Back in the day, when I was just a gym enthusiast and not a Pilates studio owner, I had this lime green faux leather gym bag that looked somewhat like a bowling bag. Can you see it in your mind?
Well, you might not want to. It was an ugly gym bag, and I just used it to carry my workout clothes and sneakers from the car to the gym.
Those days are in the past because I think about the entire process of going to the studio as an act to be celebrated. I take pride in my workout clothes – even the ones that I really sweat in.
It is only natural to want to carry a great bag that will hold all your essentials.
Technically, a gym bag is designed for transporting necessities to and from a fitness center, studio or gym. Today, however, gym bags are used for so much more.
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They can double as an airline carry-on bag, overnight bag, backpack hiking, or anywhere else active people go with items to carry. By investing in pieces that we really love and have affection for, we are bringing attention and excitement to our workouts themselves.
The gym bags of the old days are no longer. The diverse offerings of bags have become elevated and excitable – they aren’t just for the gym anymore. Prior to making a purchase, consider the possible uses and frequency of need. Decide whether the bag will fit in with your lifestyle and what you are looking for. Determine how important a designer label may be, fabric, colors textures, and the potential for extreme wear and tear.
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Here are the top 3 things to look for when considering a gym or studio bag:
1. Gym bag material: The choice of material for a gym bag depends on your personal style. The materials widely used are leather, canvas and nylon. The price tag of the bag will be affected mostly by this feature. For instance, if you walk a lot or have a lot to carry, you might find leather a tad too heavy for you. Many canvas bags can double in the summer times as a beach bag, so you are able to go further with your purchase. Nylon bags are typically sleek and waterproof and durable.
2. Gym bag design: Gym bags have designs for each specific activity – crossfit, Pilates, yoga, running to list a few. These are some questions you might consider: How much does it need to hold? Does the bag need to be waterproof? What is the best way you like to hold your bag? Do you like something to strap across your body like a messenger bag or are you looking for a tote?
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Size of the bag also matters since gym bags can range in size from small handheld duffels to bigger bags that you can also use for travel. For most people, a medium-sized bag is sufficient.
3. Straps: It’s important to decide what kind of straps and handles you are most comfortable with. For many, the typical two handles at the top of the bag will work just fine. Others may want a single longer strap to sling over one shoulder. For others, a backpack style with two shoulder straps will work, especially when carrying many items.
Top 8 items to stash in your gym bag
1. Water Bottle: This is one of the most important items you could – and should –always have. Having an empty, reusable water bottle that you can refill on the fly will make sure you’re always able to hydrate (and it’s a more ecofriendly option than the plastic bottles many studios provide).
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2. Face and body wipes: Give your face a good swipe before and after you sweat to help fight breakouts and make sure you’re not that girl with a full-face of smearing makeup during a cardio class or running on the treadmill. Also, after a workout if you don’t have time for a shower, have some body wipes on hand for a quick refresh.
4. Face oil and moisturizer: This is so important, all year long. Once you clean your face, you will want to smooth some face or or your favorite moisturizer onto your face.
5. Body treatment and moisturizer: Sure the shower gels and lotions at gyms are great for cleaning, but if you have the room in your bag, it’s best to bring your own as it is customized to your skin type, and you'll like the fragrance. e
6. Refresher for your hair: Look for dry shampoos and refreshing sprays to keep your hair fresh.
7. An extra tank top or a fresh shirt: This will be appreciated when you walk out of class sweaty and need to get back to work from your lunch hour. It also will keep you dry on your walk home after an especially intense or hot workout.
8. A pair of easy slip on sneakers: It is something you don't think about but these are great for after the gym so you don’t have to fuss with laces and stinky sneakers.
Jean Chen Smith is a freelance writer, social media consultant and Pilates studio owner in Corvallis, Oregon. Jean, a marathon runner, is passionate about health, fitness and fashion, which is the reason she started her lifestyle website, www.projectcloud9.com and Pilates studio www.studiocloud9pilates.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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