tick away.

Wouldn't it be nice to have an alternative plan for those days when the gym is crowded and full of annoying people?

Here are a few key items to take with you so you can get a great workout wherever you are.

Jump Rope

Jump Rop

Jumping rope is an amazing cardio exercise and really works those legs.

Instead of standing and waiting for your favorite cardio machine, find a spot in the corner and start with a few minutes of light jumping. If you having jump roped in a while, jump for a few minutes at a time and then take walking breaks for a great interval workout.

Try this Jump Rope Circuit Workout to get started.

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A Portable Exercise Mat

Yoga mat

Yes, most gyms have mats but I've seen those mats and I would guess there have been lots of sweaty bodies on those mats.

Having your own means avoiding germs and other bodily fluids and, getting one that's portable, like this one, means you can take it anywhere. 

Plus, you can do tons of exercises - Pushups, planks, bridges or even cardio exercises like jumping over the mat.

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Weight Lifting Gloves

Weight Training Gloves

Weight lifting gloves are probably the best things you can do for your hands when you're lifting weights.  I especially love the Harbinger gloves because they're just thick enough to protect you from calluses and give your jewelry some protection, but they aren't bulky.

Put these on and you're ready to start your killer strength workout.

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A Smartphone


I know, phones are supposed to be for calling.  Actually, texting and checking Facebook while you're waiting for a long train.


Your smartphone is the most important thing you need for a workout.  You've got your music, of course, and then there are tons of apps and video options to guide you through a workout.  Try these

  • Motion Traxx - This App offers tons of workouts for everything from the elliptical trainer to the treadmill.  Great for guided workouts that really kick your butt
  • Pace DJ - This App helps you find the perfect pace for your workouts
  • YouTube - You can find tons of workout videos on YouTube, ones you can do right at the gym or at home.  Check out my Low Impact Circuit Workout and give it a try.
  • Gym Hero - This App is great for tracking your workouts

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A Heart Rate Monitor

Polar Heart Rate

I think of a heart rate monitor as essential as oxygen and my smartphone.  And water.  Yes, I need water too.

And wine.

You see, intensity is one of the more crucial elements of your workouts and, while you don't need a heart rate monitor to check your intensity, it provides you with clear evidence of how hard, or easy, you're working.

Seeing that continuous heart rate tells you exactly where you are in your target heart rate zone and this one includes a smart calorie feature, energy pointer and a chest strap.

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Wireless Headphones

Jaybird Sport Headphones

I've said this before and I'll say it again - I have singlehandedly kept the headphone companies in business.  I don't even want to know how much I've spent on headphones...which is why I love these JayBird BlueBud X wireless headphones.

The battery lasts forever, you can use the controls to skip through music and, best of all, they are wireless so you won't catch the darn cord on your cardio machine.

Even better, they work great on phone calls, which is unusual for sports headphones.

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Body Wipes

Body Wipes

I admit, I don't always have time to shower after a workout.  No, that doesn't mean I'm stinky.  I don't sweat...I glisten.

Okay, I do sweat, but here's what I do: I use body wipes when I don't have time or access to a quick shower.  I especially love these because they don't leave a sticky residue behind and you actually feel clean.

These are also great for traveling and camping.

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