Everyone has different goals for their time at the gym. Some people focus on cardio. Some focus strictly on lifting. Some just get on the elliptical to watch the news (guilty of that in college). In this season of life I have found myself dappling in all areas, so I am running more, lifting more, trying more than I ever have.
When I gave my fitness regimen a recharge and started hitting the gym again (a little over 2.5 years ago) I HATED carrying extra stuff with me. I even got on my own nerves by having to keep up with my jacket and keys. In my mind, I thought that people who carried all that extra junk were trying too hard or had a point to prove. So I thought I was good with just my bottle of water. But my oh my how times have changed! The one thing that you WILL NOT find in my bag is a bottle of water. Yes, I believe that hydration is 100% necessary. But what I found (for me) is that lugging my bottle of water around with me made me waste time. I would drink to distract myself from hard work. Then my belly would get full, and I would feel nauseated THUS refraining from doing any harder work. I make sure that I am hydrated prior to gym time, chew a piece of gum while I work out to avoid cottonmouth, and keep my protein powder in a blender bottle (in my bag) to mix with water and drink immediately post WOD. I also don't keep my shoes/lifters in my bag because we have little lockers to store things in at our box/gym.
So let's get to it. What junk DO I keep in my gym bag?
1. Back up feminine products. This is no. 1 because you DO NOT want to have issues while you are trying to get your WOD on. I keep a surplus of panty liners not just for PMS issues, but because (like a lot of women) any kind of jumping exercise or long distance running will result in some dribble. Like, pee yourself. So there's that. TMI?
2. Rubber bands/headbands. Although I don't usually have to dip into this stash, these are almost as equally necessary as No. 1 because we CANNOT have hair in our face or falling down or getting on our last nerve while we are doing ridiculously hard things. Ain't nobody got time for that. Am I right? And I also want to have enough to share should anyone else ever be in need.
3. Gloves. Call me a pansy. I don't care. But if you have EVER had a tear on your hand, you want to avoid it ever happening again at all costs. So apart from a daily maintenance regimen to keep callouses trimmed/filed down (which I am HORRIBLE at), wearing gloves while doing any bar work has saved my hands from many an injury. I started off with a pair from Target that wore out pretty quickly, started using a leather minimalist glove that stretched out too fast, and have now landed on a pair of minimalist neoprene/silicone gloves by Fit Four that I REALLY like. Can't imagine that I'll be ditching gloves anytime soon. Again, just my personal preference.
4. Wrist wraps. Since beginning tumbling in junior high, my right wrist has always given me trouble when doing movements that put a lot of pressure on that joint. So now, when doing any overhead lifts or handstand pushups, I've always got my wrist wraps on to increase stability and prevent injury.
5. Speed rope. Any Crossfitter knows that having a good speed rope is key to mastering double unders. After doing a little bit of research I ended up purchasing the Elite Surge speed rope and haven't looked back. The dual-ball bearings and aluminum handles make your turns as smooth as butter. I'm no pro, but I HIGHLY recommend this rope. Excellent tool with an equally excellent price point.
6. Weight belt. I almost have to giggle at myself that I own a weight belt. All I can think of are those huge burly Olympic power lifters with their massive leather weight belts and veins bulging out of their foreheads and every other extremity. Some people believe that weight belts shouldn't be worn at all. They think they are a crutch and enable athletes from being able to stabilize loads on their own. I, however, after straining my lower back, have found that wearing a belt forces me to engage my abdominal muscles giving me a more rigid and stable torso as a foundation for my lifts. Getting too much into the weeds for ya? Geeking out a bit? I have my husband to thank for that I suppose. ;)
7. Knee Sleeves. These little slide on neoprene compression sleeves give my ole chicken knees great support when doing high reps of squat movements or box jumps and other movements of the sort. Do I use them ALL the time? Honestly, no. But whenever I have concern for injury, I will slip those bad boys on and get some serious squat work done.
8. Medical tape/blister band aids. These are probably the LEAST used items in my bag, but HOLY COW SO NECESSARY when needed. My hubs has found this excellent tape called Goat Tape ("goat," in reference to WODs, are movements that you despise and don't ever want to do. Thus, the tape is magical and helps you overcome all odds! haha). It sticks and supports better than traditional medical tape, and I like to use it to wrap my thumbs whenever doing any lifts with a snatch grip. And the blister bandaids! If you EVER tear your hand, these little guys are magical as well. If you apply them to sufficiently clean/dry skin, they secure like skin with a waterproof seal and give adequate padding and protection to your tear so that you can continue with moderate use of your hand in day-to-day life. When I have had tears in the past, I basically want to chop my hand off. I don't understand how people can get so far into the pain cave that they continue doing bar work with bloodied hands. Sorry, TMI again? Just sayin' ...
So there ya have it. I don't have to shower at the gym or get ready there, so luckily (maybe unfortunately for you) my bag doesn't include or give any insight into items needed for personal prep/hygiene for the day. I will, however, be doing a post soon about hair care and styles that carry you through your WOD and work for the rest of the day. What do you think about that?