Winter workouts aren’t everyone’s festive red cup of pumpkin spice.
Cold weather can be rough on motivation.
Those long, dark mornings and short dull evenings can make even brisk exercise seem like an endurance event and even working out in a temperature-controlled gym means venturing outside into the cold air.
Everything seems like so much more effort in the winter.
We could recommend hiding under a duvet until the spring, but ‘tis the season of over-indulgence and that just won’t do. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year all falling within a 6-week period, there’s probably never been a more important time to try and maintain a fitness regime.
Adding some essential accessories to your gym bag could help your workouts feel a little more bearable this winter.
Feel free to drop us a message below so we know what’s in your bag right now.
Put a Hat on It
A common misconception is that most body heat is lost through the head. Whilst we can lose a considerable amount of heat that way, it’s no more than anywhere else on the body when bare skin is exposed to the cold: our arms, legs, face and hands are just as susceptible to goose bumps.
Keeping exposed skin to a minimum (wherever it is on the body) will help keep you warm.
Heading to the gym? There’s no end of hats to pick from. Bobble hats are one of our favourites as you can pull them down low over the ears and often the decent ones are thickly knitted with insulated material on the inside.
Running hats tend to be smaller and tighter and some have a print that’s designed to reflect light making them ideal for anyone exercising outdoors. You can buy smaller hats designed to fit under triathlon helmets, too.
Some runners prefer a low beanie style covering the ears. Other will be happy with a baggier fit. Once you know what you need your hat for, you can shop a more specific design to suit your workout.
If you’re going for a purely aesthetic style, then read our winter fashion guide for information on what type of hat suits your face.
Hats that can quickly and easily fit inside a gym bag are always useful in the winter.
Pull on a Snood
Snoods are useful for outdoor runners vulnerable to cold air on the lungs and chest. These insulated sleeves can be pulled up over the nose and mouth or left to sit against the neck. You throw these into the bottom of a bag and they take up next to no space.
Gloves can get you to the gym and they can get you round your running route; they can make a huge difference to your motivation as there are few things more uncomfortable than cold fingers and hands. If you’re running to music or a podcast, then look for ‘magic-touch’ gloves which allow you to operate your phone without messing up your pace or stride.
Use Spray Shampoo
Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver in the cold weather. Unless you’re planning on thoroughly drying your hair in the changing rooms, then it’s far easier to spritz your post-gym hair with dry shampoo. Going out with wet hair is going to make you feel colder and could make you more vulnerable to illness.
Tie it Back
If you’ve got long hair, then hair ties are a must. Having hair flying around your face is far more distracting in the winter if you’re wearing a hat or headphones. It’s more difficult to deal with, too, if you’re wearing gloves. Keep a pack stashed in a side pocket. You’ll probably lose way more of these than you’ll use – ask any female and they’ll tell you it’s one of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
Pack Your EarHugz
Nostalgic for your Ibiza summer playlist? Don’t forget to add sweat-resistant headphone covers to your gym bag. Just because its winter it doesn’t mean you won’t still be getting a sweat on. Sweat damage is just as real in the winter.
Be Seen in the Dark
Running in the dark can be dangerous. It’s important to be seen by other road and pavement users especially in rural or poorly lit areas. Adding reflective wear is always a good idea but shoe lights are a cheap and effective way to be seen in the dark. You might also like to pair them with a headtorch.
Keep Valuables Secure
Running wristbands keep your personal items safe and easily to hand. Fitting around the wrist, it’ll save you leaving a key under a rock when you leave home. It’s also useful if you think the security at your gym is a little lax.
Put Headphone Earmuff Covers in your Gym Bag
Many of us wear our headphones to the gym but it can be hard to fit them over a hat. Earpads can also make our ears feel cold. We’d recommend adding a pair of furry headphone covers to your headphone cushions. They won’t interfere with the sound quality and will keep your ears toasty warm – handy if you suffer from painful conditions like otalgia.
Buy Warm Socks
So many high-street retailers sell awful thin socks that do little to keep feet warm or hygienic. You might imagine winter socks to mean thick woollen bed socks but merino wool socks are ideal for the gym: they’ll keep your feet warm, they’re quick-drying and are antibacterial. Pop a spare pair into your gym bag for whenever you end up with wet feet.
Put Your Headphones On
For many of us, headphones are a non-negotiable. Exercising without music can feel as though time is standing still. When it comes to motivation and distraction from the exertion, there’s nothing like a good pair of headphones. Whether you choose over-ears, on-ears or in-ears will be down to personal choice but we’d recommend a pair where the noise-cancelling can be turned off. If you’re exercising outdoors, and especially during the dark days of winter, it’s important to be aware of any upcoming threats and dangers. Add moisture-resistant covers to the earpads before you start exercising and you’re good to go.
Take a Reusable Water Bottle
A reusable water bottle will keep you hydrated and help you do your bit for the planet.
Fold Up and Tuck in a Towel
Microfiber towels are quick-drying and fold down to nothing. Having something to wipe your face or to wipe or wet equipment is important.
Everyone will have a different idea as to what’s essential for a winter gym bag. We’d love to hear what’s in yours. Let us know in the comments below.