How Alicia Keys Stays “Good to Glow” Post-Workout

We asked the 15-time Grammy winner to share what’s in her gym bag — plus, her go-to pieces for an easy, stylish post-workout outfit.

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Alicia Keys: What's In My Gym Bag

Shape / Alli Waataja

Alicia Keys may be known for her natural glow and her mellow, piano-heavy R&B tunes, but don’t get it twisted: The singer-songwriter and Grammy award-winner doesn’t shy away from tough workouts.

“I love cycling, heavy cardio, yoga, and Pilates,” she tells Shape. “I also do this one class that has yoga but uses weights on your legs and your arms, and I like The Class by Taryn Toomey,” an off-the-wall workout class where you’re as likely to find yourself doing a primal scream as you are a plank. 

Even still, it’s probably no surprise that Keys prepares for her workouts in the same grounded, intentional way she approaches everything from recording nine studio albums to designing her third capsule collection with Athleta. “Pre-workout, I really try to meditate,” she explains. “I think it's such a nice complement to be grounded in the early part of the morning and then get right through your workout.” 

That groundedness extends to one of the key items she keeps in her gym bag — her latest read. “I love a good book in my gym bag, because in the event that I get a few minutes to read, I take my book with me anywhere I can possibly go,” she explains.

Clothes-wise, you’ll find Keys rocking her new Summer of Soul collection with Athleta, featuring 13 pieces of bold, bright activewear designed to celebrate and inspire women. “I love the bold colors, and I really believe in color therapy,” says Keys. “After a long winter, being able to have the colors to build your confidence just makes you feel good. And as a woman, I want others to feel great about themselves and to be able to have different ways to utilize the pieces during the day.”

Here’s what else you’ll find in Keys’ gym bag, including her favorite skincare products and her go-to workout equipment.

Keys Soulcare Reviving Aura Mist

Keys Soulcare Reviving Aura Mist

Keys

The reenergizing mist spray is an instant wake-up for Keys before early morning workouts, thanks to rose of Jericho (for rejuvenation) and witch hazel (which tones the skin). “I love the Aura Mist to wake up to,” she shares. Since it’s both hydrating and toning, you can apply it pre-workout without worrying about clogged pores; like the mantra on the back of the spray bottle, you’ll feel free as the air.

To level up her already-intense cardio workouts with Anna Kaiser, Keys straps on an ankle weight. “I think a leg weight is pretty fire,” she exclaims. “Especially depending on what you're doing with just a little energy,” since ankle weights can add resistance to low-impact workouts like yoga, barre, or Pilates. And when she has the chance to use them, Keys will reach for weighted vests or resistance bands as well. “The ones with handles are the ones that I use a lot if I'm doing my crazy cardio routine with Anna Kaiser,” she says. “I like the way they perform while doing some yoga as a little bit of extra punch.”

Corkcicle Classic Sport Canteen, 20 oz.

Corkcicle Classic Sport Canteen, 20 oz.

Revolve

With all that jumping, lunging, and squatting going on, “I'm going to need a bottle of water,” says Keys. “Because a bottle of water just makes all the difference in the world, and it definitely will be able to keep that skin and that body healthy and glowing.” She’s not wrong: Proper hydration can help improve your skin’s overall tone and elasticity. Keys uses the Corckicle Classic Sport Canteen, which has triple-insulation to keep drinks cold for up to 25 hours — plus, a wide mouth big enough to fit ice cubes and a handy straw lid so you don’t miss a beat of your workout.

Keys Soulcare Golden Cleanser

Keys Soulcare Golden Cleanser

Ulta

To keep her skin glowing, Keys is loyal to a post-workout face wash, especially if she’s using the Golden Cleanser from her skincare line, Keys Soulcare. “Post-workout, I want to wipe off whatever sweat or whatever the day has so I want that Golden Cleanser in my gym bag,” says Keys. With skin-nourishing ingredients like turmeric, manuka honey, and chamomile, the cleanser soothes and hydrates your skin to leave it feeling soft, clean, and oh-so-refreshed.

Alcala Deodorizing Body Wipes

Alcala deodorizing body wipes

Amazon

Listen, sweat is a natural part of life — and if anyone knows about going natural, it’s Keys, who went on a no-makeup journey from 2016 to 2020. But just because sweat is natural doesn’t mean you have to swim in it during and after your workout, which is why Keys relies on the humble body wipe as a gym bag staple. “I love a simple body wipe,” says the mother of two. “I don't even have a particularly favorite one, but a simple body wipe is essential for the bag. Even just a small towel just depends on how sweaty I actually am or how hard the workout is.” She'll also often use her Nourishing Cleansing Balm with a face towel for a truly fresh face.

Need recommendations? A Shape writer recently trekked to Mount Everest basecamp, using Alcala deodorizing body wipes in place of her daily shower.

Keys Enlighten Up Linen Bomber

Keys Enlighten Up Linen Bomber

Athleta

For an after-workout look, Keys favors easy, breezy pieces that can be combined for a pull-together outfit. “I will put the Keys Flutter Short on with the Keys Linen Bomber so that it creates a look for me to head to brunch after my Pilates class. That’s my vibe,” she says. FYI, both this top and bottom are available in sizes XXS to 3X. You can grab them in a matching rust-orange hue for a monochrome moment, or mix and match for a more colorful, playful style.

Keys Daybreak Printed Coverup

Keys Daybreak Printed Coverup

Athleta

Talk about versatility. This piece can be worn as a sarong, a coverup, or as a head scarf, which is how Keys herself prefers to style it. “It’s so lightweight and packable,” she raves. “Sometimes if my hair is done — if I had braids or something like that — the scarf is a good way to keep it all together and [after a workout] not have lost the entire vibe of your hair.”

GoMacro Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Macrobar

GoMacro Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Macrobar

Amazon

“Lastly, I always need a snack for post-workout,” says Keys. ICYDK, timing your post-workout meal is key to optimizing your muscle gains and your recovery. Try to eat or drink something that combines protein and carbs within an hour of your workout; you’ll refill your energy stores, build and repair muscle tissue, and keep your metabolism rolling. Keys’ go-to, a peanut butter and chocolate macrobar, has 11 grams of plant-based protein, 39 grams of carbs, and let’s not forget — vegan chocolate chips.

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