Tips to streamline your life, reduce stress, and fit in your workout
But I Can't Find My Hair Tie
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So many women shove their workout gear in their purse or a grocery bag, but it only takes one time of reaching in to pull out your sweat towel and having your entire life fall out onto the gym floor to make you realize that your gear needs its own place. Invest in a decent bag—there are so many practical and stylish options—with plenty of pockets to keep your stuff (plus backups) handy.
But All My Gym Clothes are Dirty
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What's stretchy, comfortable, cute, and works great layered? Your pajamas, yes, but also most workout clothes. While we don't advise sleeping in a full set of thermal running gear, hitting the hay in your sports bra, comfy tee, and yoga pants can be the difference between sleeping in and making it to that early morning class.
But My iPod Ran Out of Juice
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Many workouts have been derailed for want of small, seemingly insignificant items that can make or break your workout: power cord for your music player, ear phones, bobby pins, socks, Band-aids, tampons, head bands, ibuprofen, and lots of hair ties. Find a small cosmetic bag and fill it with your emergency essentials so you'll never be tempted to just go home. Because nobody wants to run without tunes.
But I Forgot My Shoes
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Barefoot training may be all the rage right now, but trotting around the weight room shoeless won't amuse your fellow gym goers. Avoid being a gym "don't" by prepping the night before: Stuff athletic socks inside your sneakers and put them by the door. Another solution: Keep a stash of clean socks and a pair of kicks in the trunk of your car or under your desk.
But I'm Starving
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Healthy snacks are a must before and after your workout. Make sure you get proper nutrition by stocking healthy snacks in your car, desk, or gym bag. One to two hours before your workout, keep your snack under 200 calories. Cereal with skim milk or trail mix with a latte are both good options. The mix of protein and carbs will help you feel satisfied and fueled and may also help reduce muscle soreness.
If you only have 15 to 30 minutes before your sweat session, choosing a snack that is simple to digest is key. Pick a snack that has about 25 grams of carbs such as a tablespoon of raisins, a few saltine crackers, or a small serving of applesauce.
But I'm Late
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Always have a backup plan. Traffic jams, impromptu meetings, and alarm-clock failures happen (as does getting sucked into a rerun of The Real Housewives). We get it. Which is why it's so important to plan for contingencies. If you're too late to make it to your favorite kickboxing class, have a backup weight workout tucked into your bag. If your kid pukes in the middle of the night, make sure you have a few fitness DVDs at home. If you slept in and need to head straight to the office (or got stuck working late), plan a different time to hit the gym—as in actually write it in your calendar.
But I Just Don't Want To
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We've all been there: The couch is comfy, the bed is warm, you're on a roll at the office. Rushing to the gym seems like a huge hassle. Sometimes it's important to take a break and just relax, but when it's not one of those times, there is one nearly foolproof way to get your butt on the bike seat: Find a workout buddy. This is slightly different than just working out with a friend (although friends can be workout buddies too). Find someone who truly wants to work out—the gym is a good place to start—and wants a partner to help with motivation, spotting, and tracking your progress (and maybe a little gossip. But just a little).