The SparkPeople Blog

Habits of Fit People: Pack Your Bag

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/21/2008 8:44 AM   :  74 comments

You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Packing my bag. So why does something like this matter?


I always keep my gym bag packed with the essentials, which makes it easier to grab my stuff as I head out the door in the morning. That way, everything I need is with me for my evening workouts. I always keep with me: Spinning shoes (my staple exercise program), my heart rate monitor and watch, my iPod, deodorant, a water bottle, and a change of clothes. Everything remains in the bag at all times, and only the workout clothes rotate in and out. One of my co-workers packs his bag just onceóbringing all of his snacks and workout clothes for an entire week, which he keeps at his desk. That might be more feasible for you, or perhaps you could also keep things like this in your car.

Why it works: First off, it saves time. No more rushing through the house to grab all of your essentials, or using the excuse that you couldn't find what you needed before heading out the door. There really is not much reason to take all of that stuff out of your bag after an exercise session (except sweaty clothes of course), so why not just keep it all packed to make things easier on yourself? Second, I see my packed gym back in my closet every single morning when I wake up. It reminds me about my goals for the day, whether I planned to take a fitness class or hit the treadmill. When you see your packed bag, it's one more cue to bring it along and stick with your plan to exercise that day.

It may seem simple or obvious, but give it a try. If you don't already keep your gym bag stocked and ready to go, you might be surprised at how well it works.

Do you keep your gym gear handy? Does packing your bag ahead of time work for you? Share your experience in the comments below.


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Comments

  • MEMYSELFN_I
    74
    Good advice... I'm trying to figure out what to keep in the bag... Dry shampoo!!! Is my favorite item at the moment. To make it to the sauna and shower comfortably. So--- I toiletry pack, a towel, flip flops... The change in weather really has me befuddled. Warmer clothes are tough to get in there. Hahaha.... But... The back of my car is also helpful, for those extras. Did I mention I also drag a kiddo bad to and from the gym... - 10/22/2011   9:49:05 AM
  • 73
    This works for me - 11/15/2010   1:08:05 AM
  • 72
    I exercise at home, but when I was going to the gym I kept my bag packed and in the car. - 3/31/2010   12:18:54 PM
  • 71
    I keep my gym bag in the car at all times in it i include a towel..gym shoes...my inhaler( i have exercised induced asthma crazy right!!! LOL)...water, a protien bar,my gloves, a jump rope, change of clothes,ipod,gym lock,wipes,and some personals!

    It does help to hold me accountable because there are days when i have change my entire day and ended up at the gym...always be prepared!!! - 11/6/2009   8:51:13 AM
  • 70
    I always do this too - as soon as I get home, I unpack the "used" clothes, towels, etc. and put in fresh. I also restock shampoo, body lotion, mp3 batteries and anything else I've gotten low on. Next time I'm heading out on a gym day, I just grab the bag, knowing it's already set to go. - 10/25/2009   11:50:14 AM
  • JAGORRN
    69
    I have a gym bag that I pack every night and place near the door so I can grab it on my way out. I keep gym clothes, water bottle, shoes and my ipod in it. I take it to work and that way I can change and go straight from work to the gym. It also serves as a reminder to me that my day isn't done until I've done my workout. Sometimes works gets so hectic I may miss a workout, but I still keep my gym bag there so that the next day I can try to get out in time to workout. I find if I have to go home to pick up my gym gear I am more likely to have excuses for not going out again. I figure since I usually get out of work right before a spin class, I am more likely to attend leaving straight from work. Having a routine makes me more likely to stick to it! - 4/12/2009   1:11:38 AM
  • 68
    To eliminate excusses, I keep my bag in my car at all times unless I forget to put it back in when I clean it out and add new clothes. I keep extra clothes and water for a few days. However, I don't have any gym memberships at this time, and I am not exercising on a regular basis. My co-worker and I have purposed in our hearts to get up and do about 5 minutes of movement every 99 minutes a day.
    It does not seem like much, but I can really tell the difference when I don't do these movements. - 3/13/2009   9:46:47 AM
  • 67
    I have my bag out all the time and it's part of my routine to pack clothes in the morning and bring it to work. I have a locker at the gym that has all of my beauty essentials, so I have no excuses! - 2/11/2009   11:51:26 AM
  • 66
    This is what I have to do too! And it makes the difference for me to get to the gym. I have my swim gear in it as well - a little bulky, but maybe a "Cham-Wow" would save some space instead of my Hello Kitty towel! Cheers - great advice! - 2/11/2009   11:21:11 AM
  • 65
    Usually I pack my bag each night and keep it in my car. I also have a gym bag filled with extras at my boyfriend's house and I keep sneakers, resistance bands and a stability ball at work with hand weights for walking. There's never an excuse to not do something healthy and fit. I also find that packing my snacks and lunch and sometimes dinner really help with eating healthy and decrease temptations. - 2/4/2009   12:32:04 PM
  • 64
    I have a bag with tennis shoes and a tee shirt for my lunch hour walks. Because they are always there, I have no excuse not to go. It works 4 me! - 12/4/2008   2:11:57 PM
  • GMACHELL
    63
    Just a a few others have shared I leave my house reeeaaally early -- 4 a.m. and so I just wear my workout clothes and take my gym bag that I pack with my regular duds the night before. Working out early in the a.m helps me meet my goal and then there isn't anything that can get in my way the rest of the day and if I do something else physical along through the day then that is just a bonus! - 11/27/2008   6:56:00 PM
  • 62
    It works for me every time to pack my gym bag. I get up at 4:45 AM to work out almost every morning, so it better be there! - 11/25/2008   1:40:25 PM
  • 61
    This works for me when I am working out in the morning. If I don't put my clothes out the night before, I will generally use it as excuse to work out later. So I try to put my work out clothes out the night before so I have no excuses. - 11/11/2008   11:19:01 AM
  • 60
    I'm lucky cos I have a lot of spare drawer space in my office, and my office is near all the places I work out (my gymn and the dance studio I take classes at), so I keep a few seperate "mini kits" there at all times:-

    1. Swimstuff - suit, waterproof bag to stick my shower stuff in at the side of the pool

    2. Gymn/workout stuff: training shoes, sports bra (v. important ladies!), top and tracksuit bottoms, sports socks.

    3. "Workout basics" - band to tie my hair up with, towel, conditioning shampoo bar (I use solid stuff from Lush, find it a god-send, kind to the environment and means no breakable bottles in the bags I lug around), deodorant stick, moisturiser.

    3. Bellydance kit - a coin belt, a little strappy top, a pair of stretchy trews suitable for dance

    4. Emergency "night out" kit - a pair of glam shoes, some basic makeup, a nail varnish, a cute top, a bit of trendy jewellery.

    That way, I have NO EXCUSE EVER to miss my bellydance class, my gymn workout, can go for a swim in my lunch-hour if my daytime/evening schedule doesn't allow for exercise after work, AND, even if evening social plans with friends pop up out of the blue I can still get my workout in as I don't have to go home, can go straight from the gymn to my social plans.

    Sounds a lot of stuff, but it actually doesn't take a lot of room (we're talking half a dozen lycra garments that can be packed up small, couple of pairs of shoes, and some accessories), and I just mix-and-match my bag for whatever my day requires, swapping in and out stuff that's been worn for freshly laundered stuff on a daily basis. It's much easier to remember to bring in one T-shirt in the morning than a whole big gymn bag! And I do keep "spares" in my office stash, too, so there's rarely any excuse NOT to do something! - 11/7/2008   8:46:15 AM
  • 59
    This would certainly be an incentive. - 10/27/2008   3:29:59 AM
  • 58
    On the days that I am to work out, I actually go to work dressed with my exercise clothes. I have the advantage of wearing a uniform for work so it doesn't really matter what I wear to work or not. When my shift is over, I dress down, and already have my exercise clothes on. Since I have to walk passed the gym to get to my car, I really have no excuse not to work out. - 10/26/2008   11:52:41 AM
  • 57
    I don't do this. It is something I need to work on. I always change at home and go to the gym. Now that I am back working full time I am finding that once I get home it is tough to get myself back out. I need to get my stuff packed so I can go straight to the gym after work. I always have i pod, towel and water bottle in the car though, so all I need to do is dress and go. No looking for things. Packing a bag is something I need to work. I will put it into my goals! - 10/25/2008   11:23:20 PM
  • 56
    I pack mine every day; I am always amazed when lunch time comes, the people who beg to be my workout buddies then say, "I can't go...I didn't bring my stuff."
    These are the same ones that then go out to pick up lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon griping about how fat or sleepy they feel~yet they don't seem to realize the reason! - 10/24/2008   11:15:00 AM
  • 55
    I pack my gym bag every morning. I keep my mat, water bottle, running shoes and workout book in the car so they are never forgotten. - 9/12/2008   8:49:14 AM
  • WILDNTEXAS
    54
    Before I joined a gym, I used to put all of my workout gear near my alarm clock. That way when I woke up in the morning, I reached for my workout clothes, put them on, and headed out the door for a good morning workout. After I joined a gym, I switched my workouts to right after work (just easier for my schedule). On days I have scheduled workouts, I take my bag with me and I don't go home until I've been to the gym. My gym bag is always packed and is near my bedroom door so I see it every time I go in or out of my bedroom.... it reminds me of what I should be doing, if I am not making it to the gym. My gym bag has the clothes I need for my workouts for the week, gym towels for the week, shower shoes, heart monitor/watch, workout journal (to help me keep track of my workouts) and pen, a small pouch for my jewelry (I take off all of my jewelry when I am working out), shower bag (contains shampoo, soap, deodorant, hair pick, moisturizer), 2 cloth bags (one for my clothes that I change out of into my workout clothes, and one for my shoes), and swimsuit. The only thing that is not in my bag is my sneakers, because I only own one pair and tend to wear them other places as well. I try to remember to grab them and put them in my bag on days I've planned workouts... usually I remember, but I always remember my bag (so I can always at least swim, even if I forget my sneakers, and never have an excuse not to workout). - 9/11/2008   7:38:25 PM
  • 53
    I usually go dressed to the gym in the morning, then stop for my coffee on the way home (as a treat for getting to the gym). But I also keep a packed gym bag in the trunk of my car, in case I have an early morning, and can't workout, but find time later in the day to squeeze in a work out (or decide to take a walk during my lunch hour). It really helps me avoid situations where I have the time and motivation to get some exercise, but not the equipment. A few suggestion I have that I haven't seen posted yet are to keep a set of toiletries (shampoo, razor, body wash, deodorant, and makeup basics), towels, and shower shoes in your bag too so you also avoid the excuse of not wanting to go somewhere afterwards looking like you just came from the gym. I also keep a week's worth of hand towels in there so I always have one for that day's workout, then wash them all at the end of the week. Finally I keep a case of bottled water in my car, so I always have some for my workout (and every other time I am thirsty and on the go- much cheaper than buying it one bottle at a time!) Hope these help someone, a packed bag is a great motivator! - 9/9/2008   6:21:42 PM
  • 52
    I workout at home but keep all my exercise equipment and clothes located in a specific area.
    - 9/7/2008   10:08:57 AM
  • SYMMIE
    51
    I work out at home but I have learned that if I look through my list of exercises the night before and get all the stuff I need (dumbells, towel etc.) I have a much more efficient workout and enjoy it a lot more. Plus I can read over an exercise that doesn't make sense more slowly and take the time to learn it prior to doing the workout. - 9/4/2008   2:41:32 AM
  • 50
    I have a bag I take to work and to my Mom's when I stay the night. It has my healthy snacks in it, and my sugar free water flavor packs as well. - 9/2/2008   1:02:53 PM
  • 49
    I done this for sometime. I workout early in the morning and I find that having my gym bag packed helps me to stay on task. Only thing I change daily is my workout clothes and hand towel. I would like to know about those of us that go to a gym, "What ideas you have for wiping some of the equipment? Couple years ago I got a rash near the inside of my left bicep and was told that it was a cantagious rash and that I probably came in contact with it while
    using a piece of equipment. - 8/25/2008   5:30:04 PM
  • NICKTALIE
    48
    I cannot afford a gym membership but I keep my sneakers in my family room for walking and exercising. I keep what little workout equipment I have right there as well. The sneakers are close to the garage door though so I can't miss them when I get home and forget to tak emy walk. - 8/24/2008   6:33:28 PM
  • 47
    I use a lot of visual "triggers" to keep me mindful and on track. Gym shoes by the door, vitamins on the counter, 6 pack of water bottles in the frige, my skinny pants on the back of the bathroom door- soon to fit! I have a vision board/ poster - 2 sided- one side lifestyle and one side devoted to my business goals,and a little purse sized photo album in my purse full of pictures, quotes and visual triggers. It's amazing how many of the pictures on my vision boards have come true. I started with the gym shoes at the door and expaned from there- have kept off 80 lbs for 8 years - it works. - 8/24/2008   5:33:21 PM
  • 46
    What a GREAT idea. I have been doing this the last 2 days, and will ahve to make sure I continue to do it. In my bag I also have a magazine or two so that I have them if needed. - 8/24/2008   2:26:25 PM
  • 45
    I pack my gym bag on Sunday night so I can be ready to work out on Monday after work when I get home after the workout I remove the sweaty clothes and anything else that is wet and pack a new set of workout gear for Tuesday, I take Wednesday off but I still pack new stuff on Tuesday night so I can be ready for
    Thursday I repeat this routine so it came become part of my routine like brushing my teeth. I also pack a lunch bag in the morning when I am preparing my breakfast so I can stay on track with watching what I am eating. I include a fruit and a low calorie snack in my lunch pack. - 8/24/2008   1:37:25 PM
  • 44
    I pack two bags at night, my gym bag and my lunch bag. I pack all the food for my work day, including lunch and two snacks, so I am not tempted to cheat. I pack the gym bag with everything I need, since I go to the gym when I leave work. I also carry 2 big bottles of water to drink all day. I have a lot to load in my Jeep in the morning, but I seldom forget anything. - 8/24/2008   12:02:34 PM
  • 43
    I too have the packed gym bag and leave it right between the door and the laundry room. I'm a swimmer and I do weights too so I've divided my bag into wet & dry sections so I can see that I have all my appropriate clothes in a quick glance. I've also packed a separate shower bag (it works as my divider) so that I just have to grab it and hang it in the shower and...Voila - I have all my favorite products right there. Clean up is a breeze - just zip it closed( it's made of breathable fabric) and drop it in the big bag.
    - 8/24/2008   1:43:06 AM
  • CMKAMINSKI5381
    42
    I feel if I took the time to pack my bag then I should go. What's 30-60 minutes? - 8/22/2008   8:30:07 PM
  • 41
    I am an at-home exerciser also and love the idea of changing into my workout gear when I get home from work. I think I will borrow that and even if I can only fit in 15 minutes I will still do it since I already have the clothes on. Right now I am skipping the squeezed in exercizing bc it takes just as long to go and change.

    Thanks for sharing MICHAELA2780! - 8/22/2008   7:48:33 PM
  • **EVA**
    40
    organization and motivation. Great idea. Thanks - 8/22/2008   5:59:20 PM
  • 39
    I have a locker at the Y that I can keep all my essentials in so I don't have to worry about forgetting them or not having them available. :) I do take a gym bag though and pack it the night before with fresh towels, workout clothes and my ever present sweat rag. - 8/22/2008   2:50:12 PM
  • 38
    This is exactly what I do. As soon as I return from my workout, I repack my bag with my essentials for the next day or workout. I keep my bag packed and in the trunk of my car. This way I am always ready and don't have to go home which will always prove to distract me from going to the gym. Another trick I use is scheduling my workouts on my phone. This way my alarm goes off reminding me to go workout. It keeps me on track and away from a bunch of excuses. - 8/22/2008   12:49:08 PM
  • 37
    I think packing a bad the nite before is a great idea but I have to go home and let Derby and Katy out before we head to the gym. I will keep this in mind tho! - 8/22/2008   12:47:16 PM
  • MELANIEDAY
    36
    I think packing a bag is a great idea. Really what it comes down to is having a plan in place, knowing your schedule and needs. - 8/22/2008   11:13:23 AM
  • 35
    I always keep a bagged packed & gym-ready in the trunk of my car. For morning workouts, I lay out my gym clothes on the bathroom counter, then set my cell phone alarm and leave it in the bathroom so I HAVE to drag my butt out of bed to turn it off. When the clothes are right there, why not work out? - 8/22/2008   9:47:27 AM
  • 34
    I usually pack my bag at night before heading to bed, and just returning from the gym. That way I've still got the gym on my mind, but I'm getting it done without rushing or forgetting anything. - 8/22/2008   8:43:47 AM
  • TRINAINMANILA
    33
    Hmmm, I normally bring no bags at all, so I just wear comfy, sensible shoes and walk, walk, walk. - 8/22/2008   7:17:35 AM
  • 32
    my gym bag is usually full of beach stuff. ^^ - 8/21/2008   10:31:17 PM
  • 31
    I do the same thing... If my bag isn't packed the night before I can come up with all kinds of excuses. But if it is ready to go I start my day off better knowing what I want to accomplish that day. I will have to start packing my mid morning snacks in the bag as well that way I can stay on track with my calories better. Thanks for sharing ! - 8/21/2008   9:21:38 PM
  • CCYLENA
    30
    I do this too - my exercise bag is always packed and left under my desk and ready so that I have no excuses not to exercise during/after office hours.

    I also keep another set of equipment (weights, shoes, mats, exercise tapes) all placed together for easy access so that I can just do a quick workout in front of the TV / computer whenever the mood catches me! - 8/21/2008   9:09:37 PM
  • MARTHALUCHT
    29
    Thank you for your recomendation Coach Nichole. I just became a member on 8/19/08 and this is a great idea.! - 8/21/2008   9:07:47 PM
  • CATNAP45
    28
    I swim. My bag is always packed. For my kids sports, I find it easier to have separate bags for each activity that basically stays packed and I just add their sports clothes after they're washed. - 8/21/2008   7:43:05 PM
  • MICHAELA2780
    27
    I workout at home...but I keep my work out clothes on the top of my dresser so it's the first thing I see when I get home - before I do anything else, I change into them so I KNOW I'll go out and get a workout in! - 8/21/2008   6:57:50 PM
  • TZERS01
    26
    My gym bag is now my purse, sort of. Meaning my wallet is inside, so it has to go with me. I commute on the train, and so my gym bag(purse) is now a rolling Back Pack. - 8/21/2008   6:52:40 PM
  • JANPHAMILTON
    25
    This is a strategy that I have used for years! I used to leave it by the front door to grab on the way out, but even then would sometimes walk right past it. Now I go one step further and put the gym bag in the car the night before, eliminating the "I forgot my bag" excuse at the same time. - 8/21/2008   6:11:31 PM

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