BY: Lively Staff

November 8, 2017

We Asked a Fitness Guru: What’s In Your Gym Bag?

Ever wonder what gym bag essentials a fitness guru carries with her to the gym? Here are a few hints: Quality shoes, a helpful workout belt, and good music.

What you carry in your gym bag is a very personal matter. From sweaty athletic wear and gym shoes to your favorite music and workout props, everyone has different gym bag essentials. Runners will need different things than lifters, while yogis and martial artists are a different matter altogether. You might say an athlete’s gym bag is kind of like their personal first-aid kit.

gym bag essentials

With that in mind, we sat down with Haley Shaw of Amp Up Fitness to talk about what she carries with her in her gym bag. Spoiler alert: We’re talking about some of the best resistance bands, water bottles, and headphones on the market — and how to carry them around.

What are 3-5 gym essentials you can’t live without?

1. Good Shoes: Whether you’re an advanced lifter, traditional cross-trainer, HIIT addict, or cardio junkie, make sure to find shoes to support the type of training you do. For myself, my type of training changes daily. I enjoy heavy lifting, HIIT cardiovascular movements, and mini run and stair master sessions, followed by recovery techniques to keep my body running at optimal levels.

My workouts constantly change; therefore, my shoes change for the type of workout (or activity) I perform that day. Pure Connect and Ghost by Brooks work best for HIIT cardiovascular movements and lifting sessions. Adidas and Under Armor are my favorite for cardio sessions and everyday activities. Find shoes that work best for your body type and goals to prevent injuries and keep you running at optimal levels!

2. Sleek Water Bottle: I am always on the go with my Amp Up Fitness online and in-person training and nutrition business. In-person training consists of 60-minute “House Calls,” group fitness classes, or training at a local gym within the Western suburbs of Chicago. My online training programs are typically built at home or Starbucks (coffee addict at its finest!). Always being on the go, I thankfully have found Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides stick packs. The portable stick packs have saved my life numerous times.

I usually combine the Collagen Peptides into a Starbucks coffee, or add them into my sleek water bottle combined with BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to help quench my thirst and hunger levels throughout the day. Be sure to find a sleek water bottle like Vital Proteins #StayVital Trimr Bottle with sip or chug options to drink from.

gym bag essentials

3. Workout Log (aka Workout of The Day): I have to live the life I preach to my clients, family members, followers, and friends. Having a workout program built for me and my overall health and fitness goals helps me stay on track. A workout program is absolutely essential for consistent progress. Each month I build myself a new online workout schedule. My workout schedule gets further divided into weekly then daily formats, outlining the exact sets, reps and intensity level I should be striving for throughout each session. A workout program is an essential tool for anyone trying to build their best self. Track your progress at every session and see what your body is made of!

4. Workout Belt: My workout belt has saved my life numerous times! Wherever or whatever my workout consists of, I always wear my workout belt. My workout belt simplifies my activewear to disguise any items I need to hold in a secure, no-bounce location. Typically, my belt holds my phone. When I go for a run, hike or complete outdoor workout I store any or all of the following: phone, money, car keys, and resistance band. FlipBelt and FitBelt are two of my favorite brands.

Do you use a particular gym bag? If so, what kind?

For me, pockets and compartments are what I look for when it comes to finding the right gym bag. Right now, I currently use KIND Snacks gym bag. This bag has two mesh side pockets to hold my #StayVital shaker bottle and any other accessories, a front pocket for headphones, and more than enough room for my gym shoes, shower bag, clothes to change into, post-workout fuel, resistance bands(s) and workout belt. I recommend finding a versatile bag that fits your daily activities and lifestyle.

Do you have any tips for how to find high-quality gym gear at an affordable price?

When it comes to gym clothes, I have found the best luck when I take the time to find a brand—or brands —that work best for my body type, workout style(s), and lifestyle. Personally, I have become a huge fan of any brand that allows me to “test out the item.” For example, Fabletics, Athleta, and Lululemon allow you to purchase a clothing item and take it for a test drive to see if the gear works for your body type and activities. If gear does not work out, you can make a hassle-free return with no questions asked. To me, that’s good customer service, and a brand I want to represent!

gym bag essentials

How often do you wash your gym gear?

Not enough, ha! Let’s just say, my priorities lag when it comes to washing my clothes or gear in general. When it comes to my gym bag, I have had it since July 2016 and have taken great care to regularly wipe the bag down inside and out. I will do this with hot water when bag needs a little freshening up. My secret to a “no-smell bag”… Bounce Dryer sheets. The trick is to change dryer sheets out every other week and your bag and gear inside will not smell!

Luckily for myself, I live in gym clothes. I would say over half my wardrobe consists of athletic wear (so yes, I have a lot of gym clothes). When my laundry bin starts to overflow it means it’s time to wash my clothes. Usually, once a week I do a load of laundry.

Do you listen to music at the gym? If so, what kind of headphones/music setup do you use?

Music at the gym? Definitely! I use music as my motivation tool whether I do cardio or hit the weights. Currently, my go-to headphones are Apple’s generic headphones that you get with your iPhone. Sadly, I lost my favorite bluetooth headphones on my last trip to Tennessee, and haven’t made the purchase yet (Christmas gift idea maybe?). Thankfully, my workout belt secures my phone around my waist so I do not have to hold onto it while I workout.

Are there any gym essentials you also use in home workouts?

Some days, hitting the gym does not work the way we want. Having a back-up plan for at-home workout days will set you up for success. Equipment I use for at-home workouts include:

  • Theraband Consecutive Loops Band
  • Free weights (dumbbells or kettlebells ranging in size from 5-50lbs, depending on your goal and space)
  • Stair Ledge
  • Sweat with Bec Booty Bands

Resistance bands are my go-to for my at-home or on-the-go workouts. I love going for a run (when weather permits) and finding a local park or area where I can do 2-3 resistance band circuits, then running back to my starting spot. Dumbbells are convenient, and can be affordable depending on the weight. You can find at-home Print N’ Go workouts I have made on my website.


Haley Shaw is the owner of Amp Up Fitness, an online and in-person training and nutrition platform to help others find the confidence they need to conquer anything in life. Some of her qualifications include: Bachelor’s in Exercise Science, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through National Academy of Sports and Medicine, Group Fitness Instructor, and speciality in hormonal balance and metabolism nutrition. Haley designed Amp Up Fitness to be the platform individuals can go looking for a training program, meal plan, monthly challenge or group fitness class specifically tailored to their goals and needs. Her motto is “It’s not just the workout; it’s the lifestyle.”

You can find Haley at her website www.AmpUpFitness.com, on social media as @HaleyAmpUpFit on Instagram and/or Haley Amp Up Fitness on Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube.

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