It’s SO cold. We feel it, we hear it, and for some reason we like to say it to friends and strangers alike (when was the last time you were in an elevator and talked about anything other than the weather?). This offensively bitter weather makes going home and jumping into sweats sound almost as good as being on a beach somewhere tropical. So going to the gym – even for those of us who enjoy working out – becomes easier to blow off.
Having a well-packed gym bag makes it harder to bail on your workout, and makes surviving the cold a little more comfortable. So what goes into the perfect winter gym bag, you may ask? Here are the seven things that I wouldn’t leave home without during the brutal winter months.
1) Dry shampoo
I don’t like showering at the gym in the winter because leaving with wet hair is not a good idea (hello, icicles), and sometimes I don’t have the time or arm strength after a workout to completely blow dry my hair. So my trick? I blow dry the sweaty areas by the hairline, spray on some dry shampoo at the roots, give it a few seconds to settle and brush it out, and then spritz a little nice smelling stuff to cover up any sweaty odor that my persist. I recommend Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, in the travel size.
2) Leg warmers
Call up the 80s because leg warmers are back, if nothing more than because they make a huge difference in keeping you from frostbite! I love my teal knit leg warmers from Toe Sox - the company that also makes toe-less socks with sticky bottoms for yoga/Pilates! They're stylish, warm, and they will certainly get you noticed!
3) Thumb-hole sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt
There’s something so cozy about those sweatshirts that have extra long sleeves with a hole to pop your thumb through. They block the wind from blowing up your arms, and they are made for people who work out, so the material is often moisture wicking and perfect for throwing on before braving the cold while you’re still sweating. I love my the GapFit Motion long sleeve tee which can be easily layered under a heavier sweatshirt in the extreme cold.
4) Moisturizing face lotion
It’s no secret that the winter weather can be extremely harsh on sensitive skin, and we seem to go through more bottles of lotion than any other time of the year. But many people forget to pack a good face lotion in their gym bag and have to resort to the effects of the harsh hand soap plus thin, awful-smelling lotion offered gratis on the sink (ok, feel free to ignore this if you go to Equinox where the Kiehls is free flowing). For my face, my go to is Origins. I like the VitaZing SPF 15 after an early workout when there's still some sun outside (it's lightly tinted as well for a nice glow), and I love High-Potency Night-A-Mins after an evening workout to soak in over night.
5) A simple, non-itchy hat or fleece headband
This may sound silly or straightforward, but after a workout, when you’re still sweating a bit, there’s nothing worse than an itchy hat (that wasn't itchy before!) or having to wear your favorite cashmere hat while the sweat is still flowing. I like to carry an extra that is just for my post-workout protection, that doesn't bother me if it gets a little dirty, and that I don’t mind throwing in the washing machine or sink to clean. Gap is always a good choice - especially the GapFit line which is specifically made people who work out. And thanks to Tatiana for her suggestion on Facebook for fleece headbands. This is another favorite way to keep warm without being itchy or caring about sweating on a nice hat! Under Armour has some simple, yet stylish an inexpensive options.
6) A killer playlist
Sometimes songs about summer are all I need to get through a tough workout. Other times, it’s all about the bass (no treble). The point here is that putting together a couple of playlists for the gym is just as important as everything else on this list to help you make the most of your time working out. Give yourself a few options based on your moods and inspirations so you don’t get bored of the same songs. Right now, I’m on a Spanish kick, and I’m loving Enrique Iglesias & Sean Paul's "Bailando" - can't get enough!
That feeling of chapped, dry lips can be extremely distracting during a workout. So I'm always sure to have something to apply before I lock up my bag. I really like Fresh Lip Treatments because they go on like chapstick but they have tints to give you a little color during your workout - a totally acceptable type of makeup for the gym! (Thanks to Rosalind for this suggestion)