It's such a pain to arrive at the gym, only to realize you've left your socks at home. Forcing yourself to work out is hard enough, so it's best to make sure that you have everything you need once you're there. Your best bet is having a dedicated gym bag in which you store all your essentials, making sure to restock as needed. Ahead, check out 11 items to keep on hand when you're heading to the gym.
Recess Face 101: Cleansing Wipes, Pack of 15 ($25; recess.com)
After a strenuous workout, wiping your face to get rid of sweat and germs is absolutely crucial. A pack of face wipes is an easy way to get the job done on the go, but many of them contain harsh chemicals that completely dry out your face and could leave you with itchy skin. CNN Underscored staffers love Recess Face 101: Cleansing Wipes, Pack of 15 ($25; recess.com), however, because these wipes contain moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic extract and aloe to soothe the skin while they clean. They don't clog pores, have a lovely citrus scent and are dermatologist-approved: What more could you need?
Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo ($23; bloomingdales.com)
If you don't have time to shower after the gym, or simply can't be bothered to wash your hair, dry shampoo could be your saving grace. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo ($23; bloomingdales.com) is amazing because it's extremely quick-absorbing, getting rid of oiliness with only a few sprays. Its sandalwood scent removes the sweat smell fast, and it contains specialty ingredients: rice powder to add body and golden root extract to prevent dryness and breakage. Keep one in your bag for a quick touch-up after a workout, and nobody will be able to tell you skipped washing your hair.
Nike Performance Lightweight No-Show Socks, Pack of 6 ($20; nike.com)
Working out without a good pair of socks is not only uncomfortable, but pretty unsanitary too. Prevent any mishaps by keeping a few pairs in your bag. Nike Performance Lightweight No-Show Socks, Pack of 6 ($20; nike.com) come in a special sweat-wicking fabric that'll keep your feet dry even during an intense HIIT class, and the no-show style is fashionable too. The socks have a 4.8 rating on the Nike website, with users praising the breathable fabric and just tight enough fit. Slippery socks? Not you.
Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II ($179; bose.com)
While your regular earbuds might be great for day-to-day life, you want something a little more secure while you're running on the treadmill. Consider an over-ear, wireless option: Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II ($179; bose.com) are pretty affordable considering their crystal clear sound quality, and they stay on perfectly, even while you're trying to survive the most strenuous exercises. The 15-hour battery life and Bluetooth connection ensure you'll have uninterrupted music. Just remember to charge them when the battery gets below 20%.
Proof Water Bottle ($32; anthropologie.com)
Available in three colors, the Proof Water Bottle ($32; anthropologie.com) is a great reusable option for the gym. Its streamlined silhouette makes it easy to grip, and it's vacuum-insulated to keep your drink hot or cold for up to 24 hours. It can hold up to 18 ounces of liquid, and even though it's made of stainless steel and plastic as opposed to glass, it's light, compact, and BPA-free. The only issue is that you have to hand-wash it, but that's a small price to pay.
Thinksport Bergamot Cedarwood Natural Deodorant ($8.99; target.com)
Deodorant is an essential after the gym, and Thinksport Bergamot Cedarwood Natural Deodorant ($8.99; target.com) is an incredible natural option that's strong enough for even the sweatiest workouts. It's free of potentially harmful chemicals such as parabens and phthalates, and the subtle scent is not too floral or musky. It has a 5-star rating on Target, comes in an easy travel size you can squeeze into your bag with ease, and is one of the most effective options on the market right now.
Scunci 10-Count Elastic No-Slip Ponytail Holders in Black ($3.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Sweaty hair in your face after a workout? Make sure to always have a few hair ties in your bag. Scunci 10-Count Elastic No-Slip Ponytail Holders in Black ($3.99; bedbathandbeyond.com) are great because they actually last, due to their thick lining. They're extremely comfortable on all hair types, preventing snaps and breakage thanks to their secure cloth outer covering. They're reusable, but they will get sweaty, so we'd recommend keeping a pack in your bag so you'll always have a fresh one available.
Sakara Energy Bars, Pack of 6 ($29; sakaralife.com)
Sakara Energy Bars, Pack of 6 ($29; sakaralife.com) are an incredible after-gym snack that won't leave you hangry an hour later. Consisting of all organic ingredients, each one contains 10 grams of hemp protein, cacao nibs for a chocolaty taste, and only 7 grams of sugar, from dates (so you'll avoid the sugar crash right after). If you can't manage a full meal right after working out, definitely pop one of these in your bag for post-gym snacking.
Brooklinen's Super-Plush Hand Towel, Pack of 2 ($39; brooklinen.com)
OK, sure, you can probably get a towel at the gym, but you might have to pay a gym fee or realize that your towel isn't quite as clean as you'd like it to be. Instead, invest in Brooklinen's Super-Plush Hand Towel, Pack of 2 ($39; brooklinen.com) for all your sweaty needs. Available in five colors (white, cream, putty, smoke and graphite), these hand towels measure in at 20 by 30 inches, making them just big enough for the gym, but still small enough to shove in a bag. They're longer than traditional hand towels and made of 100% Turkish cotton, providing a soft, spa-like feel. The best part? Brooklinen offers free replacements and exchanges if you're not completely satisfied with their product — but chances are, you will be.
The Laundress Sport Spray ($10; bloomingdales.com)
If you're shoving your dirty clothes, sneakers and socks into your bag after a workout, chances are that soon, it won't smell very good. Make sure to spray it with The Laundress Sport Spray ($10; bloomingdales.com) to keep unfortunate smells at bay. It's nontoxic and antibacterial to remove odors effortlessly, especially sweat. It has a light floral scent that isn't overwhelming.
HALO Sport ($29.24; halosport.com)
What you put into your body post-workout matters. if you're looking to replenish your system with electrolytes and antioxidants, step away from the sugary sports drinks and consider HALO Sport instead. This new line of hydration beverages is both low in sugar and calories, and is also USDA certified organic. Plus, it delivers all the electrolyte and antioxidant properties you'd expect in a post-workout drink. Sounds likes wins all around if you ask us.
Master Lock 1⅞-Inch Black Dial Combination Padlock ($3.19; target.com)
Secure your locker with the Master Lock 1⅞-Inch Black Dial Combination Padlock ($3.19; target.com), and never worry again about people stealing your stuff. Sure, the lock may be a little heavy-duty when compared with, say, a TSA luggage lock, but it's one of the best on the market, with 52 reviewers on Target singing its praises. You preset a three-digit code and use it as a combination lock, with the sturdy metal frame and locking technology providing the utmost security at all times. And honestly, why bring a key to the gym when you don't have to?