What keeps three health editors and one very prolific blogger performing to their peak in the gym? We had a rifle around in their gym bags…
What’s in your gym kit? A rogue sock? 29 hair elastics? Half eaten oatcake? That’s what mine looks like, but I’m sure you’re all a LOT more put together than myself. If you’re seeking the pinnacle of gym kit organisation and efficiency however, look to the following four health eds, who are not only smashing PBs both professionally and on the gym floor, but looking pretty damn stylish doing it. Here are the essentials that provide focus, fuel and post-workout flawlessness for the industry experts.
Anna Magee, founder and editor of healthista.com
Photo credit: Sophia Spring
Oh wow, how do I pick just five? I have a permanent locker at the gym and it’s always stuffed to the brim with beauty products and kit as I usually train in the mornings and have quite a ritual to undertake before work to get me looking sane!
Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 , £39. This is actually a new salon treatment for coloured hair that restores shine like nothing I have ever experienced. I have it at my beloved salon of hair geniuses at Four London . I go to Maleeka for colour and Tom for styling. In terms of Olaplex, it costs £38 to have the treatment put on your hair, then you take home the rest of the bottle to use once a week between colouring. I normally use it on Sunday mornings (I have arm day with my PT and then do a FightKlub class at Gymbox Stratford where I’m a member). I apply it to towel-dried pre-shampooed hair and then sit in the sauna for ten minutes. It’s amazing stuff.
Kérastase Discipline . This is one of the newer ranges from Kérastase and I find the shampoo, conditioner, leave in spray and heat styling cream to be one of the only ranges that works on my hair, whether I choose to wear it curly or straight. My hair is coarse, thick and wavy and I blow-dry it straight very often, but with this system I get luscious curls post-gym when I am in a hurry and need to dry naturally, or soft, straight hair if I blow dry. Either way, the result is zero frizz.
Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation in Almond , £45. I’m not sure what I did with my face before I found this. It’s sweat-proof and looks completely natural and also works as a treatment serum and moisturiser. Last year it was one of the official foundations used backstage at the Oscars and although at £45 for 30ml it’s expensive, I wouldn’t be without it. It brightens and lifts my skin like nothing else, doesn’t dry in the cracks, looks completely natural (they have yellow and blue based shade options), plus it doesn’t melt off your face if you sweat.
Epionce Ultra Shield Lotion SPF 50 , £40.50. The Epionce range has saved my skin. I love it because it’s made using botanicals but is created by a US dermatologist and has serious science and clinical evidence behind it. This lotion is my go-to as it’s one of the only sunscreens I have found that sinks into skin fast with no film or residue. It also doesn’t ‘pill’ or flake when you apply makeup or primer. Again, expensive but worth it.
Adidas Women’s Ultra Boost trainers , £130. These are Adidas’ big women’s running shoe. I only run once a week, and even then on the treadmill, but I prefer their lightweight feel and padding to cross-trainers which I find heavy, especially as I like doing lots of MetCon, plyometrics and kickboxing type of exercise. The most appealing feature of these is flexibility and comfort and I like their airy, curved sole. They feel great. I do however have my eyes on the new Nike Free Run shoe in White ; I am a little obsessed with white trainers right now.
VSX Sports Bra in Black, from £18.38. When the new Victoria’s Secret Sport range launched a couple of months ago, I was expecting all style with little substance. I admit I am a massive fan of the underwear and love the designs and the way it fits but how functional does underwear have to be? I was incredibly impressed with the whole VSX range. The leggings are flattering and always stay in place, whatever you’re doing. But the sports bras are in the league of their own; hugely supportive and superbly flattering, they’re the best I have ever worn.
HPE Compression Leggings , £80. With their camouflage print design, these are made from a compression fabric that sucks you in in all the right places but also (HPE claim and I can’t verify this) apparently help muscles recover. What I love about them is that they sit well and do not move, and despite holding you in like mad, they don’t dig into the fleshy bits at your waist. I know that Millie Macintosh is a fan.
Amy Lawrenson, Editorial Director at Byrdie.co.uk and qualified personal trainer
I follow Mike Matthews’ Thinner Leaner Stronger plan, so I lift heavy weights 3-4 times each week and then fit in other classes as and when. I have started going to Form , which is a Pilates/HIIT hybrid that utilises a piece of kit that looks like a foam roller with pulleys! It has been great for improving my posture, helping to combat the effects of sitting at a desk all day.
If I want to try and PB at the gym I’ll have some porridge before; oats, water and a little honey. I then might have a pre-workout cup of coffee. If I’m fasted training, I’ll have Legion Pulse (which we ship in from the US) and Bulk Powders Leucine and take a couple of Legion Forge (again we ship these) to help maximise fat burn during my session.
As for my gym kit, I’m a sucker for a gym bag! I recently bought the Adidas by Stella McCartney Studio Bag , £110 which I love.
My Protein Liquid Chalk , £6.59. Gloves are good but once you starting lifting really heavy you need liquid chalk. You apply it to your hands and leave it to dry, it then provides a really good grip. I use it when I’m deadlifting as I’m up to 80kg.
Sure Maximum Protection Deodorant , £5. The best deodorant ever, and it’s not an aerosol which is a bonus.
Mio Quickstart Shower Gel , £18. I love this shower gel, it’s menthol and has caffeine so it gives my body a post-workout boost. A must after a tough workout like legs or back day!
SmartShake , £9.99, with Bulk Powders Natural Pure Whey Isolate , £11.99. I always take a protein shake with me so I can refuel after a session. I put a scoop of the powder in the shaker and then just add water before I drink it. It’s not a replacement for food but is good if I’m not going to be able to eat something right away.
Glossier Balm.com , £30 for three. Dry lips can be really distracting at the gym or when I go running so I always make sure to keep an unscented balm in my bag. This comes in a three-pack so I have one in my gym bag, one in my handbag and one on my desk.
Sadie Reid, Editor at Hip & Healthy
We have a gym in our office so I try and go on the days that I am in (I spend the other days in meetings and tend to just run in the mornings on those ones). In total, I go to the gym twice or maybe three times a week times a week. On other days, I run or do yoga. My gym bag of choice is a Gym Tote . I stash it with the following as it makes going to the gym a fun experience; they somehow makes it easier.
Hair Ties from Hey Holla , £7.50. They don’t kink your hair so if you go to the gym in your lunch break you don’t have to worry about your post-sweat hair situation.
Plasters. I do a lot of running so these are essential- there is nothing worse than something as small as a little blister running a good gym session.
A magazine. Usually Women’s Health or Red Magazine. I have mastered this bizarre knack of running on the treadmill whilst reading a magazine. I will often read one cover to cover and it’s the only time I ever get to read a magazine so I treasure the moment. Plus, it makes running 7k go by in a flash.
My Apple Watch. Ok, so this is one is not strictly in my gym bag (you’re more likely to find it on my wrist). It monitors my activity for the day and I love watching the activity rings just light up once I’ve hit my target…and its only 8am. Best. Feeling. Ever.
S’well Bottle , £35. The only way to sip water.
Zanna Van Dijk, blogger, vlogger, personal trainer and fitness model
I lift weights four or five times a week. These workouts are whenever I can squeeze them in, whether that's morning noon or night. I workout for about 45 minutes in total. Sometimes I switch up a weighted workout for a boxing class though as I find it very empowering (and stress relieving!).
I prepare by making sure I'm fuelled up with some nourishing meals throughout the day and I never forget to stay hydrated. I recover by getting in a protein and carb based meal within a few hours of my workout. This can be anything from protein oats to a chicken curry with rice. I also try to stretch and foam roll regularly for tactical recovery.
As for my gym bag, I just use a backpack. Mine is a sturdy one by LuluLemon . It was expensive but worth the price tag as it has waterproof pockets, a laptop case etc. It's super practical. My five essentials within are always…
A bottle of water, without fail, to stay hydrated.
My headphones, to plug in a motivating playlist.
Resistance bands to use throughout my workouts. I love the small looped one for glute exercises.
My phone. I preplan all my workouts and write them on there.
A sachet of protein powder, for when I'm in a rush after a workout and need a quick refuel.