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My gym bag used to contain my sneaks, a few travel-size bottles of hair goo and, of course, anti-stink protection. Now there's more junk in the trunk than I can deadlift. Why? Stuffsplosion, pure and simple.
It all started with the up-to-the-moment gym bag with a heat-safe compartment that my mom got me. "Now you can bring your flatiron so you don't have to look all frizzy!" she exclaimed helpfully. I guess what Mom -- and the "it" bag -- were trying to tell me was that the post-workout ponytail is out. Hair tools and spritz: two pounds.
Next, let's discuss my shoes, which I discovered are all wrong. For Spinning, I must have clip-ins, because everyone knows you can't possibly ride a bike in, well, sneakers. (Who does that?) And forget doing yoga in bare feet: Any self-respecting modern gym-nista will be donning stylin' slip-ons to go along with her antimicrobial mat and special nonslip towel. Add about five pounds.
Because water fountains at the gym are going the way of the phone booth (cootie-phobia?), I'll lug my high-tech bottle. (I spent a day picking one. Try googling gym water bottle. I'll wait.) About two more pounds, full. And if I haven't gotten in enough toning after hoisting my gym bag, I'll need sweatbands on my wrists -- next to my activity-tracker band -- for swinging kettlebells, plus lifting gloves to get through CrossFit sans battle-rope burns. Another three ounces.
When it's time to hit the locker room, I'll fan out an array of wipes -- for my face, underarms and, yes, even hoo-hoo (google it) -- to get fresh. Too bad locker rooms no longer have showers. Oh, wait....
Thing is, the latest gym "essentials" are tempting -- and I always feel as if I'm "investing" in fitness when I buy yet another one. But in the end, the only equipment you really need is your motivation. Luckily, that weighs nothing.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2014.