If anyone knows how to pack a gym bag, it’s someone whose line of work is working out. And because we’re always looking for new ways to add flavor to our fitness routines, we asked six experts if we could take a peek inside their workout bags for a look at the gadgets, gear, and grooming aids they use to stay on top of their game. Whether you’re hitting the mat or the machines, these products will rev your workout, fight postexercise stench, and ensure you don’t leave the gym looking like a hot mess.
Rachel Cosgrove, co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California and author of The Female Body Breakthrough, likes to mix things up. Her bag is full of tricks that would never make an exerciser bored.
To prep for her training routine, Rachel always packs the TRX suspension trainer. “This fits in a gym bag or travel bag easily and can give you a ton of variety and [is a really effective tool for] body-weight exercises,” she says. “You can hook it to a doorway, a squat rack, or a chinup bar.” She also tosses in a pair of Valslides. “They can take an already effective exercise, such as the lunge, and make it even more effective. You can also do some amazing core exercises using the Valslides.”
Next, Rachel adds a Harbinger jump rope. “A jump rope is a fantastic way to get a cardio interval workout in,” she says. She’ll also pack a Hyper Vest to make bodyweight exercises more challenging. “The fit is snug so you don't even know you are wearing it, and you can move really easily while the vest adds five to 10 pounds to increase calories burned.”
When it comes to gadgets and apparel, Rachel’s a diehard Nike fan. She tracks her runs with Nike Plus and is typically decked out in a black Nike baseball cap and a pair of Nike Free sneakers. “I have a closet full of Nike shoes—a pair for going out, a pair for running errands, a pair for working out, a pair for running,” she says. “I probably have 30 pairs that I rotate around.”
Rachel relies on Secret deodorant and body splash for smelling fresh and whips out Dermalogica skin purifying wipes when she can’t squeeze in a shower.
Jeremy Cheung, NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of San Francisco’s Twisted Twilight fitness studio, sticks to a few favorite items that he uses every day.
When he’s gearing up for a workout, Jeremy pulls on Lululemon Court Shorts. “The material is superlight and breathable, he says. “They’re probably the most comfortable short I train in.” He’ll also add Under Armour Knee-High Socks to keep his calves warm. The socks’ fabric also adds a bit of compression.
A TRX strap and door anchor add versatility to Jeremy’s training sessions. He also never leaves home without a stopwatch and says it may be the most important thing in his bag. “I’ve gotten away from rep-based sets with my clients and use time intervals instead,” he says. “This allows me to concentrate on their form and instruct rather than keeping count. It also makes the client work more as they have to do a movement for a period of time as opposed to just stopping when they hit a number.”
Jeremy’s picks for freshening up postworkout include Degree Clinical Protection deodorant, Shiseido Kuyura body wash, J.R. Watkins lavender body lotion, and Twinlab Na-PCA. “Your body naturally makes Na-PCA to keep the skin moisturized, and we lose it as we get older, he says. “I mist this on before I put my lotion on or use it by itself. It has a great spa smell to it.”
“I still drink good ‘ol fashioned lemon-lime Gatorade,” says Jeremy, who also enjoys Muscle Milk mixed with whey protein. “It’s my healthy ‘milk shake’ of the day, so to speak. I actually look forward to making it. Try Chocolate Mint, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate, or Peanut Butter flavors. It will change your life.”
Brooke Siler, owner of re: AB Pilates studio in New York City and author of Your Ultimate Pilates Body Challenge, covers all her bases with a brimming bag of goods for looking, smelling, and feeling great from stretching to shower.