I recall when I first started group classes, I showed up with my nerves (lots of them), keys, and water bottle, filled with just that water. Months after getting more comfortable with classes, movements, and not feeling like I stuck out like a sore thumb, I started noticing that some athletes brought their own bags with them to the gym. Before, after and during class they pulled out these foreign items when we did certain movements. I was always too scared to ask what these items were used for and why someone might need them.
So I hope that I can help take the mystery out of some of the foreign items with this post. Here is what has made it’s way into my “gym bag”.
- Gym Bag – I honestly started carrying a gym bag because I didn’t want to wear my new shoes out in the snow last winter. Yep, I’m that crazy new shoe athlete.
- Hat and gloves – We all know cold weather isn’t going to eliminate some of our favorite movements. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for those cold days of sled pulls, pushes or a run.
- Jump Rope – Did you know you can purchase your own at the gym and have it sized just for you! Double Unders come with practice. Ask Jim! He traveled with his jump rope for work and mastered them this past December.
- Wrist Straps – Being a rookie, I thought the stretching pain in my wrists was a sign of getting stronger and having some weight on the bar. When another fellow athlete shared a pair of wrist straps with me my world changed. I no longer felt that pain in my hands when doing snatches, overhead squats and thrusters.
- Hand Grips – Going into the 20.2 Open workout this past October, I knew my hands were going to struggle with a 20-minute AMRAP that had hanging knee raises and I’m pretty certain my grips are what helped me PR my pull ups in another Open workout. The only downfall of NEW grips is breaking them in.
- Calf Compression Sleeves – I will never forget getting my first rope climb. I only made it half way up, but it’s what happened to my shins that made it very memorable…..hello rope burn. Another alternative is a great pair of high thicker socks.
- Lifter shoes – Now when I got a pair of lifting shoes, I honestly had no idea what I would use them for. I’m pretty certain that Kari would have to remind me to use them. Now let me say that NOT everyone needs a pair. However, if you would like to have increased stability and better lifting posture for squats, clean & jerks and snatches (just to name a few), you might consider a pair.
- Pre Workout Drink – I’ve replaced my regular water by adding in a pre-workout powder. I’ve tried a few different brands and flavors, but I always come back to my favorite, Equipfoods’ Blackberry Lemon Pure WOD.
- Top Secret Item – Sorry men, but I’m a mom and female so there a few items that only pertain to the other ladies in the gym. Don’t worry, I’m not going to list them and make you or myself turn all red! Ladies, grab me before or after a workout and I will share the Top 3 much haves for our gym bags.
You don’t need a single thing on my list but if you are looking step up your “game” picking up some cool gear cant hurt. Also I don’t be afraid to ask a fellow athlete about a certain item or ask “What is in Your Gym Bag.” One exception, if you ask Kari, give yourself some time, have you seen the size of her gym bag?!
-Erica Erickson, CrossFit Coach