Showing up prepared to class doesn’t always have to do with your attitude and state of mind—it also has to do with having everything you need to ensure a good workout. The good news is that aside from the big-ticket fitness items like shoes and athletic attire, most of the doodads you’ll need are pretty inexpensive. Check out these 10 drugstore gym bag essentials that will help you successfully prepare for and complete your workout.
Topical pain relief gel
If you’ve ever experienced post-workout soreness so bad that you can hardly move, good for you—it means you’re working out to your max! Just be sure to give yourself some well-deserved days off. In the meantime, topical relief gels like Arnicare ($11) and Topricin ($17) can work wonders to alleviate sore muscles, joints and bruises. It helps you move stronger and go longer when you’re not in pain, is great for post-workout to keep your joints and muscles pain free—plus it’s not greasy and doesn’t have a strong scent.
Mini hair brush
When you’re taking classes before, after and even during the workday, it can be hard to keep your look together between sweat sessions. That’s why a mini hairbrush is a must. “I have a big head of hair, so I always make sure to keep a small brush ($1.50) in my bag to style before Cardio Sweat Party or help look fresh post-workout,” says Michele Gordon, fitness expert and founder of Cardio Sweat Party.
Berocca vitamin/mineral supplement
During the winter months, it’s especially important to keep your immune system healthy. When taking classes, you’ll likely experience going from a really hot, sweaty environment to a frigid one as soon as you leave the studio doors. Be prepared with a immune-boosting supplement like Berocca ($12).
It’s filled with vitamin C, B vitamins, and a tiny bit of caffeine and guarana. Just drop a tablet in water, let it fizz until it dissolves, and then drink it down.
If you’re ever in a pinch for a healthy pre- or post-workout snack, these delicious and satisfying bars can do the trick in an instant ($10 for a pack of 15). “The nuts provide a healthy fat, the glucose and honey gives some energy and if you get one with dark chocolate you’ll have some extra antioxidants,” Gordon says. “They’re also low in sugar (5 grams) and have a decent amount of fiber (about 3-6 grams) and a good carb-to-protein ration.” Have one about an hour before a workout or within 30 minutes to an hour after a workout.
This refreshing spray is the perfect pre- or post-workout pick-me-up. Made from 96% natural ingredients, it’s paraben-, SLS- and silicone-free. Yes to Cucumber Cooling Mist ($9) is perfect for those cold, winter nights that strip your skin of moisture. This hydrating mist has both soothing and cooling benefits that pampers sensitive skin in just a few spritzes. Plus, it’s cucumber scent is addicting!
If you’re an outdoor workout gal, wearing sunscreen is a must to protect your skin. Even just running around in between things outside can still damage your skin if you’re not wearing sunscreen. Neutrogena’s Clear Face Sunscreen ($10) is not greasy, leaves no film residue on the face, soaks right in and is “break-out free.” It’s also SPF 55, so it’s great for year-round use, whether you’re skiing, hiking or just going to and from class or the gym.
This natural brand ($5) makes feminine hygiene wipes, baby wipes and makeup remover wipes, so you’re covered for all situations—especially when leaving the gym or studio. You can opt for the feminine wipes to use post-workout if you’re late and don’t have time to shower. The face wipes are nice to remove sweat, and the baby wipes are optional if you can’t find the other two. Simply grab the baby wipes and use for face, pits, down below and and hands!
Washing and drying your hair every day has been shown to be unhealthy and time-consuming. On the days when you want your blowout to last a bit longer, spray some dry shampoo on your roots, like Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo ($6). Spritz it around your crown, roots and underneath your hair to refresh it and absorb some of the sweat even before you work out. After your workout, add some more to give the hair volume.
You know after a yoga class, when you’re in savasana and the teacher presses oil on your shoulders and suddenly you feel like you’re in heaven? That’s probably lavender oil ($12), a very soothing, herbal aroma that provides countless aromatherapy benefits. At the end of a long day, it’s relaxing to massage it on your body before bed. Who says you need to travel or spend hours to practice self-care?
Scunci No Damage hair ties
Let’s face it, nearly every workout requires a hair tie, and if you can find one that won’t damage your tresses in the process, you’re golden. This cheap pack of black hair ties($3) are the most versatile, long-lasting and easiest to pop in your workout bag.