How to Prepare for a Morning Gym Workout

I have a love hate relationship with early morning workouts. I am not a morning person. I am a repeat snooze button hitter. I am grumpy. I am slow moving. I don’t want to be talked to. I want to be left alone.

However, I love working out in the mornings once I’m at the gym. I love getting it out of the way. I love the fact that there aren’t as many people there. I love that I don’t have to wait for equipment or weights. And I love that it gets my blood going.

Now that I’m getting back into working out, I’ve been struggling to figure out the best times to go and still not mess up my work schedule. I don’t have a specific set time and was going in early to leave at 4 and go to the gym. However as budget season gears up and year end approaches, getting out of the office at 4pm is becoming more and more difficult… oh the life of an accountant.

Last month I made the decision to switch back to my old morning routine. This worked for me for years and as painful as it is to get back into the routine, I know once I do it’ll be worth it. The alarm goes off at 4:50 with one snooze. The goal is to be out of the house by 5:20 but in all reality its turning out to be 5:30.

The biggest difference this go round is that I will not be coming home to shower and get ready for work like I used to. I have a tiny bit of a commute now and I’m not going opposite the traffic flow like previous years. There is an LA Fitness a couple miles from my office so it makes sense to just go there in the mornings.

Now comes the fun… packing a bag in the most efficient way to get everything I need to the gym each morning. Below is a list of everything I take in to the gym now to make things as efficient and easy as possible. Another key is having everything ready to go the night before. Getting up, dressed, and out of the house as quickly as possible is the key to success. This means the night before I will have my gym bag packed, clothes picked out, and lunch packed. If any of these fails to happen my whole morning process is gonna be struggling.

Gym Bag

Towel and Bathrobe: Lets be real… it is NOT ok to air dry in the locker room. Yes people change and you’re gonna see some nakedness…. But don’t be THAT person. Typically this person is old and not even remotely close to the person who actually could get away with flaunting what she’s got. But I digress… I ordered from Amazon a wrap towel that has Velcro to stay on similar to what I had back in the dorm days of college. For a towel, I’m actually using a fast drying, light weight backpacking towel. It takes up less room in my gym bag and can be purchased online or at any camping gear store.

Shower bag: This one is really kinda a big deal. You don’t want to have to be juggling everything you need to the shower and you definitely don’t want to sit all your belongings on the wet, germ infested floor. Once again, Amazon to the rescue. My shower bag has 3 compartments and a hanger for a quick hang outside the shower with easy access.

Shampoo/Conditioner/Lotion: I also bought 3 travel size squeeze bottles from Amazon. I filled them up with my shampoo, conditioner, and lotion so not to have to carry as many big bottles and save on room. They are light, easy to fill up and fit perfectly in my shower bag. Also side note for lotion: I use the in shower lotion from Nivea. For me applying lotion is a lot more convenient at the gym while I’m showering.

Shower Shoes: Ok another person you don’t want to be is the Walk Around the Locker Room Barefoot Person. Just no. Gross. Vomit in my mouth. Ever heard of athletes foot? Or other foot funguses? The gym showers are notorious for passing these around. And if you are barefoot, I promise you that people are judging… hard. I have a cheap free pair of Victoria Secret flip flops I was given a few years ago. Old Navy, Walmart, or Target are also great places to pick up some cheap flip flops to shower in.

Makeup and Other Toiletries: This is where everyone is going to be different and when I reallyyyyy wish I wasn’t so damn high maintenance. While I have gotten my makeup as easy as I’m probably gonna get it for work and day to day, I still need a lot. Makeup, makeup brushes, face lotions, not to mention whatever I need for my hair which varies day to day (think dry shampoo or blowdryer or volumizer spray). My best advice for this is to just go thru your routine, figure out what you actually use every day and ONLY take that stuff. Don’t try and take full size eyeshadow palettes if you don’t use them. If you can break things down into a small zpalette, do it and save room. The key is to be as efficient as possible and only take the items you will actually use.

Gym Bag

Water Bottle: I’ve gotten away from drinking straight out of plastic water bottles. It’s a waste of money and horrible for the environment. I bought a Camelbak off Amazon which I love. It now goes with me to other places than just the gym so I can make sure I’m getting plenty of water daily. #goodskincare

Headphones and Iphone Arm Band: Of course great music helps get a great work out in. I have Bose headphones and an arm band for my iphone that help take my workouts from a 6 to a 10. Crank up some music with great beats and I am in the zone.

Gym Towel: I have a small hand towel I take with me to wipe off sweat, work out benches and even to pad the bar when I’m doing squats. No need to have something expensive and fashionable, just grab an old towel from your linen closet.

Clean Clothes: Nothing worse than coming out of the shower and realizing you’ve left something that you need to dress in… say shoes like what happened to me last Friday and I got to rock my sneakers with some skinny jeans and a fancy sweater at work… not the look I was trying to go for to say the least. I’ve also seen women have to put on dirty sports bras because they left their bra at home. Or worse… having to actually drive home because you forgot pants or a shirt. Plan out the outfit the night before and get it in the gym back or on hangers by the gym bag so you don’t forget.

The key to getting this all ready is doing it the night before. If you rush the next day, something is bound to be left out. If you have a garage, go ahead and put it in your car. If not, put your bag and whatever you need by the front door. Take your lunch to work? Have it packed and ready to grab from the fridge or kitchen on your way out. Drink protein shakes after the work out? Have the powder in the bottle the night before. The ultimate key is to make getting out of the house as easy as possible. I literally roll out of bed, put my dog outside, use the restroom, brush teeth, throw on gym clothes and roll out the door.

It may take some practice to get in the habit, but once you have it down it’s actually an easy process.

With the New Year approaching fast when so many start trying to burn off those extra Holiday pounds, there’s still time to get out and take advantage of sales to get whatever you need to start the morning work out routine and start the New Year perfectly healthy. Or even before, if like me, you’re trying to maintain what you’ve got at least until dieting hard once the New Year hits and already working out in the mornings.

The way I see it, if I make it to the gym 4-5 days a week, it means I don’t have to feel guilty stuffing my face with unhealthy food and massive amounts of alcohol for the next few weeks. #winning

Until next time…



The Penniless Princess

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