The more time I spend CrossFitting, the more I realize that because no two workouts are the same, you pretty much have to come ready for anything. It never fails that the day you forget a long sleeve shirt in the winter, the WOD will contain at least a 400 meter run outside, in the snow. Forget your long socks, you’ll be doing rope climbs. Forget your wrist wraps, the workout will have thrusters in it. These are all things I have learned through experience, and pain. This is also why I have specific items in my gym bag that I don’t ever take out, except to wash because smelly gym bags are so cliche.
I think the once popular gym bag definitnely lost some of its popularity in the past couple of decades, but is now definintely making a comeback, especially in the CrossFit world. This is why I want to share what I keep in my gym bag. So here we go, and I promise that it is all clean and not smelly!
- Rx Jump Rope – CrossFit workouts contain a fair amount of jump roping because it is a good MetCon (metabolic conditioning) movement that can be done in a relatively small space. Before I had my own rope, I struggled to maintain consistency because I was always using a different rope. I like the Rx rope because it is made with high quality ball bearings that spin easily, and you have the option to purchase five different weights. They cost $34.95, which might seem a bit expensive for you, but it will last for years and you will never have to struggle with building consistency or have to worry about racing to get that one rope haging on the wall that everyone knows is the best and will be trying to get their hands on.
- Strength Wraps – Have you ever ended up with really sore wrists after thrusters, or jerks, or presses, or handstand push ups? Do you feel like that pain is the limiting factor in your ability to push weight overhead? My wrists would be sore for a couple of days after workouts that had thrusters in them, until the day I borrowed a pair of Strength Wraps from a friend. These simple three inch wide and roughly thirty inch long pieces of cloth are simple to put on and are adjustable on the fly, in the middle of a workout. Because they do not velcro, but instead hold themselves in place with a string, they can easily be loosened to do pull ups but then tightened with a couple twists to do thrusters. If you know anyone who has a pair, give them a try for four or five minutes while you knock out Fran really quickly and you’ll definitely be getting yourself a pair.
- Long Socks or Shin Sleeves – Whether its rope climbs or box jumps, we CrossFitters sure do put our shins through some abuse. Having a pair of long socks or some shin sleeves to put on before these workouts will help keep a little more of the skin on your shins. I usually keep a pair of long tube socks, or a pair of soccer socks, in my bag. I also have a pair of compression shin sleeves that work really well too. You don’t necessarily need to go out and spend $50.00 on a pair of shin skins if you don’t want because a pair of long socks will do the trick!
- A Lacrosse Ball – As I have talked about in previous posts, the lacrosse ball is a wonderfully painful torture device that hurts amazingly well. That little ball of joy can definitely help work out the kinks and by keeping it in my back, I have it accessible no matter where I am working out.
- Extra Clothing – This is obviously dependent on the time of year and where you live, but having extra clothes can keep you warm, or cool, as well as help prevent you from getting sick. Personally, I would die if I wore long pants and long sleeve shirts during a WOD that was inside, even in the middle of winter. But at teh same time, my hands tend to get cold when running outside and when that happens, I feel like I cannot grip the bar as well. This is the main reason why I keep extra clothes in my gym bag. During the fall, winter, and spring months, I keep a pair of compression tights, a pair of running pants, extra socks, a skull cap, and a couple pair of insulated running gloves in my bag.
- Shoes – Most people who have been doing CrossFit for a while will tell you that having more than one pair of shoes is probably a good idea. Flat shoes (or weightlifting specific shoes) for Oly Lifting and running shoes or something alike for running and other workouts. Right now I have a pair of Merrell barefoot running shoes that I use for oly lifting and workouts without running and I also have a pair of running shoes.
- Miscellaneous – I also keep a roll of 1″ tape for taping up torn hands. I also try to keep some food in my bag, which I will talk about in an upcoming post.
There you have it, a full list of what I keep in my gym bag. What sort of things do you keep in your gym bag? I am sure my list is not all inclusive so if you know of anything I am missing, please let me know!