Last spring we were on the verge of buying this house, which would only prolong my commute until my employer granted me a transfer to the office 20 minutes from the house (which never happened by the way). One day I decided that the best solution was to start working out at the gym near my office before work, which would mean missing at least half of the traffic for even given day. The first day I ventured out in the 5 o'clock hour I felt like someone had granted me wings over night.
Aside from actually getting out of bed, the worst thing about it is dragging all my stuff with me to get ready for work. After 11 months I've become quite the expert...
The first and most important step is preparing the night before. Early morning is no time to be thinking, at all. It's a time for sucking down coffee until your brain catches up with your body and actually wakes up. The night before I iron my clothes, pack my gym bag, and prepare my lunch. Before the Keurig I would also get the coffee pot set up and ready to go.
When it comes to packing the gym bag I recommend doubling up. Just suck it up and buy two of anything that you use on a daily basis for showering or hygiene (shampoo, soap/body wash, lotions, hair products, comb/brush). I even have 2 hair dryers. Although I shower at the gym Monday-Friday, I don't want to be scrambling around finding shampoo if I end up taking a second shower at home or forgetting to repack an item for Monday after a weekend at home. The only thing I don't double up on is my makeup, which I keep separate and swap between home use and the gym bag often.
I have my stuff separated into 3 different bags within my gym bag. Bags within the bag are essential. No one wants to deal with a messy spill. Smaller bags are easier to clean out or just throw away if you have that misfortune. Plus, it protects whatever clothing items may be sharing the space. Bag #1 is my makeup bag (far left). In the second bag I keep all my non showering, non cosmetic products (hair gel, lotion, deodorant, etc). Which leaves us with bag #3, the shower bag.
I use a bag that is actually intended for track shoes, but serves its purpose here very well. It's waterproof, so no problem if my shampoo or conditioner spills; and has straps to hang it from the hook outside the shower stalls at the gym. Also included in bag #3 are the all important shower shoes. I use an old pair of flip flops from Old Navy. They also never leave the shower bag.
So, we've got three smaller bags and my hair dryer so far. I also pack a small, lightweight robe that I got at Marshalls, my towel, work shoes, the unmentionables, and any accessories. My work clothes stay on hangers to avoid wrinkles.
**Don't forget to double check that you have everything before you zip up. Worse case scenario here.**
All packed and ready to go the night before. In the summer I put the bag and my clothes right into the car when it was packed and ready to go, but it's just too dang cold these days for that. I keep my work out clothes and gym bag in our spare bedroom. This avoid me waking up the Mister fumbling around and searching for socks in the dark.