I'm an over packer by nature. I always want to be prepared for anything / everything wherever we go, but after a few years of lugging my things and O's to the gym 3-4 days a week I've learned to dial it down a bit and now I just pack the essentials.
AND, when you're lacking the motivation to go to the gym all you need is a
good excuse to convince you to skip it, and not being prepared is as good
an excuse as an! That's why I try to keep a gym bag packed with all the
things I need for the gym (bedsides the clothes I'll wear) so I can just get dressed, grab our bags and go!
water bottle - Of course there are water fountains the gym, but I like to hydrate on my way to and home from a workout. Plus it's nice to have water at the ready when you're sweating it out on a cardio machine or in a class. My favorite is the Camelbak Eddy since it makes it easy to hydrate without having to twist open a bottle.
change of clothes - One of my biggest motivators for going to the gym is knowing I get to shower in peace after my workout. I always keep a fresh, comfortable outfit in my bag, along with the obvious essentials, including socks so I can just wear my gym shoes home and keep my bag light.
armband + head phones - To me, working out without music is so boring, and close to torture. Having a great playlist (like this one) and my headphones ensures I'll get a great workout, and my armband keeps me from having to fuss with it while I'm busy with weights.
hair ties + headband - On more than one occasion my hair tie has broken on the way to the gym or during a workout. I'll never understand women who can exercise with their hair down, I'm not one of them. I always keep extras floating around in my bag.
plastic bag - Our gym supplies plastic bags for members to use to keep wet or sweaty clothes contained and from contaminating the other things in your bag. I try to use just one for the week and reuse it.
flip flops - You don't want to know what kind of gross stuff lurks around in public showers and locker rooms. Think of all the feet... Enough said. I just use a cheap pair of Old Navy rubber ones that were given out at a co-workers wedding.
make-up + shower essentials - I'm not too high maintenance when it comes to day-to-day make-up, so I keep a set of my basics in my bag at all times. I keep a pressed powder, BB cream, eyelash curler, mascara and lip gloss in my bag along with moisturizer, deodorant and a razor. Our gym provides shaving cream, body lotion, shower gel and shampoo + conditioner, so I don't have to worry about those.
post workout snack - I'm usually hungry after a workout, and since I workout between breakfast and lunch I need something to keep me from binging on chips when we get home, so I always pack something to hold me over until lunchtime. I keep a small package of almonds and a bar (loving Larabars still) in my bag.
What are your gym essentials?