You're in Great Shape. What About Your Gym Bag?

Pack Your Bags

Congratulations! Whether you’re just taking your first steps towards better health, or whether you’ve been crushing your fitness goals lately, the very fact that you’re reading this means a fit and active lifestyle is a priority for you.  

You should be proud that you’re succeeding where so many others fall short. But after a long day of sweating and toiling, you always make sure to clean yourself up. You love a refreshing wash after a long workout.

Don’t you think your gym bag is longing for the same refreshment? 

The simple, ugly truth is that even the most disciplined and regimented exercise enthusiasts aren’t always the neatest people outside of the gym. Between your 3-year-old sneakers, your unwashed towel, and that half of an energy bar you never finished two months ago, your gym bag is an unfriendly place to those with clear sinuses (and, let’s be honest, that energy “bar” is now a pile of crumbs rolling around at the bottom of the bag, right?)

And hygiene isn’t the only problem. Half the time, you find yourself in the locker room… without your combination lock! Darn it, you left it in your other gym bag; you know, the one you keep at the office for when you use the gym downtown. And, shoot, you left your headphones in your jacket pocket at home. You just never seem to have everything you need all in one place! 

Let’s clear the air. After all, it really stinks with that bag you’ve got lying around.

How to Keep Your Gym Bag Clean

First and foremost, no amount of advice is going to matter if you don’t get into a regular routine of maintaining your gym bag. The single biggest reason your bag is in worse shape than your overweight friend is that it’s thrown aside and forgotten after your workout. Follow these recommendations every day and you can’t go wrong. 

All used clothing should be removed from the bag immediately after transporting between your workout and your home. If you keep a regular pair of workout shoes in your gym bag, it’s imperative that you use shoe balls and shoe spray after each workout to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Then, the bag itself should be cleaned about once a week. You’ll want to pick a gym bag that’s made from an easily washable material, or even one that’s machine washable. Fabrics that hold moisture will always be harder to keep clean than hydrophobic materials. A few extra dollars for a well-crafted bag made with the right materials will make cleaning and maintenance far easier so you can focus on what’s important: your fitness.

And what about that energy bar? Well, think about it; why would you want to keep your food in the same place you keep your sweaty clothes?

You don’t keep snack food in your hamper, so don’t keep protein bars, supplements, and other consumables directly inside of your gym bag at all. If you absolutely must, we recommend using a bag with outside pockets, preferably mesh or something transparent, so you don’t forget to remove these items for more sanitary storage later.

Organizing Your Gym Bag

gym bag

Attribution: Dean Jarvey

Cleanliness is next to godliness, and order is next to divinity. What’s a clean gym bag if it’s filled with a mess of random junk? Or, worse, if it’s missing half of your workout essentials because they’ve been left scattered all across your house and your car?

Once you’ve got a nice and clean gym bag, the next step is to make it the best gym bag it can be. Rule number one: only keep the essentials. We recommend a checklist that looks something like this:

  • One - and only one - set of workout clothes and shoes (unless you need more specialized equipment, of course!)
  • A shoe sac and shoe balls
  • Your combination lock, because keys are easy to forget and lose
  • Deodorant/Antiperspirant of choice
  • One clean sweat rag and one clean towel (okay, two, if you NEED them)
  • One clean set of sweatbands
  • A pair of earbuds/phones
  • If applicable, one pair of workout gloves (make sure you keep these washed, too!)

If it’s not on the list, you probably don’t need it. Sounds simple, right? Everyone carries that stuff. The secret lies in rule number two: everything in your gym bag needs to be dedicated to your gym bag. If you use the same earbuds for all the listening needs in your life, you’re going to be swapping them out of your bag all the time. If you use the same stick of deodorant in the morning that you take to the gym, you’re eventually going to forget to toss it in your bag.

It's in the Bag

So, don’t fall into that trap. Everything in your gym bag, save the items to be washed, ought to be specific to that gym bag so that you never need to remove anything outside of the gym. 

We strongly recommend using separate pockets for the items you don’t need to wash. Most bags feature multiple pockets, so you can keep your earbuds nice and clean all the time. It’s easy to simply toss everything into the main pouch, but you’ll soon regret it when all your gym gear smells like sweat, even before you’ve begun working out.

Don’t let your gym bag fall into disarray. You spend so much time on yourself; don’t neglect the tools that you use to be successful! A clean bag is a happy bag, and you’ll be much more comfortable with all your gear neatly organized and always at the ready.

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