By Dayna Brandoff

It’s hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym when you can’t even find the inspiration to pack your gym bag. And while last week we gave you the tools to motivate yourself to exercise, this week we’re here to help you with the second part of that equation: packing your gym bag.

Missed our tips on getting motivated for the gym? Click here!

First, we recommend that you designate one bag as THE gym bag – it can be any tote large enough to carry your gym clothes, sneakers and a few other necessities, although we’re partial to LeSpotsac’s Medium Weekender ($98).

Now that we’ve got the bag picked out, we can begin filling it with things that will live there permanently:

A lock for your locker. This is a no-brainer – if you’re bringing a bag, you’re locking it up.

A pair of flip-flops. Locker room floors can be less than hygienic – shower shoes are a must.

Sports bras you’ll want to show off!

Don’t like the products in your gym’s locker room? Create your own set of gym toiletries! Pack mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face lotion, deodorant, hair product and brush.  Hotel toiletries work great, but if you’re loyal to your favorite brands (like we are), buy a few travel size bottles and make your own mini set from your home stock.

If you regularly shower at the gym before work (or something more fun) it might be worth keeping a set of makeup in your gym bag. Because makeup can be pricey, we recommend re-purchasing only the essentials from the department store (like your foundation, for example), then supplementing with drugstore brands. (No one will be able to tell that you used a drugstore-bought eyeliner today and Chanel yesterday). Otherwise, we suggest always keeping your makeup in a bag that closes so you can easily use it at home or throw it in your gym bag.

Should you use a heart-rate monitor?

By keeping your bag permanently packed with toiletries and other locker room necessities, this portable solution can travel with you from home or office to the gym – all you have to do is throw in your workout clothes and go! No excuses!

Another great tip: keep a few gym outfits in a spare desk drawer at work – if you find yourself with a free evening or lunch hour, you won’t be able to use the “I didn’t bring gym clothes” excuse.