Getting Ready at the Gym

Have you ever decided not to work out because it would take too much effort on the back end to get ready all over again?

There are definitely women at my gym who show up with a wheeled bag containing a seemingly endless supply of grooming agents, as well as those who don’t even bother to shower on the way out the door.

Me? While I don’t revel in looking like a schlump, I also definitely don’t travel with a curling iron and lighted vanity mirror.

Over time, I’ve also figured out a few tricks to getting ready lickety-split.

Step 1 is to always be prepared. Be ready to work out. Have your bag packed, and not just with workout clothes. I always keep two small cases inside my gym bag at all times. The first one contains shower basics: face wash (this one, always), shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Here’s where my abundant stash of hotel toiletries comes in handy. Sample packets of skin products that I score from beauty counters and this great five-in-one hair treatment round it out. If you can stomach it, combined shampoo and conditioner products cut shower time down even further.

The second bag is for makeup. I don’t duplicate all of my favorites, but I stock it with enough to get by, and almost everything does double or triple duty. This Bobbi Brown concealer kit is a great multitasker because it also contains pressed powder:

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I also keep a foundation stick and an eyeshadow stick (this one, a really pretty color), blush (this one also works on the lips) and mascara. Occasionally I’ll toss in something that I got for free from a beauty gift with purchase, particularly if, say, there’s a palette whose colors are ok enough not to have been immediately tossed but not quite A List material. The small brushes that come along with gifts with purchase are also perfect for this kit.

Step 2 is where I really make great time. Once out of the shower, I quickly get dressed, put on my five-in-one hair treatment and wrap my hair in a towel while I do my makeup, which takes only two or three minutes. And then I use two blowdryers, one in each hand, to roughly dry my hair about 90 percent of the way. The efficiency of this is amazing! This takes less than 5 minutes, and then I can spend a few more minutes with a paddle brush to smooth the top out.

What is even more efficient is to use one of these, if your gym is so equipped:

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Yep, it’s an old-school hand dryer. Spin the nozzle upward and two drying cycles will get your hair 90 percent dry.

[If it doesn’t seem worth it to wash your hair at all, then this genius dry shampoo and a blow dryer will actually work really well, too. And no one will know the difference].

Step 3 is a bonus, because it involves pre-workout prep. You can use your workout time to your beauty advantage by applying deep conditioner to your hair before you exercise (slather on, pull hair back into a headband or ponytail holder, then let the heat do its thing), or by generously coating your feet with moisturizer beforehand. Gym socks absorb the excess quite well. I wouldn’t recommend going so far as to apply a facial mask. Keep some mystery about yourself, please.

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The last tip I have isn’t about getting ready, but it has come in handy many times after some super sweat sessions. If your gym clothes are truly soaking wet and the thought of stuffing them back into your gym bag is less than appealing, toss them in the swimsuit centrifuge and let them spin. This works really well.

With the right tools and a plan, you can go from treadmill to office in fifteen minutes, trust me.

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