What’s in My Gym Bag: DIY Network’s “Big Beach Builds” Host and Local Designer Marnie Oursler

Marnie Oursler. Image courtesy of Moki Media.

You may know Marnie Oursler, 41, as the host of “Big Beach Builds” on the DIY Network, but the Bethany Beach-based custom home builder and designer is also an athlete.

Her go-to workout is swimming (in the ocean during the warmer months, in an indoor pool when it’s cold), and she also loves running on the beach and doing strength exercises.

Oursler prefers to work out on her own as opposed to taking classes, as it’s her time to clear her head and get in the zone to a good playlist. Here, she shares what she carries in her gym bag for a workout.

The bags

Oursler opts for an Under Armour duffle, which she likes for its separate shoe storage compartment. Undeniable 4.0 Medium Duffle Bag; $45; Under Armour 

She also uses this backpack for all her swimming gear—swimsuits, goggles, fins, etc.—and stashes it in her larger duffle. Big Mesh Mummy Backpack; $20; TYR


Oursler always has this FitBit on her, which she likes because it’s waterproof. Ionic FitBit; $200; FitBit

Water bottle

This Yeti water bottle is insulated to keep beverages hot or cold, plus it comes with a useful handle on the top. Rambler 18-Ounce Water Bottle; $22; Yeti


“This facial SPF goes on white which I like, so when [I’m] swimming, I know it’s still on,” says Oursler. Original Face 50 Sunscreen Lotion; $13; Sun Bum 

Swim goggles


Oursler likes these goggles because they don’t leak or fog while swimming, she says. Kaiman Exo Goggles; $22; Aqua Sphere

Swim paddles and fins

These paddles and fins help Oursler increase her stamina and improve her technique when she goes on ocean swims. Z2 Gold Zoomers Swim Fins; $27-$34; Swim Outlet; Nemesis Contour Paddles; $15; Swim Outlet


“I’m an MBA Duke University alumni, [and] I love to represent my alma mater,” says Oursler. “This hoodie is super comfortable after a long swim.” Duke Ladies Academy Hood; $70; Duke University Stores

Running shoes

These Adidas are “lightweight and perfect for running on different types of terrain” like the beach, says Oursler. Ultraboost 19 Shoes; $90; Adidas

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.