What’s in YOUR gym bag?

Guest Post by Sunshine Voelker

What’s in your gym bag? Never thought about it?  Neither did I until the year I learned how to run a marathon.  When I joined the Joints In Motion Arthritis Foundation Marathon Training Team, one of the more interesting and useful things I learned is that what is in your gym bag can make or break your workout.

Even if you work out at home, having what you need at-hand can really make things easier.  You’ll see that some of these things are better to have at-hand (maybe in a pocket or fanny-pack for long walks or runs) and some are better just to have in your bag or keep in your locker. Either way, knowing where they are and having them ready can make life just that much easier.

Here are some suggestions:

• Water Bottle (no brainer)
• Body GlideTM, Sport ShieldTM or Butt ShieldTM(something to ease chaffing)
• Blister ShieldTM (something for blisters)
• Mp3 Player
• Mp3 Armstrap
• Extra batteries for the mp3 player (saved my workout more than once)
• Extra ear-buds for the mp3 player (could be overkill but on a long training run/walk not having music is murder for me)
• Map or GPS on your phone (for walks or runs in areas new to you)
• Piece of elastic (when I’m in the “real” gym, I like to read on the elliptical machine.  I use this to tie my magazine or book to the book tray so it doesn’t fall down)
• Workout Log Book
• Money (enough to catch a train, taxi or bus should you walk or run too far and get hurt, run into dangerous weather or a dangerous situation)
• ID and emergency health info (allergies, heart problems, diabetic, etc.) heaven forbid you should need emergency medical care- many people wear these on a wrist-band when they know they are more likely to need assistance
• Phone- for emergencies
• Whistle or mace or some protective device (good for when you are in a remote location or area you are not familiar with)
• Watch
• Heart rate monitor
• Safety Pins (highly under-rated)
• Salt (I found that when running in high heat, my calves would cramp.  A running coach once told me a little packet of salt an hour before the run could help.  It changed everything for me.)
• Electrolyte powder, cliff bar, gel pack – these things are typically for long intense workouts (over 1 hour) in the heat when you are more likely to need to replenish them in your body- make sure you know how to use them properly.
• Sunscreen
• Chapstick with sunscreen
• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Hand warmers
• Gloves (distance walkers and runners know all too well about these come fall and winter)
• Toilet paper or tissue (Runny nose? Gotta go in a porta-potty? Gotta go…out in the middle of no-where? This one will save your life)
• Flip-flops for the shower or after the long walk
• Shower supplies
• Hair clips, rubber bands, small brush
• Deodorant
• Washcloth (when you can’t shower but you can “sponge bath” this one can be a nice luxury- in the summer try wetting it and freezing it overnight before putting it in your bag)

As you can see, it’s quite a list and you probably have some great other ideas that work for you.  Once you assemble your bag, and begin to use it, you should consider yourself a prepared athlete and be proud of your forethought.  You are on your way to a healthy, new way of life!


Sunshine Voelker

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