I’ve been a regular gym user for over a decade. Thirteen years ago, I was overweight, unhealthy and newly single. I wanted a change and I found that at the gym. When I first started going, I could barely walk on the treadmill for more than 20 minutes, but as I kept going back, I got stronger. I ended up dropping about 40 pounds and became a lifelong gym user.
Several years into my relationship with working out, I started showering and getting dressed in the gym locker rooms. It just made sense to me. I got my exercise done first thing in the morning and headed into the office for the day. There were no crowds and I always had my evenings free to do what I wanted.
When I had my first baby, I joined the local YMCA. The membership included 2 hours of free childcare per day–AMAZING!!! I could get back to my workout/shower routine. If you’re a mom of little kids, you know how hard it is to get a peaceful shower with kids underfoot—getting any kind of shower is hard!
I try to get to the gym several days a week and here are few things I do to make that routine easier.
1 – Find a gym bag that works for you. Assess how much “stuff” you need to take and find a bag that easily fits all of it. I currently use a canvas, zip-top bag similar to the style you can purchase at Land’s End or L.L. Bean. Here are some other adorable options:
2 – Invest in a good lock. I’m terrible at combination locks, so I purchased a lock and key set by Masterlock. How do I not lose my key? I tie it into my headphone cord while I work out.
3 – I protect my hair from moisture when I shower. I only wash my hair a couple of times per week, and the showers at my YMCA are like firehoses. One way that I preserve my hairstyle is a hair wrap, but some of these shower caps would be fun as well!
4 – Moisturize in the shower. I’m not comfortable walking around naked in the locker room, or slathering my entire body with lotion while in the company of others. If you’d like to take the time to analyze that, feel free. I’ve got better things to do. So, the way I moisturize my skin is using some kind of body oil after I’ve showered and before I’ve toweled off. It’s super easy and absorbs quickly. Here are a few oils that I like as well as some “shower lotion” products whose reviews seemed very promising.
5 – Download your favorite shows, and watch them while you work out. This was a game changer for me. I now regularly do 43-ish minutes of cardio every time I hit the gym. It’s so easy. I download a show that I enjoy watching and, boom! Cardio done. Currently, I’m re-watching every single episode of NCIS. I love a good mystery.
6 – Dry shampoo. How do I extend my hairstyle for 3-4 days? I used Living Proof Dry Shampoo. I’ve tried several and this one is hands-down, my favorite. It “cleans” my hair and doesn’t leave a super perfume-y odor.
7 – I never empty my gym bag. I go to the gym often enough that there isn’t any value in me unpacking my bag. I always keep my makeup, travel toiletries, gym lock, ear phones, etc in my gym bag. It makes forgetting things much more difficult. Now, I’ve forgotten things from time to time, but it’s usually nothing that totally derails my day.
I enjoy my cardio-doing, video-watching, showering-alone gym time. Find what works for you! If you enjoy classes, find a class to try out! If you enjoy running outside, some YMCAs will let you run/walk outside as long as you promise to stay within a certain radius of the building. Taking the time to exercise is an investment in yourself. And if you’re a stay at home mom like me, childcare services at the gym can provide some socialization with other kids and caregivers.