Exercising in the morning can make you feel great for the rest of the day, and we have tips on how to motivate yourself to want to exercise in the morning. But then you have to deal with the practical obstacles: Do you go straight from the gym to the office? What do you do with your stinky clothes, and how do you pack all the toiletries you might need? Fortunately, Reddit has answers.
Bring a bag for your stinky or wet gym clothes
OK, first question: What do you do when you finish your morning workout and you’re covered in sweat? Change out of those clothes, of course, and maybe take a shower.
“I keep two plastic grocery bags in my backpack at all times,” says not_my_legal_name, “so that if I get particularly sweaty, I can toss my wet clothes in there (the other bag is for my shower sandals).”
Storage for clean clothes is another thing you’ll have to work out. Packing cubes are one popular solution. There are also gym bags with waterproof compartments for wet or dirty clothes. A since-deleted user writes: “I use a gym bag with two compartments. Big compartment for clean clothes, small compartment for smelly clothes.”
Several redditors mentioned that they’ll dry out a towel on the back seat of their car, if they drive, or hang it in a locker or on a hook at work. If you have the space, these can be a great way to make sure the towel won’t get moldy before you can wash it.
Rent a gym locker, if you can
Some gyms provide extra services for a fee. Two that are useful here: Locker rental, and towel service.
With towel service, you can use the gym’s towels and let them do the laundry rather than bringing your own each time. “Pay the 50 cents ($0.64) for the towel rental,” says Pigeonofthesea8. Some gyms rent towels for free, some for a fee (either per towel or for a few bucks a month), and some don’t offer it at all. If you’re scouting out gyms near your workplace, ask about this and consider it as a factor in your decision.
Similarly, some gyms require lockers to be emptied overnight, but others allow long-term storage, usually for a fee. Rent a locker and you can keep items like toiletries there. Willowintheev writes: “You can also put your chalk and other non-sweaty gym items in in there, plus you can keep your gym shoes in the locker instead of lugging them around.”
“Get some packing cubes, netting sacks, and/or zippered pouches and designate one for each ‘group’ of things you need,” writes Trackerbait. “One toiletries bag, one lifting bag, one bag for work clothes, etc. Then you only need to make sure each unit is in the bag when you go.”
Travel-friendly items will also make the job easier and your gym bag smaller. “A quick dry towel will take up much less space than a regular one,” writes vicariousgluten.
“Prep your toiletries like you would for a flight,” in little bottles, writes aaantoniaaa_. You can refill the bottles as needed from your regular ones at home.
Have a system for your workout clothes
Aaantoniaaa_ is full of good ideas, and I love their approach to the laundry cycle. “On Monday (or a day of your choosing), bring a week’s worth of workout clothes to work and leave them in your desk or locker there. I used to change at work (because if I didn’t I wouldn’t go to the gym lol) and bring all my work clothes home on Fridays.”
They also recommend wearing your gym shoes while you commute (if your gym allows street shoes), and asking your coworkers for tips on how they manage things if they work out early.
Finally, they had this excellent advice: “Have a backup outfit + shoes that live at work. Never rely on this outfit as one that you’ll be using. It’s for emergencies and accidents only or “oops I forgot” scenarios.”
Pare down your beauty routine
While you can achieve full makeup or a time-consuming hairstyle in the gym locker room (or the work bathroom), several redditors noted that they save their more complicated looks for days they can get ready at home. “Gym days aren’t the days to do a full contour or mess with new, fancy techniques. Too much crap to carry,” says a since-deleted user. A look you can put together with five or six travel-sized products seems to be the consensus.
For freshening up hair, dry shampoo is a popular choice. You can even put it in your hair before you get sweaty, Babyumbry writes. If you want to get a bit more involved, elcowi and others recommend washing just part of your hair in the sink, like the area around and including your bangs, and then blow-drying and styling that. “It takes me 5 minutes to wash and blow dry this way, whereas it takes me half an hour to blow dry my full head.”
One last tip from a redditor whose name is lost to history: zip-top plastic bags. “When your body wash bursts, you don’t want it to burst into your makeup and blouse.”