Don't leave for the gym without it!

Don't leave for the gym without it!

Essentials for every workout bag

There�s nothing more frustrating than carefully planning to work in an hour at the gym only to open your workout bag and find you�re missing something essential. Here are some must-pack items your next trip to the gym.

Gear-up: Obvious, we know, but make sure you are packing the right clothes and gear for your workout: Does your workout call for shorts or yoga pants? Swimsuit and googles? Lifting gloves? Running shoes? If you change up your routine, be sure you�re packed for the day�s activities. If it won�t add too much bulk to your bag, consider putting clothes for the week into separate zippered storage bags, labeled by workout (yoga, spin, weights, cardio, etc.). Don�t forget to pack essential undergarments: socks, sports bra and underwear. If sweaty hair is a bother, be sure to throw in a hat, hair tie or headband. Put in a plastic grocery bag (or two) for your post-workout clothes so it�s easy to remove your dirty laundry later. (It keeps your gym bag fresher, too.)

Clean-up: If you�re showering after your workout, you�ll need shampoo, conditioner and body wash. To save space in your bag, buy travel sizes or look for soaps that are 2-in-1 (body wash plus shampoo). If your gym has towels on-hand, save space in your bag and don�t bother packing one. If you won�t have time to shower, pack dry shampoo and body/face towelettes. And, of course, deodorant! Even if you�re not showering, pack flip flops. You don�t want to be traipsing around a wet locker room in your good sneakers. Ladies, be sure to always keep a few pads and tampons in your supplies, too.

First aid: Don�t let minor cuts, blisters or aches and pains end your workout early. Keep a few bandages, moleskin, a small tube of antibiotic ointment and a travel-size bottle of pain reliever in an easy-to-grab pouch. Check medicines every few months for expiration dates.

Entertainment: Make sure you have your music (whether that�s on your phone or a separate MP3 player), earbuds and a charger.

Hydration and nutrition: Pack a reusable water bottle that fits your workout and your personal preferences. �Upgrade� with bottle that has a frozen core or fruit infuser or go for a shaker bottle�perfect for supplements and protein mixes. Include a couple of snack bars or nut mixes in case you need to eat immediately before or after your workout.

Security: Locker rooms are easy pickings for thieves, so buy a small, light combination lock and keep it in your bag.

With these essentials, you can make sure you have everything you need for your workout. Take a few minutes at the end of each week to clean out your bag, re-stock and re-organize and you�ll be fully supplied for your next several trips to the gym.