One of the reasons I am able to get to the gym every morning is simply because I am prepared. Being motivated is only one half of the equation. Being prepared is the other part of making me successful. This involves getting to bed early, getting my clothes laid out the evening before and having a gym bag packed. Always have a gym bag packed. Here is my list of top ten gym bag essentials that you should always have ready-to-go. If you are up and have everything packed -- you have no excuses. No matter what time of day you plan on stopping by the gym.

  1. Shoes. I always keep my gym shoes in my gym bag. This way I never show up with the wrong shoes -- or worse yet, no shoes at all.
  2. Sweat towel. I have several and they go in the wash and when they are washed they all go directly back into the gym bag
  3. Water bottle. I try to keep two in my gym bag at all times. For a long, hard workout I use two instead of wasting time filling up at the water fountain. I was them once a week.
  4. Zipper pouch. I keep my favorite zipper pouch (or cosmetic bag) in my gym bag. It stores my headphones, phone, gum, business cards, etc. I keep everything in it as i move from equipment to machine. Then I never leave something on the machine. It also stores everything nicely in my bag and nothing falls to the bottom. It's also a great place to store your keys during your workout.
  5. ipod. I try to charge it every three days or as needed. I update my playlist once a month and add new songs.
  6. Headphones. If you use headphones at home or in your car, keep separate headphones elsewhere. This way you always have them wear you need them. Keep your favorite pair in your gym bag.
  7. Gum and fuel. I always chew gum when I workout. Keep your must-haves on hand. energy gels and chews, gum, cough drops. Whatever your thing is, have it on hand.
  8. Training program. I keep various training programs in my bag -- related to speed work, injury prevention and stretching. I like to store them in page protectors or laminate them.
  9. Resistance band. These versatile, light-weight pieces of equipment are great because you can use them at the gym or on the go. They are great for stretching and strength training.
  10. Extra gear. I always keep an extra tank top in my bag in case I am coming from another workout and need to switch into something more comfortable. I also keep a pair of sweatpants and fleece sweatshirt in my bag to layer for when I'm walking to the gym, as well as a hat and gloves.