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20 Essential Items the Fitness Pros Never Leave Home Without

By: , SparkPeople Health & Fitness Writer

When you get ready to go to your favorite fitness class, do you have your bag packed and ready to go? Or are you the person frantically scrambling at the last minute, trying to think of what you might need on your way out the door? Sure, you should always pack a water bottle, hair ties and change of clothes, but what other items are you missing?

Having your bag packed and ready to go with the right items can mean the difference between dehydrating during your run, blisters from lifting weights without hand wraps and tape or having to skip brunch with your girlfriends because you forgot a change of clothes or deodorant. Rather than peeping in everyone's bags, we reached out to a variety of fitness instructors to find out which essential items they never leave home without.


As a spin instructor at LA Fitness for nearly 13 years, my gym bag is carefully constructed so I'm always ready for the class ahead. Items come and items go, but these are the ones I call on every Saturday morning.

Cycling shoes: I love my Shimano cycling shoes and hate to ride without them. The stiff sole helps power me through every workout, the clips keep my feet in the proper position and they are super comfortable.

Water bottle: This Polar Bottle water bottle is insulated, lightweight and easy to clean.

Cotton headbands: I have tried a bunch of headbands and found that plain cotton ones seem to stay on my head and absorb sweat the best. Plus, the variety of colors means I can always find one to match my workout outfit.

Mic belt: You probably aren't in the market for a mic belt yourself, but if you're looking for a nice belt to stash your stuff in during your class (or on a run or long bike ride) I love this one.

Hair ties: If you have long hair like me, you know you can never have enough hair ties to keep strands out of your face during class. I try to keep my pack stocked with at least three to five, just to be safe.

Yoga & Pilates:

Kristin McGee has been a yoga and Pilates instructor for more than 17 years in Manhattan and around the world. She's also a personal trainer, SparkPeople.TV trainer and has worked with some amazing people throughout the years, including celebrities such as Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Since Kristin runs around all day and has to sneak in her personal workouts in between client sessions, she needs a gym bag that's full to the brim with essentials to carry her through the day.

Hair tie, with a side of motivation: I always need hair ties to pull my hair back. I love these from Momentum because they don't tear my hair and they have great little motivational quotes on them.

Headphones: I like the kind of headphones that can also be wrapped around my wrist as a bracelet. If I'm not doing yoga or Pilates, I often get on the equipment and do some cardio or lift weights. I love good music for this.

Health magazine: I love to read up on health and nutrition.

Bioactive greens: I've never been big on supplements and especially now that I'm pregnant with twins, I am more careful about what I put into my body. These greens are organic, non-GMO, 100 percent natural and they give me a little boost if I add to my water before a workout.

Essential oils: I always have an Aura Cacia essential oil in my bag to use as a pick-me-up or to clean my hands. When I'm teaching, I often use it for final relaxation on my students. I especially love the orange and peppermint.

Group Fitness:

Lisa Corsello is a fitness expert and the founder of Burn. A certified personal trainer, nutrition consultant and certified yoga, Pilates and group fitness instructor, she has successfully adapted and applied her methods to clients with a wide range of abilities and capabilities.

Bag: I just love Marc Jacobs bags, and this new teal and gold carry-all is perfect for fall.

Moisturizer: I don't wear a lot of makeup, so I love the coverage and hint of color Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer gives me.

Lip balm: I love this stuff! [Labello balm is] hard to find in the United States, so I buy loads of it whenever I'm in Europe.

Travel toothbrush kit: I need this kit because I brush my teeth three to four times a day.

Gum: It doesn't matter which flavor, I like all Orbit gum.


Danny Finn is an RRCA-certified running coach and has been the head coach at Fleet Feet Sports, in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the past four years. He started running marathons in 2004 and since then has completed more than 30 full marathons, was a four-time Boston marathon qualifier and ran the Boston marathon for three consecutive years. His favorite thing about coaching runners is the look on the athletes' faces when they realized they've just run a marathon.

Running watch: A good running watch like the Garmin Forerunner 620 gets me through training runs.

Shoes: For workouts, I currently run in a pair of Newton Kismet shoes, but I'm not loyal to any specific brand.

Fuel: To stay fueled while training, I carry GU energy chews or Clif Bloks.

Hydration: I like to mix a nuun electrolyte tablet with water for hydration.

Gear: For a quick change after my workout, I like to carry a dry shirt, socks and shorts.

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