4 Staples You’ll Always Find in My Gym Bag

Valerie Bisharat gym bag essentials

Have you ever gotten to the gym and realized you forgot something important? Like… to put on deodorant? It happens to all of us sometimes, but for years now, there have been a few staple products (not sponsored) that always stay in my gym bag. They make my workouts a little easier and my gym trips more delightful. I’m sharing them in case they do the same for you!

So let’s open up the old gym bag (which is actually a purse 😂)!

1. Intelligent Nutrients hand sanitizer, free of harmful chemicals

Let’s face the dirty truth: gyms are germy and it’s important to clean your hands before you leave.

I carry this hand sanitizer that I use when I get off a cardio machine or in the car if I’ve forgotten to wash my hands on the way out. It’s effective and it excludes harmful chemicals, including ones commonly found in soaps and hand sanitizers that research has shown to harm humans and the environment.

If you’re curious, two of the most problematic ingredients in many hand sanitizers are triclosan and synthetic fragrance. Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that’s been shown to contribute to antibacterial resistance, endocrine disruption, and liver toxicity. It also harms aquatic life and builds up in the environment instead of breaking down. Fragrance is a group of chemicals that contribute to endocrine disruption, developmental problems, and reproductive issues.

Luckily, there are fun, clean alternatives these days! The active ingredient in this sanitizer is denatured alcohol. It also uses tea tree oil, which is antimicrobial, and ingredients like black cumin seed and red raspberry seed oils.

$14.00 for 2 fluid ounces.

2. Native clean deodorant (I also love Schmidt’s deodorant)

Valerie Bisharat gym bag essentials

If you’ve tried Tom’s clean deodorant or other options and despaired at how hard it is to find one that works, it’s worth trying Native or Schmidt’s. Native lives in my gym ‘bagpurse’  so I never forget it and Schmidt’s is my “at home” deodorant. Everyone’s body chemistry is a little bit different, but for me and many others, both work well.

Keep in mind that clean deodorants aren’t antiperspirants like many traditional products are (which is a good thing health-wise!), meaning they don’t stop you from sweating. So sometimes you’ve got to reapply once or twice throughout the day. On gym days, I usually apply deodorant about three times: in the morning, right before I walk out onto the gym floor, and after I shower.

Native: $12.00 for a 2.65 oz full size deodorant stick. Schmidt’s: $8.99 for a 3.25 oz full size deodorant stick (I see Schmidt’s at the local T.J. Maxx a lot and got a stick for $4.99).

3. Dr. Bronner’s organic lip balm

It’s always good to have lip balm on hand – and there’s something about walking out of the gym feeling fresh and moisturized. This is my favorite affordable clean balm.

It goes on smoothly, truly moisturizes (unlike some of the other cheaper non-toxic brands), and even looks cute. It also fits easily into any small compartment of your gym bag or purse.

$2.99 for 0.15 oz.

4. A notebook and pen

I find that workouts are more exciting and engaging (and effective!) when I’m taking notes on my lifts. Treating your workouts like you’re a student will help you be more in tune with your body and potentially progress faster.

Usually, I write my workout program for the day in the notebook. Then, as it progresses, I write down what felt easy or difficult. I’ll also keep notes to myself about mental breakthroughs. Other times, I leave the notebook in my locker and do a quick journaling session before I leave.

There are definitely apps for storing and tracking your workouts, but for me, there’s something about pen to paper that can’t be beat.

My favorite notebook: Moleskine Classic Notebook, $19.95 for the large hardcover version. It’s compact, easy to write in, and space efficient enough to throw in any bag. I’ve also found some lovely options for $5 and under at Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx.

Now I’m curious: what do you love to bring to the gym with you? Leave me a comment and share!