10 Gym Bag Essentials Every College Girl Needs To Own

10 Gym Bag Essentials Every College Girl Needs To Own

Don't forget your headphones!

In order to have my best workout, I have some gym bag essentials that help me perform and recover optimally.

Here are the top 10 things that you can find in my gym bag:

1. Reusable BPA Free Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is a critical part of a healthy workout. No matter what type of exercise you are doing, you will not want to be left having to trek to the water fountain every time that you are thirsty after a set. Plus, using an environmentally friendly and affordable bottle is something that we all can benefit from. The bottle that I purchased from Amazon is not actually a half a gallon size, but it is a great size to carry around with me and also to make sure that I am drinking enough throughout my morning.

2. Extra Hair Bands

Trying to jog or lift weights with hair in your eyes is impossible. This is a super simple necessity.

3. Resistance Bands

If you want to do leg exercises that will help tone you up, I would highly recommend incorporating resistance bands into your circuits or activation work such as hip thrusts. Resistance bands usually come with multiple levels of resistance, which can range from beginner to higher difficulty for those that want a greater challenge.

4. Ankle Weights

I love using ankle weights for donkey kicks and other activation leg exercises. You can find these in lighter weights at TJ-Maxx for a better price than most sports depots. Pairs are typically sold at 10 lbs per leg or less.

5. Phone Armband and Headphones

Music is proven to influence performance at the gym. If you are like me and need a specific playlist when you are doing a certain workout, having an armband for your phone is a must. It is also great for those who don’t want to worry about where to put their phone when jogging.

6. Supplements

Supplements are not necessary, but they can help you achieve the results that you want a little faster. BCAAs help support lean muscle maintenance and are a fantastic pre-workout for extra energy. I am not an expert by any means on supplements and would recommend you do your own research to find which, if any, supplements could benefit you and your goals.

7. Your Favorite Protein Bar or Powder

Having a shake or bar ready for right after a workout is a must. You need to refuel and consume enough protein to maintain or build muscle and it is also a great incentive to do a solid workout. I would highly recommend ISO 100 Dymatize Whey Protein Powder in the flavor Cinnamon Bun. I would also highly recommend Pure Protein Bars and Thinkthin Protein Bars for those who are trying to avoid sugar.

8. Sweet Sweat

This is another addition for those who want to supplement their workout. Sweet Sweat sticks can be applied to parts of the body where you wish to sweat more during your workout. I won’t swear by the product yet, but placebo or not, I leave my higher intensity workouts drenched.

9. Workout Plan

If you are just starting out with a new circuit or recently discovered an exercise set that you want to incorporate into your regime, it may be helpful to keep your workout written down in your bag until it becomes second nature. Even having a page from a magazine that shows the workout that you want to try could be helpful for when you are just starting something new.

10. Makeup Removing Wipes

I hate breaking out after a good workout and if I am sweating a lot with face makeup on, my forehead will be a nightmare. I carry makeup removing wipes in my gym bag at all times, just in case I am coming from class or the dining hall.

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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I Am 9,170 Miles Away But I Still Choose To Stand In Solidarity With The People Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.


April 21, 2019. Easter Sunday.

I was devastated to wake up on Sunday morning to a series of missed calls and texts from friends asking whether my friends and family were affected by the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. I was shocked to read all of the news about the bombings in various churches and hotels that I'd visited on my trips to Sri Lanka. I remember wandering around the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in middle school hoping to get a glimpse of internationally famous cricket players like Lasith Malinga and Kumar Sangakkara.

Now, this hotel where I associated happy memories of staying up until 5 a.m. to watch the World Cup and running around with my brother is one of the 6 locations in Sri Lanka that was bombed on Easter.

Sri Lanka is a country that most of my peers have never heard of. It brings a smile to my face when I'm able to talk about the amazing experiences I've had on this island nation. I'm able to talk about how I almost got run over by an elephant during a safari in Yala National Park, how I took surfing lessons at Arugam Bay, and how I climbed all the way up Mount Sigiriya when I was 4 years old. All of these experiences have shown me the beauty of the people, the nature, the animals, and the culture of Sri Lanka. While there is so much to appreciate, there is also so much to acknowledge about its recent history.

In 2009, the 30-year civil war finally came to an end. I remember going to my parents' room when I was nine, and watching live streams of people in the streets celebrating that the war had finally ended. This was a war that caused the majority of my family to flee the country to avoid the violence and destruction. Now, almost ten years after the war ended, there was a coordinated attack on churches and hotels that led to the murder of over 300 innocent citizens and wounded around 500 people.

Sri Lanka isn't perfect, but it's roots and culture have made me who I am today. Even though I wasn't alive during the majority of the war, it has left a lasting impact on my family. My mom had to go by herself to Russia, without any prior Russian language experience, to avoid being in the middle of the war. She now speaks English, Russian, Tamil, and Sinhalese. I had other family members who fled to places like New Zealand, Nigeria, Canada, and Australia.

Because of the war, I have family all over the world who can speak Mandarin, Arabic, Dutch, Malay, French, Russian, and so many more languages. Being Sri Lankan has given me an international perspective on the world around me and has given me the insight to look past cultural differences. Instead of going to shopping malls with my cousins like my friends in the US do, I meander through bazaars in Singapore and Malaysia or go dune-bashing in the United Arab Emirates.

When people look at me, they never think that my last name could be Paul. Shouldn't it be something that is hard to pronounce or something much longer? My last name dates back to 1814 when missionaries from Williams College traveled all the way to villages in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka to share God's love. My great great great grandfather studied in one of the many Christian schools and his faith has been passed down from generation to generation. No matter how dark things got during the war, faith is what kept my family going.

Though Sri Lanka has faced adversity over the years, it continues to grow stronger. Through violence, hurricanes, government corruption, and internal conflicts, Sri Lanka continues to push through. Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.

So today—9,170 miles away—I stand with the people of Sri Lanka.

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