Friday, October 20, 2017

15 Fall Gym Bag Essentials (SPONSORED)

Hello, beautiful! It's fall, y'all - which means it's time to talk about my autumn beauty and fitness essentials.

This idea sort of sprung off my original one, which was to do an update on my What's In My Purse? post from January 2017. Ultimately, I decided to make this more health and fitness-based because the health brand NatraCure kindly reached out and provided me with a free product from their line, which you'll see below!

NatraCure is a great company if you're someone who's athletic or interested in working out. Personally, I'm a runner, and I was looking for something to help me rehab a recent injury in my left ankle - which is how I wound up receiving their Flexi-Kold Pack (a #2 seller on Amazon!). But more on that later, ladies ;) For now, here are my top 15 gym bag essentials that every girl needs this fall to leave the gym with that healthy glow:

1. Water Bottle

Seriously guys - hydration is SO important to maintaining a healthy, happy body! Drinking water is important all year round, but especially in the fall and winter months, when the cold weather can dry out your skin, chap your lips and leave your organs feeling parched.

2. Wet Brush

The Wet Brush is hands-down the best hairbrush I've ever tried. My hair is naturally wavy and, as a result, often tangly and unruly - especially after working out. Nothing works out those kinks after my post-run shower better than a Wet Brush, which is specially designed to be used on wet hair - without the breakage that other brushes might cause.

3. Dry Shampoo

My favorite fitness meme says "I think my hair is 90% dry shampoo at this point" - because it's so true! When you're running straight from a sweat sesh to class or work, dry shampoo is your best friend for absorbing excess oils from your dirty mane. I got the one photographed above from Bed Head by TIGI for free at the Her Campus College Fashion Week event in Boston, but my all-time favorite dry shampoo is the Batiste Cherry Dry Shampoo. Not only does it work great, but it smells good enough to eat!

4. Sea Salt Spray

If your hair gets a little dull and limp after a workout, you're not alone. My hair often needs a pick-me-up from being pulled back in a tight ponytail or messy bun. So, to add texture back into my messy, lifeless hair, I turn to the Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray by Not Your Mother's hair products. This product smells great, works great and creates flirty mermaid waves like no other I've tried.

5. NaturaCure Flexi-Cold Ice Pack*

* Disclaimer: I received this product for free from NaturaCure in exchange for an honest review! 

As I mentioned before, NaturaCure reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in a free product, and I, of course, said yes, both because of my interest in fitness and my need to rehabilitate my sprained ankle. Their representative recommended the Flexi-Cold pack, both because it's a number two seller on Amazon and because it can easily be conformed to wrap around various body parts. My biggest surprise when I received the Flexi-Cold pack in the mail was how big it actually was! Unlike the others I'd been using before, this pack was large enough to wrap around my entire sprained ankle, as well as the injured calf muscles. Plus, its thick fabric covering ensures that the ice pack is never too cold for my bare skin.

6. Self-Tanner

This one might seem like a pretty strange addition to your gym bag, but hear me out: a gradual self-tanner highlights all the hard work you do in the gym by slimming you and contouring your bod. Since I'm about as tan as an ice cube, I like the Jergens Natural Skin moisturizer, which tans gradually with daily application. I love it because it's super natural-looking and pretty much streak-proof, so self-tanner newbies like me literally can't go wrong.

7. Tone It Up Booty Band

Bored of your typical butt workout? I definitely recommend trying Tone It Up's booty bands! Using these along with their online workouts (like this one or this one) will totally kill your glutes next Leg Day. This light-resistance one was provided free in my TIU tour bag, but the ones on range all the way to heavy and cost just $12 for a set of three! 

8. Baseball Cap

I like to joke that there's two types of girls at the gym: headband girls and baseball cap girls. I happen to fall into the latter category: I can't go out on a run, or to one of my mom's kickboxing classes if I'm not wearing a ball cap to hide my sweaty hairdo. This one also came from the Tone It Up tour, but if you don't already have one, you can usually find pretty cute and cheap ones in the Dollar Spot at Target.

9. Athletic Tape

My advice for any kind of injury is to take it slow, tape your affected body part during physical activity and always ice it immediately after. When you have an injury or a problem body part (such as a "bad knee"), athletic tape is an absolute must for any kind of physical activity. In the case of my ankle, taping it relieves some of the excess pressure from my joints so I don't feel as much pain after exercising. You can pick up a roll of cheap, cute athletic tape at any pharmacy or sports store - I got mine for around $6.00 at my local CVS. 

10. Ribbon Hair Ties

I'm the queen of losing my hair ties, so I carry extra ones with me wherever I go. The ribbon hair ties are my favorites because they straddle the line between normal hair ties, which always get tangled in my hair, and scrunchies, which always slide out of my hair. And besides, you can't deny it: they're completely adorable!

11. Gym Bag

I LOVE this bag that I got with my VIP ticket to the Tone It Up tour - in fact, I love it so much that I use it all day long! But that's the great thing about the perfect gym bag: it's roomy enough, and cute enough, that it can do double-duty with both your favorite outfit and your comfiest sweats. 

12. Nike Free Runs

My Nike Frees are the best workout shoes I've ever owned. They're comfy, light and breathable, so your feet aren't drowning in sweat by the end of a tough workout - yet they're still stylish and versatile enough to take you from the gym to class. And on that note, a quick athleisure style tip: If you're in a rush from the gym to another destination, bring a flannel along in your bag to toss over your gym clothes for a look that's straight out of Cosmo!

13. Hand-Weights

Even if the gym has weights, it can never hurt to own your own set of light 3-5 lb hand-weights, whether for towing along to the gym (so you don't have to compete for the weights you want on busy days) or for doing at-home workouts on your own. Click here, here or here to test out a few of my favorite strength workouts using lightweight hand-weights - they'll have you feelin' the burn in no time! 

14. Journal

As with any of your goals in life, you're more likely to achieve your dream body if you write down measurable, actionable steps to get there. Many fitness pros suggest journaling your workouts and your meals to help you stay accountable - and I would add that it's especially important during the fall and winter months of holiday temptation! For example, keeping a fitness journal definitely makes me less likely to binge eat mini Kit-Kats on Halloween. You can also consider the mind aspect of your overall health and write down any thoughts you might have about your body as you're working out; whether those feelings be negative or positive, I tend to think it's always healthier to get it all out. 

15. All-Natural Hygiene Products

Let's face it: if you're a person who menstruates, you wouldn't want to be surprised by your period at the gym only to find you didn't have a pad or tampon on you. Personally, I opt for all-natural, chemical-free tampons because I think a healthy lifestyle works inside as well as out. There are lots of brands and subscription services on the market nowadays for healthier hygiene products, but my hands-down personal favorite is L. It's the cheapest subscription service for this type of product that I've ever found, and they make it incredibly easy to modify, skip or cancel your orders. 

Want more fitness advice from me, Haley Marie? Click here to join my 14-Day College Body Challenge, a whole body health and fitness program designed exclusively for college women.

For just $15 ($25 regularly priced; $10 off with my promo code HALEYMARIE18), you'll get:

  • 14 exclusive daily workouts!
  • my 25-page nutrition guide based on the most current U.S. guidelines
  • your #HMBCBC fitness test to track your progress
  • my never-before-told story of orthorexia

Click here to sample your first College Body workout 100% FREE!