What’s in my gym bag?
Written by:Carlos Quiros
Over the years I’ve tried tons of tools, wraps, bands, belts, shoes, etc. you name it and I’ve probably owned it, used it, tried it or looked into buying it. To save you tons or time, heartache and money I’ve come up with a list of some of the things that are in my gym bag regularly now so you can see what I am using. Enjoy!
- Clean shirt, deodorant, socks: After a lifting or CrossFit session nobody wants to smell your funk! If you plan on staying around the box after you lift or in my case coach for several hours after make sure you put on a clean set of clothes.
- Olympic lifting shoes: While not a necessity they definitely help you feel the weight where it should be on your foot versus nano’s or any other running shoe where the bottom of the shoe is thick enough to absorb excessive pounding on concrete but not ideal for heavy lifting. If you wanna get the bang of oly shoes without spending the buck invest in a pair of chuck taylors. They’re flat on the bottom and hard but only cost around $30 instead of $200 for a pair of Adidas or NIKE’s.
- Mobility bands, balls, wraps: At 34 years old things are quite as supple and loose as they should be. I spend at least 20 minutes before before every lifting session rolling out by back, hips, IT band, calves, etc. In addition to that I have tight pecs and shoulders so I have to spend extra attention to my pecs and shoulder capsule to be able to get through on those heavy snatches and clean and jerk. I would recommend spending sometime on a baseball/lacrosse ball and using some of the bands we have at CrossFit Born With It after a WOD and take sometime to really dig into and stretch out those tight places.
- Wrist wraps: Again while not necessary this is something I use when my wrist starts to fatigue or feel the abuse I put on it from all of the heavy lifting. I try not to use it as I would like to strengthen these areas versus support them and have my wrist rely on them. Use only when needed and spend 5-10 minutes every other day doing some strengthening work on these areas.
- Weightlifitng belt: On those heavy back squats or cleans I feel like a weightlifting belt helps give me the support I need for my lower back especially on any sets that go up to or more than 5 reps where I can put my lower back in a vulnerable position. This goes without being said but my form and technique should be priority one so keeping my hips under when I stand up from a heavy squat or clean and not using all back is going to keep my back happy and healthier than any belt will. Clean up you form and only use a belt as a tool not as something to correct your terrible form.
- Knee Sleeves: I love weightlifting and what it does for my performance, build and overall conditioning but I also love my knees so just to lean on the safe side I usually wear knee sleeves on any lifts over 80%. Think of these as like a nice hug for you knee cap. They keep your knee loose and warm and let’s be honest who doesn’t enjoy a nice hug!
- Jumprope: Nothing is worse than constantly tripping up on double unders because you’re using a rope your not use to or one that’s too short or too long. Do yourself a favor and invest $25-$35 on a good rope, your forearms and shins will be happy they no longer have to take a constant beating and make you look like you’re a domestic violence case when you leave the gym.
- Callus Shaver: We all could use a few extra minutes trimming down our calluses before coming into the gym. Nothing is worse than tearing a callus and bleeding all over a bar, kettle bell or yourself in the middle of a WOD. Save yourself the pain of not being able to hold a bar or do a pull up for a week and shave down your calluses regularly.
- FOOD, FOOD & More FOOD!: To lift big you have to eat big, stay strong and recover. After any of my lifting sessions I usually slam down something very easy for my body to digest. Lately it has been an eggwhite salad, three rice cakes and half a cup of blueberries for the antioxidants. About an hour later I’ll have a quick meal than I can eat in between classes, again lately it’s been a quinoa or lentil salad with chicken and usually a FitAID. Lastly since I’m usually at the gym pretty late I’ll usually finish off with some roast beef slices and more rice cakes before heading home late in the evening to dinner which is usually just protein, veggies and fat with no carbs unless I am lifting early the next morning.
- BEATS by DRE (Wireless): Most days I lift alone and it’s hard to get motivated so I usually throw up my wireless BEATS earbuds (NOT the big goofy “HEY LOOK AT ME” headphones) and knock out all of my heavy lifting with these bad boys on.
- Crossfit Accessories (Not Pictured): If I’m in the mood to do a WOD and depending what it is I’ll have my SHIN SKINS for rope climbs, some baseball batting gloves if I’m going to do bar muscle ups. A roll of tape just incase any unexpected rips or tears happen Would be a good idea too.
So there you have it! That’s an inside look at what is inside my gym bag at all times. See what you have and what works for you with regards to shoes, wraps and mobility tools. Find a protocol for rolling out and mobilizing before or after WOD’s, what shoes work best for you and what you enjoy eating after lifting so you recover fast.